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Review: X2 digital wireless system

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Fuzzbass, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    I've never owned a wireless system before, but I've been running sound for one of my bands (from the stage), so I decided it would be good to be able to hear the mix from the audience perspective. Also, I wouldn't miss stepping on my own cord. After doing a lot of research -- much of it here @TB -- I chose the X2 digital wireless system.
    http://www.x2digitalwireless.com

    Last week I ordered the stompbox version from MF, but even though the website said it was "in stock and ready to ship", I was notified a day later that it was backordered. (Note: as of today it is *still* listed as in stock and ready to ship!) So I cancelled the MF order and called Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center, a local brick-and-mortar. Turns out their prices are better than MF's. The sales guy at Chuck's notified me of a brand new X2 wireless that would be in stock next week: it's essentially a stompbox that has most of the features of the rackmount version. But after thinking about it, I decided to go with the rackmount. That way, I can set it and forget it. I also have a stompbox-free rig, and would prefer to keep it that way.

    After my two weekend gigs, I agree with the excellent BP review of the product:
    http://www.bassplayer.com/article/x2-xdr95-xds95/jan-08/33231

    Tonal response is actually superior to a cable, even without using the ultra hi fi mode, and reception is amazing. I never wandered more than 75 feet away, but I can't imagine ever walking farther than that except maybe at outdoor gigs.

    I used the Duracell that came with the unit... the "use before" date was something like 2011. On Friday, I essentially used the entire battery over the course of a 5 hour gig (3.5 hours playing time). But hey, that's fine... that gig was longer than usual, and I don't feel I was in danger of draining the battery before the gig was over. It was cool to be able to check the stage mix and tweak the board as necessary, tell a bandmate to turn up or down, etc.

    Minor negatives: when you put the transmitter on your strap, the locking cable comes out at a 90 degree angle to the strap. I wish it was positioned so the cable came straight down and didn't stick out, but that's not a big deal, and doing the straight-down thing might be an issue for lefties. Another minor negative is that the locking jack is an 1/8" plug, which from what I've read can be an Achilles heel, but the way I set mine up I don't feel that it would ever get bumped.

    Here is a MAJOR negative not mentioned in the BP review: The rackmount unit ships without rack ears attached. Installing the rack ears was a huge PITA! First, the screws are hex nuts, not phillips or flathead. I did not have a proper wrench, so I had to use an adjustable crescent. Second, the screw holes in the rack ears did not match up with the holes in the plastic case, so I had to widen the holes in the case with a knife. Even so, installing the screws was hard work! It would have been a little easier if I'd had a socket wrench, but I'm sure I'm not the only guy who doesn't carry a full tool kit -- no comments from the peanut gallery, please. Now that the ears are in, I feel they are secure... but again, it was a difficult and frustrating process.

    Bottom line is that it works as advertised, and I recommend the X2 to anyone looking to go wireless.
  2. Yodhan

    Yodhan

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    I have the stompbox version and I love it. The ability to wander without tripping over a cable and go tell my guitar player that he messed up is wonderful.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    Here are some pictures from Friday's gig:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    For Friday's gig I duct-taped the wireless onto the top of my rack. Saturday, I went out to GC and bought a six-space SKB Roll-X rack and a blank 1U rack panel because no 5 space Roll-X were in stock. Even though the entire rack weighs close to 40 pounds, which is light enough, it's nice to be able to roll it around. The downside is that the Roll-X is bulkier than a standard Roto. So for Saturday's gig I stacked my 2x10 cabs normally instead of vertically (sorry, forgot to take pics).
  4. Eric Perry

    Eric Perry

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    Beg pardon??? :eyebrow:
  5. Buster Brown

    Buster Brown

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    I love wireless, although I've never tried the unit in question. Been "cable free" for nearly 25 years (started out with NADY and eventually have worked my way through most on the market) and have finally settled on a AKG system...

    Nothing like wandering over to the guitar player to tell him that he's out of tune or his fly is open....or the old lady in the back is making eyes at him.....
  6. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    Ok, here's a pic of my new Roll-X rack with XDR95 installed. The rabbit ears turn sideways, and the rack lid closes over them with plenty of room to spare.

    [​IMG]
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    With instrument cables longer than 15' or so, you get slight upper treble loss due to capacitance. I noticed a slight increase in upper treble when using the X2. Is this going to matter to 99% of us bass players? Nope. Doesn't matter to me, either.

    Edit: I noticed the difference when using a *passive* bass. Those of you with low-impedance active basses shouldn't notice a difference.
  8. grace & groove

    grace & groove

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    That is so awesome looking.

    How much is the rackmount setup?
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    :D

    One would think that wireless technology is old hat these days, but some out in the crowd actually got a kick out of the fact that I was walking right past them rather than being glued to the stage. So, I tried to put on my most charming smile, especially with the cute ladies. :p
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    Oh, here is one concern I had about going wireless: what happens if the wireless fails during a set, whether from a dead battery or otherwise?

    This leads to a plug (no pun intended) for the SansAmp preamps: my wireless connects to the rear input of the SansAmp. If my wireless failed, I'd simply run a cable from my bass to the front input of the SansAmp -- doing so defeats the rear input. That's a speedy fix, not much downtime at all.
    :bassist:
  11. Justin Tuskey

    Justin Tuskey Supporting Member

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    I have to agree that it is a great unit! I convinced my guitar playing dad to get one, and he loves it. I got one, and my guitar player got one too, and I am still working on the other guitarist. Great with the channels so we dont mess with eachothers signal. Its sooooo nice not to be tripping all over wires... amazing unit for the price too, I would recommend it to anyone going wireless, first time or not.
  12. jp1994

    jp1994

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  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    For the X2 rackmount system (XDR95), I paid $450 at Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center in Wheaton, MD. The price listed @MF is $499.99.
  14. grace & groove

    grace & groove

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    Ouch, hefty. I'd rather have a cable then spend half a K on that. No offense or anything, we're all in different situations.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    The stompbox version of the X2 can be found for as little as $250, and I'm sure other wireless systems cost less than that. But really, my goal is to provide info about the X2 to those who want to go wireless, rather than suggest that all of us need to go wireless. Hell, I used cables for over 30 years and it wasn't a big deal!

    For most of us bassists, wireless is kinda like cruise control and automatic windshield wipers in a car: nice but hardly necessary. Again, the only reason I pulled the trigger is because I sometimes have to run sound and play bass at the same time.
  16. synaesthesia

    synaesthesia

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    I strap the X2 transmitter to my belt or pants, it sits horizontally in a case that came with my PDA. Perfect fit. I find this is easier if you need to change basses, the transmitter is not hooked to the strap of a particular instrument. Easier to turn on and off too. May or may not for for you....
  17. grace & groove

    grace & groove

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    I know what you are saying. Wireless makes sense in a lot of ways. I'd love have a wireless system but in my personal situation, the money would be better spent in other aspects of my bass/rig.
  18. dmilt23451

    dmilt23451

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    Is there any possibility of hooking up two transmitters to one reciever (seperate basses)...if so I may be sold
  19. synaesthesia

    synaesthesia

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    Yes. You can buy a spare transmitter. I considered doing that as I always have 2 or 3 basses on stage, a fretless, a spare or a low B - whatever the situation needs.
    With the transmitter on my waist, this has become a non issue for me.

    I got prices though from a dealer for the spare transmitter and it wasn't cheap.
  20. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass Supporting Member

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    All of my basses have Fender-style bodies, and all of my basses and straps are equipped with Dunlop Dual-Design Straploks. The straps are virtually interchangeable, so I've decided that if I need to change basses, I'll simply use the same strap.

    That said, clipping the transmitter to belt/pants rather than strap is a perfectly good idea, and I will try it out sometime. Thanks!

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