Let's face it, we live in wireless times. The living room hi-fi has been replaced with Bluetooth speaker systems, the home telephone by smartphones and the USB charging cable by induction mats. Though cable-free technology for guitar players has been around in one form or another for a good many years, reliability and affordability issues have meant that many players choose to be cabled to an amp. Scotland's Ingenious Audio says help is at hand in the form of Jack, which can wirelessly throw an electric guitar's output to an amp without users having to worry about radio interference or annoying Bluetooth latency. Offering responsive high resolution audio over a secure connection, the device can also link a guitar or amp to any Wi-Fi-enabled device.
According to the Edinburgh-based developers, there's no need to make sure a venue has a wireless network already in place or mess around with complicated IDs and passwords to log into a home network, Jack creates its own encrypted Wi-Fi network with click to connect simplicity. The 100 x 48 x 20 mm (3.9 x 1.9 x 0.78 in), 85 g (3 oz) device's patent-pending optimized Wi-Fi technology is reported to offer high bandwidth wireless connectivity for (almost) real-time uncompressed 24-bit, studio quality audio, transmitting three times faster than compressed (low latency) Bluetooth and 13 times quicker than "standard" Bluetooth.
"Conventional Wi-Fi isn't designed for real time so this has required some major ground up development working in collaboration with teams out of Glasgow University, but we genuinely think we have something pretty cool here," CEO John Crawford told Gizmag.
Its low lag capabilities will naturally appeal to gigging musicians, but even bedroom axe gods would likely welcome the opportunity to dive off the top of the wardrobe without risking cables getting tangled in the light fittings. The first production iteration will operate over the 2.4 GHz band only, but Crawford told us that the technology is portable to 5 GHz so a dual band version could follow.
Players will need two devices to wirelessly play guitar tones through an amp – one plugged into the guitar's instrument jack using the articulated instrument jack and one connected to the amp. But if noodlers just want to wirelessly connect to a Wi-Fi-enabled computer, laptop or tablet for playback via digital amps and effects or recording, only a single Jack is needed.
"Wireless guitar kits exist today, but to date none have been able to use the high data rate Wi-Fi system," said Crawford. "Using Wi-Fi means Jack can connect to the 5 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices out there."
The Jack will be accompanied by companion software, and the company says that the PC system is complete and running now, with apps for iOS, Android and Mac OS in development. The device sports its own 3.5 mm headphone jack for monitoring, volume buttons, a transmit or receive selection switch and status lights for battery level and wireless connectivity. Though still benchmarking the prototype, the developers reckon that the built-in battery should be good for 3 hours between charges.
The push toward production proper will begin with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter shortly. Ingenious Audio is hoping to offer a pair of early bird Jacks for around £170 (roughly US$260). Shipping is estimated for April 2015 pending a successful outcome.
The video below walks through Jack's capabilities and functionality.
Source: Ingenious Audio