BGRA: Shure LX4/LX1 Wireless System
||LX4/LX1 Wireless System|
||$479 at Guitar Center|
Dimensions||Receiver is 43.2mm H x 210.8mm W x 182.9mm D (1/2 rack)|
I bought a Shure LX4 wireless setup last week. I haven't had a chance to
try it yet in live performance, but I've used it at home to practice and at
one of our band's practice sessions, and it really does seem to work great.
My preliminary tests have shown me no difference in sound between running
through the Shure and running with a 10' premium guitar cord.
I had to tweak the output level pot on the transmitter to reduce the gain a
bit because my Tobias Classic V with active Bartolinis was putting out too
hot a signal for it, but that was an easy adjustment to make. Heck, Shure
even includes a nice little screwdriver as an accessory, just for that
Some of the little "detail" things I like:
1) Although it doesn't have an internal power supply, if you have to use a
wall wart, Shure sure did it right. The external power supply connects
to the receiver with a metal, twist-locking connector, so it can't fall
or be inadvertently pulled out. That DC cord is 3 or 4 feet long, and it
leads to the transformer/power supply module. The T/PS module actually
has molded-in bosses on it that allow you to securely mount it to a solid
surface. Then, coming out of the other side of the T/PS module is a
regular AC power cord, so you don't have to deal with a stupid wall wart
taking up multiple outlets on a power strip. Very nice way to do an
external power supply. I wish other manufacturers would do that.
2) It comes with complete rackmounting hardware. It's only a 1/2 rack width
unit, but Shure includes rackmount hardware that will either let you
mount two of these side by side in a standard 1U rack space, or mount one
unit in the center of a 1U space. They supply a "combining" bracket that
ties the two units together if mounting two in a single space, and a
shorter rack ear for only one side (either side) of the unit. Naturally,
the other unit would come with the other required short rack mount ear.
Since I only have the one unit, I have it mounted in the center of a
space. The rackmount ears for the center mount have holes in them on the
front panel side so that you can use Shure's remote antenna kit to route
the rear panel connectors to the front panel for front panel antenna
mounting. And if you don't do that, Shure has thoughtfully included
rubber plugs with the Shure logo on them that fit into the unused holes.
Again, attention to detail. My dealer didn't have the anntena relocation
kit in stock, so I am not using that feature yet. But I mounted it in
the top space of one of those SKB shallow three space racks, and just
used a 1/4" drill to drill holes at a 45 degree angle in the top of the
SKB box, and I insert the antennas through those holes, then screw them
into the rear panel connectors. It works great, although the SKB now
looks like some kind of wierd portable TV with rabbit ears... ;-)
3) The transmitter unit comes with a 9V Duracell battery and an instrument
cord. Again, Shure's attention to detail shows here. The instrument
cord plugs into the transmitter with a nice metal plug that locks in
place, and has a little "press this ball to release" locking connector.
Good quality cable is used for the cord itself, and it's terminated with
a real Switchcraft 1/4 TS plug. The transmitter has an excellent, very
secure and easy to operate spring clip to hold it to your belt or your
strap, and there are both on/off and mute switches on the transmitter.
The power switch moves horizontally and is a conventional slide switch,
and the mute switch is a tiny toggle switch that moves vertically (or on
the opposite axis from the on/off switch), so you can easily tell by feel
which switch you are operating.
In between the two switches is a three LED battery level gauge with
green, yellow, and red LEDs to indicate the amount of battery power
remaining. I've used it already for probably six hours, and the green
LED is still showing, so my initial impression is that battery power
consumption may well be in the 18-20 hour range Shure advertises. Battery
replacement is easy too. Open the thumb operated battery compartment
door, drop the old battery out, drop the new one in. No connector to snap
onto the 9V battery, hence no wires to break. The battery makes contact
via spring loaded metal hoozits.
There is an output gain pot recessed on the side of the transmitter to
tailor it to the output of your instrument, and as I mentioned earlier
they even provide the necessary screwdriver.
A nice naugahide (aren't naugas an endangered species by now?) zippered
case for the transmitter is also provided.
4) The receiver has a recessed front panel squelch adjuster (which I have
not found necessary to adjust, the factory default is fine so far), but
it does give you the ability to set the tradeoff between range and noise
rejection. There's also a front panel "LEVEL" knob for adusting the
receiver's output level to your amp or P.A. board, and an ON/OFF switch.
There are RF level meters for both antenna channels that are composed of
one amber and five green LEDs. The amber shows that a suitable RF level
is being received, and the five green ones show the relative signal
strength. There is also an audio level meter consisting of green LEDs
indicating -30, -15, -5, and 0 dB output levels, and a fifth LED that
glows red if you hit +5Db or higher, indicating you need to reduce the
gain on the transmitter.
The rear panel of the receiver has the two antenna connectors, the DC
power supply connector, and both 1/4" TS and XLR output connectors. A
slide switch selects which output connector will be in use. The XLR
output is nominally 0dBV, 600 ohms.
Shure says this is not just a diversity system, but a "MARCAD" diversity
system. My understanding is that normal diversity systems scan the two
antennas constantly and choose the signal from the one with the strongest
signal. MARCAD is similar, but instead of choosing between the two signals,
MARCAD _combines_ the two signals for more consistent input to the receiver.
Using this thing under difficult live performance conditions will tell if
this is a good system or not, but it sounds good in theory.
Frequency response of the system seems fine for bass. Shure advertises the
range as 50Hz to 15KHz +- 2Db, but my B string comes through loud and
powerful in spite of the 50Hz low-end rating. Distortion is rated at 0.3%
THD typical. Nominal range of the system is supposed to be 300', but I
imagine if you got anywhere near that distance from the stage you'd be
having audio delay problems due to the amount of time it takes for the sound
coming out of your amp to reach you.