Tour Guide Systems Hire and Buy FAQ

Tour Guide System Hire and Buy FAQ

Apple Sound's Tourguide-SYSTEMS offer clear communication in different environments - maximum flexibility with minimum fuss.

Tourguide systems do away with sore throats for tour guides, confusion and frustration for tour groups. Systems can be used for guided tours in factories, factory sites, museums, on coaches, or outdoors, etc. They can also be used as a whisper interpretation (simultaneous translation) system.

Tour guide systems are available for outright purchase or daily rental. 

  1. What is a tour guide system?
  2. Where is it used?
  3. What does it do for you?
  4. What types are available?
  5. Should you buy or rent?
  6. How many systems can I use at once?
  7. Will the Ofcom radio microphone channel changes of 2012 affect Tourguide?
  8. How can members of my tour party ask questions through the system?

1. What is a Tourguide system?

A typical tour guide system comprises a wireless microphone and a number of wireless receivers. The ‘Guide’ and/or ‘Interpreter’ talks into the microphone and the delegates or visitors listen to the commentary or translation through a headset or headphone. Your message will get through to your visitors clearly, without the guide having to shout to compete with noisy machinery or, interrupt a meeting whilst they provide a translation.

The microphone can either be hand held (with integrated transmitter), or a head worn or tie clip microphone (with a belt pack transmitter). The receivers can be a single-piece stethoset, or headphones connected to a belt pack receiver.

Using a tour guide system means your guides won’t have to shout so they will still be in good voice at the end of a busy day; your visitors will hear every word clearly which means they are far less likely to lose interest and will remember their experience favourably.

2. Where is a tour guide system used?

Tour guide systems are portable and easy to use which means they can be used anywhere to overcome background noise (a factory), the need for discretion (a museum) or the need for many people to hear what is being said, makes normal conversation difficult. See our range of ear-defender headsets for use with our tourguide systems here.

Tour guide systems are used to show visitors around a factory, for training staff where machinery noise makes it hard for trainees to hear their instructors, for staff meetings on the shop floor, or for safety inductions.

Tour guide systems are ideal for any situation in a factory where it is important to get the message across above the general factory background noise. The multi- channel feature allows several different tours or groups to operate at the same time without interfering with each other.

Audio headsets for tours:  let visitors know what they are experiencing at visitor attractions . Tour-guide systems are superb for any guided tour, indoors or out or even on a tour bus! Your visitors can hear your guide without being distracted by traffic noise. The system also means that the guide can talk to many visitors at once without having to shout. This is great for sensitive areas such as places of worship and other places of interest where raising ones voice is not the ‘done thing’.

In public meetings as an interpretation system. The interpreter can simply sit at the back of the room and whisper the translation into the microphone. Delegates wishing to hear the translation collect a receiver at the start of the meeting and listen in. Tour guide systems operate on different frequencies which means that several different languages can be catered for.

Click here for tour guide case studies.

3. What does it do for you?

A tour guide system allows you to communicate effectively to a group of people, either large or small, overcoming irritating background noise, without having to shout. Your visitors will hear every word, will not lose interest or struggle to understand your message. Your guides will be able to run several tours a day without getting a sore throat, and without the frustration of having to repeat things so that everyone can hear. Your visitors will leave you having had a good experience, will remember their visit and appreciate that you are a professional organisation which places a strong emphasis on looking after their visitors.

4. What types are available?

All systems have a microphone for the tour guide and a number of receivers. Microphones can be hand held which include the wireless transmitter in a single unit, or headworn connected to a belt-pack transmitter.

Receivers can be stethoset type, i.e. hanging down from the ears with a built in wireless receiver or, a single earphone or headphone which is plugged into a belt-pack wireless receiver. There are also options for individual neck-worn loop receivers for hearing aid users, or the possibility of using custom ear-defender headsets in areas where hearing protection is mandatory.

We supply new tourguide systems manufactured by Sennheiser (2020 D Digital tourguide), Beyerdynamic (Synexis), Listen Technologies (DECT tourguide) and Williams Sound (Digiwave); all of these are licence exempt throughout the EU. We can help you choose the most appropriate system for your needs and budget, whether you have just a few visitors on occasional factory tours or you operate daily with multiple groups in continuous rotation - there is a system that's best for you. Contact us.

5. Should you buy or hire?

Buying or hiring the system depends on how often you are likely to use the system. Most of our customers start off by renting a system on two or three occasions before deciding that they cannot do without it. We have many customers who have bought a system to cater for their regular events, and then hire-in extra systems for occasional events such as open days. We can also arrange lease rental for businesses as an alternative to capital expenditure - quotations on request.

Either way you can be sure of a first-class and efficient service from Tourguide-SYSTEMS. Our hire fleet comprises over 1,500 RF devices with systems available to hire by the day, week or longer. All equipment is well maintained and tested before despatch, then delivered in smart custom-cases.

Before you hire from Tourguide-SYSTEMS, we will take the time to discuss how you are going to use the system. We can then advise how to get the best from the equipment and set it all up for you before despatch.

6. How many systems can I use together?

Each type of system has a set number of channels that can operate in the same place simultaneously. We now have tourguide systems on our hire stock operating on VHF (6 channels), UHF (6-8 channels) and 2.4GHz (60 channels); so there are 74 channels available in all. Three of the VHF channels require a licence but we can arrange this for you. For larger events spread over a big site, careful planning can allow frequencies to be duplicated allowing many groups with fewer frequencies.

You can also use large numbers of receivers together as a single system, for example to provide interpretation at public meetings. Attendees have the choice of listening to the speaker, or listening to an interpreter through their personal tour guide receiver. This is a very popular use of the system in bi-lingual countries such as Wales. We hire stationary transmitters for wide area coverage at large conference rooms, auditoria or exhibition halls etc.

7. Will the Ofcom radio microphone channel changes of 2012 affect Tourguide?

Customers have been asking us this question regarding Tourguide systems like Sennheiser 2020 Digital, Listen Technoligies FM and Williams Sound FM equipment that operate in the UHF band. The simple answer is that these systems will continue to be licence-exempt after the 2012 change and this remains the situation to date (2017).

Customers using Sennheiser Infoport VHF tourguide equipment (operating on 49.84, 49.88 and 49.96MHz) will not be affected by the changes in 2012 and currently this equipment remains licence-exempt.


    • Channel 69 remains available nationally for wireless microphone use and continues to be licensable. However, access to channels 61-69 inclusive (790-862 MHz) ceased on 31st December 2012.
    • 863-865 MHz (two MHz of Channel 70) will continue to be available for use by ‘wireless audio devices’ after 2012. This will support 4 to 12 wireless microphone links (subject to device variant and local conditions).
    • Using wireless microphone in the UK more...
    • New equipment is available on different frequency bands 1.8MHz, 1.9MHz and 2.4GHz ISM and with digital procesing of the transmission, multi-channel systems are available in these bands with some devices achieving up to 60 channels. These are licence-free in the UK and most of Europe.
    • Contact for specific frequency information for wireless microphone systems in the UK
    • BEIRG is an independent and non-profitmaking association, working for the British Entertainment Industry who use radio spectrum -

8. How can members of my tour party ask questions through the system?

With standard tourguide systems, the easiest way is to use a hand-held microphone/transmitter and pass this to the person who wishes to ask the question - this way the whole tour group hear the question. Otherwise, the tourgroup leader can listen to the question and then repeat it for the whole party to hear. This works well for occassional questions and groups of up to 20 people.

It is possible with Sennheiser 2020D Digital System to have a second microphone/transmitter for use when Q&A forms part of the tour - ask us about our dual guide option.

Interactive tours - when its desirable for your tour group to interact with each other and/or the guide, then consider a tourguide system that allows two-way speech - the DigiWave system allows for up to six in the tourgroup to talk simultaneously. Its a configurable system that suits small and large groups alike. Examples: a factory tour where there will be three 'guides' explaining various aspects of the plant and the tour party will be listening only; single or multiple guides with one Digiwave device for passing around  for questions; or a fully-interactive tour of VIP's where everyone in the tour group wears a headset and has the option to talk; more complicated configurations are also possible, involving multi-language simultaneous translation within the tour group. Digiwave is available for hire too with a variety of headphone and headset options.

ListenTALK is another two-way tourguide system from Listen Technologies that uses DECT radio technology to provide two-way, interactive tours.