Wireless audio technology has made life more convenient. Just not yet for DJs!
Here we look at the Xvive U3, designed to make any XLR audio kit cable-free, to see if this has finally changed!
The number one reason DJs do not use wireless sound equipment professionally is the delay between playing audio and hearing it, known as latency.
Long delays are impossible to work with, as mixing requires real-time adjustments to audio. Until now, the best specialist audio equipment manufactured has latency down to 19m/s.
That’s not bad at all. We have reviewed the Skaa Pro Streetheart Receiver, which has its latency down to this level and found it to be performance-worthy.
But only 5m/s of latency? That, on the other hand, could be the game changer that DJs have longed for!
The U3 transmitter and receiver combo promise to wirelessly output audio with this tiny amount of latency over a distance of at least 25 meters!
Let’s find out if it delivers!
How it works
The Xvive U3 is sold as a single transmitter and receiver bundle.
The transmitter plugs into your audio source via XLR. For DJs, this could be either a mixer or a dynamic microphone.
The signal is then wirelessly transmitted by 2.4gHz wireless band to the receiver, which plugs into your recipient device of choice. Whether that be a speaker receiving signal from a mixer or a mixer receiving signal from a dynamic microphone.
Audio quality is hi-resolution 24bit/48kHz and has a 110dB dynamic range.
The device is officially named the Microphone Wireless System, so its intended use is clear. But plugging it into a mixer to transmit to a speaker works a treat… If you are sending audio to only one speaker!
- The transmitter and receiver are both short, thick rectangles with professional-looking metal tips housing an XLR socket.
- A thin antenna mast is on the opposite end of the transmitter’s XLR female input socket.
- There is a male XLR socket on the receiver, and the unit is the same width throughout.
- The receiver has only a single POWER on/ off toggle and a channel select button, as found on the transmitter.
- The transmitter has two toggles on its main face. One to switch between POWER and MUTE and one to switch the audio source between LINE and MIC.
It transmits to one of six channels which are selectable with a single button that cycles through them with each press. All channel numbers encircle the selector button, and the channel selected illuminates blue.
Having six channels to use means the receivers can work with six different transmitters at a time. This means DJs can use one receiver with 6 sources, such as a microphone feed or DJ mixer, and cycle through them.
They both house a micro-USB port on their side, and the receiver has a green syncing light to indicate that it has paired with a transmitter. Syncing is simple and almost instant!
To test both the latency and range of this device, we had some fun in the Crossfader studio and beyond!
Armed with a single U3 bundle, our resident Pioneer DJ XDJ-XZ all-in-one and a Soundboks 3 portable speaker, we took to the streets to find out how far from the studio this wireless adaptor could roam.
The U3 transmitter plugged into one of the XZ’s XLR-out sockets, and the receiver plugged into one of the Soundboks’ XLR-in sockets.
The plan was: play a track, crank the volume, pick up the speaker and walk, walk, walk…
Playback was instantaneous with no perceivable lag.
Finally, it was time to walk as far away from the studio as possible to see how far the speaker could get before audio dropout became a problem.
Turns out it got quite far, halfway down the street with no direct line of sight to the XZ, before sound began to drop out!
Other test results indicate that with a clean line of sight, the U3 will easily transmit audio 30+ meters!
There’s no doubt, Xvive has set a new gold standard for wireless transmitters and receivers. Despite some drawbacks, the U3 devices are proving popular amongst the DJ and live sound communities. Many say they have already become part of their equipment riders.
We found them impressive and feel they live up to their promise. For making any dynamic microphone wireless, they are faultless. For making a DJ rig less cluttered with cables, they are nearly there, with a few issues that can be worked around.
The main drawback is that the girth of the transmitter is wide, so plugging in 2 side-by-side is impossible on most DJ mixers!
We reached out to Xvive to ask if any revised designs might be coming, however, nothing is scheduled to be released as of yet.
Xvive did offer a solution for this problem however: plug in a short XLR cable and then plug the adapter into that. We tried this with a ½ metre XLR cable, and it worked perfectly!
Another drawback is that getting a stereo pair for plugging into speakers requires the purchase of 2 bundles. At £200 each, this is not a cost-effective solution.
More significantly, the battery life is quoted at 5 hours which is not going to be long enough for most working DJs who will typically need them for longer periods.
However, they can either be topped up with a portable USB power bank, such as those used to charge smartphones on the go or by A/C mains whilst in use.
Watch our test and review
Watch as Jamie takes the U3 for a walk to see how far it can go before sound starts breaking up!
The U3 is very impressive in its handling of latency, but the drawbacks of the design and battery life mean DJs looking to buy these should consider carefully. We’re hoping for a revision with a slimmer design, healthier battery, and perhaps costing a little less.
However, it is definitely polished and good to go as a microphone transmitter and receiver, and its ability to stream line-level sources is a pleasant bonus in need of just a few tweaks.
The future certainly looks like it will have the tech for some awesome wireless speaker rigs. But we’ll stick to the wired approach for hooking up our speakers. For now.
If you’re looking for the perfect pair for your set-up, check out our comprehensive guide on the Best Speakers for DJing.
Whether you’re ready to plug in your gear and go or want to expand your DJ skills, we offer a range of courses to suit DJs at every level.
Or, to achieve success as a professional or become the best DJ you can be with guaranteed results, our industry-certified Complete DJ Package has everything you need!