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This article was originally published in issue #23
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In recent years, wireless systems have increasingly made their ways from big open air stages and arenas down to the level where 'real people' can afford them and are now quite affordable for the average gigging player. However, even some compact modern wireless systems can seem unwieldy when trying to incorporate them into your existing set-up, so a big round of applause to Shure's GLXD6, which has been designed to be extremely pedalboard friendly.
The full kit comprises the floor-mounted receiver unit plus a high quality ¼-inch-to-TA4F guitar cable and a robust bodypack transmitter unit that attaches to the player’s person via a very strong spring loaded belt clip. This is great because it means that there is absolutely no danger that the transmitter is going to fall off while you're leaping around the stage!
The digital pedal wireless receiver features a compact low-profile design that lets the receiver fit snugly straight onto a pedalboard alongside the player’s regular stomp boxes. Besides negating the need to have the receiver balanced on top of your amplifier or else dangerously perched on the floor next to your pedalboard, the Shure wireless pedal receiver also doubles as a handy digital tuner, complete with a large and very easy to read red LCD display. The tuner mode is activated by a standard heavy-duty footswitch with a choice of metering or strobe tuning modes and the handy facility to opt to mute the output when the tuner is active.
Legislation in the UK during 2102 regarding frequency bandwidths saw many older radio systems made redundant but this Shure package operates in the 2.4GHZ range, which is license free whilst also being fully globally compliant. This is important for any guitarist who is going to travel which, these days, is increasingly common, so make sure you check this aspect out carefully when looking at buying any wireless products. Radio frequencies being what they are, early systems were notoriously subject to interference, picking up stray radio traffic from passing taxis or even picking up the radio mics from the band across the road! The GLXD6 sidesteps this problem thanks to LINKFREQ, an automatic frequency management system developed by Shure that automatically scans the bandwidth and adjusts the system to instantly pick up an available frequency.
Even better, while you are playing your heart out, the Shure constantly analyses the frequency situation in your location and if it finds a better frequency, it will shift there without any interruption to your once-in-a-lifetime solo! You can also use up to eight of these babies on stage - which should be enough for any band!
Rechargeable batteries power the transmitter pack, offering a claimed maximum 16 hours of continuous battery life at full charge. Shure also claims that the rechargeable batteries will deliver 1.5 hours of use after a 15-minute charge, so if you forget to fully charge the batteries the night before your gig a quick pre-gig charge up should still be enough to at least get you through your band’s first set! A USB port on the transmitter pack also enables the transmitter to be charged up via a computer.
We test wireless systems in an environment that is probably worse than that found at most gigs. We have lights, video cameras, editing gear and upstairs more computer systems than you'd need to run a moon landing - in short it's an interference nightmare. The Shure performed exactly as you'd expect a product from one of the world's most experienced and respected mic companies. It also gave you that sense of reassurance that you've bought a really top notch product.
If you are considering going wireless I can confirm from personal experience that if you opt to go down the cheap route you will inevitably end up with something that won’t stand the wear and tear that regular gigging inflicts on your gear. The Shure GLXD6 is a pretty serious investment but it is definitely one of the most durable looking and well-designed wireless systems for guitar or bass that we’ve seen at this price point.