We’ve all been there before. You do your research, ask fellow musicians, and even fork out a little more than you were planning to… only to wind up with a crackly guitar cable that conks in and out after just a few months. Heck, you’ve even gone for options with a lifetime warranty and are still left holding very much dead cables well before your time should have been up. Yet cables are no longer an absolute necessity, thanks to the best guitar wireless systems featured here.
If that’s been your experience, now’s probably the time for you to go wireless. Wireless systems are no longer just for the pros; you can find something suitable in every price range. And perhaps more importantly, the technology has never been better or easier to use, offering so many advantages for guitarists regardless of stage size. No more tripping over cumbersome cables. No electronic snap, crackle and pop from a damaged jack. Just pure, beautiful guitar signal, freedom and a whole lot less potential for things to go wrong.
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Best guitar wireless system: Our top picks
For the all-round best wireless guitar system, the Line 6 Relay G10S is a breeze to set up and has an incredible 130 feet or close to 40 metres range. In most clubs, that’ll allow you to wander off to the bar - maybe even the parking lot - and not lose signal. The system delivers 24-bit audio quality and selects the strongest frequency upon docking the transmitter with the receiver. Clever stuff.
If you have a bigger budget, the Shure GLXD16 is expensive, but you get plenty of bang for your buck, with a nifty receiver that can be housed in your pedalboard, a bright onboard LED guitar tuner, and a signal that will be rock-solid for distances up to 20-30m. The automatic frequency management makes setup a breeze, too.
Best guitar wireless systems: Product guide
Designed for use with guitar or bass, the Relay G10S can be housed on a pedalboard or beside your guitar amp as a standalone unit. It uses a transmitter with a 1/4-inch connector that attaches to your guitar’s output, much as a Wi-Fi dongle would for a laptop or TV.
With a full frequency response, a wide dynamic range to ensure your signal does not get compressed en route to your amplifier, 24-bit lossless digital audio quality, and Line 6’s Cable Tone tech to emulate the capacitance of a regular guitar cable, the G10S is an excellent system for the price, and offers fuss-free setup.
This system ships with Shure’s first pedalboard receiver, the GLX-D6, the GLX-D1 transmitter pack, and the WA305 Premium 1/4-inch to TA4F guitar cable that has a locking thread for secure connections between the transmitter and your guitar. Everything feels secure here and super-tough.
The GLX-D6 has a metal enclosure and is built to be positioned where it may get stepped on, and its bright LED tuner (strobe and needle) is a huge bonus. The unit features Shure’s LINKFREQ Automatic Frequency Management, so it will always find you a solid signal. If there’s interference, the unit will simply switch to another so that you can keep on playing.
As you might demand of a Boss unit, the WL-50 has a receiver that’s at home on your pedalboard, offering a convenient but excellent sound-quality performance. Ultra-low latency, excellent dynamics, full frequency response and a very respectable 65-foot range is just what we are looking for, while there are two onboard cable simulations to mimic the capacitance of cables.
You’ll get up to 12 hours of playing time from a single charge, while the receiver also has a DC output for powering external pedals. The unit is compatible with most guitars or basses with passive pickups.
As far as plug in and play options go, you’re hard pressed to look past the NUX B5RC. A relatively new option on the scene, the B5RC has been designed with usability in mind and can be played right out of the box thanks to its use of automatic frequency matching. It’s also compatible with all types of electric guitars, acoustic-electric guitars, bass guitars and ukuleles, no matter with active or passive, piezo or magnetic pickups, making it a great option for people who need to use it on a few different instruments.
With 15 hours play-time and the inclusion of a portable charge station that can fully charge the unit three times, it’s well suited to life on the road. Factor in it’s high, zero-latency performance and you have a pro quality unit at an amateur-friendly price.
Don’t be fooled – for the money and the unassuming dongle construction, XVive’s U2 has a very respectable range, a full frequency response and transfers excellent- quality audio. With only 6ms of latency, there is really little to complain about here.
Some might find the transmitter/receiver designs a little primitive, but for an easily configurable wireless system offering this performance and change from 150 bucks, we can live with that.
It comes in a variety of finishes, too, including gold. The rechargeable lithium-ion batteries offer up to five hours of playing time.
A smarter take on the dongle transmitter/receiver setup, Sennheiser’s XSW-D set is another wireless system that offers fuss-free use and high performance. Latency is super-low here - less than 4ms - while a maximum range of 250 feet in optimal conditions is more than most would need.
What if the conditions are sub-optimal? Well, the transmitter and receiver will flash green and red when the signal gets weak. Charge the system via the attached USB-equipped charger or any USB port.
The AirLine 88 was an expensive unit when it was launched, but it has come down in price considerably, and offers a low-latency and high-range wireless solution.
The transmitter is powered by AA batteries and offers up to 12 hours of playing time, while the receiver is a rack-mountable standalone unit, with 16 channels across a 24MHz bandwidth.
The receiver has options for a 1/4-inch output or balanced XLR (hello, bassists, this can be DI’d to the PA), and there's an adjustable level on the receiver for variable gain control. Samson says its Tone Key tech will shut out interference and the True Diversity design will prevent signal dropout.
If you were looking to explore the wireless option and didn’t want to over invest, you could do a lot worse than the Ammoon 5.8 GHz system. Firstly, this wireless system is simple to use and set up, and can be used straight out of the box. Secondly, operating on a 5.8GHz band means it is far less likely to suffer interference from devices operating on 2.5GHz like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth or other household items, so this system gets a tick for that as well. But it’s the price that sets it apart from a lot of others on this list.
It’s easily one of the most reliable and efficient products out there under the $100 mark, and even gives some of the more expensive ones a run for their money too. Not quite zero latency, but at 5.6ms this is probably something most people wouldn’t notice anyway. And its 100 foot range is nothing to be sniffed at, making it suitable for even larger sized stages.
It does however, only have five hours working battery life. While that’s enough for most gigs or sessions, it might mean charging the device more often than you’d like.
Audio-Technica’s ATR7100G uses a bodypack and tabletop receiver setup, with a proprietary mini-jack to 1/4-inch cable included for attaching your instrument to the transmitter.
Range-wise, well, you’ve got plenty, and the 9V battery in the transmitter should keep you playing for up to 14 hours.
More expensive systems will offer better performance and a full frequency range, while the receiver is a simple non-diversity, single-channel design. But you can find this online for 40 bucks, so it's a good option for those exploring the potential of wireless systems.
While systems such as XVive’s U2 and Boss’s WL-50 are a great entry point for those looking for a wireless system, the DKW3GT has them beat on price, and offers enough range to make it a credible proposition.
The system uses a WGT transmitter that has a locking mini-jack to secure your connection between the instrument and bodypack, while the battery-powered bodypack has an LED that illuminates to let you know if it’s running low. The transmitter has an input-level adjuster, and Nady promises zero pop when switching it on and off.
Best guitar wireless systems: Buying advice
Putting faith in the signal
While the benefits of a wireless guitar system seem obvious, many players remain suspicious. We’d like to thank Spinal Tap for that, with Nigel Tufnel’s disastrous Air Force-base gig experience a cautionary tale for the ages. But that's satire, and the chances of you picking up air traffic control - or, worse, the local talk-back radio station - just before a blazing run-through of the Sweet Child O’ Mine solo at the Brewsters’ wedding reception are minimal. Technology HAS improved.
If you’d heard some horror stories about failing wireless units several years ago, then rest assured it’s something the developers have addressed with reconfigured hardware and operating frequencies. If you look at the manual for these systems, many will offer guidelines as to which frequencies are allowed to be used and where; this helps preserve a strong signal and sound quality no matter the venue. Many systems will offer a variety of channels so that you can find the frequency that works best, and many find this automatically.
Most of today’s best wireless guitar systems are also very easy to use with many offering a 'plug in and play' experience, so you won’t need a background in audio-engineering to set yourself up.
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How do wireless guitar systems work?
A wireless system comprises two parts: the transmitter and the receiver. The transmitter connects to your guitar via its 1/4-inch output jack, and can often take the form of a dongle, or a pack that can be attached to your belt or guitar strap. The transmitter sends your signal to the receiver, which can be rack-mounted, sit on top of your amp desktop-style, or sit on your pedalboard, and this has an output that is then sent via cable to your amp’s input.
One thing to be aware of, however, is that many wireless systems are not compatible with guitars with active pickups because of how the TRS jack output is configured. Always check your guitar and with the manufacturer before you get started. If you find yourself with such an issue, don’t go reversing your jack output just yet – a more simple fix might be to use a 1/4-inch adaptor or a 1/4-inch to 1/4-inch mono patch cable.
As for power, most receivers will more than likely take DC power, while the transmitters will be powered by batteries. A good guitar wireless system should offer many hours of playing time, so there should be no worries about running out of juice.
Aside from good battery life, features to look out for include high-range, multi-channel functions, wide frequency response and dynamic range, and low latency. As with most gear, you get what you pay for but you needn’t spend much for high-performance wireless audio.