For years I've taken occasional calls from a player who is looking to take their double bass wireless. Maybe they're one of those crazy rockabilly guys who moves around a lot, or spins their bass for show. Or maybe they're doing a stage show, where a bass needs to get on and off stage quickly. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just want to cut the cord.
To help out one of those callers a long time ago, I went searching for specs on wireless systems to find one that would "play nice" with piezo pickups. You'll always find us talking about how it's important to plug into an input that will appropriately buffer the very high impedance of piezo pickups. But you only benefit from that buffer if the pickup is plugged directly into the preamp - put a wireless system between the preamp and the pickup, and the input impedance of the preamp becomes (essentially) irrelevant.
So, if the wireless system has a low impedance input (common) you need to plug the pickup into a buffering preamp first, THEN into the wireless transmitter (which means TWO small boxes/components hanging off the bass). Or, if you know better, you'll instead find a wireless system that offers the higher input impedance so it will properly buffer the signal itself.
Unfortunately, many (most?) manufacturers don't specify input impedance on their transmitters -- and most of the ones who do intended the units to be used for electric guitar and bass, not a piezo-equipped acoustic instrument. So they commonly have a lower input impedance, making them less suitable for high-impedance piezo pickups.
Luckily, I discovered that the wireless systems from X-Vive are over the "minimum" of 1 MegOhm that we normally recommend (many of the acoustic preamps we sell feature around a 1 MegOhm input impedance.) Plus, unlike the wireless systems from another manufacturer that we once sold, the X-Vive U2 transmitter and receiver units are VERY small, with no cables, wires or bodypack - and they both feature built-in rechargeable Li-Ion batteries that last up to 5 hours per charge, so you don't need to worry about stocking up on 9v batteries or wall warts! (it includes a split USB cable for charging with plugs you almost certainly already have).
The Nitty Gritty: The X-Vive Digital Wireless System is a 2.4GHz ISM band setup that works great with upright bass. I know it, because I tested it. In fact, I tested it on an upright with a couple different passive pickups, as well as on the Eminence (with David Gage pickup) and the NS Design NXT (passive) bass. It worked admirably on all of them, adding no discernable artifacts to the tone, and barely affecting the overall sound (if at all).
It has a huge 20Hz–20kHz frequency response range (well below and above the frequencies that a bass can produce) and has a 100 ft. line-of-sight range, great for most any stage. It's a modern system, compliant with all current FCC regulations, and no license is required.
The transmitter and receiver are both tiny, and feature swiveling jacks, so you can plug them in and tuck them behind the tailpiece (like in the photo) or down flat against the surface of the input jack. The faux-wood finish complements your bass, rather than stands out.
The thing is rock solid, beautifully packaged, sounds great, and very affordable. Can't really ask for much else.
- Form Factor: Combination Plug
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- RF Carrier Frequency: 2.4GHz
- Compatible Channels: 4 (auto selected)
- Transmission Range: 100 feet line-of-sight (may vary due to local conditions)
- Connectors: 1/4-inch unbalanced input (TX) 1/4-inch output (RX)
- Rechargeable Battery Life: Approx. 5 hours
- USB style charging (split cable included)
NOTE: Due to specific manufacturer requirements, we can only sell these units within the USA.
Need to figure out some of the more in-depth features of this product? Here's a copy of the manual, in PDF format, here.
You may wish to visit the manufacturer's website to see if a more recent version is available.
I've been using these for a few weeks now. Sound is great, easy pairing, long-lasting. I often double on gigs and its so much easier not having two cables to deal with. The electric bass stays plugged in and the Eminence EUB is wireless!
I often play gigs where I'm switching back and forth between instruments, often in a tight pit with a lot of other musicians. It's easy to get tangled trying to make quick switches, and I always worry about somebody tripping over a cable and damaging my bass. So I got these to simplify instrument switches and playing in the pit. They're great! Definitely simplified switching back and forth between electric and upright, makes for a neater setup, and it's easier to just set my upright down without worrying about where the cable is going, or if someone might trip over it. No difference in sound as far as I can tell. I charge them in my car on the way to/from the gig. Always carry a cable as backup, but so far these have been an excellent solution.
Plugged in, no preamp, got great sound out of my amp. Satisfied.