Noatronic lets players control effects pedals wirelessly from a guitar
Back at the NAMM 2019 music gear expo, Denmark's Noatronic took Best In Show for a box that allowed players to control stomps on a board directly from an electric guitar. Now the company has teamed up with RTX to take the system wireless.
The original Onboard Expression System is made up of three components – a control potentiometer that replaces ones of the host guitar's tone knobs, a stereo jack that replaces the instrument output jack, and a receiver box that's able to output signals from the pickups as well as read the position of the control knob and push-push switch status and send appropriate commands to effects pedals, amps and amp modelers via MIDI, expression and switch outputs.
But such control still requires cables to run between a guitar, the receiver and the gear under the system's control. Not so for the new Noatronic Wireless Guitar System that's currently funding on Indiegogo.
As before the system comes with a controller that will need to replace one of the tone pots on a host guitar, and the instrument jack will need to be swapped for the included stereo jack – so players will need to break out the soldering iron or get their local guitar store to do the honors. But at least there's no permanent modification to the instrument so you can leave the router in the tool shed.
A short stereo instrument cable will still need to run between guitar and a transmitter box mounted to the player's guitar strap, which is powered by on two AA-sized batteries and wirelessly simultaneously sends 24-bit/48-kHz audio and MIDI messages from the controller knob via RTX Sheerlink low-latency digital technology to a receiver unit up to 60 m (200 ft) away. Dual antennas employ continuous adaptive channel selection to minimize signal interference from anything else occupying the 2.4-GHz frequency band.
Players can then control any MIDI-compatible effects pedals or modeling amp parameters directly from the guitar, while free to roam about the stage, rehearsal room or studio.
The receiver unit gets its juice from a standard pedalboard power supply, rocks 0.25-in audio jack and MIDI out, and features a rotary switch that can be used to assign custom MIDI commands, set a long cable simulation filter, activate pairing and more, with a high-contrast OLED display keeping the player informed of what's what.
It looks like a pretty solid setup, and will be welcomed by players who aren't fond of being tethered to a pedalboard. Indeed, we found such an experience quite liberating when we tried out Aalberg Audio's Trym and Aero system back in 2016 (sadly no longer in production).
The Noatronic system is currently raising production funds on Indiegogo, where pledges start at €359 (about US$425). If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to begin in May 2022. The video below has more.