This week I have a few more reader-submitted questions. As always, if you have a question or two, you’re welcome to submit them via the Ask Joe form.

Photo by eleaf

Photo by eleaf

Frank wrote: 

Hey Joe. Looking to buy a wireless guitar system. I have never used one and don’t know much about them. I play alone most of the time. I play a Taylor and a Fender.  

Frank.

Thanks Frank. There are quite a few options for wireless guitar systems. The big names all have their own version — Shure, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica.

A typical system includes a belt-pack transmitter (with a special cable to plug into the guitar) and a receiver, typically with an XLR output to plug into an amp or mixer.

There’s another system that I’d recommend, though. It’s from Line 6, and it’s called the X2 digital wireless system. Here’s why:

With a typical analog wireless system (like that of Shure, Sennheiser, or Audio-Technica), the signal from the guitar gets compressed at the transmitter. This allows for better wireless transfer. The signal then gets expanded at the receiver before going on to the amp or mixer.

The problem with this system is that all this “companding” (compression and expanding) tends to suck the life out of the guitar’s tone. Guitarists sometimes complain that the guitar doesn’t respond as dynamically when plugged into a wireless system as it does when plugged directly into the amp.

The X2 digital system gets around this by actually converting the signal into the digital domain. This digital signal is then sent wirelessly and is re-converted back to analog at the receiver. The benefit here is that the signal arrives at the amp or mixer with all of its dynamic range still intact.

The end result is that the guitarist no longer feels like his signal is “choked” by being wireless.

I’d definitely take a look at the X2 systems. They have both a rack-mount an a stomp-box version.

All this being said, there are plenty of guitarists and bassists out there who have no problem with the other analog systems. However, everyone I’ve talked to who has tried the X2 Digital has been very impressed.

John K wrote:

PRO TOOLS SIGNAL KEEPS CLIPPING.

Hi,
I’m using ProTools 7.3 LE on a Mac and can’t stop my guitar signal from clipping on the audio input. I have a guitar going thru a DMP3 into my MBox into GuitarRig. I have all hardware input levels turned down to zero, and tried various GuitarRig input levels to zero too  – and the audio channel is STILL clipping! How come?

Hi John. I think I know what may be happening. I’m assuming that you’re saying that the signal is clipping even without inserting Guitar Rig on the track?

If this is the case, then my bet is that you are using the wrong connection on the Mbox. Mbox’s have what’s called a “combo jack,” which accepts both XLR and TRS (1/4″) inputs.

I bet you’ve plugged the output of the DMP3 preamp into the XLR input on the Mbox. If so, you’re essentially running the signal through two preamps, which is why the signal is clipping.

Since the signal is at line level once it comes out of the DMP3, you need to run it to the line input of the Mbox, which is the TRS jack.

If you are using the TRS input, make sure you’ve selected “Line” input selector on the front of the Mbox.

If all that is set correctly, The only other thing I can think of is that perhaps you’re running the DMP3 too hot?

Let me know if any of that helps.

Anyone else have any suggestions for either question? Leave a comment.