Xvive's U4 Wireless In-Ear Monitoring System in-ear monitor wireless system is the perfect solution when it comes to providing additional high-quality monitoring. It works brilliantly, no matter whether you're using it for an individual or band-wide mix. Pair this receiver and transmitter and take your live performances to the next level! Boasting sound of astounding clarity and reliable wireless architecture, this portable, affordable option ensures excellent performance each and every time. Tom Quayle tells us more.
Good monitoring is essential both on the stage and in the studio – ask any musician and they'll tell you that the difference between an okay gig or session and a great one can often be down to the monitoring setup on hand. With stages getting quieter and technological improvements year on year, in-ear monitoring is becoming more and more popular these days, meaning good wireless in-ear monitoring solutions are becoming an essential part of every live and studio musician's toolkit.
In the world of wireless in-ear monitoring people are generally looking for accurate sound, great wireless range, low interference, and long battery life. Traditionally these requirements have come at a steep price point, but the Xvive U4 In-Ear Monitoring Wireless System aims to change that with its superb feature set at an affordable price point.
Most wireless in-ear systems are based on small, pocket-sized receivers paired to a large transmitter base, often half or full sized rack units with delicate, flimsy antennas that are both heavy and awkward to transport. The Xvive U4 offers the most compact wireless IEM system we've ever seen, more akin to some of the wireless microphone or guitar setups on the market. It features a tiny receiver and incredibly compact transmitter that functions as an XLR connector that plugs directly into your chosen output with the wireless transmitter unit attached to the back. Xvive include an XLR to Jack convertor in the package for those that aren't using XLR as their output of choice. It's a very tidy and compact solution but does stick out quite a way from whatever it's plugged into, giving cause for concern if someone were to walk into it, potentially damaging either the transmitter itself or whatever its plugged into. A short extension cable would solve this problem and the compact nature of the setup is certainly very welcome as long as you won't be bumping into it.
Both units are incredibly well built to stand the rigours of gigging or travelling and could be thrown in a gig bag with confidence thanks to all metal construction and drop proof sturdiness with no controls or vital components sticking out from the design or feeling fragile. Operation is very easy with only the necessary controls for channel switching, volume and power plus the ability to switch between Line and Aux levels depending on what you're plugged into.
The U4 is a 2.4Ghz device with 6 wireless channels available. For some users this may be a concern given how crowded the 2.4Ghz space is with consumer devices, but we experienced no drop out or interference issues in a studio environment with multiple smart 2.4Ghz plugs, phones, iPad, computers and various smart enabled devices in the same room. Your mileage may vary of course and if you regularly play in very large venues you may be better off with a higher bandwidth 5Ghz device. For most users the U4's 2.4Ghz operation will more than suffice and offer great stability with the 6 channels on offer.
Latency and sound quality are superb for such an affordable setup. Xvive quote 5ms of latency for the U4 and our own tests, measuring the figure in a DAW, confirm this figure. The vast majority of users will never be able to feel 5ms of latency given that it's similar to standing a normal distance away from a guitar cab on a large stage and in use this reviewer couldn't detect any feeling of lag even with fast legato runs through an Axe FX unit that has its own inherent analogue to digital conversion latency.
The U4 is a mono monitoring solution with 24bit/48kHz operation for excellent sound quality. Since Xvive doesn't ship a pair of cheap headphones with the unit you need to use your own and, paired with a set of custom moulded ACS triple driver in-ear monitors, it's a total pleasure to listen to music, guitar or any other source through the U4. With a dynamic range of 107dB and full range 20Hz-20kHz operation your listening experience isn't compromised in any way and represented accurately, allowing you to play at your best with inspirational sound at all times. If you're wondering why the U4 is mono, remember that most monitoring systems are mono too. Stage wedges, mixer Aux outputs and fills are all mono so it's the most appropriate setup for consistency and means half the bandwidth of a stereo monitoring setup. You need to be sure that your chosen output is setup as a mono sum, but almost all mixers, audio interfaces and guitar modelling units allow you to do this with ease. There is also a great deal of volume on tap should you need it on a loud stage thanks to the headphone driver built into the receiver unit.
Wireless range and battery life are also very good at this price point with over 90ft of range on tap before drops outs (again tested as an accurate claim by us here at GI) and just over 5 hours of battery life from a full charge. Both units feature internal batteries charged via the included double USB micro cable. It's a shame that the more modern and flexible USB-C connector wasn't utilised here and those internal batteries could be a future source of concern if they start to lose charge capacity over time or if you forget to charge the units before a show. But, from a single charge you should have enough juice for a couple of normal gigs or a long studio session – just don't forget to charge them when you get home!
All said and done, the Xvive U4 is a fantastic wireless IEM solution that doesn't break the bank and offers superb sound, build quality and features without much compromise. Those playing really big venues might need to look at higher-end and more expensive 5Ghz solutions, but the average user would do well to check out the superb value proposition that the U4 offers. Highly recommended.
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