Amplifying a musical instrument requires some way of transmitting an electrical signal from the instrument to an amp to a speaker. The simplest and cheapest way to do this is with an instrument cable, physically connecting your instrument to the signal chain that includes effects, amplifier and speakers. But performers (and indeed, stage mangers) know firsthand about the annoying, complicated mess that cables present. There's the "black spaghetti" of tangled instrument and mic cables on stage that make setup and tear down a hassle; there's the tripping hazard for you and your bandmates on stage; and, last but not least, there's the loss of the feeling of freedom to move, especially for violinists and violists who are not accustomed to being tethered down and tugged on by a weighty cord coming out of their instrument.

If you've ever wished you could "plug in" without actually plugging in, then a wireless system might be just the thing for you. We have three great wireless options, each suited to different types of instruments. Read on to see which wireless system is the one for you.

Line 6 Relay G10 Wireless System


We just love the G10 wireless by Line 6! The incredibly small bug-style transmitter plugs into the output jack of your electric, acoustic-electric, or acoustic with a mounted pickup. The 24-bit digital wireless solution features a built-in rechargeable battery for up to 8 hours of use. With 50 feet (15m) of range it covers enough ground for almost any stage you'll find yourself on. Best of all, the transmitter automatically pairs with the included receiver to find the cleanest available channel.

The only caveat with the G10 (there's always a catch!) is that you may experience some degree of interference when you use it with active instruments (instruments with onboard, battery-powered preamps). Specifically, we've found that it doesn't play well with the Yamaha SV-200 violin, the Cantini Sonplus violins, or the Glasser Carbon Composite Acoustic Electric violins. We've tested it with other active models and find it to work okay, but if you play an active instrument and are keenly attuned to signal perfection, then you may want to opt for the next wireless system on our list...

Summary: This is the most convenient, easy to use, affordable wireless, which we recommend for passive electric and acoustic-electric instruments. Not compatible with Yamaha SV-200, Cantini or Glasser Acoustic-Electric violin.

The Line 6 Relay G30 Wireless System -- pure tone wirelessly with any instrument


Like the G10 system above, the G30 from Line 6 can be used with solid-body electrics, acoustic electrics and acoustics with mounted pickups. Unlike the G10, the G30 works perfectly with any active model electric instrument (including Yamaha SV-200 and Glasser Ac/El). The G30 is ideal for professionals who value the purest possible tone. With its battery powered belt pack, which requires a short cable to connect instrument to transmitter, you do sacrifice some of the convenience of the G10. But what you get in return is even cleaner tone and about 6 times the reliable range (up to 300 feet!).

Summary: Great long-range wireless with pure tone that works with any instrument or pickup system.

Amplify any acoustic with the iSolo Wireless Microphone System


The iSolo is both a wireless system and a pickup system all in one. The small wireless transmitter adheres (safely, of course) to the body of your acoustic string instrument and contains a downward facing microphone element. This mic picks up a very clear, authentic tone from your instrument and transmits the signal to a receiver placed near and connected to your effects chain or amp.

Since the iSolo is a microphone it will not work with solid-body electric instruments. This option is only meant for amplifying acoustic instruments wirelessly.

Summary: Awesome combination microphone/wireless system that works only with acoustic instruments.