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Boss Evolves and Expands Wireless Technology first seen on Katana Air Amp

BossGuitar AccessoriesWireless
2018AfBlgBossWireless-min

Following on from the launch of the wireless transmitter for the Katana Air Amp, Boss now makes that same technology available to everyone via 3 different offerings. I myself have long been a wireless user, and have been using a Line 6 Relay G10 for these last few years.

 

Boss’s innovation here is two-fold really, compared to my G10 - they have introduced the base-station receiver half in compact pedal format - for the WL-50 version. The second innovation is something called ’Cable Tone’ which simulates the high-end roll-off capacitance you get for 10 ft of a traditional guitar cable. On the WL-50 you have a 3-way switch where you can set Cable Tone to Long (c10ft), Short (c3ft) or Off. On the WL-20 compact receiver the Cable Tone 10ft / Long setting is on by default, while it’s absent from the WL-20L version which is intended more for Bass and Acoustic Guitars.

 

In each version the WL-T transmitter unit is identical - you really just get a choice of receivers here. This for me is a somewhat more elegant solution than that provided by either Line 6 or Xvive who both have notable solutions in this area.

 

Both the Transmitter and Receiver have Micro-USB ports for charging, while you can also plug the Transmitter into the receiver to charge both simultaneously. My preference here would really have been that the WL-20 had a 3-way switch on the unit to switch between Cable Tone options - but since I want those options, I would have to go for the WL-50 Pedal version.

 

Wireless range is approximately 20 meters which is plenty, and full charging takes 3-4 hours depending on charging method and yields circa 10-12 hours playback time.

 

Details as follows:


Boss WL-50 Compact Pedal Wireless System with 3-way 'Cable Tone' switch - £179

This has the receiver in the compact pedal format with 3-way Cable Tone option switch at rear - takes circa 3 hours to charge included transmitter.


Boss WL-20 Compact Wireless System with built-in 'Cable Tone' -£159

Here the receiver has the 10ft Cable Tone option built in, but no switching options - charging both units together takes circa 4 hours.


Boss WL-20L Compact Wireless System without 'Cable Tone' - £159

This is the neutral receiver option with no Cable Tone signal processing, so intended for Acoustic and Bass guitars which don't need high frequency roll-off.


Boss WL-T Transmitter - £85

The cheapest long-term solution is actually to go with the slightly dearer WL-50 pedal base station / receiver - as you only have to charge the Transmitter. Meaning you only need to buy replacement transmitters in the future. While if you buy the more compact units - which have rechargeable batteries on both sides - you will need to replace them as pairs! So even though size-wise the more compact offerings look to be the smarter choice, the long-term smart choice is to go with the WL-50 - so that's decided then!


Final Thoughts

What sets Boss apart from most companies in this sector is its product innovation - it always seems to provide just a slightly neater solution to the same challenge and add one or two extras on top. This is probably the neatest wireless guitar offering currently available, although I am not immediately in the market for one such, as my exiting Line 6 G10 works fine for me right now.

 

I already have a Katana Air Amp in my sights - probably for Christmas or early next year, so that will be my first proper experience of this. Also when I do come to needing to replace my G10 in a couple of years or so I would be most likely to go for one of these Boss offerings listed here. For what I want I would have to get the Compact Pedal version right now, but hopefully there will be one or more receiver options available by then - with switchable options on those units.

 

As with any battery-related device the charge hold decreases over time, so there really is a limit on the battery unit of these devices - probably around 5 or so years - meaning that units will need to be replaced at that sort of interval. The freedom of playing without cables though makes it all worthwhile. I have Mogami instrument cables also, and the difference in tone between wireless and traditional cable it pretty much indistinguishable - I really don't see why most players don't check out wireless systems as they make for much more convenient playing and maintenance - there's also actually less 'movable' parts as such and you don't experience any of the myriad issues you can get with traditional cables. All the time I've been using my G10 - my guitar signal has been consistently trouble-free and pristine!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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