Nordic-powered Bluetooth low energy wireless switcher allows electric guitarists to simultaneously and remotely control amplifiers, effects pedals, and MIDI equipment

The ‘MOON MO-1’ wireless switcher from Aalberg Audio employs Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC to remotely wirelessly control multiple instruments and audio equipment

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Aalberg Audio, a Norwegian manufacturer of wireless audio equipment, has selected Nordic’s multiple award-winning nRF51822 Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) System-on-Chip (SoC) for its ‘MOON’ MO-1 wireless switcher. The MOON wireless switcher allows a guitarist to wirelessly control all of their ancillary equipment, acting either independently or simultaneously as an amplifier channel switcher, an ABY switcher, or a MIDI switcher.

The MOON wireless switcher works in conjunction with Aalberg Audio’s AERO AE-1, a Nordic nRF51822-powered wireless remote controller that a guitarist attaches to their guitar or guitar strap. The MOON wireless switcher can then be plugged into an amplifier, a guitar effects pedal, or any piece of equipment with a MIDI input, allowing the musician to both wirelessly and instantly control that device from the AERO controller on their guitar. While the AERO remote controller works exclusively with Aalberg’s proprietary effects pedals, the addition of the MOON switcher now allows the user to also control any third party amp, pedal, MIDI unit or ABY switcher. (Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) is a technical standard that describes a protocol, digital interface and connectors and allows a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate with one another. An ABY switcher allows the guitarist to switch between two amplifiers.)

By leveraging the nRF51822 SoC’s eight independent channels, the user can connect up to eight units simultaneously using the MOON switcher and supplied cables. For example, the guitarist can control a foot-switch for amplifiers, an ABY switch for pedals, and MIDI units. This allows the guitarist to move freely around stage and remotely control and alter the effects parameters of their instrument, switching amp channels, pedals, or adding ‘reverb’ or ‘fuzz’ effects, up to a range of 30 meters.

In addition to enabling Bluetooth low energy connectivity between the AERO controller and the MOON switcher, Nordic’s nRF51822 SoC also provides wireless connectivity to iOS Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) compatible devices running the Aalberg Remote app. From the Aalberg Remote app users can control up to eight devices simultaneously, customize and save ‘preset’ pedal effect parameters, as well as turn the pedals on and off. The app could potentially be used, for example, by a sound engineer to remotely take control of audio equipment on stage during a performance.

Nordic’s nRF51822 is a powerful and flexible multiprotocol SoC ideally suited for Bluetooth low energy and 2.4GHz ultra low-power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU with 256kB/128kB flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The embedded 2.4GHz transceiver is fully compliant with Bluetooth 4.2, the latest Bluetooth Smart specification.

“Thanks to the power of the Nordic SoC, the MOON switcher can control up to eight devices, and with one click you can change your whole sound,” says Aleksander Torstensen, CEO of Aalberg Audio. “Before you would have needed some very advanced and expensive gear to achieve this.

“Now the musician has complete freedom. They have complete control and flexibility that brings new possibilities to how a song is played. It also enhances instruments in new ways not previously possible.

“One of our competitive advantages is that we have such a close relationship with Nordic,” continues Torstensen. “We want to be a leader in wireless music and the close support we receive from Nordic is the perfect scenario to help us achieve this.”

The MOON wireless switcher is currently subject to a Kickstarter campaign.

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