When I was in the process of purchasing my first wireless guitar system, I was wondering if I was able to use it with my active pickups. Although my bass is able to switch between passive and active, I prefer my active pickups for individual songs.
Some wireless guitar systems don’t work well or aren’t designed for active pickups. The reason is that the transmitter of certain wireless guitar systems goes into Protection Mode that stops the transmitter from working correctly. This happens because some active electronics are wired with inverse polarity.
Oddly enough, it’s challenging to find out which wireless guitar systems are more compatible with active pickups and which ones are not. Many manufacturers/websites of the wireless systems either bury the information or at times fail to disclose the fact that specific wireless systems are not compatible with active pickups.
I took the time to call every manufacturer to talk about each system. Afterward, I made sure what the manufacturer said lined up with what real users of the wireless guitar systems said. Keep in mind, there may be more compatible systems out there, but in this list, we are 100% positive that each system is compatible with active pickups.
Which Wireless Guitar Systems are Compatible with Active Pickups?
- Line 6 G30
- Line 6 G50
- Line 6 G55
- Line 6 G70
- Line 6 G90
- Shure GLXD series
- Shure QLXD series
- Shure ULXS series
- Shure PGXD series
- Shure BLX series
- Donner DWS series
- Audio Technica System ATW-1101/G
- Sennheiser EW 100 G4 CI
- Sennheiser EW 500 G4-CI1
- Sennheiser XSW-D Series
- Boss WL-20L
If you want to skip to the chase and get the overall best wireless guitar/bass system compatible with active pickups, see Our Top Pick For 2019: Best Wireless Guitar System Period.
Many musicians with active guitar pickups that consider going wireless for the first time tend to gravitate toward “Best cheapest wireless system compatible with active pickups.” Although it is always nice to save money, there is a lot more to purchasing a wireless guitar system than we realize at first. I made quite a few mistakes myself, not to mention, I could’ve saved a lot more money.
Finding the right wireless guitar/bass system for you and your situation is the goal.
Some of the cheaper wireless units are great for practice and smaller gigs. The more expensive units are not only recommended but necessary for touring.
From my experience as a mid-level touring musician, whenever I tried to cut corners and save money by purchasing a cheaper wireless system, I ended up losing money. I would become unsatisfied with them one way or another.
Wireless guitar systems under $300 are not Tour Worthy. I learned that lesson the hard way far too many times in roughly every way possible.
But we do also understand that every musician has a different situation and reason in purchasing a wireless. To make things a bit more simple…..
We created 3 groups of wireless guitar systems compatible with active pickups depending on your situation.
1. Practice Or Smaller Venues Wireless Systems
This group of wireless guitar systems compatible with active pickups is only recommended for practice or small/low key gigs. They are very cheap for wireless guitar systems. These systems are all charged by USB, no consistent purchases of batteries needed.
Although I do not recommend using these units for live performances, these units are perfect for those who want to jam on the couch or a with a band at practice.
2. Weekly Live Performance:
Small, Medium to Large Venues
I recommend this group wireless guitar systems for musicians who play out 1-6 times a month, small to medium size venues. All of these units are compatible with active pickups. I actually use to own the line 6 G30; it served me very well until it died from Sweat Damage.
|Line 6- G30||$199||Reviews|
|Line 6 G50||$343||Reviews|
|Shure PGXD 14||$349||Reviews|
|Shure BLX 14R||$379||Reviews|
|Audio Technica System ATW-1101/G||$399||Reviews|
3. High-Grade Tour Worthy Wireless Guitar Systems
This group of wireless guitar systems is on the more expensive side, but they are the highest grade units to date. Again, all of these are compatible with active pickups. If you are a touring/serious musician, or you just want to make one purchase of a system that will last you, then I highly recommend this group. I am a current owner of the Shure GLXD 16 and have never been so satisfied with a wireless guitar system in my life.
|Line 6 G55||$430||Reviews|
|Line 6 G70||$499||Reviews|
|Line 6 G90||$599||Reviews|
|Shure GLXD 14||$449||Reviews|
|Shure GLXD 14R||$549||Reviews|
|Shure GLXD 16||$449||Reviews|
|Shure ULXS 4||$629||Reviews|
|Shure Qlxd 14||$973||Reviews|
|Sennheiser EW 100 G4 CI||$549||View Product|
|Sennheiser EW 500 G4-CI1||$849||View Product|
The Famous Line 6 G10 and Xvive Audio 2 Not Compatible With Active Pickups?
For those wondering if the famous Xvive audio 2 and Line 6 G10 are compatible with active pickups, they are not. Although there are a few musicians who claim one or the other wireless system works for their active guitar, the manufacturers themselves said they are not compatible with active pickups. The majority of musicians who have tried the Xvive audio 2 and line 6 G10 with their active pickups claim either a high pitch squeal or hum.
What To Look Out For When Using Your Wireless with Active Pickups
Active pickups generally have more of an output than passive. It is possible that although you are using an active compatible wireless system that you can overload the wireless system’s receiver (part on top of the amp, or pedalboard).
To fix this, you must turn the output (sensitivity control) down on the receiver or transmitter depending upon your wireless. According to the manufactures, I do know that Shure kept in mind the compatibility of all instrument types for the Shure GLXD 16.
What Makes A Good Wireless Guitar System?
Now that you have a general idea of which wireless guitar systems are compatible with active pickups, let’s look into what makes an excellent wireless guitar system.
- Reliability -Signal strength, fewer dropouts
- Durability- Able to last long/withstand touring conditions
- Tone- Does it negatively affect guitar or bass tone compared to a quality cable
- Convenience- Battery life, setup simplicity, easier instrument change, pedalboard attachable
- Range- Able to have a strong signal to cover a big stage, or perform in the crowd
If you want the quick answer for which wireless guitar system is the absolute best for all of these, in my opinion, it is the Shure GLXD 16. Yet I am biased, considering I own one and absolutely love it.
As far as Range, Reliability, Tone, and Durability are concerned, you will typically want wireless that is no less than $300 give or take a few.
In terms of convenience, many wireless guitar systems over $300 have Rackmount/TableTop receivers. Meaning you will have to set it up on top of your amp every single time before you play. It’s not a huge deal, but it is an extra step.
A more convenient route for wireless guitar systems will be the pedal receiver where you attach it to your pedalboard.
What Wireless Guitar System works Best If I Play Bass with Active Pickups?
If you play bass with active pickups, make sure you choose a digital wireless rather than an analog wireless guitar system. The reason is that digital wireless guitar systems typically have a wider dynamic range. In order for no coloration of tone, the lower frequencies of bass will be better off with a digital wireless guitar system.
List of Digital Wireless Systems Compatible with Active Pickups
|Shure GLXD 14||See Reviews|
|Shure GLXD 16||See Reviews|
|Shure QLXD||See Reviews|
|Shure PGXD 14||See Reviews|
|Line 6 G30||See Reviews|
|Line 6 G50||See Reviews|
|Line 6 G55||See Reviews|
|Line 6 G70||See Reviews|
|Line 6 G90||See Reviews|
|Donner DWS series|
(not recommended for medium/large shows)
|Audio Technica System ATW-1101/G||See Reviews|
The Bottom Line
Now that you know which wireless guitar systems are compatible with active pickups, be sure to do extensive research before spending 100’s of dollars. I went through 5 wireless guitar systems and extra transmitters for each one until I found my Shure GLXD 16 with a Neotech Wireless Pouch for protection.
That is the only wireless guitar system I can 100% confidently recommend for any musician. Below is an incredibly detailed article of the Shure GLXD 16. I know that it will not let you down!