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Few experiences match the rush of playing guitar on stage, but you’re always restricted by the length of your cable. If it’s too short, you risk pulling it out of your amp as you strut the stage. If it’s too long, you may trip over it. This restriction is also present when recording in the studio, where a yanked cable can ruin a take. You can solve both of these issues by ditching your 1/4 inch cable for a wireless guitar transmitter.
This gadget comes in two pieces: a transmitter that’s plugged into your guitar, and a receiver that’s connected to your computer interface or amp. The transmitter and receiver pair wirelessly, and let you send an audio signal from one to the other. It’s the same concept as connecting your phone or tablet to a Bluetooth speaker to play music, except you’re the one providing the sound.
Wireless guitar transmitters use the same 1/4 inch connector as a standard guitar cable, so you won’t need an adapter to connect it to your guitar and amp. This is the same audio jack found on many electric instruments, so you can use these same transmitters with a bass, keyboard, or some microphones.
The receiver and transmitter are both battery-powered, and we made sure to select options that can last several hours per charge. When fully refilled, you should be able to get through an entire live set, or part of a recording session without issue.
One downside to using a wireless guitar transmitter is that it does introduce some latency (lag) between when you strike a note, and when you’ll hear it through your arm. It’s a matter of milliseconds, but still something to keep in mind if you’re strumming along with players on acoustic instruments. This isn’t a flaw with the transmitters we’re recommending; latency is present in all wireless connections. It’s virtually imperceptible, but it’s there.
Guitar cables aren’t going anywhere, but if you’d like to see what life is like on the wireless side, our recommendations can give you a good taste.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Wireless Guitar Transmitter
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right wireless guitar transmitter for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Wireless Frequency: These transmitters send a signal to the receiver over a 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz frequency band, which is a standard used by WiFi routers, cordless phones, and other wireless electronics.
Range: The whole point of using a wireless guitar transmitter is to feel less constricted, so we made sure to pick ones with a maximum range of at least 70 feet, so you can move freely without worrying about dropping your connection.
Number of Devices: Using wireless technology on the same frequency bands can sometimes cause interference. To negate this problem we chose wireless guitar transmitters that can connect to one another using different channels. Because of this feature, you can use multiple pairs of transmitters and receivers in the same room at the same time without being impacted by wireless congestion. This feature is only available on some transmitters, and is a really nice extra.
1. Getaria 2.4Ghz Wireless Guitar System
If you’re trying out a wireless guitar transmitter and receiver for the first time, this set from Getaria deserves your consideration.
The pair connect to one another on the 2.4Ghz frequency, and have a maximum range of 100 feet in the right conditions. If you step inside a vocal booth, or sit behind a piano while you’re playing guitar, those objects may interfere with the wireless connection.
Getaria says you can connect up to six pairs of wireless transmitters and receivers in the same room without any interference. You can also use one transmitter to broadcast to up to three receivers at the same time, so you can play through multiple amps simultaneously. The company also says that it preserves the audio quality coming from your guitar through the transmitter, so sound won’t be compressed when it comes through your amp.
The company says its transmitter and receiver gets several hours of battery life per charge, but doesn’t give an exact number. You can recharge both of them via a MicroUSB port on the side. The lack of clarity surrounding battery life is a little concerning, but shouldn’t be considered a dealbreaker.
It may not have any substantial extras, but this wireless guitar transmitter nails all the basic features you need to cut the 1/4 audio cord.
Pros: A maximum range of 100 feet, the ability to connect several sets of transmitters up in the same room without interference, preservation of audio quality.
Cons: The company is vague when discussing battery life.
2. LEKATO 5.8Ghz Wireless Guitar System
LEKATO differentiates its wireless guitar transmitter by sending an audio signal over the 5.8Ghz frequency instead of 2.4Ghz. Far fewer wireless electronics send information over this frequency, so there’s even less of a chance of experiencing interference from other gadgets when you’re playing guitar.
The company says its wireless guitar transmitter has a maximum range of over 100 feet, but the signal can get interrupted by physical objects. The transmitter and receiver send out a single signal across four different channels to ensure a solid connection. This is great, but the company doesn’t mention whether or not you can use multiple pairs in the same room, which is a curious omission. It does say that the audio signal it sends preserves as much audio fidelity as possible.
LEKATO’s wireless guitar transmitter lasts up to five hours when it’s fully charged, and can be recharged via Micro-USB. That’s a pretty generous amount of battery life from a device this small. You should still recharge it after every recording session or live performance if possible; or keep a cable in your bag just in case.
Pros: By using the 5.8Ghz wireless frequency, LEKATO greatly reduced the chances of wireless interference from other gadgets.
Cons: No information about whether you can use multiple wireless transmitter and receivers together in the same room.
3. Xvive U2 Guitar Wireless System
Xvive’s system combines some of the best features from our other recommendations into one pair.
It broadcasts over the more widely used 2.4Ghz wireless frequency, but it lets you select between four different channels to avoid interference. And because it doesn’t blast the same signal out on all of the channels simultaneously, you can use four pairs of transmitters and receivers in the same room. This system isn’t perfect, but it’s a good tradeoff for groups of musicians who want to practice together without physically plugging in their instruments.
Xvive says its wireless guitar transmitter has a maximum range of 70 feet, but the usual caveats apply. If there’s a physical obstruction between your guitar and amp, the signal may be dropped. That maximum range is lower than our guide’s average, but it shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the transmitter’s performance unless you’re playing on a huge stage.
Beyond that, Xvive’s U2 Wireless Guitar System does a good job meeting our other requirements. The transmitter and receiver get between four to five hours of use per charge, and recharge via MicroUSB. The company says it does its best to preserve the audio fidelity transmitted between your guitar and amp without introducing a lot of latency or compression.
Pros: It lets you select your audio channel to reduce the chance of experiencing audio interference, and uses multiple sets of receivers and transmitters simultaneously.
Cons: It has a slightly shorter maximum range than our other recommendations.