SONY’S DWZ-B30GB ($399 STREET) offers some very guitarist- and bassist-friendly
features that show the Sony design team definitely
considered the tonal, practical, durability,
and budgetary needs of gigging musicians. The
wireless system consists of a strap or belt-pack
transmitter, a compact receiver, a guitar cable,
and an AC adapter. Nothing revolutionary there,
but the glory is in the details.
For example, acknowledging that club guitarists
often need to do rapid-fire stage breakdowns,
and toss gear roughly into gig bags and
cases, the transmitter has a sturdy metal shell,
rather than the typical ABS plastic. In addition,
a three-level attenuation switch optimizes the
pack to the output level of your guitar pickups,
and a locking ring holds the guitar-to-transmitter
Even cooler, the receiver is about the same size
as a stompbox, and can therefore be easily integrated
into your pedalboard. The receiver can be
powered with the supplied 12V power supply, a
9V pedalboard supply, or a 9V battery. Three
outputs are provided: an unbalanced 1/4" for
your amp and effects, an unbalanced 1/4" for
your tuner (which stays active for silent tuning
when the belt pack’s mute switch is initiated),
and a balanced XLR for routing a dry signal to
a mixing board.
THE “WIRELESS CABLE” FACTOR
For some players, wireless hasn’t been an option
because they associate the capacitance imposed
upon the signal by long guitar cables—and the
resulting reduction of high frequencies—to be a
benefit. When these same guitarists use a wireless
system, the unimpeded high end typically
produces a sound they perceive as too bright, too
clean, and too harsh. The DWZ-B30GB addresses
this issue with a rotary Cable Tone knob that simulates
the sound of cables at varying lengths
between one and 25 meters. The effect appears
to be a series of high-frequency roll-off curves. I
preferred the 5m and 8m settings, because the
tone was warm and full. At the lower settings,
the sound was brittle with an overdriven electric,
but quite natural with a fingerpicked acoustic.
Higher settings were too mellow, dark, and
bassy to my ear.
The DWZ system operates in the 2.4GHz (WiFi)
spectrum, and is license-free worldwide. Up to six
channels work together, so several band members
can use the system without dealing with
signal mash-ups. You can also choose between
two RF modes: Wide Band (reduces interference
to other wireless gear) and Narrow Band (avoids
interference from other wireless systems). I found
that audio quality is unchanged by either setting.
The DWZ-B30GB fights drop-outs with a dualantenna
diversity system that simultaneously
receives transmission over two different signal
paths, and constantly selects the stronger of
the two signals to ensure uninterrupted audio.
The 24-bit, 48kHz digital stream captures the
full spectrum of your instrument, and digital’s
inherently vast dynamic range also means that
signal companding—which can lead to a “breathing”
or “whooshing” sound around your notes—is
unnecessary in the DWZ-B30GB circuitry. (Analog
wireless systems typically compress the signal
at transmission and expand it at reception—the
companding process—to increase dynamic range.)
As a result, your attack and performance dynamics
are delivered by the system precisely as you
played them. In fact, it’s easy to forget you’re wireless.
The guitar tone is uncolored, and the impact
of your playing comes through unchanged.
Kudos Gig Tough. Receiver fits on pedalboard.
Cable Tone function.
Contact Sony, sony.com/proaudio
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