A Digital Wireless from Shure? Okay, that got my attention. Upon taking receipt of the review PGXD unit delivered by that nice guy in the big brown truck that keeps bringing stuff; I promptly pulled out the unit, stuffed the batteries into the transmitter, hooked the receiver into amp, turned everything on and…
It’s not that there was anything wrong with the unit. Once I actually read the manual, I was able to get going in no time.
The PGXD is a smart unit that is designed to allow several units to operate without interfering with each other (such as you would find in professional situation, hint, hint). So once the receiver and transmitter are powered up, they need to be synced with each other.
They sync themselves, automatically searching for the strongest, clearest channel, there’s no fussing with knobs, tiny print on nearly microscopic inset selectors or little screwdrivers which are never around when you need one.
The receiver is devoid of knobs, which may be a new experience for those used to the old-school analog wireless units. The transmitter does have a control to adjust the gain to match the output of the instrument. Obviously, a bass with an active pre-amp can put out considerably more output than a bass with passive electronics. Being able to adjust for this was nice fore-thought on Shure’s part.
Also unlike the days of yore, it is hard to tell if the wireless is being used, or if the bass was hardwired. Older analog units, even the better professional ones colored the sound: not always coloring the sound in a bad way, but a noticeable difference from hard-wire alternative. Actually, the PGXD is so clean that the only way to get it to sound like a cable is to run a coiled up 20′ cable between the receiver and your amp. Using short leads between the receiver and amp result in less treble bleed-off than a longer, 20’ gigging cable would. Bottom line is that you may end up turning down the treble control on your amp
The system operated without drop out of the signal. The Shure spec sheet has the range listed as 200 feet. I was able to test the PGXD in a gigging situation about 150 feet from the receiver and there wasn’t any problem, and I assume the unit would be able to live up to the spec sheet range without any problem. The PGXD is a diversity wireless. Without getting to tech on you, that means that the receiver has two inputs–one from each antennea–and it is constantly switching between its two antennas for whichever is providing the strongest signal.
The receiver has both XLR and ¼” outputs which can be used simultaneously: which is nice when your amp is your personal monitor and the soundman demands his own un-altered signal.
It’s not that there aren’t any disappointments with the PGXD. The lightweight plastic construction doesn’t exude tons of road-worthy confidence, thought it does come in a sturdy foam-lined case. And, while the included WA302 instrument cable is not all that unusual (especially for Shure wireless units), it is still specialized. You’ll want to have a spare on hand.
Still, at a list of $536, and a street price about $100 less than that, the PGXD feels like a bargin as it provides as close as possible your plugged-in tone…and you’re still free to roam and put on the big show.