During the process of setting up some new guitar amp rigs at NightBird Recording Studios, I was provided a Line 6 Relay G30 wireless guitar system. The system is comprised of a battery-powered belt-pack that plugs into a guitar, and a small wall-wart-powered receiver that plugs into the guitar amp or direct box. The Relay G30 is the entry-level model of a large line of wireless guitar products from Line 6. Although the Relay G30 comes in at just under $300, it packs features not even found on way more expensive wireless systems. Most notable are the compression-less transmission and the extended frequency response. No companders are needed to optimize noise floor and dynamic range because this system uses 24-bit A/D and D/A converters, boasting a wide 10 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response. Another unique feature is the ability to adjust the receiver to compensate for the sound of a direct cable connection so you can keep your tone settings the same for your wireless and wired setups.

I used the Relay G30 in the studio when the guitarist brought a combo amp and wanted to play in the control room while the amp stayed out in the live room. In some situations, the Relay G30 was plugged directly into a guitar, while sometimes it was plugged into the output of a pedal-board. In both situations, I was impressed by the naturalness of the tone and dynamic response of the guitar. The wireless system seemed to have no effect on the sound of the guitar or the player's experience playing the guitar. I wouldn't hesitate to use the Relay G30 wireless system in most studio or live situations. Even the range was impressive. In my studio, which is in the basement of a hotel, we could easily place the receiver a few rooms away from the player without any dropouts or loss of tone. The specs say that 100 ft of range is typical for the Relay G30, while Line 6's other models provide up to 300 ft of range. There are six channels to choose from with the Relay G30, and their other models provide up to twelve channels; and some even have separate outputs for tuners and allow for additional antennas.

My only issue with the system is that the battery life of the two AA batteries in the transmitter seemed short. A full-day session required a battery change, but the batteries went from working to dead with no strange behavior in-between. There is, of course, a battery indicator, so you can monitor the power level during a live show or critical session.

I would definitely recommend the Relay G30 for day-to- day use on stage or in the studio.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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