The Line 6 Relay G50 affords the user great, clean, wireless tone and the freedom to move around.
Line 6, despite getting a bit of disdain from the luddites, is a company I have always respected. Their dedication and leadership in digital amp modelling has brought almost total versatility to the average gigging guitarist and their POD preamps have been used by some of the hardest working bands in modern day rock from Weezer to Goldfinger to Meshuggah.
They are the best at what they do, and I personally think their stomp box emulators are, for all intents and purposes, as good as the real thing. This time, however, they’re doing something a little more traditional with a bit of a twist: digital wireless guitar systems.
The Line 6 Relay G50 is the mid-level model of their “G” series of digital wireless systems that falls between the G30 and G90. Indeed, the G90 has already garnered a Prosoundweb Readers Choice Award so if you can impress the sound engineers, you must have something good going for you!
Line 6 themselves claim in white bold letters on the front of the box, “Wired Tone, Wireless Freedom”. So which is better? Wired, or wireless?
Line 6 Relay G50 Wireless Guitar System Features
The Relay G50 is a slight departure from the traditional UHF or VHF transmitter pack and receiver system as, firstly, the receiver is floor mounted instead of a rack mountable. More traditionally however, and to quickly dispense with the usual suspects, it has two attachable antennae, a tuner output, and a main output.
Perhaps a bit more auspicious is that it is not entirely analogue; it has a high quality 24-bit analogue to digital converter which boasts 120dB of dynamic range and is the secret to its operation. Line 6 calls this VWT™ (Virtual Wire Technology) and claims a 10 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response, which is typical of 24bit digital signals.
Transmitted over the 2.4GHz carrier band, Line 6 claims this avoids many kinds of interference but because I am aware that most wireless computer networks, cell phones, microwaves and infrared devices use this band, I was a little suspicious as to the authenticity of this claim. My worries were laid to rest, however, as the system has 12 selectable channels, accessible by a stepped rotary knob on the receiver unit.
Another feature of the receiver is the “Cable Tone” knob, which is also a stepped rotary knob that is graded in feet and meters, correlating to the desired length of cable. But more on that later.
The transmitter pack has two buttons – select and value – which are used to select the outgoing channel. The relevant channel must also be selected on the receiver.
Other features of the transmitter pack are typical; a battery alert light; an LCD display showing channel, battery, and time; an audio light to confirm signal is present and a mute switch.
The G50 was a breeze to set up. I merely plugged in the receiver, attached the antennae, and plugged it into the amp. I then inserted the battery into the transmitter pack, turned it on, and plugged it into my guitar. Immediately I had a good clean signal. Simple! It works!
But hold on. There’s more to this review.
Remember the “Cable Tone” knob? Well, this was the focus of my foray. Being an audio engineer, I know that unbalanced cable (like a guitar cable) of unnecessary length picks up interference and builds resistance, getting worse as the cable gets longer. This usually has the effect of rolling off the top end and accentuating the midrange, along with a drop in overall level. Of course, this may or may not be a desired effect, but to be fair it could at least be viewed as an additional tone shaping tool.
Intrigued, I slowly turned the knob to the right and listened to the tone as I strummed. Indeed, the top end rolled off, and the midrange became accentuated, but with no drop in level! True, it seems a bit gimmicky to emulate a flaw in a long cable, but I can see how this can be used to dull down an otherwise bright guitar for something like Jazz.
Me personally? I would leave it off and let the tone of the guitar and amp shine at “full tone”.
The Line 6 Relay G50 affords the user great, clean, wireless tone and the freedom to move around. What I failed to mention is that both the transmitter and the receiver are solidly built so if it’s quality and reliability you’re after, look no further.
It’s also compact, easy to integrate and a breeze to set up so kudos to Line 6 for producing yet another high quality tool for gigging guitarists.
Suggested Retail Price: R 6,295.00 | Supplier: Active Music | Contact Tel. No: 011- 466 9510