Updated: Jun 2
There are a myriad of wireless options out there for the modern guitarist in a huge range of prices. A quick search of a good music shop will give you results ranging from a £71 Xvive to almost £500 for a Line 6 Relay G90. And it can all get a bit confusing.
The one under review here is also a Line 6 offering, but one in a middle price bracket of just under £200. The Line 6 Relay G10S.
A quick personal note here: I owned the original Relay G10 and liked it very much for both studio work and small gigs. However, anyone else out there who has one of these will be aware of the strange choice that Line 6 took with the power jack – a micro USB port. The issue being simple: it’s pathetically fragile. That combined with the plastic housing means that within a short time, even just with studio work, the socket gets bent out of shape and this renders the unit an expensive paperweight in an era when we all use computers. I can’t think of anything much more useless!
So, when Line 6 announced the G10S, I was really interested as it included the best aspects of the G10 but eliminated the known issues. It is also designed to fit right on your pedal board and looks great.
24-bit audio quality, free from dropouts and interference
130’ line-of-site range
RF and Battery status indicators
¼” main out
XLR DI out
Rugged metal construction
Automatic frequency selection
Channel 1-11 manual selection available
Compatible channels: up to 11 manual or 14 automatic
Cable tone 10’ or 30’
Rechargeable battery with 8hr play time in transmitter
Automatic transmitter sleep mode
System Latency: <2.9 ms
Frequency response: 10Hz – 20kHz
9V DC Barrel 500mA
DC 1A MicroUSB
There’s a lot to take in there but take a minute to read through them all as the features are very good for the price.
When I opened the box, I was suitably impressed with the rugged look and the stompbox size of the enclosure. In fact, Line 6 actually call it a stompbox on their website and although I don’t really think you can call it a ‘stompbox’ unless you stomp on it, it’s definitely a cool thing. It’ll fit right on a pedal board and look right at home and leads to even faster set up times.
In fact, I also use the HX Stomp for small gigs and rehearsals on a little Pedaltrain nano plus. That with the G10S, my favourite Greer Lightspeed for overdrive, and a little Dunlop mini expression pedal is my ultimate lightweight backpack rig at the moment.
Most importantly, the ridiculous micro USB issue is resolved with the 9V barrel adapter. How cool! This means in theory you could even power the G10S with your pedalboard power supply, although Line 6 advocate only using their own PSU.
The convenience of this system is just about unparalleled at the moment apart from the Boss WL50. The fact that it can be set up on a pedalboard and just left there, plugged in and ready to rock is amazing. There’s also a ‘release latch’ for the transmitter so you can pull it slightly out of the base unit to disconnect it so the battery doesn’t run out, but it’ll still stay safely docked during transport, which is a really well thought out feature.
In use, I noticed a very small difference in tone compared to a very high quality cable, but the G10S really does feel full range and preserves dynamics very well indeed and considering the convenience already mentioned, I’d use this for a gig any day of the week.
The ‘cable tone’ feature works reasonably well, basically rolling off top end very slightly. You can hear the quality of the unit in the video demo here.
So the unit scores well on the first important factor: sound. But it also scores amazingly well on distance – 130’ in line-of-sight. And it really does deliver. To be able to move this far away from the stage is incredibly liberating and allows you to really bring the fun to the audience and adds a whole new dimension to your set. This is a huge factor and the main reason many people go wireless. Just remember that at these distances you’ll be getting a truckload of latency unless your using in-ear monitors.
For ultimate convenience, the automatic channel select works extremely well, scanning for interference and choosing the best option. But having the choice to manually select a channel is also very useful if there is more than one of you using the system in the band, which is quite likely as the system will work with any instrument that uses a 1/2" jack.
The only issues with the G10S units are to do with the transmitter. One is due to its size and the small ‘actuator pin’ which is pushed in when you plug the unit into your guitar. If the transmitter doesn’t quite fit and the pin isn’t pushed in, the transmitter simply doesn’t work. The other known problem is with active pickups if they’re wired in inverse polarity as this can cause the transmitter to go into protection mode. Both of these are solvable though by using a mono-to-mono adapter according to Line 6.
The G10S has all the great sound quality of the G10 but solves all the issues that the earlier unit had – the annoyingly flimsy power jack and cheap plastic housing – and includes a tonne of functionality and improvements.
I honestly can’t think of any reason not to buy this unit if you’re after a low to mid-priced wireless system. It’s a hugely convenient, great sounding device wrapped in a rugged metal housing that should take years of beating on the stage. It looks right at home on a pedalboard and the fact you can leave it set up there is just fantastic.
Check one out, you’ll be glad you did! Here's a link to the Line 6 website for more information: