Heavy metal, wireless pedal sets guitarists free

26 August 2014

Nordic Semiconductor's nRF51822SoC powers the world's first remote controlled effects pedal for electric guitars, from Aalberg Audio.

Described as the biggest evolution in electric guitar effects pedals since their first use by the Rolling Stones in 1962, the world's first remote controlled effects pedal for electric guitars comprises the EKKO wired delay effects pedal and AERO compact guitar or strap-mounted wireless companion controller. Together, they move guitar effects parameters from a stationary pedal to the performer's hands giving them the freedom to change effects while moving around and from anywhere on stage

Called 'stompboxes' in the industry, effects pedals were used to create some of the most famous sounds of the 1960s and 70s.
Used with the EKKO EK-1 wired delay effects pedal, the 37g, palm-sized (30 x 73 x 43mm) AERO AE-1 wireless controller is attached to the body or strap of a guitar. Guitarists control every effects parameter - including up to three saved pre-sets - on the pedal using their hands from wherever they are on stage (up to a range of 30m) rather than being restricted to the position of a conventional foot-operated pedal.
The nRF51822 is an integrated single-chip ULP SoC that incorporates a powerful 32bit ARM Cortex M0 microprocessor, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, up to 256kbyte of flash memory, and 16kbyte of RAM. The ARM microprocessor is easily able to handle both RF protocol and application software.
The SoC is designed to be immune to other nearby 2.4GHz transmitters (such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi) via its proprietary [Nordic Gazell] frequency agility protocol. This immunity is particularly important in a concert environment as there can be thousands of Bluetooth-equipped cellphones which could interfere with wireless operation.
The low power consumption also enables the AERO's rechargeable 3.7V 200mAh lithium-polymer battery to run for an entire day [under typical usage conditions] overcoming the difficulties of having to recharge the product half way through a performance.
Aalberg Audio says the EKKO EK-1 delay pedal is also just a first step and that it intends to build a full suite of AERO AE-1 compatible effects pedals in the future.

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