Going wireless with an upright bass is becoming more and more popular. Maybe you're one of those crazy rockabilly guys who moves around a lot, or spins their bass for show. Or maybe you'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.
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 NUX 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, the NUX 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 4 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).
I previously had another wireless setup that was very popular and worked well. But this new one from NUX has several new advantages over that system:
- It operates at 5.8 GHz, which is more stable and reliable (and less crowded) than the 2.4 GHz band used by the older system we had.
- The NUX setup comes with a very nice, compact, semi-hard carry case.
- The case is a charging dock for the wireless system, and it has its own 3000mAh powerbank! So a fully charged case can recharge the transmitter and receiver 2-3 times, even if you're nowhere near a convenient outlet!
- The power button on the transmitter doubles as a "mute" switch if you need to temporarily mute the instrument output.
The Nitty Gritty: The NUX Digital Wireless System is a 5.8GHz wireless band setup, with 24 bit, 44.1kHz audio quality, 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 thing is rock solid, beautifully packaged, sounds great, and very affordable. Can't really ask for much else.
Important Compatibility Note for Preamps, Pickups, and "Active" Instruments that use a "TRS" or "Stereo" Output Jack
Active circuits generally use a TRS (aka stereo) output jack to switch the circuitry on and off when a regular mono cable is inserted into the jack. The solid "sleeve" of a standard mono plug bridges the contacts to complete the circuit and turn on the electronics (and unplugging turns it off so it doesn't drain your batteries.) The special design of this wireless system uses a TRS plug, too - to allow for its easy charging in the dock. However, this means that it will NOT bridge the contact on an active preamp or an instrument with active pickups (like a bass guitar or an NS Design CR model bass.) Since it won't "turn the circuit on," the instrument won't make sound.
The solution is simple - using a small, lightweight adapter between the wireless and the instrument/preamp output will provide the correct contacts to make everything work, and it's easy and inexpensive. We provide an add-on option, so that you can include one with your purchase of this wireless system if you need it, so you don't have to go searching online to find one.
- Form Factor: Combination Plug
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
- RF Carrier Frequency: 5.8GHz
- 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. 4 hours continuous
- USB style charging (split cable and charging power case included)
- Audio quality: 24-bit 44.1kHz
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Latency: Less than 5 ms
- THD+ noise: Less than 0.2% at 1kHz
- Auto-sleep mode after 10 minutes without operation
- Built-in battery capacity: 3.7V/500mAh (transmitter and receiver)
- Power case battery capacity: 3000mAh/3.7V
- Transmitter/receiver dimensions (WxDxH): 1.18" (30 mm) x 4.25" (108 mm) x .83" (21 mm)
- Power case dimensions (WxDxH): 3.66" (93 mm) x 5.20" (132 mm) x 1.97" (50 mm)
- Transmitter/receiver weight: .075 lb. (34g) each
- Power case weight: .43 lb. (196g)
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.