Tips & Tricks: Wireless?

Tips & tricksEven on small stages it is pretty comfortable, not to get entangled in guitar cables and to avoid the knotting of the cables of all band members.
The alternative to the usual stereo cables is a wireless sound system.
But is this kind of signal transmission suitable for every guitarist?
And, are there any disadvantages?

Analog wireless systems

At its beginnings, wireless systems have been analog devices. This lead inevitable to the fact that the signal has to be compressed in a certain way. And this compression, of course, affected the sound. The tone and the dynamic of the guitar play and the reaction of the amplifier to the volume pot of the guitar changed.

Digital technique

Today, wireless systems are digital. This also provides advantages as well es disadvantages. In the first instance, most guitarists are very skeptical about digital technique because the signal will be converted into a bare listing of the numbers 1 and 0. These A/D converters always cause a certain latency. Due to the conversion, the guitar signal will appear slightly delayed. This latency, for sure, is very low and would also occur if you use a very long cable between your guitar and your amplifier, but it may affect your feeling while you play your guitar (this is why I don’t like these gigantic coiled cables).

Sound of wireless systems

A digital wireless system mostly emphasizes almost all frequencies in the same way, therefore, to many guitarists it seems to be tonally “sterile”. This impression results from the fact, that musicians are used the sound of the guitar WITH a cable – mostly even without a buffer. Every cable cuts the heights a little bit and therefore creates a warmer tone. Basically, the sound of a wireless system is comparable to the sound of an active guitar.
Some wireless systems provide a solution for this problem by offering the possibility to integrate a virtual cable to the transmission. In other words: the heights will be cut slightly like we are used to.

Fuzz

By using a fuzz effect on your pedalboard, the situation gets more complicated. Every guitarist knows, that fuzz effects don’t like buffered guitar signals. They sound best when they are placed at the beginning of the effect chain and get the direct guitar signal. The digital wireless, which actually acts like a buffer, make the fuzz effect sound shrill and it will get pretty complicated to control the distortion via the volume pot or the string attack.

Frequencies

In the age of radio technology, many data can be transferred digitally. Before you buy a certain device, you ought to make sure if this device uses frequencies that can be elected manually or if it elects the frequencies automatically.
By the way: If your favorite guitarist uses a wireless sound system and you want to record his sound on stage, you only need to carry a receiver with you. By choosing the right frequency you will be able to listen to and record the whole guitar track.

Closing: for those who do not use a fuzz effect on their pedalboards, but a buffer at the beginning of the effect chain and who long for more freedom of action on stage, wireless systems can be an alternative.
Line6, as well as XVive offer well-priced wireless sound systems.

And all the ones who love a pure sound are still forced to get entangled in their cables close to their pedalboards.