There’s hardly a better feeling than playing a sick lick and jumping around on the stage alongside your band. However, using a classic cable setup may get in the way and restrict your movement.
Lucky for you, wireless guitar systems have been around for quite some time now, and aren’t as expensive as they used to be.
But how do you choose the right one? What to different types bring to the table?
I’ve come up with a brief yet straightforward article in which I explain the main features and specs you should consider when looking for a wireless guitar system.
Let’s see exactly what it’s all about and what the 5 best models on the market have to offer!
Top 5 Wireless Systems for Guitar Players
|2.||Xvive U2 Wireless Guitar System|
|3.||Audio-Technica 10 ATW-1501|
Know What You’re Looking for – Different Types of Wireless Systems
So, basically, there are 3 types of wireless guitar systems on the market. The main difference between them is the actual type of connection they use to communicate.
VHF systems were one of the first ones to appear. These systems use frequencies ranging from 30 MHz to 300MHz, which is the same range that TV and radio devices use.
As this technology is a bit outdated, they tend to be less expensive than the other types. However, they are much more susceptible to interference, mainly because the frequency range they use is pretty crowded with other devices.
UHF systems utilize the 300MHz to 3GHz frequency range. Because of this, there is still a slight possibility of interference, but at a much lower level than the UHF ones.
Generally speaking, they aren’t necessarily pricey and offer a pretty good experience.
Digital systems use the latest technology, the same one that’s used by WiFi routers.
However, this doesn’t mean that they can pick up interference from WiFi-enabled devices that easily. In terms of lack of interference and overall experience, they are your best bet.
The only downside of this type of systems is that they can be quite pricey.
So, what’s the bottom line?
Well, if you’re looking for the best wireless guitar system for the money, UHF and digital ones are your best choice, depending on how much money you’re willing to spend.
What are the Most Important Features?
Depending on your specific needs, you may find some features as more important than others.
The range is definitely important unless you plan on using a wireless system for jamming with your friends in a garage.
Depending on the size of the venue you’re most commonly playing in, you’re going to want to get a system that offers a big enough range.
However, if you need a 50-foot range, don’t go for a system that lists exactly that as the maximum specs.
Going slightly over that number means that the system will operate at an optimal level at all times. You want your signal as strong and consistent as possible
Easy setup process can greatly reduce the time needed for you and your band to set up on stage.
While using a cable is as simple as popping it into your guitar and amp, a wireless system needs to be properly set up, especially if other bandmates use one.
So, take your time, study each model you’re thinking about buying and get yourself something simple yet effective enough for your own particular needs.
Battery life can be an essential feature if you go on tour often or simply have long set lists to cover.
Different models use different options, either rechargeable cells, or your standard AAA batteries.
Personally, I prefer devices that have their own rechargeable battery, but you can still go for an AAA battery charger alongside rechargeable batteries of that kind, and always have spare ones in your guitar case.
Automatic frequency selection is a very handy feature which, as the name might suggest, automatically chooses the nearest frequency that’s not being used, and locks in at that channel.
This allows you to simply press a button, and not worry about finding a good enough frequency and establishing a strong connection.
Reviews of the Best Wireless Guitar Systems for the Money
- Donner DWS-2
Starting at number 1, we have the cheapest wireless system that’s still worth getting, the DWS-2 by Donner.
This brand is known for making some of the best budget effects pedals on the market, and their wireless system features that inexpensive quality as well!
The DWS-2 is a UHF system that offers a connection up to 200ft with less than 2.5ms of latency. The fact that the signal isn’t compressed means you’ll be getting the same audio quality, if not better, than by using a standard cable setup.
The device itself is pretty compact, as the jack is connected to the body via a joint rather than a cable. So, you basically pop it in the output on your guitar and input on the amp and rotate it so you can clearly see the display.
With 4 channels to choose from, finding a clear connection should be pretty easy. Up to 4 sets of devices can be used simultaneously, as long as they are tuned in to different channels.
Both the receiver and transmitter use a standard micro USB cable for charging, so you won’t need to get additional batteries.
- Very compact
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t require additional batteries
- Great for the whole band
- Battery life (2.5h) could be better
- May not fit every guitar
The fact that the DWS-2 by Donner is so compact, convenient, and easy to use, makes it a great wireless system for beginners and musicians that don’t necessarily need a professional piece of equipment.
- Xvive U2 Wireless Guitar System
Xvive is a brand that’s pretty similar to Donner. They also have a bunch of inexpensive pieces of musical equipment that generally perform pretty nicely, and the U2 wireless system is no exception.
The U2 system sports a very similar form factor to the DWS-2 as well, with the jack being connected via a joint to the rest of the device. But the U2 costs almost double, so why should you even consider getting it?
Well, first of all, this wireless system is a digital one, meaning that the quality of the signal it relays is at a higher level. Though specs read less than 6ms of latency, overall performance is slightly better than what DWS-2 has to offer.
With 4 channels to choose from, you can also broadcast on all of them at the same time, which can be used for on-stage monitoring.
The range of this system is around 100ft or more, depending on other factors that may affect the connection. With around 4 to 5 hours of battery life, the U2 should last you more than 1 or maybe even 2 gigs easily.
- Digital connection
- Great battery life
- Beginner- friendly
- Some noise can be heard sometimes
- Users reported that the range is not as long as advertised
So, is the Xvive U2 worth the around $150 price tag?
Well, it depends on what features you find to be the most important. The battery life and easy setup and operation definitely make for a great wireless system worth considering.
- Audio-Technica 10 ATW-1501
Audio Technica is one of those brands that simply needs no introduction. Their 10 ATW-1501 wireless system offers a slightly different approach to this kind of device, which guitarists that use effects pedals will most definitely appreciate!
Instead of going with the traditional “transmitter on the belt, receiver on the amp” layout, AT went with a stompbox receiver for extra convenience.
This model uses digital connection as well, so you can rest assured that the signal quality is at the highest level possible.
By using the footswitch on the stompbox, you can toggle between outputs, and mute/unmute one of them, when you need to tune your guitar.
The display and LEDs on the receiver show the signal strength, the channel you’re connected to, as well as the output that’s currently active.
AT uses 3 interference-protection layers, for a smooth and consistent experience.
The receiver uses standard alkaline AA batteries and can give you around 7h or more of playtime.
- The stompbox is very solid
- Great for guitarists that use pedals often
- Multiple instruments can be connected to 1 receiver (though you need more transmitters as well)
- Above average battery life
- High-quality audio
- Some interference still may occur!
- Switching instruments can be a bit slow
All things considered, the ATW-1501 is a rugged wireless system that offers versatility and easy reach of controls on stage.
- Shure PGXD14
Shure is mostly known for their SM series of microphones, which is probably the most popular microphone on the market. The PGXD14 wireless system displays the Shure ingenuity and offers a hassle-free playing experience on the stage.
The transmitter feels pretty lightweight but rugged at the same time. It clips onto a guitar strap or belt, staying out of the way.
Standard AA batteries are used, giving you up to 10 hours of use easily.
The PGXD14 is a digital wireless system, offering 24-bit digital audio, with a noticeably higher level of audio quality when compared to other systems I’ve mentioned so far. The sound is consistent and natural.
The receiver is definitely bulkier and has a larger footprint than the ones that were included in previous models. It has 2 antennas and features up to 5 channels per frequency band.
This wireless system is rated for around 200ft of operating range, more than enough even for bigger stages and venues.
- Pretty straightforward and easy to use
- Audio quality way above average
- 10 hours of battery life
- Expected Shure build quality
- Maybe a bit too expensive for some
The PGXD14 wireless guitar system by Shure offers amazing audio quality and hassle-free operation. In the world of professional audio equipment, it’s one of the best models you can get in terms of bang for the buck.
- Shure GLXD16
And finally, at number 5, we have another model coming from Shure. The GLXD16 sports a similar form factor to the Audio-Technica model, with the receiver being in a form of a stompbox.
The transmitter is surprisingly tiny, so placing it practically anywhere on your body shouldn’t restrict your movement in any way.
However, it’s the stompbox that makes using this digital wireless system even more convenient.
The display on the top of the receiver can either show you the connection parameters such as signal strength and channel #, or the chromatic tuner, with a simple step on the switch.
This model offers unparalleled battery life as well, providing up to 16 hours of continuous use if you go with the Shure rechargeable batteries.
When used indoors, the GLXD16 offers a range up to 100 feet and up to 200 feet outdoor. Intelligent frequency management makes sure that the best possible frequency is used.
As expected from Shure, the audio quality is amazing, and the interference is minimal, if present at all.
- Very compact and convenient
- Amazing battery life
- Intelligent frequency management
- Overall a professional device
- The cable on the transmitter could be better
- Pretty expensive
So, if you’re looking for a professional wireless guitar system, that makes using pedals much easier, the GLXD16 by Shure is the way to go!
Conclusion! Which System is the Best?
So, as we’ve had the chance to see, there are many different models, sporting different form factors and more or less useful features.
Personally, I’d go with the Audio-Technica 10 ATW-1501, as it’s somewhere in the middle between entry-level and professional wireless systems.
The ATW-1501’s stompbox form factor is much more convenient than the one regular transmitters sport, even if you don’t plan on using it with pedals. Overall quality and user experience are definitely worth the price tag.
That pretty much wraps it up! I truly hope that this article was informative and, most importantly, fun to read!
Thank you very much for reading, and as always, I’ll catch you in the next one!