Fig. 1 The mic’s body is a little larger than some typical stage mics, but remains very portable.
Reliable wireless operation with a multiple-identity dynamic unit
Wireless mics have a lot going for them: You can stroll into the crowd unencumbered by wires, pass the mic around to fans, and generally, have a lot of fun with not being tied down—when they work, of course. Between dead batteries, fades, drop-outs (meaning the RF, not dropping the mic—although that can be an issue!), and receivers that don’t really receive, economical wireless mics sometimes have a less-than-stellar reputation. And that’s why I never used one, until I had a chance to check out Line 6’s XD-V70—my first experience with a digital wireless mic. Now I’ve become dependent on it.
WHAT IT IS
This is no toy; it’s a solidly-built dynamic mic (Figure 1), with several advanced features. You can unscrew the top and replace the capsule with various models from Heil and Shure. The XD-V70 uses the 2.4GHz band, so you won’t get interference from broadcasters or other high-power RF transmitters. Although this frequency is used by wi-fi , Bluetooth, and some wireless phones, the XD-V70’s signals are encoded using a different protocol, and it ignores other signals. It also spreads the signal over multiple bands and then reassembles it for redundancy, thus preventing dropouts.
Well, it’s a wireless mic . . . duh. Can’t get much more portable than that. As to the receiver (Figure 2), while it’s solidly-built, it takes up little space, although of course it needs a cable to go back to your mixer or portable PA, and an AC outlet for the adapter. The carrying case for the mic is durable, well-padded, and has space for backup batteries (two standard AA types). The mic’s barrel is a little larger than a Shure SM58, but I don’t find it uncomfortable to hold.
It’s digital. So what? Here’s what: If you go out of range—which is up to several hundred feet with this sucker—it just stops. No noise, hiss, artifacts, or issues: Either it’s happening exactly as expected, or it’s not happening at all. It also models several different mics, so if you’re used to working with an A-T AE4100, Shure SM58 or Beta 58, E/V N/D767, or Sennheiser e835, you’ll get the sound you’re expecting; the models are surprisingly realistic when A/B’ed with the original. This sounds like a great idea, but at least with my voice, the native Line 6 capsule sounded best, so overall I found modeling to be of limited use. However, you can also consider the modeling as potential EQ if you want a brighter or darker sound, which could make it easier to tailor the sound for something like a portable PA if you habitually equalize your voice and the PA restricts you to something like a high and low shelf. Also note that there are no pops or clicks when you turn the mic on or off —a simple, but useful, talent.
The XD-V70 works reliably, sounds great, has excellent build quality, and made it so I no longer look at wireless mics with doubt and suspicion. It definitely costs more than entry-level analog models, but easily justifies its price tag.
XD-V70 DIGITAL WIRELESS MIC
STRENGTHS: Rugged build quality is well-suited to live performance. Digital technology prevents unpleasant surprises and works reliably. Does mic modeling. Uses standard batteries. Protective, well-padded mic case.
LIMITATIONS: The mic user interface is teeny (unlike the receiver’s easy-to-read display), but you only have to set things up once per gig (at most).
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