Wireless silent disco headphones – a buying guide

Silent disco is no longer a novelty and has firmly become part of the club, live music and festival scenes. Promoters and festival organisers now seriously consider silent disco alongside regular PA powered music event formats.

Visitors to silent disco events love the ability to choose musical styles at the flick of a switch on their headset and rave about the fact they can take headphones off to chat when the mood takes them. Silent disco is here to stay and the concept is spilling over into other areas, such as theatre.

Silent Disco Headphones

If you are considering a silent disco event then you obviously need to do some homework on the headphone technology to make an informed choice before you hire or purchase headphones. Below is a brief summary of the major factors to consider.

Silent Disco Buy/Hire Advice

Wireless range

Depending on the size of your event space you may need to consider the placement of the wireless transmitters in your headphone system. The higher the transmitter is located and the less physical obstructions the further the signal will travel. Walls and floors made of re-enforced concrete are particularly good at preventing wireless signal transmission.

Infrared v RF wireless

Infrared wireless technology is not normally a good choice for wireless headphone disco applications, due to the fact that a line of sight link is required to successfully transmit the audio signal. Any physical obstructions, including people, will cause infrared transmissions to drop out.

Radio frequency (RF) wireless headphone systems can go through and bounce round physical obstructions and have a far greater range than infrared. For example a typical infrared wireless headphone system is likely to have a maximum range of 10m, whereas RF wireless can reach 100m.

The only real drawback of RF wireless headphone systems is that they are more susceptible to interference from nearby electronic equipment and other wireless transmitters than infrared.

Durability

Obviously the headphones you choose for your silent disco events need to be sturdily built and able to stand up to use by the general public.

The point most likely to fail on a wireless headphone is the headband and it’s coupling to the earpieces. Look for a solidly built headband with robustly made joints. Imagine one of the attendees dropping the headset and standing on it. Can the headphones take it? If not then you will likely be dealing with a higher percentage of failures at each event.

Cost

As always there is a balance to be made between cost and quality when considering wireless headphones for public use.

While there may be bargains to be had, the normal rule of “if it looks to good it normally is” applies. A cheap deal be attractive initially, but think about whether your supplier will be able to support you if you have equipment failures or need replacement parts in the coming months and years.

When choosing wireless headphones we highly recommend actually listening to the headset yourself before making the decision. Sound quality can vary massively between different models of headphone. Your event visitors will not appreciate it if the headphones sound awful. It will be well worth the time, money and effort to try the headphones yourself before making a commitment.

For one off events hiring may the cheapest option, but if you are planning a number of events then do your homework and check how it will compare with purchasing.

Hygiene issues

Visitors to your silent disco events will of course expect to be provided with a clean pair of headphones. The choice you make over the design of headphones and the ways you ensure they stay clean is important to ensure you protect your investment.

  • Wipe clean, plastic based materials with smooth surfaces on the headphone headband and ear cups make it easy to bring the headphones back to ‘as new’ condition at the end of each event.
  • Replaceable ear pads will ensure you have a longer service life from each headset.
  • Consider supplying disposable ear pad covers to each visitor to your silent disco with each headphone they borrow/hire. Visitors will be reassured by the fact they can buy brand new covers for the headphones they use.

Warranty & Support

As with all technology, wireless headphones can and do go wrong. Obviously headphones being used by the general public will get broken. Make sure you purchase or hire your wireless headphones from a reputable supplier with the ability to support you if the technology fails.

Can your supplier rapidly offer replacement parts in the event of equipment failure? Will the headphone system you purchase now be supported by your supplier in the coming years? For example, you may find that replacement headphones from a different supplier are not compatible with your system and if you are unable to get replacement parts you may be forced to replace the entire system.

Your decision over equipment supplier could make a huge difference to the long term cost of running a wireless headphone disco system.

More Information

To find out more about wireless disco headphones systems please visit the Wirefree Audio website or to buy wireless silent disco headphones visit our wireless headphone store.

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Wireless headphones for car, caravan & motorhome – RF wireless or infrared?

Wireless headphone systems for cars, caravans and motorhomes are more popular than ever.  Connecting wireless headphones to the music, DVD or gaming entertainment system in your vehicle is a great way to ensure everyone on-board gets what they want.

Wireless Car Headphone

Before you make the choice about the wireless technology to use for your cordless headphone system it’s important to understand the differences. Below is a brief summary to help you make the right decision.

Infrared Wireless Headphones

In-car headphones that use infrared wireless technology are the best way to avoid electromagnetic noise problems, but does require more planning than an RF wireless system. Think carefully about the placement of the wireless transmitter when planning the infrared headphone system for your car, as any physical objects between the transmitter and headsets will cause audio drop outs.

Pros:

  • Less prone to interference from nearby electrical/electronic equipment than RF wireless.

Cons:

  • Infrared depends on line of sight link between transmitter and headsets – audio will drop out if link is broken by physical obstructions.
  • Range limited to 5 metres – normally not a problem in automobile environments.

Analogue RF Wireless Headphones

Radio frequency (RF) wireless headphone systems are the first choice for many due to the fact the transmitter can be placed in a concealed location with no need for a line of sight link between wireless transmitter and the headphones.  With RF wireless you can even get out of the vehicle and continue listening to the audio without interruption – perfect when installed in a motorhome or caravan.

However, cars can be electrically noisy environments and RF wireless signals are susceptible to interference from electronic equipment that is not well shielded. The only practical way to check if your vehicle is emitting RF noise that interferes with wireless headphones is to try it out. If you find you are getting interference then you will need to track down the source and fix it.

The possibility of interference from other wireless equipment is also present with RF wireless.  Recent changes in wireless headphone frequency bands (especially the introduction of the 2.4Ghz band) means there is now more distance between consumer wireless signals, resulting in less chance of interference.

Pros:

  • Long range between transmitter and headsets – signal can go through physical obstructions – no need for line of sight. Headphones can continue to be used outside the vehicle when parked.

Cons:

  • Susceptible to interference from nearby electrical/electronic devices that emit electromagnetic noise, e.g. dashboard electronics, car computer, alternator, fridges, microwaves, low voltage lights, etc.

More Information

To find out more about wireless headphones for cars, caravans and motorhomes please visit the Wirefree Audio website or to buy an in-car wireless headphone system visit our wireless headphone store.

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About Wirefree Audio – wireless headphones for vehicles and public use

Wirefree Audio is a UK company offering a full range of wireless headphones for the automotive and public use markets.

Typical applications for the wireless headphone we supply include:

  • In-car headphones – including caravans and motorhomes.
  • School, college or training centre headphones
  • Silent disco headphones – including festivals.
  • Tour, museum and theatre headphones

Offering a World class service to our customers, we are a highly focused team who can be trusted to support your wireless audio project.

Based in the English south coast town of Hove in England, Wirefree Audio has built up an enviable reputation for developing innovative wireless audio products and bringing them first to market.

More Information

To find out more about wireless headphones for vehicles, silent disco and public use applications please visit the Wirefree Audio website or to buy a wireless headphone system visit our wireless headphones store.

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