What is a wireless guitar system?
With guitar technology currently being at it’s pinnacle, one piece of gear that still remains a staple in arenas, stadiums and venues today is the wireless guitar system. Have you ever wished that you were able to move effortlessly on stage? Are you tired of having to untangle your guitar cables before using them? Finding the best wireless guitar system can help you do all the above!
Wireless guitar systems are designed to allow the players of both electric and acoustic guitars total freedom of movement, practicality and great tone. Previously the systems would be found in rack units but are now more portable than you might think.
It’s true that many guitarists quickly shun off the idea of using a wireless guitar system. The thinking is they’re either too complex, expensive or only for professional musicians. However, with a much wider range of affordable options nowadays, you don’t need to be playing arenas, be a professional musician or breaking the bank to enjoy the perks of one. For those who worry about the interference from a wireless guitar system, the majority of companies have taken measures to ensure their products don’t experience interference.
Both electric guitars and acoustic guitars can be wireless and some units come with XLR/DI outputs. This makes them even more optimized for an acoustical guitar. Many guitarists are worried that their tone will be affected but since technology has come such a long way, tone is no longer sacrificed.
How do wireless guitar systems work with pedals?
A Wireless guitar system makes no difference to your pedals and functions in the same way as a standard guitar cable. Often consisting of a transmitter and a receiver, the transmitter is plugged into your guitar and the receiver can be plugged directly into the amplifier or connected to the first pedal on your pedal board. If you are looking to be completely wireless with no cable at all, two units or two transmitters may be needed. However, many guitarists run a standard guitar cable from their pedalboard to their amplifier and use the wireless unit for the guitar only.
So here are 10 of the best wireless guitar systems in no particular order.
AKG WMS 40
- Easy Setup
- Battery powered (optional)
- 30 hours using a single A battery
- No switchable frequencies
If you’re looking to take a simple step into the world of wireless units with a transmitter pack that attaches to your belt, the AKG WMS is an affordable option. AKG, a well respected brand when it comes to microphones, have produced a plug and play device that works wonders for electric and acoustic guitar. The radio unit can fit nicely on top of your amplifier or inside any rack tray, with it’s transmitter boasting up to 30 hours with a single AA battery.
The downside of this unit may be that it’s not pedalboard friendly, which appears to be a nice preference now, for professional and non professional guitarists alike. It is however, a very affordable entry into the world of more traditional looking wireless guitar systems.
Samson Airline 88 AG8
Long playing time Clean, high quality sound Wide frequency response
Transmitter isn’t rechargeable Not compatible with active pickups Powered by a single AA battery only
There are a large number of tabletop or rack unit guitar wireless systems on the market but the Samson Airline 88 AG8 makes things easy and offers great sound quality. Here you’re treated to 300 feet of range with line of sight playing and typically 150 feet if there are objects in the way. It offers low latency to ensure playing feels as natural as using a standard guitar cable and the receiver even has options for a ¼ inch output or balanced XLR meaning it can be used as a DI to the PA. The trade off is that the transmitter only runs on a single AA battery. Whilst this might © Copyright Benjamin Bullett Mortlock 2020 seem a little outdated when up against today’s rechargeable UBS transmitters, it does give you up to 12 hours of playing time, which is higher than a number of rechargeable products on the market. Another downside to this unit may be that it’s not pedalboard friendly, however those in the market for unit of this
Line 6 relay G10s
An oldie but a goodie. The Line 6 G30 has been a stable wireless unit for guitarists for over 10 years. Perhaps one of the first more affordable units designed specifically for guitarists, this unit has stood the test of time and ruggedness of the stage. This unit takes after some of the higher end wireless products on the market often made by pro audio companies. Attach the transmitter pack to your belt or guitar strap and connect to your guitar with an instrument jack. The receiver which can fit on a pedalboard, amplifier or rack tray has 6 channel options for selecting the appropriate frequency. It features Line 6’s cable tone technology. Something that’s present and updated in today’s Line 6 units.
Line 6 G10
The Line 6 G10s is a small box that functions as a receiver. The transmitter is even smaller and plugs straight into your guitar. No searching or selecting frequencies is required with this unit, making it easy and a great gigging tool to place either on the amp or on your pedalboard. Automatically within the 2.4ghz frequency range, unlike a lot of higher priced units, there is no need to match frequencies as it pairs with the receiver automatically. The transmitter switches off automatically after 4 minutes. Whilst this is a batter saving © Copyright Benjamin Bullett Mortlock 2020 feature, this has been an issue for guitarists playing in environments where speeches or speaking to the crowd can last longer 4 minutes. Since the signal running from your guitar to your pedals or amplifier cuts out, it requires the player to strum or send some signal through their guitar in order to switch it on again instantly.
The boss WL- 50 might just be your answer for a practical, portable and pedalboard friendly wireless guitar unit. For the performing guitarist, it’s designed as a similar size to a standard Boss stomp box. This unit which itself is the receiver, is placed at the beginning of your effects chain, plugging into the first pedal on your pedalboard. The transmitter plugs straight into your guitar and the receiver on © Copyright Benjamin Bullett Mortlock 2020 your pedalboard also functions as a charging dock when the transmitter is not being used. Setup is simple, quick and easy and the unit itself looks very minimalist sporting a nice clean green LED. The built in lithium battery inside the transmitter can give you up to 12 hours of play time before the unit needs charging again. The transmitter and receiver can be connected together simply through their jack ends, allowing you to charge them from a single standard micro USB cable used for smart phones and tablets. With no specialized cables needed, you’ll feel reassured knowing that even the cable from your phone charger can give battery life to your Boss WL-50 wireless unit.
The WL-20 works the same as a standard guitar cable and is perfect for instruments with passive pickups. The transmitter plugs into your guitar and the receiver plugs into your amplifier, pedal or an interface. It features Boss’s smart cable tone simulation technology, which reproduces the top-end roll off that a 3 meter or 10-foot guitar cable naturally posses. Keeping the overall sound of your instrument more natural for those of us who are used to using standard guitar cables.
Sennheiser XSW-D Instrument Base Set
This pro audio specialist has created the optimal, portable solution for guitarists. With an
extremely convenient setup, clear sound quality and automatic frequency management,
this pair are an excellent solution for anyone looking for a truly professional level of sound
These do however cost more than the majority of small single paired wireless systems but
their price tag is met by their high quality.
XVive Wireless System U2
The XVive Wireless System U2 has quickly made its impact on the market as an affordable,
reliable product. With a large number of the guitar community demoing this set on
YouTube, they have quickly grown in popularity.
If simplicity, efficiency and speed is what you are looking for, this pair is perfect. Complete
with LED lights, they allow the player to know when the pair have been connected to one
another. The trade off with this pair is, they have no LED indicater showing you the strength
of your signal. As well as this, you can only get up to 5 hours of playing time. This may not
be a deal breaker for some and depending on the length of your gigs, you should be able
to get 5 – 10 gigs out of these after a full charge.
Behringer Airplay ULG10
The Behringer airplay ULG10 is the most affordable unit on the market that still posses
brand reliably and it couldn’t be any simpler. If you’re looking for something that’s very
portable and certainly won’t break the bank, the airplay ULG10 might be your solution.
Plug the transmitter into your instrument and plug the receiver directly into your amplifier
or pedalboard and you’re ready to rock. The airplay only has 4 frequency channels to
choose from and arguably could be more susceptible to frequency interference than some
of the other options. For this reason, it might be better for smaller rehearsal spaces,
bedrooms or whilst practicing.