Guy Coker: Digital Wireless Pioneer | Part 2
   


You’ve heard the challenges with analog wireless—now let Guy Coker explain the benefits of digital wireless in general, and Line 6 solutions in particular.

So what are some of the key advantages of digital?

Digital wireless provides a 100% 24-bit digital picture of whatever you’re playing or singing. It’s just like going to a high-end studio, recording a vocal or the output of your very nice instrument, and then sending it to the receiver. A series of ones and zeros gets transmitted in the air—there’s no ambiguity or room for error.

When the receiver gets the signal, it’s crystal clear just like it was when you put it into the device. There’s no change of dynamics, there’s virtually no loss of dynamic range and more importantly, there’s no loss of frequency response. You get up to 120dB of dynamic range. You can transmit Earth-shattering lows, which is awesome.

What’s your design philosophy and inspiration for continuing to develop each new generation of Line 6 digital wireless systems?

I always take the approach that using our wireless should be seamless and enjoyable for the user, so I innovate by automating common tasks. With Line 6 digital wireless, we’ve been able to automate a lot of the jobs that analog wireless couldn’t do, like obtaining the right signal level, signal-to-noise ratio, frequency selection, diversity, battery/telemetry data, etc. With our systems, the user doesn’t need a technical background to get any of these features spot on.

Why do XD-V systems transmit in the 2.4GHz band?

We chose 2.4GHz because it enabled us to produce one product that could go all over the world, license free. That means you don’t have to purchase any licenses to use that frequency band. With other wireless systems, if your band is on tour in Europe, you have to purchase the right to use certain frequencies. If you don’t have a huge budget, it really helps that you don’t have to spend the extra cash for licenses, or spend time worrying about that stuff.

Also, at 2.4GHz, you don’t have to worry about interference from TV broadcasts, cell phone towers, etc. And to put a rumor to rest, you absolutely don’t need line of sight between the transmitter and receiver for the system to work properly.

Describe the advanced audio protection and excusive digital technologies—like DCL™—that keep XD-V signals safe from WiFi and other types of interference.

We have our own proprietary wireless protocol that is only recognized by our system. Our system views other RF signals as noise, since they don’t include our exclusive protocol. So no matter how many other signals are in the air, our system will never receive and understand those signals—they’re speaking an entirely different language.

Will you explain the concept of diversity and talk about how Line 6 digital wireless systems handle it differently than analog systems?

Diversity is a method of improving signal reliability by using multiple communication channels. Traditionally, analog systems feature two antennas—they look at the analog signal between both antennas and they kind of sum them together. With diversity, as you’re getting good signal on one antenna, the other antenna is losing signal. They’re hardly ever the same, there’s all this up and down. And the problem is that you can get some distortions and noise in the area where the signals cross.

In contrast, our systems have two receivers running all the time collecting separate data on each antenna. So, if one antenna has bad data the other one has good data. There’s no switching, it’s just real time all the time.

We also go one step further and do something called frequency hopping. Wireless LAN is stationary, but we are not—we’re always jumping across multiple frequencies. This is very different from analog wireless, which always requires a clear channel. We’re a moving target, which makes it very difficult to interfere with us.

Stay tuned for the third and final part of the series, where Coker shares what customers think of the built-in mic modeling, and more.

Read Part 1 of the series