Review: Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless System

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Earlier this year Line 6 released their Relay digital wireless systems worldwide.  The Relay line, which includes two stompbox-style systems and one rack-mountable system, is said to deliver the kind of high-quality audio normally associated with expensive audio cables.  Deep in the Fretbase Labs we were able to test drive the Line 6 Relay G30 system in a couple of settings and compare it to regular audio cables.

Update: Enter the Fretbase Line 6 Relay G30 Giveaway

The Line 6 Relay comes in three favors – the portable, pedalboard friendly G30 and G50 and the professional, rack friendly G90.  The main physical difference between the G30 and G50 are their enclosures – the G50 comes in a metal enclosure while the G30 comes in a polycarbonate enclosure.  The G50 has 12 selectable channels, longer range and a nicer transmitter with an LED display.  But don’t think the G30 is anything shabby.

Line 6 Relay G30 Digital Wireless System

The Relay G30 provides a full-range 10Hz-20kHz frequency response, 118dB dynamic range (compared to the 50Hz-15kHz frequency response and >90dB dynamic range offered by comparable analog wireless systems), and studio-quality resolution with 24-bit A/D conversion.  The G30 has 6 selectable channels – plenty for playing live with other folks using a similar system – and 100 foot transmission range.  More than enough for you to a Pete Townshend power slide down a riser into the middle of the crowd!

Line 6 brings to bear two proprietary technologies in the Relay system.  The  VWT (Virtual Wire Transmission) provides a cable-like performance, and DCL (Digital Channel Lock) technology ensures dependability by locking out all sources of interference.

The Relay broadcasts in the 2.4GHz band.  Using the 2.4GHz band avoids signal interference created by high-power sources and analog wireless systems so you won’t have any radio chatter coming through your amp.  You might also recognize the 2.4GHz band – it’s one that’s also used by wireless computer networks – but not to worry, the wireless signals don’t interfere with each other.  Using the 2.4GHz band also ensures that Relay digital wireless systems will operate in every country and region that they are used.

Testing Out the Relay G30

We tested out the Line 6 Relay G30 using a 2003 Gibson Les Paul Standard Premium Plus and  a custom Strat with Lollar Pickups both at home through a VOX DA5 practice amp and in the studio directly into a Marshall JCM2000 DSL401 amp.  We recorded some sound samples in the studio to compare the Relay G30 against Monster Cable Rock 21″ foot cable.  Check out the sound samples – and don’t make fun of my guitar playing!

Here are three sound clips to compare the Relay G30 against an actual cable.

Relay G30, Cable Tone: 15ft/5m

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Relay G30, Cable Tone: 30ft/9m

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Monster Cable Rock: 21ft/6.5m

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Here are two more sound clips that demonstrates the “Cable Tone” feature on the G30.  As we all know longer cables can produce “tone suck” or reduced treble.  When you consider the cables we use from the amp to the pedalboard to the guitar the total length can easily reach 30 feet.  Most people compensate for  tone suck using their amps, pedals and guitars’s volume and EQ controls.  The Relay G30 is set to emulate a 30ft cable which produces the same effect on your tone as a long cable.  This was done intentionally so you could switch between cables and wireless without having to adjust your amp’s settings. (Side note: there’s a ton of factors going on between your amp, pedals, cables, pickups and guitar that can effect tone.  I’m

Relay G30, Cable Tone: 30ft/9m

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Monster Rock Cable: 21ft/6.5m

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Finally here are two more clips again comparing the tone of the Relay G30 against a Monster Cable.

Relay G30, Cable Tone: 30ft/9m

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Monster Rock Cable: 21ft/6.5m

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Overall we thought the Line 6 Relay G30 performed excellent against a high quality instrument cable.  When you take into consideration this is a wireless system that retails for an affordable $300 USD you start to see how great a system the Relay is.

At Home or On The Stage

We also had a chance to try out the Line 6 Relay G30 on stage as well as in the comfort of my own home.  While on stage the Line 6 Relay G30 performed flawlessly.  We didn’t have any trouble setting up the system – it’s dead easy – and there we no signal interruptions for the entire 1 hour set.  That said be sure to pack an extra set of AA batteries.  When I went to use the Relay the next day it’s batteries started to go.

I also had a chance to use the Relay at home as well.  I can honestly say nothing beats sitting on the couch or walking around my home with the guitar on and just jamming as you go.  The Relay had me practicing while watching TV (no cringing from the teachers out there) just from the simple fact that I didn’t have to have an annoying cable in the way while on the couch.

Summary

Overall the Line 6 Relay G30′s performance both in the studio, on the stage or just around the house was excellent.  It’s a very simple device to set up and it’s easy to integrate the RXS06 Receiver into your pedalboard setup.  We found the Line 6 Relay G30 to be very reliable in multiple settings, however we do recommend keeping an extra set of AA batteries on-hand for the TBP06 Transmitter.  The included set of AA didn’t last that long.  From a tone perspective we found the Relay G30 sounded as good as a high quality instrument cable (this guitarist’s playing notwithstanding).  Coupled with the flexibility to adjust the “Cable Tone” and you have a system that has more flexibility and functionality than just a regular instrument cable.  We highly recommend the Line 6 Relay G30 digital wireless system.

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Comments:

  1. Line 6 Relay G30 Sweepstakes! | Fretbase

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  2. Tim

    Nicely done review. I want to win.

  3. Tony

    This is an awesome review with great sound clips.her is my experience with the G30

    I have been using the Relay G30 for about 6 weeks. First a little background. I’ve been a guitarist for over 40 years. I am a Worship musician and I play 3 times a week not including rehearsals, so I have a good amount of playing time with this unit.
    I’ve used various wireless systems over the years and never have I been satisfied. Either I got cell phone interference or my main dissatisfaction is the gain and volume controls on these units. They always degrade my guitar sound.
    I love Line 6 products and use a POD XT for my recording set up so I gave the G30 a shot.
    Well I love it. It is the best sounding wireless I have used. This one has no volume. Whatever your guitar volume is with a cable it is exactly the same with the unit. Plug and play. I A/B’d my sound with the unit and with a cable over and over and I can hear no difference or none that matters. The cable tone switch actually works. I also walked all over the place and it was spot on, no latency. No delay. The only possible drawback is that the G30 is all plastic and could break but the receiver stays on my pedal board and the transmitter is on my strap so I don’t think it will be an issue. It also eats batteries pretty good. All in all this is a great system but you have to expect that from line 6.