Which wireless mic should you use for your saxophone?
Joining me for this video is my friend Michael Ghegan whom I met while he was on tour with Super Tramp.
Michael is no stranger to wireless mic setups, so I thought “who better to help me test these out?”
The results were really surprising and I think you’re going to be very pleased when I tell you which one of these we found to be the clear winner.
After Michael recorded on each mic, we blindfolded him so he wouldn’t know which one we were listening to.
AEA R84 Ribbon Mic
The first mic I played back for him was my AEA R84 ribbon mic, I thew this in there to have a point of comparison. It’s not a clip on or wireless and very expensive.
However, the following microphones are all clip ons and wireless.
Keep in mind that there is no effects, no reverb no EQ what you hear is the unmodified dry signal going through my Universal Audio Apollo Twin. I did have to adjust the gain here and there to get the levels to be similar though.
Cloud Vocal Prime
This mic is the Cloud Vocal Prime it sells for around $650 US dollars. I know Michael has been using it for a lot of his smaller gigs where he just wants something convenient and practical.
Personally, I was a bit disappointed with the sound of this mic compared to the others. I was hoping there would be more of an improvement over the first generation of this mic that I reviewed a few years ago. The Cloud Vocal setup does include a lot of features like onboard effects, and the ability to mix in other inputs, but the microphone itself is not meeting my expectations.
The other downside to the Cloud Vocal Prime is that while the mic itself is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery, the receiver needs to be plugged in which is an inconvenience, especially if you aren’t going to be using the built in effects.
The next mic is called Kimafun.
And just to be clear with you, I was sent all of these mics for free. I didn’t ask anyone to send me wireless microphones, they just keep showing up and after this video I’ll probably find some more in my mailbox.
This one I can only find on aliexpress for about $170. While it is easy to use and doesn’t pick up a lot of key noise, I’m not a fan of the sound.
NuX Wireless Sax Mic System
Moving forward, both Michael and I felt that the NuX Wireless Mic was our favorite.
It’s definitely the most balanced, and it really surprised me with how good it actually sounds and its overall design.
The mic plugs into the transmitter with a mini jack that fastens into place. The receiver is very small, and it plugs straight into your mixing desk, amplifier, or sound interface.
You press a button on each to turn them on and that’s it you’re ready to go.
It sells on Amazon for $200 and I think it’s an incredible value at that price. I do have a few things that I would like them to fix on this mic.
NuX Pros and Cons
Since we recorded this video, I have used this NuX microphone on about a dozen gigs on pretty large stages for audiences of hundreds of people.
I’m pretty satisfied with the sound quality of the microphone and have not had a single issue with the signal dropping.
The whole thing comes in a little package which has a charging port and a battery level indicator on it
Plus, you can charge the batteries for both the transmitter and the receiver inside the case, and the batteries lasts a very long time.
But, there is also a serious design flaw here.
You see, I thought this case worked like AirPods. You put them in when you’re done, and the case charges up the device.
I found out the hard way that you actually have to press this button for charging to start.
So on the last song of my 5th concert in a row, the battery died while I was playing a solo. At the time, I just thought my monitor had stopped working.
The case should charge the system without having to press this button so I hope they fix that in a future version of this.
But, the good news is I know the battery lasts for several hours.
The next problem I have, is that it has an auto-off function. After 10 minutes the mic turns off.
The idea is obviously to save battery life, but if you are doing a show and the band does a couple songs where you don’t play the sax when you do pick it up to play the mic will be off.
Some sax players also play other instruments, so it is very common for 10 minutes to pass during a performance without playing into the mic.
That auto-off should be removed entirely. When the show is over you unplug your mic, turn it off and put it back into the case.
The third issue is that it has these EQ presets for alto, tenor and soprano saxophone. Again they were trying to add a cool feature, but it’s a big fail.
EQ is very personal. Everyone hears their own sound differently. It has a lot to do with the individual, their setup, how they play as well as the room you’re in and the PA system you’re playing through.
The worst part about these presets is that you have to cycle through them every time the mic gets turned back on. So if you go on a set break, the mic shuts itself off, so when you start again you have to remember to turn your mic on and cycle through the EQ presets to get back to the one you were using.
I do love the bell mount on this thing though. It goes on and off the bell better than any other clip on sax mic I’ve ever used.
I love not having a belt pack and not needing a receiver unit that plugs in.
Now because this mic has a mini jack input, I was able to replace it with my DPA 4099. this is a professional level microphone that is what I normally use on performances.
For me the sound is better with the DPA microphone on there, but that upgrade would cost you over $700 more, which I don’t think is worth it. If you already have a DPA though, you just need to spend $90 for the adapter.
Now once you’ve got the right wireless mic setup, you’re going to want to know how to use the freedom of mobility to communicate with your audience while on stage. So next, you’re going to want to check out this post to learn about playing the saxophone in a pop music setting.