The 6 Second Summary:
For a great wireless guitar system (which is more reliable than the enticing cheap equipment you’ll find), the Line 6 G50 is an excellent option which should last for the years to come.
With wireless guitar systems, know that you’ll get what you pay for, and that comes in the form of signal reliability, physical durability, and battery life, among other factors.
Ever feel like you can’t leap around onstage like EVH, while hitting that climactic bend, because you feel anchored by a spider web of cords?
Fortunately, nowadays there are wireless guitar systems, which actually do work pretty well, while being affordable more affordable than the past.
Though, you’re probably wondering, is it a good choice to use a wireless guitar system, and if so what are the main factors to consider when choosing one?
That’s precisely what this guide will seek to cover. While we’re at that, we’ll also show you a few popular options to get you started with your research of what’s out there. Curious to find out more? Then keep scrolling!
Top 5 Wireless Systems for Guitar Players
The Pros & Cons of Wireless Guitar Systems
To really ensure that wireless guitar systems are the right choice for you, you’ll want to inform yourself with the advantages and disadvantages they bring. If you see great stage potential (or even just at-home convenience) of these systems, and you’re okay with any cons that may come about, you can feel much more confident about making a lasting addition to your rig.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know the pros which wireless guitar systems offer; namely, they allow you to dash about onstage, unshackled to your amplifier. It’s all about the freedom of mobility, much like having wireless headphones instead of wired headphones; you don’t realize how much you love it until you try it.
With that freedom, you can undoubtedly increase your stage prescence by reacting spontaneously with the music, while feeling less anxiety about tripping hazards, getting tangled, or perhaps your guitar cable catching on something and unplugging at crucial musical moments.
Also, there are other benefits which might be personal to you. For example, owners of dogs might actually unexpectedly like these wireless guitar systems for home use, in case their puppies chew on the cables. Or, if you’d simply like to walk around the house with your guitar “plugged-in”, but still be able to make walk to the kitche, making yourself a coffee with your guitar still slung on your shoulder, these systems can offer you that freedom of mobility.
Really, the main con of wireless guitar systems is that it creates another layer of complexity to your guitar rig. If you’re okay with sacrificing extra complexity for the beautiful convenience they offer, then you might be a good candidate to try them out.
For example, as long as you’re cable doesn’t fray at its ends, you can feel pretty confident that it’ll always work, no matter how long it’s sat in your closet. However, with wireless guitar systems, the electronics can break, or even just run out of batteries at a crucial time.
In fact, battery life is probably the main caveat of purchasing these systems these days. In the past, signal range, radio reliability, and latency were points of concern, but these days most good systems cover those bases quite well. Generally, know that especially with wireless guitar systems you get what you pay for.
Types of Wireless Guitar Systems
There are essentially 3 types of wireless guitar systems on the market. The main difference between them being the actual type of connection they use to communicate.
These were one of the first ones to appear. These systems use frequencies ranging from 30 MHz to 300MHz, which is the same range that TV and radio devices use.
As this technology is a bit outdated, they tend to be less expensive than the other types. However, they are much more susceptible to interference, mainly because the frequency range they use is pretty crowded with other devices.
These utilize the 300MHz to 3GHz frequency range. Because of this, there is still a slight possibility of interference, but at a much lower level than the UHF ones.
Generally speaking, they aren’t necessarily pricey and offer a pretty good experience.
Digital systems use technology similar to WiFi routers.
However, this doesn’t mean that they can pick up interference from WiFi-enabled devices that easily. In terms of lack of interference and overall experience, they tend to be your best bet.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Well, if you’re looking for the best wireless guitar system for the money, UHF and digital ones are your best choice, depending on how much money you’re willing to spend.
What are the Most Important Features to Watch Out For?
Depending on your specific needs, you may find some features as more important than others.
The range is definitely important unless you plan on using a wireless system for jamming with your friends in a garage.
Depending on the size of the venue you’re most commonly playing in, you’re going to want to get a system that offers a big enough range.
However, if you need a 50-foot range, don’t go for a system that lists exactly that as the maximum specs.
Going slightly over that number means that the system will operate at an optimal level at all times. You want your signal as strong and consistent as possible
An easy setup process can greatly reduce the time needed for you and your band to set up on stage.
While using a cable is as simple as popping it into your guitar and amp, a wireless system needs to be properly set up, especially if other bandmates use one.
So, take your time, studying each model you’re thinking about buying and get yourself something simple yet effective enough for your own particular needs.
This is perhaps the most essential feature, for example if you have long set lists to cover during shows.
Different models use different options, either rechargeable cells, or your standard AAA batteries.
Personally, I prefer devices that have their own rechargeable battery, but you can still go for an AAA battery charger alongside rechargeable batteries of that kind, and always have spare ones in your guitar case.
Automatic frequency selection
This is a very handy feature which, as the name might suggest, automatically chooses the nearest frequency that’s not being used, and locks in at that channel.
This allows you to simply press a button, and not worry about finding a good enough frequency and establishing a strong connection.
Reviews of the Best Wireless Guitar Systems for the Money
Alright! Now that you’re better equipped to both decide if buying a wireless guitar system would be a smart choice for your situation, and which factors to look out for when purchasing one, here are a few suggested products we have to help get things started for your research and final decisions. Hope this helps!
Starting at number 1, we have the Line 6’s premium G50 rig — it’s more expensive at first, but can turn out to be much more affordable than continuously going through $60 systems that don’t work for longer than 1 year.
This brand is known for making some of the best digital effects pedals on the market, and their wireless system features that digital expertise as well.
The G50 offers a connection up to 200ft with less than 2.5ms of latency. The fact that the signal isn’t compressed means you’ll be getting the same audio quality, if not better, than by using a standard cable setup.
The device itself is pretty compact, as the jack is connected to the body via a joint rather than a cable. So, you basically pop it in the output on your guitar and input on the amp and rotate it so you can clearly see the display.
Offering simultaneous broadcasts on multiple channels, finding a clear connection should be pretty easy.
- Very compact
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t require additional batteries
- Great for the whole band
- 8 hrs of battery life
- More expensive than other options, due to high quality
The fact that the G50 by Line 6 is so compact, convenient, and easy to use, makes it a great wireless system for beginners and musicians that don’t necessarily need a professional piece of equipment.
Xvive is a brand that’s pretty similar to Line 6. They also have a bunch of inexpensive pieces of musical equipment that generally perform pretty nicely, and the U2 wireless system is no exception.
The U2 system sports a form factor a bit different from the G50, with the jack being connected via a joint to the rest of the device. But the U2 is also a bit more on the pricy side also.
Well, first of all, this wireless system is a digital one, meaning that the quality of the signal it relays is at a higher level. Though specs read less than 6ms of latency, overall performance is slightly better than what DWS-2 has to offer.
With 4 channels to choose from, you can also broadcast on all of them at the same time, which can be used for on-stage monitoring.
The range of this system is around 100ft or more, depending on other factors that may affect the connection. With around 4 to 5 hours of battery life, the U2 should last you more than 1 or maybe even 2 gigs easily.
- Digital connection
- Great battery life
- Beginner- friendly
- Some noise can be heard sometimes
- Users reported that the range is not as long as advertised
So, is the Xvive U2 worth the around $150 price tag?
Well, it depends on what features you find to be the most important. The battery life and easy setup and operation definitely make for a great wireless system worth considering.
Audio Technica is one of those brands that simply needs no introduction. Their 10 ATW-1501 wireless system offers a slightly different approach to this kind of device, which guitarists that use effects pedals will most definitely appreciate!
Instead of going with the traditional “transmitter on the belt, receiver on the amp” layout, AT went with a stompbox receiver for extra convenience.
This model uses digital connection as well, so you can rest assured that the signal quality is at the highest level possible.
By using the footswitch on the stompbox, you can toggle between outputs, and mute/unmute one of them, when you need to tune your guitar.
The display and LEDs on the receiver show the signal strength, the channel you’re connected to, as well as the output that’s currently active.
AT uses 3 interference-protection layers, for a smooth and consistent experience.
The receiver uses standard alkaline AA batteries and can give you around 7h or more of playtime.
- The stompbox is very solid
- Great for guitarists that use pedals often
- Multiple instruments can be connected to 1 receiver (though you need more transmitters as well)
- Above average battery life
- High-quality audio
- Some interference still may occur!
- Switching instruments can be a bit slow
All things considered, the ATW-1501 is a rugged wireless system that offers versatility and easy reach of controls on stage.
Shure is mostly known for their SM series of microphones, which is probably the most popular microphone on the market. The PGXD14 wireless system displays the Shure ingenuity and offers a hassle-free playing experience on the stage.
The transmitter feels pretty lightweight but rugged at the same time. It clips onto a guitar strap or belt, staying out of the way.
Standard AA batteries are used, giving you up to 10 hours of use easily.
The PGXD14 is a digital wireless system, offering 24-bit digital audio, with a noticeably higher level of audio quality when compared to other systems I’ve mentioned so far. The sound is consistent and natural.
The receiver is definitely bulkier and has a larger footprint than the ones that were included in previous models. It has 2 antennas and features up to 5 channels per frequency band.
This wireless system is rated for around 200ft of operating range, more than enough even for bigger stages and venues.
- Pretty straightforward and easy to use
- Audio quality way above average
- 10 hours of battery life
- Expected Shure build quality
- Maybe a bit too expensive for some
The PGXD14 wireless guitar system by Shure offers amazing audio quality and hassle-free operation. In the world of professional audio equipment, it’s one of the best models you can get in terms of bang for the buck.
Conclusion! Which System is the Best?
So, as we’ve had the chance to see, there are many different models, sporting different form factors and more or less useful features.
Personally, I’d go with Line 6 G50, as it’s a system you can use for years to come in a professional environment, while still paying a reasonable price for its high value.
That pretty much wraps it up! I truly hope that this article was informative and helps to steer you in the proper direction!
Thank you very much for reading, and as always, I’ll catch you in the next one!