Thinking of going wireless...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Superfrappe, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. So I'm thinking of taking the plunge and going wireless from my bass to my amp. I've heard this can weaken your tone. Is this true?

    What are the advantages/disadvantages?

    Does anyone use a wireless system? If so, can you recommend some brands/models for me?

  2. think the Shure UTs are supposed to be good. It might be a different shure. Ask Munjibunga.
  3. That's the one.

    Weaken the tone? Well, our guitarist (very experienced, particular, and a tone-fanatic) borrowed mine a couple of times and he absolutely loved it.

    Our Drummer is a pro sound man and has never had a negative vibe about my wireless. He asks me to use it, in fact.

    No it won't weaken you tone.... unless:
    a) you have the superhearing of a dog
    b) you A/B it with a cable in an anechoic chamber
    c) you tweak all the settings out-of-whack on the unit.

    Buy it, you won't be sorry.
  4. Cool, thanks for the advice so far guys. So the Shure UT is the one eh? Any particular model, or is there only one?
  5. i think the UT14 is the one in question.
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Pretty much ANY wireless is going to affect your tone in some tiny way - some alot more than others, some hardly noticeable. Compare the low frequency figures. If its high, it'll hose your bottom end.
  7. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Mine is a Samson Airline and it's designed specifically for bass. It's tiny. The receiver is the size of an effects pedal and the transmitter is not much bigger than the AAA battery that runs it.

    It's got a couple of settings - one that supposedly doesn't affect your overall sound (it does a little bit but nothing you can't fix with EQ), and a second "shape" setting which deliberately offers you a different sound (I don't use this setting).

    Overall Im really happy with it. And it wasn't that expensive.
  8. I think BassPlayer mag did a review on those and said good things about them!
  9. Thumper

    Thumper Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2000
    Layton, UT
    Of course, for the best, go Xwire. Put an ad in TB and Bassgear, I did recently and got a few sellers, all in the $500 range though.
  10. I have a Samson concert. It's a rack mount true diversity type. I've used it for about 8 yrs now and I love it. It does loose a bit of punch over a straight wire. I think it intruduces a bit of compression of its own in the circuit. What it doesn't add is noise and distortion like some of the cheaper models I've tried. Some people can live with them and others can't.
  11. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    This is interesting. Here in Oz everyone had to throw out their old wireless systems because they banned all UHF (or was it VHF? ) devices that could interfer with the new digital TV technology. All the old wireless units fell into that category. A couple of us defied them rule makers, just to see what happened. We suddenly got a lot of unwanted noise comming through our bass rigs. So everyone in Oz who has a wireless has a newish one at the moment.
  12. Rockbobmel

    Rockbobmel Supporting Member

    I had the old Sure UT (The Guitarist), and it sucked. Prolly OK for guitars, but bass...NO
    I picked up an X-Wire last year and it is VERY close to a cable, but I can still tell a little, the difference. Everything (Really), is subjective. And one guy's good tone is anothers crap. So TRY them out. Get one at a place you can return it (GC) if you don't like it. Good luck
  13. Ask anyone who knows anything about transmitters, radio or otherwise, and learn this word, companding. A battery doesn't have much juice to accomdate the dynamic range of an electric instrument. In addition, it's fighting all the background noise and interference which the FCC says it MUST accept. So what does it do to get a signal powered form a 9 volt or smaller battery through several feet of airspace?

    It compresses the incoming signal so that every note is at maximum amplitude without clipping and then transmits that signal to the receiver. Once the signal arrives at the receiver, it is amplified and expanded back to its 'original" dynamic range based on a reverse algorithm of the compression. This process of compression and expanding is called companding. Problem is, it's NEVER 100% right. You lose highs; you lose lows; you lose harmonics; ect.

    I have yet to play through ANY analog wireless that I could not hear it working and I've played through all of them from the top-of-the line Shure and Sennheiser stuff to the cheapest Nady piece of crap. X-Wire's digital technology was VERY promising, but it looks like Sennheiser dropped the ball on it after they bought them out.

    The expensive ones are better, but you CAN easily hear them once you know what to listen for. Anyone who has experince setting a compressor can pick up on it in an instant. It's like listening for pitch correctors; once you've used one, you suddenly hear them on EVERYTHING that you previously would have sworn was a stellar unaltered performance.
  14. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Psycho, as usual, brilliant explaination. Thanks!

    All things considered, this whole companding problem is a trade off for total freedom (that and the cost of batteries, but that's another thread). I guess you need to decide if you can put up with the slight tone difference if it means not tripping over leads and being able to wander out front.
  15. I use a wireless not because I want to but because I'm also the sound man. I need to move around on stage and even off stage from time to time. A wireless is a trade off plain and simple. I've gotten use to mine and can work with it. It isn't, however, for everyone.
  16. Funkster


    Apr 6, 2000
    Wormtown, MA
    This is exactly what happened to me! I'm now the soundman also in one of my bands. I went and bought a cheapo Sure The guitarist on ebay for under a 100 bucks just to see if I like it.
    I love the freedom but it does something to my tone. You guy's just told me what I'm hearing, Compression!

    PBG and all thanks, Now! I would like to stay wireless but I would like a good unit, What am I going to look to spend and should it be Digital VHF or UHF?

    What is this Xwire and is it available?
  17. A year ago, I had a long phone conversation with a Shure engineer. He told me flat out that their wireless isn't useful for bass. All wireless alter the tone by the method mentioned above. Worse, the Shure engineer told me their units have a 50 hz lower limit, making them especially useless for bass.

    In practice, I got to tinker with a Shure unit at my live venue. It cut the nuts off my RB5 low B string, making it almost inaudible. There was a noticeable difference in sound between wireless and a cable. I still play with a cable, much as I would like the freedom of wireless.

    [ edited for typos ]
  18. Exactamundo, ditto right here.

    Tone purists / naysayers? Don't use a damn wireless if you don't like them. Just remember that your soundman and the room will have more effect on your sound by tenfold than the difference between a good wireless and a cable.


  19. BTW – I do appreciate the info re: companding, voltages, freq. response, etc. This is all extremely interesting to me and others on the board, guaranteed.

    I just have to say that the use of a wireless is a big reason our band is one of the more successful bands locally, because we’re running among the best-sounding FOH around. Big reason is because I go out into the room to see what the hell is going on, then I visit the mixing console. (singer runs an SM87 wireless w/LX rcvr also) A wireless allows us to do this. I for one will not sacrifice the FOH overall (by using a cable just to have my bass sound a teency bit better) and use a cable, thus being stagebound all night.

    Some of us just prefer to take an active role in the responsibility of sounding good as a band. That’s all.
  20. Well said, bimplizkit. I agree that I've learned quite a bit so far about going wireless, and I've yet to determine whether I really want to try it out or not. But as you said, if the band as a whole sounds good, then why the hell not? The main reason I'm looking into wireless is because I want the freedom to roam the entire stage, and even beyond. My band has been working increbibly hard the past year to write and perform some really kick ass songs, and I think we've done exactly that. We had a show this past Friday night, and while everyone said our sound was amazing, and all that, they said our stage presence was not quite as good as the other bands on the bill. Mind you, when I'm on stage, I DO rock out... but I stay pretty much in my 'spot'. I don't wander over to my guitarist on the other side of the stage, for fear of either yanking my amp right off my cab, or my singer backing up and tripping over my cable. That would be pretty embarrassing.

    Don't get the wrong idea and think I'm posting that going wireless would improve my stage presence. 'Cause it won't. But... it sure would give me the freedom to roam all over the stage and even in the crowd, instead of just turning around and making faces at the drummer. (Don't we all do that?!? :D)