Bass Wireless ongoing issues

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Mo'Phat, Apr 25, 2021.


  1. Background - I play in a RHCP tribute (www.redhotchilipepperstribute.com) and we somehow survived the last year and are back to touring. I'm very active and move around far too much to use a cable, but also subject 'wearables' like beltpacks to serious abuse.

    Short question: Is the TA4F connector on Shure and Line 6 wireless units not road-durable and are they subject to drop outs if bumped or jarred or otherwise molested when playing?


    My OG wireless was a Line 6 G30. This got bequeathed to my guitarist when I fell into a Shure GLXD16. Never really had an issue with the G30 except it ate batteries. The Shure was rechargeable and had a tuner. The Shure was rock-solid, until it wasn't. It would start getting very random dropouts, but mostly when I would be jumping or being overly acrobatic.

    I changed cables - tried another stock Shure, then a couple of custom ones from Bestronics, then the Shure WA304. Still happened. Changed the battery to a new one. Same story.

    Purchased a brand new GLXD16 and toured a few dates in Florida with it this March. The first time I jumped, it glitched and dropped out. I returned it immediately. I then purchased a Line 6 G50 wireless - supposedly better quality than the G30, batteries last longer. No tuner and not rechargeable, which is a bummer. Uses the same TA4F connector that the Line 6 does, so had plenty of backup cables.

    I just got back from a weekend run in Texas. For the past month, the Line 6 worked and sounded great in my bedroom. Even our first show soundcheck was no problem. But in the first actual song, a few dropouts. I was finally able to catch one in the act of being agro and seeing the connection lights turn off and come back. I suffered through 3 of four shows, giving the brand new G50 a chance, toning down my stage antics for a bit, then it would glitch and I would have to switch to a cable. I skipped the wireless on the last show and it was the best show of the run - even though I was tethered.

    Now I want to return the G50...but have no idea where to go now. I can't use a bug-type of wireless - it has to attach to my strap.

    Is the simple answer: "Yes, the TA4F connector is temperamental - just gaffe tape it." That would save some coin, for sure, and allow me to go back to my old GLXD16.

    Sorry for the story. PS: it's been really fun playing shows again.
     
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  2. PS - I started a thread a while ago about hard-wiring the connector and got shot down. But if the cable-to-beltpack connection is the weakest link, how do I fix it? I've tried 3 different types TA4F connector cables.
     
  3. I expect that the connector itself is not the problem, but the cable. As a guy who worked a number of years as a cable repair guy at a pro audio company fixing all the broken cables from the shows, I can tell you that the connector seldom fails. Almost always it’s the cable that fails, most typically from the hard bend it has to make coming out of the connector, coupled with all the movement it gets with your stage “acrobatics.” All that flexing and movement eventually breaks the internal conductor. The smaller-gauge the conductors are, the more likely they are to fail with that kind of use.

    The best, and cheapest, remedy would be to find a way to minimize all the flexing the cable does at the connector. You might figure out a way to mount the transmitter upside down, so that the connector faces downward, for starters. That would replace the hard 180-degree bend it has to make with the transmitter upright with something more “sustainable,” like maybe a “soft” 180-degree bend.

    I just looked up the two systems you mentioned and I see Line6 is utilizing the inverted idea which didn’t work for you.

    In that case IMO the issue is that the TA4F connector forces the use of light-duty cable because of its small size. Therefore I’d suggest looking into a Sennheiser system. I don’t know of their supplied cable is any more robust than the others, but it uses a 3.5mm TRS connector at the transmitter end. This would allow you to custom make a heavy-duty cable using something like Canare L-2T2S microphone cable stock. Using mic cable you would have dual internal conductors instead of one, in addition to the added robustness you’d get from the cable itself. Between the two it should last for years, if not forever.

    Canare also makes an awesome 3.5 mm connector with a full-sized barrel, instead of the typically tiny one, that will accommodate full-sized mic cables. They had the good sense to figure out “Just because the plug is small, that doesn’t mean the barrel has to be.”

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Ecclesia: Unique Arrangements of Hymns, P&W Standards, and Original Tunes
    Administrator, Pedulla Club #45
    Administrator, Tobias Club #133
    Fretless Club #943
    Big Cabs Club #23
    My Rig: Stage and FOH Friendly
    My Basses
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
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  4. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    If you put a new cable on and still have the problem. It could be where the jack connects internally to the circuit board. This was the problem on my old X-Wire belt pack. I resoldered the connection multiple times and it kept failing.

    The jack is connected directly to the circuit board through PTH, which stands for plated through hole. I believe that eventually mechanical stress on the jack cause the internal connection between the PTHs to fail. So even though the jack was soldered to the PTH, the PTH was not connected internally to the little wire leading to the next PTH.

    Eventually I got frustrated enough to try and disassemble so I could see what was going on. The belt pack uses an unusual PC mount 1/4" connector and I could not find an exact replacement. So I tried to remove the connector without destroying it. Normally you cut the component up so you can remove one pin at a time. Otherwise the other soldered pins hold the component in place. Of course this failed and I was causing more damage.

    I did get far enough into the case so that I could determine where the connection was supposed to lead. I soldered a small wire on top of the wire to jump the connection from one PTH to the next. So far so good.

    If this is not the problem, the next thing I would suspect is cross interference between the Line-6 and Shure. Even running multiple units from one company can be difficult if you are working in a location with a dense RF environment. You might research the frequencies each unit is working on, and how each company sets up bands. The idea is to try and make the two units as compatible as possible. It may be as simple as setting one of them to a different frequency...or setting both to a different frequency.
     
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  5. Thanks @WayneP and @Wasnex -

    I did a number of things to reduce stress on the connector itself - giving a very gentle bend and gaffe taping the cable to my strap. The dropouts only happen on jumps or whatever, so the obvious answer is "Don't jump." But, to me, that doesn't make the unit itself reliable at all. I've tried the beltpack upwards, downwards and sidewards. In my pocket, mounted on a strap, etc. The fact that both the G50 and GLXD16 glitch at all, regardless of mounting position, reduces any confidence in their use.

    Which Sennheiser? The XSW Digital unit looks promising and has a tuner - I'd need a female to male 1/4" patch cable for the beltpack, which is fine.

    As for frequencies - I'm not using the Line 6 and the Shure at the same time - I own both units, though. And if there was RF interference, it likely would happen even when I'm standing still, but it isn't. My IEM rig (Mipro) runs on the 5E range. Guitar units are in the 2.4 range, so there should be no crosstalk. I use the guitar wireless at home in the same room as my WiFi router with no issues.
     
  6. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Wireless systems aren't as solid as they used to be. Dropouts galore! Also static and noise the further away from the base unit. Very annoying. I've tried the dongle versions and pretty much the same.
     
  7. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    That's probably NOT the wireless system, but an aggregation of overloaded/cluttered 2.4G band, cell phones and other artifacts at home and venues!
    If not on 2.4G, then the open frequencies in the available 400-600 Mhz bands are dependent on location and chosen frequencies not being obliterated by local TV xmitters in the area!
    My Senn D1 unit is 2.4G auto-sensing, and even with multiple floor units in use, no dropouts that I'm aware of.
    We do run the band wifi on 5G band to lessen the clutter!
    My IEM system was noisy at gig on Sat, but not a single dropout from bass wireless!
     
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  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Could very well be. I had a very nice Audio Technica system that unfortunately fell under the illegal 600Mhz and I had to ditch it. I've tried several brands including Line 6, AKG, NUX and unless I stand right next to my rig, will drop out or get static/noise. I went back to cable. Just not worth it for me. I do use my NUX dongle system during rehearsals.
     
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  9. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I can understand the frustration.. perhaps you are playing in VERY cluttered venues or have other bandmates (guitar?) also using wifi on stage.. ??
    idk.
     
  10. 5.8 GHz systems may be an answer.

    Nearly every cell phone in the audience is on the 2.4 GHz band. Despite the characteristics of spread-spectrum transmission, it’s not foolproof.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
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  11. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011

    Not sure if I was clear. I was suggesting the problem may be intermittent continuity between the jack and traces of the circuitboard inside your belt clip.

    If a multi-layer circuit board is used, the connections to various vias may actually be in the middle of the board, and they can be fairly fragile.

    upload_2021-4-26_13-40-23.png
     
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  12. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    After installing the hardwire jumper on the X-Wire's circuit card, I am no longer having any drop outs, but I do hear a bit of static every now and then, especially when I am moving. I initially thought the problem was still the X-Wire belt pack. But now I am pretty sure it is the 1/4 jack on the bass. In other words the jack on the bass seems to have too much slop, which allows the connection to become intermittent when I am moving around.

    My X-wire is connected to the bass using a standard 1/4" to 1/4" jumper. If the barrels/sleeves on the plugs are not screwed down tight, they will produce an occasional static sound. Probably the same issue is happening with the jack. The static may be from the 1/4" plug rotating in the jack as I move.

    I just play in my basement these days, so this is no big deal. If I was still touring I would at least try a new 1/4" to 1/4" cable.
     
  13. @Wasnex then is this a manufacturing defect on my nearly brand-new G50 and previous brand new GLXD16 and my older GLXD16?

    Makes sense. I'm having the best luck with gear lately.
     
  14. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    Wrapping the unit in a cushy neoprene pouch and using a condom to protect against moisture might help.
     
  15. I have a neoprene pouch and haven't purchased a condom in 14 years. Not about to do that now. Again, these are brand new, never been sweated on units (two different manufacturers) with the same intermittent issue that seems to be related to my own movement.
     
  16. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    I'd be checking your signal chain.

    Specifically the jack in your bass!
     
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  17. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    I was under the impression you were only having the problem with the older GLXD16. It could be a manufacturing defect, or the jack may have taken a mechanical hit that caused internal damage. Or it could be something totally different.

    If all units are having the same problem, then I would suspect RF conflict due to frequency selection or incompatibility between Shure and Line-6.

    How cluttered the RF environment is in your location is also a significant consideration. Also how strong nearby sources of RF are. Although AFAIK, Radio and TV broadcast do not technically overlap with the frequency bands used for wireless, they are very powerful and can still interact and cause problems.
     
  18. @Ross W. Lovell - I would, but considering I switched to a regular cable and the problem went away, I believe I've eliminated the bass as a problem.

    @Wasnex - Sorry for the confusion - there's a lot to unpack.

    Timeline -
    Old GLXD16 went glitchy, changed cables, still glitchy - chalked it up to abuse. Replaced with brand new GLXD16 and was getting dropouts on first show. Not long dropouts - just enough for receiver to lose connection and have to reconnect. Returned GLXD16 and purchased Line 6 G50 in March. Home rehearsals no problem at all. Soundcheck at first show on April 22 no problem at all. First song - the same dropouts. Only common denominator is the connection from bass to transmitter.

    What about this idea - if, in fact it's the connection to the belt pack:
    Custom TA4F connector with 6" high quality cable to a female 1/4". Gaffe tape the hell out of it so it never moves and only plug into the 1/4" female.

    I think that's what I'll try next.


    [EDIT - Dropouts on new GLXD happened at 3 venues in Florida, March 5-8, 2021. Dropouts on new G50 happened at 2 venues in Texas, April 22-23, 2021. RF environments were completely different for all shows. And, if it were RF interference, it would have happened while I was also standing still.]
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  19. Drucifer

    Drucifer Not currently practicing Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Endorsements: your name could be here, Mr. Sadowsky!
    I went from a G30 to a G70 and my range and dropout issues went away, I'm not working in as challenging an environment as you are, though.

    EDIT: looks like the G70 isn't made anymore, and you'd have to go to the (even more) expensive G90. I think better communication may be the key to fixing dropouts, not just your cable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  20. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011

    AFAIK the audio and RF should be treated separately. Pull the 1/4" from your bass, and it should not have any impact on the RF connection between the belt pack and receiver. I am assuming your receivers have some sort of display that shows which antenna is active and how strong the signal is.

    I don't believe this is accurate. You can also have standing waves which will have nodes and antinodes. As you move around the RF from the belt pack interacts with the standing waves and creates comb filtering, so additional peaks and vallies in the RF. Sorry if my explanation is inadequate...let's just say you are dealing with a serious mess where the signal strength could change drastically as you move around.

    When you have multiple frequencies bouncing around, I believe they can combine and create new frequencies. So even though that nearby high-powered radio or TV broadcast does not overlap the frequency band used by your wireless units, it can still create mischief.[/user]
     
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