Remote Speaker Microphone vs Surveillance Kit

Remote speaker microphones and surveillance kits are two common audio accessories used with two-way radios. The main difference between both is a surveillance kit is quiet, and a speaker microphone is loud.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between the remote speaker microphone and the surveillance kit. This will help you decide which is the best solution for you.

  • Style
  • Placement
  • Who Uses them?
  • Which is right for you

Style

Surveillance Kits

Surveillance kits carry radio transmissions silently from your radio to your ear through the acoustic tube.

Picture of 3 Wire Surveillance Kit

Surveillance kits typically are available with 1 wire, 2 wires, and 3 wires. This just means how many wires the kit has and where the push-to-talk button, microphone, and earpiece are located.

  • One wire

    • The push-to-talk button, microphone, and acoustic tube earpiece are all on one wire, connecting to the radio.
  • Two-wire

    • One wire houses the push-to-talk button and microphone, and the second wire houses the acoustic tube earpiece.
      Picture of Two Wire Surveillance Kit on Persons Body
  • Three-wire

    • One wire has the push-to-talk button, the second wire has the microphone, and the third wire houses the push-to-talk button.
      Three Wire Surveillance Kit Where the Wires Are Placed

Speaker Microphone

The speaker microphone (or lapel mic), get’s its name because it transmits radio transmission out of its speaker. These are popular because they keep your hands free, and are great for constant communication, so you don’t need to pick up the radio each time you want to listen or talk.

Image of Remote Speaker Microphone

To put it simply, speaker microphones move the push to talk from the radio and bring it closer to your mouth and the speaker closer to your ear.

Any radio transmission will be broadcasted through the speaker microphone rather than the two-way radio.

Speaker microphones are usually resistant to rain, dust, and shock, making them durable against outside elements. They have what’s called an IP rating, which helps protect the audio equipment from a certain degree of water or dust.

Watch the short video below to learn more about how protected a speaker microphone is against water.

Best Placement

Where you place your audio accessories is important. We’ll discuss the best placement for both the speaker microphone and surveillance kit to get you the best possible use from them.

Surveillance Kit

Surveillance kits can be placed above or under clothes. Many undercover agents wear surveillance kits under their clothes so they’re not obvious to civilians and stay covert.

For example, with a three-wire surveillance kit, you can place the push-to-talk wire through your arm and down to your hand so you can press the push-to-talk button when needed. The second wire (the one with the microphone) can be placed just under your chin so it picks up your voice. And the third wire you can place the clear acoustic tube earpiece in your ear.

The clear acoustic tube earpiece is inserted directly into your ear canal. The downside to this is it's often susceptible to ear wax build-up, which could make it a challenge to hear. Don’t worry we’ve given you steps on cleaning your acoustic tube that is simple to follow.

Speaker Microphone

The best and correct placement for a speaker microphone is to clip it so it rests on your shoulder. This way the mic is placed right by your mouth and can pick up your voice and the speaker is right by your ear so you can hear clearly. I’ve also seen it placed on the utility vest, which is another possible placement.

Who Are They Used By?

The best and correct placement for a speaker microphone is to clip it so it rests on your shoulder. This way the mic is placed right by your mouth and can pick up your voice and the speaker is right by your ear so you can hear clearly. I’ve also seen it placed on the utility vest, which is another possible placement.

Which One Should I Choose?

Which one you should choose will depend mostly on where you will be communicating the most. If you’re in quiet places or need to be private, a surveillance kit is your best choice. While if you’re constantly communicating and don’t want to pick up the radio every time, a speaker microphone is best.

 

Waveband Communications manufactures two-way radio accessories that are compatible with major radio models including Motorola, Kenwood, Harris, BK Technologies, ICOM, and more. Our audio equipment is designed with Kevlar reinforced cables and Knowles microphones for great audio quality and durability. Shop for your accessories now or speak with sales to discuss the best option for you.

Surveillance Kit vs Speaker Microphone Infographic

Update: This post was originally posted July 2019 and has since been updated and republished.

About the Author

TAYLOR THOMAS is a Marketing Manager at Waveband Communications. With her experience in critical communications, she helped public safety clients enhance their team communication through the help of two-way radio accessories.

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