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This article was originally published in issue #45
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We've been very impressed so far by the Xvive products we've seen. But wireless can be a tricky customer to handle, so how does the newcomer perform? Lewis Turner puts the incredibly easy to use XU 2 to the test.
Xvive has been making a bit of a name for itself, especially with its range of compact pedals, a couple of which we raved about in the previous issue. Having the awesome guitarist Thomas Blug as a designer for some of their products certainly does them no harm and in this review we are looking at the Xvive Wireless system. As always be sure to check out the accompanying video to see and hear it in action.
When wireless systems first came out way back in the day, everyone had one, they were seen as a revelation, enabling you to run around the stage and not worry about tripping over your own cable or pulling your Marshall stack over... Then one day some bright spark somewhere decided to A-B test wireless against cable, and the results where less than favourable on the wireless side. What was discovered was a big loss of tone and sound quality from the wireless system, so bands that were serious about their sounds went back to cables, and bands that were more in it for the show stuck with wireless. Whichever side of the camp you fell, the popularity of wireless certainly dropped.
However, as with most things, technology improved and gradually wireless systems got a great deal better not just in sound quality but also reliability and range. They could still be pretty tricky things to set up, often requiring a pack on your guitar then a large receiver normally on top of your amp, it really still wasn’t a plug in and play kinda set-up.
The Xvive wireless system aims to do away with all this. You simply have two compact identical units with quarter inch jacks. One says transmitter and one says receiver. Simply plug the transmitter into your guitar and the receiver into the amp, turn them both on, select which channel you want them on, and boom - a wireless system is in use! It really is that simple, I didn’t even read the instructions it was so obvious and it worked first time.
Powered by rechargeable lithium battery’s with a life of four to five hours at full charge and a range of up to 300ft, using 24bit resolution, resulting in an uncompressed clean tone and no delay. You can also connect via Bluetooth to your favourite devices, making it ideal for stage, home and studio use.
OK, so I didn’t get to test the range to its fullest extent but I can report as well as being easy to set up the sound quality was spot on. I couldn’t hear the difference between this and a cable. There was no delay and a perfect clear tone, with no interference in a studio full of lights and cameras. The unit was already fully charged and the claimed battery life shouldn’t bring any problems in most normal playing situations, I don’t know how long the unit will take to charge from scratch.
The U2 Wireless Guitar System from Xvive really did do everything it claimed and I can't fault it, easy to use and no drop in tone, the perfect wireless system? Well only time and hard use will be able to answer that, but on this short test the results look positive. The only slight caveat is that the manufacturer says it is designed for use with passive pickups and that if you use active types, performance may vary. We'd suggest you try one for yourself if your guitar uses actives. We are also unclear whether this system is licensed for use in the USA, but apparently it is fine for most of the rest of the world, including the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.