Back in the rack days, we all had a wireless receiver perched atop or nestled within our fridge-style tone factories, with the cute little antennae poking up and out. Well, the rackmount days are gone for many of us, with pedalboards picking up the tone-modifying slack, and those bulky wireless receivers just don’t reside as comfortably on ’boards that are meant to be stomped on.
Well, you don’t have to worry about that with the WiC wireless from PRA Audio Systems ($299 street), because both the transmitter and the receiver are no bigger than a pack of cigarettes, with no antennae on the receiving end. These incredibly lightweight units are fueled by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which boast over 20 hours of unfettered freedom on a charge. (Charging the unit takes two and a half hours.) The WiC is a turnkey system, with USB charger and audio cables included, and these made-in-the-USA units come with a generous two-year warranty. Nice!
The WiC comes in two different voicings: a standard guitar model and an ELF (Extended Low Frequency) version that is finding favor with bass players and drop-tuned guitarists. I tested the standard model, with the transmitter in my back pocket (it’s so unobtrusive I forgot it was even there) and the receiver next to the wah on my pedalboard, alternately feeding a Kemper Profiler as well as a Victoria tube combo. The tone itself was very similar to the high-quality DiMarzio cables I typically use. It sounded a little brighter to my ears, but didn’t rob low end like some wireless systems can do. I was able to roll my guitar’s volume back with no sonic weirdness—again, something that has vexed me in the past with certain wireless units. The latency—which is present to some degree in all wireless units—didn’t bug me at all.
The PRA website says that the WiC’s range is up to 160 meters, and while I didn’t venture that far from my amp, I could certainly go anywhere in a large rehearsal facility with no problems. In my house, however, I did experience dropouts when I would go from room to room, although that is not exactly a real-life gigging situation. I also found that the WiC slightly raised the noise floor of my rig, with subtle but audible hiss on moderately dirty tones. The payoff in cordless freedom counterbalances that in my mind, and it would not be an issue in a band context.
If you have been thinking about cutting the cord, or you’re tired of pulling out the kick drum mic with your cable, or you’re in an Yngwie tribute band and need to spin your guitar around your head, you should definitely check out a PRA unit. Leashes are for dogs!
Kudos Amazingly small footprint. Great tone. Good battery life.
Concerns Slight audible hiss.