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This article was originally published in issue #68
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Guitar Interactive star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Simple to set up.
Cable points up instead of down when using the belt clip.
Transmitter: Battery Life: Up to 5 hours
Transmitter: Dimensions: 4.8" x 0.9" x 1.1"
Receiver: Dimensions: 5.1" x 3.2" x 2"
The Sennheiser XSW-D Pedalboard Set looks to make going wireless child’s play. One-touch functionality ensures ease of use, while 2.4GHz digital transmission provides worldwide, license-free compatibility. This system’s transmitter is robust enough for everyday use, delivering a 250-foot operating range and up to five hours of battery life on a single charge. Nick Jennison tells us more.
There’s a real misconception that wireless packs are only for stadium gigs - or at least, for pretentious Van Halen wannabes with fantasies of “rocking the garden”. The reality of the matter is that a wireless system is a tool for making your guitar playing life easier and more pleasant, in the same way your Bluetooth headphones and similar devices. On small stages, wireless can minimise setup, save you from tripping over (and potentially breaking) your cable, allow you to walk out front during soundcheck to make sure your tone is right… it’s honestly a bit of a no brainier.
One of the most respected names in the wireless game, Sennheiser’s XS Digital Wireless systems are discreet, robust and rock solid. Available in two instrument formats, we took a look at the “pedalboard set” - consisting of a bug style transmitter and a pedal format receiver that doubles as a bright, accurate tuner. If you think you can’t make space on your board for a wireless, you can bump your tuner pedal off to male way, but if that’s still too much space you could always go for the “instrument base set” with it’s bug style receiver.
The bug is nothing like the fragile plastic designs of the 2000s. It’s a robust metal design with a rotating jack to accommodate almost any style of jack socket, and it’s internal battery provides 5 hours of playtime. The unit charges via an included USB-C cable, and can even draw power from the USB-C socket on the pedal receiver. There’s a single button for powering the transmitter on/off and for muting the signal - which will also activate the tuner,
The pedalboard receiver is a hefty, solid feeling made of solid metal with a single footswitch and a large, bright display. There are no menus to scroll through, no settings to get wrong, no advanced tuning modes. It’s simple, reliable and easy to use. Power comes from a standard centre negative supply, drawing 500ma at and accepting anywhere between 9 and 15V. There’s a standard 1/4 jack output, as well as an XLR out for DI applications (including acoustic guitar).
Performance-wise, the XS wireless is flawless. It sounds just like plugging in with a short, high-quality cable, and preserves your guitar’s dynamics in a way any inferior units don’t. The 2.4ghz range means you can use it license free worldwide, and there are no danger of any Spinal Tap “Air Force base” incidents.
Sennheiser’s XS Wireless systems are simple, sturdy, reliable, and offer performance that’s beyond reproach. If you haven’t cut the cord yet, it’s time to ask yourself why not?