From the makers of the industry-changing POD guitar amp modeler comes a digital wireless mic packed full of innovation including, yes, modeled presets of your favorite handheld vocal microphones.
With the XD system, Line 6 offers us a new "groundbreaking" digital wireless microphone system. Combining the XD-V70 wireless receiver and the THH12 handheld transmitter with six modeled mic presets and a cardioid capsule, Line 6 claims to prevent RF interference from becoming audio interference and old-school channel scanning by replacing it with its exclusive PDP (Propriatary Data Placement) technology.
The THH12 handheld transmitter features six digital models that are based on six top selling live-sound mics, including the Shure SM58, Shure Beta 58A, Sennheiser e835, Audio-Technica AE4100, Audix OM5 and Electro-Voice N D767a mic models. Also included in the XD-V70 is a seventh model, the L6-DC7. The L6-DC7 is based on the combination of the frequency response of top condenser mics and the wide dynamic range of dynamic mics. As an added feature, the removable L6-DC7 capsule allows users to further customize the mic's polar pattern, frequency response and more.
The THH12 uses two AA batteries for power and displays the amount of operation time left at current power level in hours and minutes. A lock feature located behind the battery compartment is used to prevent performers from making unwanted adjustments.
The THH12 is sturdily constructed with a black base, titanium mic screen and an orange backlit LCD display. Menu selections are very user-friendly on the THH12, including a 12-channel select menu to align with the XD-V70 receiver, power select menu for a high or low battery life, the mic-modeling menu to select which model mic to use and the name select menu to customize your microphone.
The THH12 is designed to operate just like a wired mic and therefore needs no pads or level controls that are used on other popular wireless microphone systems.
The XD-V70 wireless receiver is also a very rugged unit, using the same color scheme as the THH12 on the front panel in black and encased in an extruded aluminum casing. The front panel from left to right meters the audio signal input, battery life and RF signal quality. In the middle of the front panel is an orange, backlit display surrounded by edit knob, setup and exit buttons and on/off switch to the right. On the rear of the receiver are both balanced and unbalanced outputs, antenna A&B inputs, antenna A&B outputs for daisy chaining multiple XD-V70 units and a standard 9VDC power input.
Unlike other wireless systems that transmit their signal over a single frequency, the XD-V70 transmits digital data over four frequencies.
Over the past 14 years, I have used various wireless mic systems such as Shure and Sennheiser, and they all have their share of pros and cons. When first hearing of the digital with microphone modeling XD-V70 system, I was skeptical that my voice would actually sound like it was coming out of a real Shure Beta 58a or a Sennheiser e835, but Line 6 has done a good job of proving me wrong.
The first thing that impressed me about the XD-V70 was the clarity of the signal. I used this system in over 20 different venues on all mic-modeling settings, and not once did I encounter any audio interference. Line 6 creates this clean signal by splitting binary codes and transmitting over four different frequencies instead of transmitting with radio signals over just one frequency like other systems. Broadcasting its digital signal on the 2.4 GHz ISM band allows Line 6 to get around the problem of radio frequency licenses all over the world, a common problem with many companies. Using these binary signals, Line 6 also eliminates the use of companders that, in other wireless systems, affect the output of a system.
So what about the mic-modeling options with the XD-V70? With all six of the mic models, I tested each one against the original wired mic model except the Electro-Voice N D767a, and each one stood up to the test. The Shure 58 was very close to an original, and the Beta 58 had the extra clarity like the original as well. Set the XD-V70 to the Sennheiser e835 mode and you get the same higher sensitivity and wide dynamic range as a real e835. My band uses Audix OM5s on our frontline, and the only difference we noticed was that we didn't have to plug the XD-V70 into a cable.
The one minor disappointment I had was with the Audio-Technica AE4100 setting. The clarity on the top end that I was used to on the AE4100 didn't seem to be as good as the original. Prior to this review, I did not have much experience with an Electro-Voice N D767a, but found this setting to be my favorite. Using the band PA, I went in front of house during a sound check and tested each mic model. Each setting lived up to the reputation, but the N D767a setting seemed to have much more clarity and overall tone than any of the other digital mic models. Then came the last setting, the L6-DC7 capsule. I found the L6-DC7 capsule very full in its overall range providing just what the Line 6 website states, an original mic model that "combines the sought-after sparkle of top condenser mics, the ruggedness and high dynamic range of dynamic mics and plenty of responsiveness to cut through the mix."
I used the XD-V70 in small acoustic duo shows, with the full band in over 20 different venues, even announcing one of my karaoke shows, and never once did the Line 6 let me down. It was nice to be able to switch from the Beta 58 setting to the regular 58 at one of my acoustic shows within seconds to eliminate some room feedback that was occurring. During one sound check with the band, the venue's sound guy asked me to switch between models to see which one fit the room better. That's normally a situation that would take a lot of time to switch out mics between songs, but it took only one song to accomplish it with the XD-V70.
Overall, it was very hard to find something to criticize with the Line 6 XD-V70. The mic models are very close to the originals and the signal path much clearer than other wireless systems. All settings had very smooth tones, especially the EV N D767a and the L6-DC7 capsule, which brought out even more dynamic range than the other settings. The construction of both the receiver and the handheld transmitter seems very durable, comparable to Sennheiser units of the past. Twenty venues and four soundman-approved tests conclude that I will definitely be using one of these units in my rig from now on, and at a street price tag of $499.99, the Line 6 XD-V70 is well worth it.
Joshua D. Garber is a pro musician, engineer, and DJ/KJ with long-running stints in the Cancun MX and Charlotte live music markets.