Which Frequency Band Is Best For Your Wireless Mic Or Instrument System?

One of the more complicated subjects in the wireless music equipment realm, which frequency band for your wireless guitar or microphone system is the best choice? 

In short, 2.4GHz Digital Wireless is the all-around best frequency band choice for your wireless instrument or microphone system. 2.4GHz is globally available, globally unlicensed, and has more chance of a sustainable future. The majority of the other frequency bands are either unavailable outside of the US or Canada, need a costly/inconvenient license to operate in some countries or have an uncertain future with the FCC banning the frequency. While many fear that the 2.4GHz is overly congested making it more susceptible to interference, the majority of the mid to high-grade wireless Mic Or Instrument Systems have frequency agility features that eradicate interference. Aside from the less sustainable future and costly license, 470 to 548Mhz bands has been known as the industry standard for years.

For those who want to skip to the chase and find a wireless system in the 2.4GHz frequency band that uses interference agility features for no dropouts, view the articles below.

Our Top Pick Wireless Instrument System In 2.4GHz: Guitar, Bass, Banjo, Acoustic, Any stringed instruments

Top 3 Wireless Microphone Systems In 2.4GHz Head To Head: This article takes the 3 most reliable wireless microphone systems in 2.4GHz and compares each one.

Top 2 Brass Or Woodwind Wireless Systems In 2.4GHz: Saxophone, Trumpet, Clarinet, Trombone, wind instruments, etc.

Best Wireless Headset Microphone System in 2.4GHz: Singers or speakers who need a high-quality headworn microphone in 2.4GHz.

Frequency Bands: What Are They?

The entire frequency range, or radio spectrum, operates between 3 kHz to 300 GHz. Frequency bands are an interval in the frequency domain, having a fixed boundary between a lower frequency and an upper frequency. For example, the wireless guitar system Shure BLX14 -H10 operates in the frequency band between 542-572 MHz. The 542 MHz is the lower frequency when the 572 MHz is the higher frequency, everything between the fixed boundary is the frequency band that the Shure BLX14 -H10 operates in.

Radio waves at different frequencies are flying all around us at all times. Everything from T.V., internet, walkies talkies, Wifi, GPS, radio, etc. all operate at a different frequency.

The primary frequency bands used for wireless guitar/mic systems are VHF (30 Hertz to 300 GHz), UHF (470-608 MHZ), 900MHz (902 to 928 MHz), and 2.4 GHz. Many people get analog or digital wireless systems mixed up with the frequency band. This is because most analog systems operate in UHF and most digital operate in 2.4GHz, yet, they have nothing to do with each other. Coincidentally, every single wireless mic/instrument system operating in 2.4GHz is digital. Digital transmission compared to analog is the better option anyway, thus giving our answer for best frequency band for wireless systems at 2.4GHz digital.

Which Frequency Band Has The Least Interference?

The already crowded Radio Spectrum (30 Hertz to 300 GHz) is basically at a frequency shoot out free for all. Your wireless mic/instrument systems transmitter must compete it’s way to the receiver located in the general vicinity of the stage. Considering they are all roughly equally crowded (depending on the area), no frequency band is better or worse than the others in terms of signal strength or less interference.

The good news, most mid to high-grade wireless systems use frequency flexibility, agility, or other features to dodge signal interference. These features decrease the chance of cutouts or dropouts. If your interested in a very reliable digital 2.4GHz wireless instrument system that has never cut out on me once, see Our Top Pick Wireless Guitar System For 2019

VHF: (174 to 216 MHz)

VHF (Very High Frequency) systems are few and far between. Considering the slower MHz, VHF wavelengths are more extended than UHF forcing them to travel a longer distance. This, in turn, causes a higher chance of frequency interference. These receivers have much larger antennas than UHF receivers making them more susceptible to damage. To be blunt, VHF wireless mic or instrument systems are typically not the first choice for serious musicians.

One of the reasons wireless systems got such a bad reputation in the past is due to VHF systems. I’m not trying to attack VHF like there’s no tomorrow. However, our goal here is to make sure you gain true wireless freedom, not wireless freedom that cuts out and embarrasses you on stage. We do not recommend VHF wireless systems. Contrary to that belief, there are a few high-quality wireless systems that do operate in VHF listed below.

Here’s A List Of High-Quality VHF Wireless Microphone Systems

Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58: Digital 174-216 MHz

UHF in the 470-608 MHZ (Most Analog Wireless)

UHF (Ultra High Frequency) wireless microphone and instrument systems are of much higher quality than VHF. These systems have a much bigger range of frequencies. Although UHF systems still operate in the T.V. and radio frequency band like VHF, the higher range of frequency by UHF gives more options to bypass signal interference. In other words, UHF wireless systems have a less chance of your mic or instrument cutting out or getting unwanted noise.

The vast majority of wireless instrument/mic systems that operate in the UHF range are analog with a much smaller percentage being digital. Musicians or speakers that need multiple channels operating simultaneously have the best chances with an analog UHF based system.

It may be true that UHF analog wireless systems are of much higher quality than VHF systems, but there are many downsides. Not only do certain countries require you to have a license to operate an analog wireless system, but both UHF and VHF have an uncertain future with the FCC ridding certain frequencies.

When a frequency band gets banned, you the musicians/speaker have roughly 3 years to get a new wireless system. This, in turn, causes the remaining frequency bands to become even more congested, and with more congestion comes more interference.

We created 4 lists for UHF wireless systems that operate in the UHF range with their specific frequency band.

  • Analog microphone system
  • Analog instrument system
  • Digital microphone system
  • Digital instrument system

Here’s a List Of Every Analog Wireless Microphone Systems (With Frequency Bands)

Sennheiser EW 100 G4-835-S (A1 Band) Analog 470-516MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-935-S (A1 Band) Analog 470-516MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-845-S (A1 Band) Analog 470-516MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-865-S (A1 Band) Analog 470-516MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-945-S (A1 Band) Analog 470-516MHz
Sennheiser EW 135P G4 Portable (A1 Band) Analog 470-516MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-835-S (A Band) Analog 516-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-845-S (A Band) Analog
516-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-935-S (A Band) Analog 516-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-945-S (A Band) Analog 516-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-865-S (A Band) Analog 516-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 135P G4 Portable (A Band) Analog 516-558MHz
Sennheiser XSW 1-825 Dual Wireless (A Range) Analog 548-572MHz
Sennheiser XSW 1-825 (A Range) Analog 548-572MHz
Sennheiser XSW 1-835 (A Range) Analog 548-572MHz
Sennheiser XSW 1-835 Dual Wireless (A Range) Analog 548-572MHz
Sennheiser XSW 2-835 (A Range) Analog 548-572MHz
Sennheiser XSW 2-865 (A Range) Analog 548-572MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-835-S (G Band) Analog 566-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-945-S (G Band) Analog 566-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-845-S (G Band) Analog 566-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-865-S (G Band) Analog 566-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-935-S (G Band) Analog 566-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 135P G4 Portable (G Band) Analog
566-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 500 G4-935 (AW+ Band) Analog 470-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 500-945 G4 (AW+ Band) Analog 470-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 500-965 G4 (AW+ Band) Analog 470-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 300 G4-865-S (AW+ Band) Analog 470-558MHz
Sennheiser EW 300 G4-865-S (GW1 Band) Analog 558-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 500-945 G4 (GW1 Band) Analog 558-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 500-965 G4 (GW1 Band) Analog 558-608MHz
Sennheiser EW 500-935 G4 (GW1 Band) Analog 558-608MHz
Shure BLX288/PG58 Dual (H10 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure BLX24/PG58 (H10 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure BLX24R/SM58 (H10 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure SLX24/SM58 (H19 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure BLX24R/B58 (H10 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure SLX24/BETA58 (H19 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure SLX24/SM86 (H19 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure SLX24/BETA87A (H19 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure SLX24/BETA87C (H19 Band) Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure BLX288/PG58 Dual – (H9 Band) Analog 512-542 MHz
Shure BLX24R/SM58 (H9 Band) Analog 512-542 MHz
Shure BLX24/PG58 (H9 Band) Analog 512-542 MHz
Shure BLX24/B58 (H9 Band) Analog 512-542 MHz
Shure BLX24R/B58 (H9 Band) Analog 512-542 MHz
Shure ULXS24/58 (G3 Band) Analog 470-505 MHz
Shure ULXS24/BETA58 (G3 Band) Analog 470-505 MHz
Shure SLX24/SM58 (H5 Band) Analog 518-542 MHz
Shure SLX124/85/SM58 Combo (H5 Band) Analog 518-542 MHz
Shure ULXS124/85 Combo Wireless (G3 Band) Analog 407-505MHz
Shure SLX124/85/SM58 Combo Wireless (G5 Band) Analog 494-518 MHz
Shure ULXS124/85 Combo Wireless (J1 Band) Analog 554-590 MHz
Shure SLX24/SM58 (J3 Band) Analog 572-596 MHz
Shure BLX24R/SM58 (J10 Band) Analog 584-608 MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-2120b (I Band) Analog 487.125-506.500 MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-3212/C510 (DE2 Band) Analog 470-530 MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-3212/C510 (EE1 Band) Analog 530-590MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-3212/C710 (DE2 Band) Analog 470-530 MHz
AKG WMS470 Vocal Set D5 (Band 7) Analog (500-530MHz
AKG WMS420 Vocal Set (Band A) Analog 530.025-559MHz
Audix AP42 OM2 Dual Wireless (A Band) Analog 522-554 MHz
Audix AP41 OM5 (A Band) Analog 522-554MHz
Sennheiser EW 500 G4
Analog Wireless Instrument System

Here’s A List Of Every Analog Wireless Guitar/instrument System (With Frequency Bands)

Sennheiser EW 172 G4 – A Band: Analog 516-558 MHz (A band)
Sennheiser EW 100 G4-Ci1: Analog 470-516 MHz (A1 band)
Shure BLX14 – H10 Band: Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure BLX14 – H9 Band: Analog 512-542 MHz
Shure BLX14R – H8: Analog 518-542 MHz
Shure BLX14R – J10: Analog 584-608 MHz
Sennheiser EW 500 G4: Analog 470-558 MHz
Sennheiser EW 172 – G Band: Analog 566-608 MHz
Shure ULXS14 – G3 Band: Analog 470-505 MHz
Samson AirLine 88 – D Band: Analog 542-566 MHz
Shure SLX14 -G5 Band: Analog 494-518 MHz
Shure SLX14 – H19: Analog 542-572 MHz
Shure SLX14 – H5: Analog 518-542 MHz
Shure SLX14 – J3: Analog 572-596 MHz
Sennheiser XSW 2 – A Range: Analog 548-572 MHz
Sennheiser XSW 1 – A Range: Analog 548-572 MHz
Samson AirLine 88 – K Band: Analog 470-494 MHz
Sennheiser XSW 1-908 – A Range: Analog 548-572 MHz
AKG WMS420 Instrumental Set – Band A: Analog 530-559 MHz
Samson Concert 88 – D Band: Analog 542-565 MHz
Samson Concert 99 – D Band: Analog 542-566 MHz
Samson Concert 99 – K Band: Analog 470-494 MHz

Here’s a List Of Every UHF Digital Wireless Microphone Systems (With Frequency Bands)

Shure QLXD124/85 Combo: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58:  Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58:  Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58 – H50 Band: Digital 534-597 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58 – H50 Band: Digital 534-597 MHz
Sennheiser ew 500 G4-KK205: Digital 470 MHz-558 MHz
Sennheiser ew 500 G4-KK205 – GW1 Band: Digital 556 MHz-608 MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-3212/C710: Digital 530-590 MHz
Audix AP41 OM2 – B Band: Digital 554-586 MHz
Audix AP41 OM2 – A Band: Digital 522-554 MHz

Here’s A List Of Every UHF Digital Wireless Guitar/instrument System (With Frequency Bands)

Shure QLXD14 – G50 Band: Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD14 – H50 Band: Digital 534-597 MHz

900 MHz

900 MHz wireless systems do not fall in the same frequency range as most television and radio but do fall in the same band as amateur radio. This unique frequency band can either be used as a digital or analog wireless system, yet again, the only systems operating in this range are digital.

Unfortunately, wireless guitar and mic systems in the 900 MHz band are only able to be used in the U.S. and Canada. As a matter of fact, the guitar player in one of my bands uses the Shure PGXD 14 that operates in the 900 MHz band. The system has worked flawlessly without any cutouts as we toured through the U.S. and Canada, but once we reach out to other countries, he may need to turn his head to 2.4 GHz which is globally available and unlicensed.

List of Wireless Instrument Systems Operating In The 900MHz Band

Shure PGXD14: Digital 900 MHz
Shure PGXD14/B98H: Digital 902-928 MHz

2.4 GHz

Wireless instrument/mic systems that operate in the 2.4GHz frequency band are typically always digital. Like mentioned above, 2.4GHz is globally available, unlicensed, and has more of a sustainable future. Although many claims this frequency band has less chance of signal interference, many techs in this field claim, “it depends on the environment.” The perfect combination of a wireless mic/instrument system is a 2.4GHz digital wireless with built-in frequency agility/flexibility features to minimize cutouts.

Some of the things that operate in 2.4Ghz are Bluetooth, WiFi, 2.4GHz cell phones, microwaves, and car alarms. Some of the lower quality (cheaper) wireless mic/instrument systems that do not have high-quality inference dodging features will have a lot of trouble in places with WiFi or internet. Because most sites you perform at will have WiFi, internet, or many people with 2.4 GHz cell phones, we highly recommend purchasing a system with these signal dodging features.

For those interested, here’s an article that consists of 5 digital and 1 analog wireless guitar systems to choose from that are very reliable with interference dodging features. Top 6 Wireless Guitar Systems For Pros.

A List Of Every Single Digital Wireless Guitar/Instrument System

Line 6 Relay G10S: Digital 2.4 GHz
NUX B-2: Digital 2.4 GHz
Joyo JW-01: Digital 2.4 GHz
Xvive Audio U2: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 Relay G10: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD16: Digital 2.4 GHz
Boss WL-20L: Digital 2.4 GHz
Boss WL-50: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 Relay G30: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 Relay G50: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 Relay G55: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 Relay G70: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 Relay G90: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD14: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD14R: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1311 Dual: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1101/G: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1301: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser XSW-D Instrument Base Set: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser EW D1-Ci1: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure QLXD14 – G50 Band: Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD14 – H50 Band: Digital 534-597 MHz
Shure PGXD14: Digital 900 MHz
Shure PGXD14/B98H: Digital 902-928 MHz

Here’s A List Of Every Single Digital Wireless Microphone System

Xvive Audio U3: Digital 2.4 GHz
Behringer ULM302MIC: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24R/SM58: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1322: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24/B87A: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24R/B87A: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24/SM58: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1312/L: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24R/B58: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24/B58: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1102: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser EW D1-835-S: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1312 Combo: Digital 2.4 GHz
Behringer ULM300MIC: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD124R/85 Combo: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser EW D1-845S: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 XD-V75: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure GLXD24R/SM86: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser XSW-D Vocal Set: Digital 2.4 GHz
Behringer ULM300USB Wireless USB: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 XD-V55: Digital 2.4 GHz
Samson Go Mic Mobile: Digital 2.4 GHz
Line 6 XD-V35: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser XSW-D XLR Base Set: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sony DWZ-M70: Digital 2.4 GHz
Rode RodeLink Performer Kit: Digital 2.4 GHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1302: Digital 2.4 GHz
Sennheiser XSW-D Presentation Base Set: Digital 2.4 GHz
Shure QLXD124/85 Combo: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 572-608 MHz, 614-616 MHz
Sennheiser AVX-Combo SET: Digital 1.9 GHz
Sennheiser AVX-835 SET: Digital 1.9 GHz
Sennheiser Speechline SL: Digital 1.9 GHz
Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58:  Digital 174-216 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B87A: Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58: Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58:  Digital 470-534 MHz
Shure PGXD24/SM58: Digital 900 MHz
Shure PGXD24/BETA58A: Digital 900 MHz
Shure PGXD24/PG58: Digital 900 MHz
Shure QLXD24/SM58 – H50 Band: Digital 534-597 MHz
Shure QLXD24/B58 – H50 Band: Digital 534-597 MHz
Sennheiser ew 500 G4-KK205: Digital 470 MHz-558 MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-1366: Digital 2.4GHz
Sennheiser ew 500 G4-KK205 – GW1 Band: Digital 556 MHz-608 MHz
Audio-Technica ATW-3212/C710: Digital 530-590 MHz
Shure PGXD24/SM86: Digital 902-928 MHz
Audix AP41 OM2 – B Band: Digital 554-586 MHz
Audix AP41 OM2 – A Band: Digital 522-554 MHz

Reasons Why VHF and UHF Wireless Systems Have An Uncertain Future.

The FCC has a history of banning wireless microphone and instrument systems that operate in specific frequency bands. 

In 2010, all wireless systems operating in the 698 – 806 MHz frequency were completely banned making room for public safety services and broadband. 

In 2017, all wireless systems operating in the frequency bands of 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz were banned. Each system operating in those frequencies have 39 months to transition to another unit. The last day anyone can use a wireless system running in the 617-652 MHz, and 663-698 MHz band is July 13, 2020.

Funny enough, one of the bands I play in, “Madame Vega“, uses a wireless microphone that operates in the banned frequency where we have till July 2020 to switch. To find out what frequency your wireless system operates in, check the back of the receiver. (example pick below)

To Sum It All Up

The all-around best frequency band for your wireless mic or instrument system is 2.4GHz since it’s globally available, globally unlicensed, and has the highest chance for a sustainable future. There is no better or worse frequency band for signal interference as all bands are crowded. When getting a wireless system, make sure it has frequency dodge/flexibility/agile features that will decrease the chance of interference.

The ultimate combination for the best all-around wireless instrument/microphone system is a Digital 2.4GHz system with special features to maintain a strong signal. Below are a few articles based on the top wireless instrument systems.

If you’re interested in a gaming chair without wheels, see our top choices here