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I'm looking to buy a wireless transmitting system for my guitar. But I'm seeing prices ranging from $80 - $500.

What are the differences between an expensive piece of equipment and a cheaper one? What should I look for when buying one of those? Any brands/particular models recommended*?

*sure, product recommendations are sometimes subjective and heavily dependant upon several factors. However, knowing some remarkable products would help a lot in comparisons.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I never used wireless systems but I guess that low quality wireless systems will have these kind of issues:

  • Latency : there will be a small delay between the strumming and the actual sound coming out of the amp. This is something that must be tested before buying as it is really critical (this is the most common issue).
  • Interferences : the signal could be distorted by electronic / magnetic / wave based systems (wifi, cellphones, talkies...). More expensive systems have probably more protection about those.
  • Channel selection : related to previous element, best product allow you to switch the channel, it allows several players to use a wireless system and it allows you to switch it in case of interferences.
  • Battery performance : more expensive may mean more playing before charging it again
  • Noise : even without interferences, low quality products may have a tendency to add noise to the sound.
  • Range : even in the same line of products of a company, you may have to pay more for more range.
  • Compression : some systems compress the sound before sending it. It has a huge impact on sound quality
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You may find the cheap ones are from the outgoing wireless standard - which means that in many regions they will no longer be legal, and in most regions will have a great deal more interference as the frequency range they use is open to more devices. Can be worth picking up one of these, as they are cheap, however you may not be able to use them in some venues.

Much better to go for a new system. And depending on what sort of music you play, a bi-directional one can be very useful (for in-ear monitors). If you sing at all, have 2 channels sending.

Try and avoid compression - the better ones tend to state 'wire quality' as they keep the sound as close to wired as possible.

Diversity is also a very useful feature - in a closed room, you will get interference from your own transmissions, and in some locations this interference may lead to no signal. Diversity is the use of two antennae so that if one is in an area of destructive interference, the other should still have a signal.

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Now that's a very interesting answer, sir =D –  Rafael Almeida Feb 25 '11 at 6:05
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