Latency is one of the most distracting issues to be resolved during audio transmission. What latency can a wireless microphone achieve during transmission? How can we reduce latency?
Wireless microphones are favorable tools for recording sounds in different scenarios, such as live events, meetings, lectures, and interviews, offering free movement and improved portability for us during recording. In particular, wireless lavalier microphones free our hands from holding microphones and deliver greater mobility, helping us capture sounds without the need to worry about long wires.
It is said that latency starting from 0.06s can be perceived by human beings easily. Therefore, it is quite important to know how latency is introduced and how to reduce latency in audio transmission. In this article, we will briefly discuss the basics of transmission latency in wireless microphones. We will look at the definition of latency and explore some methods to reduce latency.
What Is Transmission Latency in Wireless Microphones
Before diving into how to reduce latency in a wireless microphone, let us look at the definition of latency first. So, what is transmission latency in wireless microphones? Actually, it is not a complicated concept. Literally, transmission latency in a wireless microphone refers to the time it takes to transmit signals from the wireless transmitter to the wireless receiver. Generally speaking, audio transmission latency can be caused by the analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion process, buffer size, and sample rate.
Why Is Low Transmission Latency So Important
Transmission latency has always been a rather important consideration of content creators when they are choosing a wireless microphone. During live streaming, high latency between when the streamer is talking and when the audience hear the streamer’s voice could affect the listening experience of the audience. While with reduced latency, the steamer can better engage in the performance and interact with the audience. As such, a low transmission latency could play an essential role in helping a microphone stand out among tons of wireless microphone options on the market.
How to Reduce Transmission Latency
As we mentioned above, transmission latency can be caused by different factors, such as the analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion process, buffer size, and sample rate. In this section, we will briefly discuss how to reduce latency, regarding these influencing factors.
- Reducing the number of digital audio devices during the conversion process
In wireless microphones, the transmitter converts analog signals into digital signals, then employs encoding technologies to convert the digital signals into analog signals, and then sends the analog signals to the receiver after modulation. The receiver receives the analog signals through antennas, abstracts the analog signals, and converts the analog signals into digital signals. After removing high-frequency noises, the receiver encodes the digital signals, converts the digital signals into analog signals, and then output the analog signals. This is the analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion process, during which latency is inevitably caused. Any digital audio device will cause latency. Therefore, reducing the number of digital audio devices in your recording device setup could alleviate the latency issue during recording. For example, the wireless lapel microphone Lark M1 of Hollyland supports analog output using a 3.55 TRS cable to transmit the analog signals to mobile devices such as your mobile phone, without using additional devices for signal conversion and transmission.
- Decreasing the buffer size
Buffer size refers to the time taken to process any input audio signals which are measured in samples. A bigger buffer size would introduce greater latency, and this means that decreasing the buffer size can reduce the latency in a digital audio system for more accurate message delivery during recording, despite the fact that doing this will require more resources to process data.
- Increasing the sample rate
Here comes a technical term related to the buffer size, namely, sample rate. The sample rate indicates the number of samples that are carried every second. A higher the sample rate can help achieve lower latency. In wireless microphones, some favorable sample rates are 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, and 96 kHz. With a sample rate of 48 kHz, the above-mentioned Lark M1 wireless lapel microphone is featured with ultra-low latency of 0.02s.
Microphones, particularly those with a low latency, are favored in a variety of situations. A lot of improvements have been made to reduce the transmission latency in wireless products in recent years, and more content creators, especially live broadcasters, are opting for wireless lavalier microphones that are not only compact but also have ultra-low latency to deliver a more pleasant listening experience.
Wireless microphones with ultra-low latency like the Hollyland Lark M1 are a great design for those looking for a compact lavalier mic that can be used in different environments with the best performance at an affordable price.