Hands-On Review:Line 6 XD-V70 Digital Wireless System
I never used wireless, but that's changed
By Craig Anderton
Editor in Chief, Harmony Central
All you need is a couple "wireless moments" to turn you off to wireless forever. For me, one time it was a taxicab, and another, a CBer saying things that I really did not want my audience to hear. But now I have to amend that to analog wireless moments, because wireless has gone digital, and the advantages are compelling.
Line 6 has lots of info about digital wireless on their website, but here's the bottom line. Remember switching over to digital TV last year, and how stations that used to fade or had snow were all of a sudden either crystal-clear or not there at all? That's digital wireless. If you're within range, it works. If you're out of range, it doesn't. With a line-of-sight range of 300 feet (less through walls, of course), even the most "I'm gonna wander out in the audience" vocalist is covered.
Various factors can nonetheless interfere with digital transmissions, but Line 6 does two main things to prevent problems: Transmitting at 2.4GHz avoids various high-power sources that could interfere (the XD series ignores Wi-Fi signals that operate in the same frequency), and spreading the signal over multiple bands and then reassembling it (this provides redundancy to prevent dropouts).
Thesystem consists of a wireless hand-held mic and half-rack receiver, along with a mic stand clip, antennas, power supply, front-mount antenna kit, and two AA batteries. The build quality deserves special mention, as both the receiver and mic have an extremely rugged feel. There's also a mic case that looks like it could survive a major fall (like a one-story fall, not just a few feet). This is important not so much because the system will receive abuse at the gig, but you want to protect it before the gig so you don't set it up and encounter issues.
Speaking of setup, it's plug-and-play. Choose a channel on the receiver, match it on the mic, and the system gets on with its life so you can get on with yours. While some may be surprised there are only 12 channels, that's 12 digital channels—a different animal entirely than analog systems with hundreds of channels, as they work any time, anywhere in the world. You're limited to using 12 of thewireless mics at your gig, but that should be enough for most situations.
Let's talk sound
For me, the biggest advantage of Line 6's particular flavor of digital wireless (aside from not picking up CBers!) is that it doesn't need companders—compressor/expander circuits that improve noise performance, but degrade sound quality. Thehas a stated minimum 115dB dynamic range, and the mic uses 24-bit converters; the sound is clean, clear, and precise.
Being a digital system, there is an inherent 1.2ms of latency just to go from A to D then back again, and another couple milliseconds within the system itself. Line 6 specs total latency as under 4ms, which equals the same delay as being four feet away from a speaker. No, I don't have a problem with that, and you won't either.
The icing on the cake is mic modeling. In addition to the sound of Line 6's custom cardioid-response mic, you can also dial in one of six mic models. I have to say I thought this would be a great feature, but I like the Line 6 model the best anyway. That's me, though, and my voice. For those whose voice sounds best with one of the six other modeled mics, then go with that model—the modeling isn't just about frequency response, but other characteristics like proximity effect. Still not enough? The mic capsule is interchangeable with various models from Heil, Audix, and Shure.
It really seems like Line 6 tried to solve every wireless Achilles heel they could anticipate. Battery life is eight hours, but if the charge is running low, it's easy to see (the display flashes when there's less than an hour left) and the batteries are easy to replace—I timed myself at under 20 seconds. The switch that mutes the mic, and the other that selects models, require a conscious effort to hit; I can't imagine anyone switching these accidentally. I was even able to figure out all mic operations, except for how to give it a name, without reading the manual.
I'll admit I was expecting more of a "good for the price" setup, but while theis priced competitively, it's also a very fine product. And it's not just about the stage: For recording, when doing vocals I set up my DAW for cycle recording, take the mic, run a long headphone line, and go into the adjoining room where it's quiet (no fans or hard drives). Because there's no long mic cable run, the Line 6 mic actually sounds better than the vocal mic I was using that it models. 'Nuff said!
Features & Specs
- • Digital wireless technology with proprietary techniques to end dropouts
- • 300' line-of-sight range
- • Extremely clean, natural sound quality
- • Models 7 different mics
- • Rugged construction
- • 8-hour battery life, with easy-to-replace batteries
- • Interchangeable mic capsule for selected mic models
- • Simple plug-and-play setup
Theprovides new levels of reliability and sound quality; it's a game-changer. Order today with the complete assurance of Musician's Friend's 45-Day Total Satisfaction and Lowest Price Guarantees.