With a sub-2.3ms latency, Dutch developer Systec Designs claims its 'stageClix' wireless guitar jack - which employs Nordic RF technology - is the lowest latency digital wireless audio adapter of its kind available in the world and is actually superior in many ways to a traditional hard-wired guitar-to-amplifier cable link.
The stageClix, which at USD 450 targets serious amateur and professional musicians, consists of a regular quarter-inch (6.3mm) jack plug transmitter on an articulated knuckle that plugs into the guitar and can be turned to sit flat against it. The jack transmitter communicates with a metal receiver compatible with any guitar amp and which can also charge the jack plug transmitter when not in use.
A belt-pack worn option called the 'stageClix Pack' offers a microphone input for amplifying the output of acoustic instruments such as trumpets, saxophones, and acoustic guitars, and also supports a small belt-pack-to-guitar wire to accommodate a minority number of bass guitars whose poorly RF-shielded active electronics can be influenced by the RF field of the stageClix transmitter if plugged directly into the guitar. The use of ultra-low power Nordic transceivers enables the unpowered transmitter jack that plugs into a guitar to deliver up to 15 hours continuous use when powered from a pair of built-in rechargeable AAA batteries.
A patent-pending anti-interference protocol technique Systec calls 'triple-diversity' streams audio over three 'frequency hopped' channels that are widely spaced across a total of 80 available Nordic channels. Using a technique similar to RAID-style redundancy from the high-end PC server industry, 'reconstruction' of lost data packets from any two of the three hopped frequency channels is possible. Alongside this 'RAID-redundancy-principle' a second algorithm is used to take care of 'intelligent interpolation' in case full reconstruction of data packets by the primary 'RAID-algorithm' fails for whatever reason.
This - according to Systec - results in a world-leading latency of 2.3ms that eliminates issues such as fadeouts, dropouts, and 'pops' that often plague wireless musical instrument jacks. "All wireless systems traditionally struggle with fast, attacking 'transient' notes that can be flattened out by analog systems or become noticeably slowed and subdued by digital systems if the latency of the link according to our experience is anything above 3ms," explains Harry Visser, one of the design engineers behind the stageClix. "This can leave musicians feeling disconnected from their instruments when playing and probably explains the slow uptake of wireless jacks to date."
Visit Systec Designs at www.systecdesigns.nl.
Visit Nordic Semiconductor at www.nordicsemi.com.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.