Advances in techniques for recording large-scale brain activity contribute to both the elucidation of neurophysiological principles and the development of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs). Here we describe a neurophysiological paradigm for performing tethered and wireless large-scale recordings based on movable volumetric three-dimensional (3D) multielectrode implants. This approach allowed us to isolate up to 1,800 neurons (units) per animal and simultaneously record the extracellular activity of close to 500 cortical neurons, distributed across multiple cortical areas, in freely behaving rhesus monkeys. The method is expandable, in principle, to thousands of simultaneously recorded channels. It also allows increased recording longevity (5 consecutive years) and recording of a broad range of behaviors, such as social interactions, and BMI paradigms in freely moving primates. We propose that wireless large-scale recordings could have a profound impact on basic primate neurophysiology research while providing a framework for the development and testing of clinically relevant neuroprostheses.