Cutting The Cord: 3 Ways To Play Violin Wirelessly
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.
1) Line 6 Relay Wireless Systems
Line 6 makes some very high quality, affordable wireless systems that we love and that work well with electric violins.
The G10 and G10S both use the incredibly small bud-style G10T transmitter, which plugs directly 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. Best of all, the transmitter automatically pairs with the included receiver to find the cleanest available channel.
With 50 feet (15m) of range, the G10 covers enough ground for almost any stage you'll find yourself on, while the G10S will work up to 130 feet (line of sight). The 'S' in G10S stands for stompbox because of the rugged metal stompbox receiver that easily integrates into a pedalboard.
The only caveat with the G10T (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: The G10/G10S are 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.
If you own one of the aforementioned models that doesn't work well with the G10, or if you just need more range and even purer signal, the G30 is a great option. 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!). Note that this model does require a short length of cable to connect from your instrument's output jack to the belt pack transmitter.
Summary: Great long-range wireless with pure tone that works with any instrument or pickup system.
2) BOSS Katana Air amplifier with integrated wireless
The BOSS Katana-Air amplifier gives you the freedom to jam and practice without hassling with cables. And with support for battery operation, there’s no need to plug into AC either, so you can literally play anywhere, no wires, cables or power cords required! What's more, the Katana Air has an impressive integrated effects system, so you can even change up your tones without an external effects box (and the cable that would require). Like with the Line 6 G10T, however, the Katana Air wireless transmitter is not compatible with all active violins. Non-compatible instruments include the Bridge Aquila and Lyra (standard models--Dragon models will work with Katana Air) and the Yamaha Silent violin series.
3) 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.