Growing up, wireless guitar seemed like the domain of lame arena rock - nothing was worse than seeing Slash or The Edge wander down their ego ramp into the fervent crowd. For me, that changed seeing guitarists like Omar Rodriguez Lopez. Seeing the visceral nu-punk abandon he whipped his guitar across the stage with offered an appreciation of the true performative freedom it gave. Most, still, are priced out of the market. Line 6 are trying to change this prohibitive cost to offer wireless guitar systems to the fledgling masses with its new Relay G10S.
Most still envision wireless guitar systems as a bulky receiver, radio transducer clipped to the belt and an unsightly hunk of metal in your guitar input; the Relay G10S couldn’t be further from it. A rugged pedalboard mountable metal stompbox is your receiver, a simple gadget powered by a 9V power supply or USB. It sports a sleek and simple black paint job, offering to go mostly incognito amongst your other stomps. The back has your usual ¼” pedal/amp out, cable capacitance switch and helpfully, a XLR DI output if you’re plugging straight into the desk. A light-up wireless symbol and battery symbol makes it easy to monitor the G10S. You can choose the wireless frequency manually or automatically; this feature makes far more sense in a larger concert hall, where dozens of wireless frequencies are competing for airspace.
The tiny transmitter boasts eight hours playing time before docking easily back into the receiver. I did find this battery life varied a little, but it stuck to a six to eight hour range approximately in between sessions. The transmitter goes to sleep after four minutes without any audio input, which is helpful when you’re noodling late at night and you forget to dock it back. The transmitter fits snugly in your guitar input, though it might take some jiggling.
Any wireless guitar system must address the perennial sledge of loss in sound quality. I expected less from the G10S considering the price point, but there was no significantly audible loss, even walking tens of metres away. The digital sound quality is 24-bit lossless and was largely faultless; the only time it did get a little lossier is when I stood directly next to my wireless modem in the hall.
What places the G10S firmly ahead of its Boss WL series competition is its range, beating Boss’ claimed 15 metres by nearly three times at 40 metres. Unless you really are The Edge, this is obscenely good for all stage settings. The G10S even holds signal walking around the house, where I did not have line of sight and was occasionally playing through multiple walls - not that this is particularly useful.
What Line 6 are doing with wireless guitar is the democratisation of technology at its best: taking the allure of a liberating, if ephemeral accessory once impossibly expensive and putting it within the reach of a teenage birthday present. The G10S is a high performing system with a staggering range that doesn’t require any radiowave know-how, complicated set-up or pedalboard real estate.
Hits and Misses
Compact and sturdy
Practically lossless 24 bit digital sound quality
Excellent range at 40 metres, even without line of sight
Simple and highly affordable