Review: PRA Audio WiC for Computer

Wireless audio interface for tracking guitars
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Wireless audio interface for tracking guitars
Image placeholder title

The last thing I need is another cable of any kind. I’m writing a book about guitar products, so gear moves in, hangs out for a while, and goes back to the manufacturer. In between shipments, my workspace looks like a NAMM show collided with a clown car. When I was approached about reviewing yet another wireless guitar system, I blanched at first. After all, the last thing I needed was a hardware receiver with a cable plugged into the back of my interface. It turns out I had the concept all wrong.

PRA Audio offers two versions of its wireless guitar system—WiC for Guitar, for use with an amplifier, and WiC for Computer, which I tested, for direct recording. This model uses a USB receiver that plugs into your computer. The small transmitter is connected by a standard 1/4" cable to the guitar and worn on a belt clip or attached to the guitar strap. Along with the transmitter and the USB-A receiver, PRA Audio supplies a well-made 3' unbalanced cable and a leather holster clip for the receiver, a USB charger unit with a couple of outlet adapters, and a charger cable. The rechargeable battery lasts for around 20 hours and takes about 2.5 hours to recharge fully. I tested WiC for Computer with a 2009 Macbook Pro and a 2015 iMac Retina 5K (both running OS X El Capitan), as well as an iPad Pro with iOS 9.3. Windows is also supported.

Pairing the wireless device is simple, but the process took me several tries to accomplish, possibly due to the preponderance of WiFi systems I had up and running. Nevertheless, transmitter and receiver recognized each other in short order, and pairing was instantaneous and automatic from then on. On the Mac, the WiC receiver shows up in System Preferences as well as in Audio MIDI Setup without the need for additional drivers.

Setting up WiC for Computer in most of the DAWs I use was simple. In MOTU Digital Performer, Apple Logic X, and Ableton Live, I specified WiC as my input and my existing audio interface as the output. However, some software, such as Steinberg Cubase, Propellerhead Reason, and PreSonus Studio One Pro didn’t automatically support separate audio inputs and outputs. As a result, I had to use it as an aggregate device in Audio MIDI Setup, which is easily done, though the procedure got a bit convoluted in Cubase 8.

However, setting it up for use in an iOS device is a breeze. All you need is a Lightning-to-USB Camera Adapter and the AudioBus app, and it works. I checked out WiC for Computer’s iOS compatibility within Apple GarageBand and Steinberg Cubasis, and it worked with both DAWs with great results.

WiC for Computer lays down an uncompressed, clean and detailed 24-bit, 48kHz signal, and it expertly captured the juicy, center-pickup tones of my Epiphone Genesis Deluxe without dropouts, even at a distance of 35 line-of-sight feet. Moreover, the system worked great in tandem with my Fishman TriplePlay wireless MIDI guitar system, and I can’t underplay how liberating it is to be untethered from even more cable.

PRA Audio WiC For Computer will be a boon to guitarists and engineers who need to put some distance between the instrument and computer fan noise or screen interference. I highly recommend it to anyone who records electric guitars in the personal studio.praaudio.com

STRENGTHS

Wireless. Clean, uncompressed, detailed signal. Allows you to play at a distance from the computer.

Limitations

Some DAW software requires you to select WiC as an aggregate device.

$249
praaudio.com

Marty Cutler is busy putting the finishing touches on his new book for Hal Leonard. Stay tuned.