SLX UHF Wireless System
Shure Incorporated recently introduced their new SLX UHF Wireless System that includes a variety of compatible products that support both instruments and vocals. The products are designed for ease of use while offering excellent audio performance. We reviewed the Guitar/Bass Wireless System (SLX14), which includes a WA302 Guitar/Bass cable, SLX1 Bodypack transmitter and the SLX4 Diversity receiver. The SLX14 package retails for $760. Since we already had the SLX4 diversity receiver included in the system, we decided to also cover the SLX2/SM86 Wireless Handheld microphone. Shure offers a wide variety of their industry-standard handheld vocal microphones in their SLX2 lineup. Additional models include the Beta 87A or C, Beta 58A®, SM86, and the legendary SM58. Many professional vocalists have been using Shure microphones for decades, so transitioning to the new wireless designs offer them the same sonic qualities they are familiar with.
The LCD on the SLX4 is easy to read with an evenly distributed backlight. The Ready indicator illuminates when the receiver locks to the transmitter. All system functions are constantly displayed or are accessible using the menu selections. If all available channels in the selected group are in use the LCD will display FULL. In such cases, the user must select an alternate group. The antenna status indicators let the user know what antenna is currently active. A battery level indicator illuminates on the LCD when the transmitter battery is low. The user can lock the front panel controls to prevent accidental changing of the receiver settings.
The user can also manually change the frequency group and channel if needed. The system also has a wide range of selectable frequencies that can be specified in cases where precise frequency selection is necessary. Although Shure does not recommend users change their frequencies in most cases, one may do so by holding down the Menu button while pressing the power on. Our receiver was designated with "H5", which allows frequencies between 518.1MHz to 541.9MHz in 25kHz steps. This results in a total of 953 user-selectable frequencies.
The half-rack chassis design comes with rackmount hardware for configuring side-by-side units in the rack space. The unit also includes non-slip rubber bumpers for out-of-rack configurations allowing multiple units to be stacked on one another.
The SLX4 rear panel has dual BNC jacks for the 1/4 wave detachable antennas included with the unit. These antennas are completely adjustable and can be configured with various rackmount hardware for multiple SLX4 receivers. The AC adapter output plugs into the rear panel and also connects to the adapter cord tie-off clip to prevent the plug from accidentally being pulled out of the unit. This is a simple, yet important feature for pro audio equipment that is constantly being moved. Both XLR and 1/4" connections are available. There is also a small gain adjustment for the unit that offers flexibility and is not easily knocked out of calibration.
SM86 Wireless Microphone
The top of the microphone unscrews to reveal a small two position slide switch used to select the microphone audio level (-10 dB or 0 dB). We did all of our testing the the 0 dB setting, but we could see applications where the -10 dB setting might be needed with the microphone exposed to high volume levels. The three contact slip-ring design ensures the microphone contacts are reliably connected to the lower section of the main body electronics. The build quality of the SLX2 is very good and appears to be able to withstand fairly heavy use.
The SLX14 (Guitar/Bass System) offers musicians a complete wireless system for their guitar and amplifier combination. The system includes the SLX1 Bodypack Transmitter along with the WA302 Guitar/Bass Cable. This combination is compact and lightweight leaving the performer with absolutely no worries about a cable. The SLX4 Diversity receiver packs easy to use features with indicators for low battery levels.
We connected our Gibson SG to the SLX1 Bodypack transmitter and varied our distance from the receiver. The SLX4 diversity receiver plugged into our Marshall Valvestate combo amplifier. The audio quality of the wireless link was very similar to our direct connection with no objectionable sonic qualities. We never experienced any dropouts or loss of fidelity due to range. In fact, we were surprised at how well the system performed around other noisy electronics with EMI. Whether we used the clean setting or the distorted overdrive setting on the Marshall Valvestate amplifier, both sounded excellent on the SLX system.
The SLX2/86 used the same SLX4 diversity receiver found in the SLX14 (Guitar/Bass System) package. However, both transmitters cannot be used at the same time unless a second receiver is set up in the system. Basically each transmitter requires its own receiver and we only had one for our tests. The audio quality was excellent using the SLX2/86 condenser microphone. Vocals sounded very natural and there was no indication (sonically speaking) that the system was wireless. Noise was extremely low
- Kevin Nakano
|Review - At a Glance|
SLX14-H5 (Guitar/Bass System)
Number: SLX2/86 (SM86 Cardioid Microphone)
Warranty: 1 year parts and labor
Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 1985-2004 L.A. Audio File.