Is a wireless really worth it??

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by MODNY, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. MODNY

    MODNY Guest

    Nov 9, 2004

    are they??
  2. I have a wireless bicycle. Well worth what I paid for it.
  3. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong

    ... just one more thing to go wrong
  4. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Sometimes they are necessary if you are moving around and putting on a show. Overall, your tone suffers IMO. A wireless is never as good as a quality cable.

  5. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    +1 on the sound quality of a cable.

    BUT, a wireless is a nice thing to have in your bag of tricks. For example, a utilitarian use is to walk out in front of the stage to hear how you sound FOH.

    Of course, going wireless can be a lot of fun, especially if you're not tied to a mic stand singing. If you play on a lot of stages where moving around isn't really encouraged, or if you can easily get around with a 20 ft cable (and won't get tied up with your guitarist), you might stick with the cable approach.

    A good wireless will treat you well, but don't expect it to be flawless, any more than you'd expect a cable to work 100% of the time. My experience is that a wireless will compress your signal a bit, which may or may not be acceptable to you.

    Personally, I quit using my wireless simply because it didn't have enough signal to push through my pedalboard. Plus, it is a lower end model that has been worked to death, thus it was succeptable to a lot of electrical interference.

    My bassist, however, loves her wireless kit because not only can she roam wherever she wants, now she doesn't necessarily have to be within 10 or 15 feet of her amp. She can jump off of things, run around, step out into the audience...

    Anyway, it's a great toy to mess with. Obviously, if you were playing a jazz gig where you simply stand in front of your amp, the wireless would be a little bit of overkill. But if you have a bit larger of a stage to fill, wireless might be the answer for you.
  6. jake_tim


    Jun 28, 2005
    North Carolina
    i belive that wireless is more a problem than anything, ive been to a couple shows where someones wireless adatper broke, or they had the frequencies wrong, its just too much of a hassle i think, and also the sound quality is noticably better though a GOOD quality cable.

  7. Honestly, it's the favorite part of my rig and I really would hate to lose it. Being wireless is great, I think it would be a no-brainer for all bass players *if* it was free and *if* they never did anything bad to your tone. Obviously even the cheapest wireless systems are an investment beyond a decent cable.

    I think the tone part is the clincher for most people. I have an X-Wire digital system that really sounds great to my ears, i'm totally happy with it. If there was even a small degredation in tone quality i'm sure i'd end up getting tired of it. Alot of people claim that cheaper units can degrade a bass signal significantly (but I haven't tried anything but my XWire). Try a few units out and if you're happy with the resulting tone it's likely it'll be a worthwhile investment for you.

  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't know what wirelesses you guys buy that you'd say they don't sound as good as a cable, but I actually think that the Samson wirelesses I have bought and continue to buy sound even better than a cable. There's always a slightly increased high end which I think sounds really good. And they never sound compressed like other ones. I usually buy their low-end true diversity wirelesses (which the Stage 55 is their current model), and I recently bought a Synth 32 so I could have channel switching flexibility, and I hear absolutely no difference in the quality.

    I can't stand to be without a wireless onstage, so I think a good wireless is essential. people say, "Oh, that's just one more thing to break," but how many people have broken cables? I have broken about 3 dozen cables in my life. But since I got a wireless, I may have broken one, maybe two.
  9. craigb

    craigb Supporting Member

    I've got one of the discontinued Sennheiser digital units - not as good as X-wire but sounds as good as a cable to me.

    I'm not a very animated player but like the freedom of not being tethered. I do go out front to see how I'm sounding in the audience and to make sure my level is good (we only put vocals, keys and horns in the PA). I find that very useful as I want things to sound balanced and good to the back of the room, not just on stage.

    One of the main things I like about being wireless is that I'm not grounded (through the bridge/string ground). So if I touch a microphone, or something else (one of the guitars/guitarists, etc.) I can't end up completing the circuit and getting zapped. It's providing protection against bad wiring for me.
  10. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I got mine for utility purposes... It beats paying a sound man.
  11. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    Don't have one yet, but would like to once I start playing bigger places.

    Maybe you loose some of the tone, and you have one more problem source, but:
    - now you don't have to worry about tripping on the cable (seen that happen to others...)
    - you can check out your sound through the PA
    - you're freely walking around
    - you can have better interaction with the audience. And that's important in a live show.

    You can use whatever cable you want in a studio.

    but remember, the weakest chain will most probably still be the house PA, not your wireless (unless, of course, if you are using a very cheap, crappy one)
  12. ebladeboi123


    Jul 11, 2005
    Oberlin, Oh
    I have one. If you move around on stage, they are great. My tone doesn't really suffer at all... So I'm with happy with that part. And it doesnt really ever fall out (guitar bug). Theres a bit of static in lows, but it gets covered up by just white noise/audience.
  13. Ha! Not if you were lucky enough to snag one of the Xwire units... I can't hear any ifference between that and a cord. Something like 20-20kHz response, no compression, no expander. Its great for sound checks, seeing how badly the sound man goofed up your tone.

  14. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    Wow. I've heard good things about the xwire's. Are they still being made?

  15. CetiAlphaVI


    May 27, 2005
    I recently picked up one of these, too. I would like to hear the X-wire, but I have been very pleased with this unit. I am at a mic singing a lot, but I like the freedom. This particular unit goes through batteries quickly, but the indicator is bright, and gives plenty of warning to change out between songs.

    A wireless is well worth it, if you don't go cheap. Check the frequency responses, too. Shure ULX goes to 25hz, but it is around $600 new. AFAIK, X-wire is no longer being made, and the Sennheiser digital units were the result of Sennheiser buying the technology rights from X-wire.
  16. Unfortunately - no.

    Guy sold the XWire technology to Sennheiser 5 or 6 years ago and in the process designed and developed the Sennheiser 1000 series 16 bit digital wireless systems as part of the deal. You may hear of the discontinued 1092 model of this series for bass and guitar.

    Bear in mind, the Xwire systems are certainly excellent specs on paper and sound great accordingly however the manufacturing quality especially in the case of the XT905 transmitters is not good. These are the most likely parts to fail.

    I purchase such a system on Ebay for over $1000AUD and guess what - my tech tells me the transmitter has some burnt out components including the power supply IC so keep your wits about you and check any prospective systems right out in the flesh if you go after one. So I got caught with a system I haven't even been able to use at all. Very pee'd off - but I took that risk in the first place so I really only have myself to blame.

    The main thing from my perspective is my tech is checking out whether he can identify the XT905 power supply ICs and other ICs of which the component ID markings have been sanded out (supposedly to protect company secrets back then) by using the surrounding components as a starting point. Although I strongly doubt it - if anyone who can advise me of the IC part IDs inside the XT905 transmitters it would be greatly appreciated and will speed along fixing my unit.

    If he can fix it - you never know, it may open up an opportunity for him to repair these things even though he is located in Sydney, Australia. If this happens - this may assist in making these systems a viable proposition once again for those who have faulty transmitters - who knows ?

    Ozzie :hyper:
  17. I plan on getting a wireless just so i can just off stage into people without having to worry about my cable acting like cheese wire and taking someone out :p
  18. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Morris, IL.
    I bought a Carvin UX wireless unit and the 1st time I used it was when the sound guy wasn't around. I was on the church worship team and determined that I didn't even need to be in the 'system'. I unplugged my self from that cause I was plenty loud with just my amp. Had to find out for myself though. The soundguy had been telling me that all along. :oops:
    On the tone issue with wireless vs cord...Cords have a capacitance issue that a wireless unit doesn't. However, cheaper wireless units can have there own problems.
  19. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    After switching to a wireless system several years ago, I asked myself why had I waited so long? I have a Shure TD guitarist VHF system. 14 hours on 9 volt battery. My 59 year old ears can't hear enough difference between a cord and the wireless to matter when playing with my band.

    One more advantage that has not been listed above is the safety factor. NO MORE SHOCKS touching a mic.

    If you live in a highly populated area VHF may not be for you (interference with public radios, cabs, fire depts, etc.) You probably will want to get a UHF system with switchable channels. I once recommended the Sennheiser unit to some friends, but I have since discovered they eat up batteries. 1 - 3hrs max on a nine volt and rechargeables don't have enough power.
  20. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I used an old AKG wireless for the longest time. Sounded great. Once you go wireless, you can never go back. I used to always be aware of my cable while playing. Now it's one less thing to worry about.

    Sadly, my AKG broke. I bought an expensive sytem that didn't come close to the sound of my AKG and I sold it.

    Today I just purchased an XWire that is essentially brand new (it had been someone's backup for a while and was never used). I finally have my sound back and the freedom of being wireless. It's totally worth it imo.