So you are looking to hire (or buy for that matter) some Radio/Wireless microphones and you don't really understand what you will need? Well look no further as we explain things for you..
Firstly do you have a suitable sound reinforcement system or do you need this as well? A sound reinforcement system is the loudspeakers and amplifiers along with an audio mixer required to connect the Radio/Wireless microphones in to. The audio mixer will need to have at least the same number of microphone inputs as the total number of all microphones you intend to use plus additional inputs for music or sound effects playback etc. If you have this equipment but aren't sure if it's suitable for a particular requirement just tell us the make/model of the equipment or email photos if you prefer and we'll advise you. If you're using a venue with it's own sound reinforcement system you can make contact with the people who look after the equipment there and ask the same questions.
Radio/Wireless microphones? They are the same thing. Some people call them "Radio Microphones" and some call them "Wireless Microphones". Either way this is what they are made up of. A microphone capsule that connects into a transmitter so as to avoid any cabling on a stage etc and a receiver that picks up the radio signals and then feeds them down a conventional microphone cable into a stage box or directly into an audio mixer which then sends the audio to amplification and out through the loudspeakers.
For Drama and Musical Theatre they are most often supplied as a Beige skin tone colour though Black, Brown and even White colours can also be supplied. These microphones have thin cables around 1mm thick with the microphone capsule on the end that picks up the sound being around 6mm across and around 10mm long so they are hardly visable if at all to your audience. A "Headset" is either a single ear hook microphone or more often a double ear hook microphone with or without an adjustable headband that typically runs around the hairline on the back of the persons neck. An "In Hair" microphone is one that goes through the hair or under a wig and the microphone capsule is positioned just foreward of the hairline on the forehead or just in front of the ear if preferred?
The transmitters are either the Belt Packs you add a microphone to as explained above or in the case of a "Handheld" the microphone is part of it. Both variations have the necessary electronics enabling you to use the microphones without trailing cables. Transmitters electronics are usually powered by 2 x AA Alkaline (or Rechargable) Batteries. Typically a set of batteries lasts around 6 - 8 hours. Transmitter Pack Belts are an item nothing to do with the operation of a Radio/ Wireless microphone system. They are used to hold and protect a belt pack transmitter under a costume when its not possible or not a preference to use the supplied belt pack transmitter clip. Batteries and Transmitter Pack Belts are an extra and can be supplied as additional items available on request.
The receivers (assuming you are using several Radio/Wireless microphones) are the electronics that pick up the signals from the transmitters. These are usually supplied in pairs (sometimes quads depending on the make/ model) in a 1u rack space and they are then mounted in cases for ease of transport and setup at the venue. 1u of rack space is 44mm high x 483mm wide. This is industry standard though the depth of the cases is often between 250mm - 500mm deep depending on the equipment supplied. Each transmitter requires it's own receiver so if you want 8 x Radio/Wireless microphones you need 8 x transmitters and 8 x receivers along with 8 x microphone inputs on the audio mixer just to use these mocrophones alone.