Low latency wireless guitar jack claims superiority to a wired link

December 17, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Nordic Semiconductor's RF technology has helped Dutch wireless ODM, System Designs BV to develop a wireless musical instrument jack that Systec claims at sub-2.3 ms offers the world's lowest latency for a wireless audio adapter of its kind.

The jack result is a wireless solution which claims to be superior to a traditional trailing cable, hard-wired link in audio quality and physical convenience.

The stageClix, which at $450 targets serious amateur and professional musicians, consists of a regular quarter-inch (6.3 mm) 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.

In operation, the stageClix offers 'plug & play' simplicity and employs a patent-pending anti-interference protocol technique Systec calls 'triple-diversity'. This 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 2.3 ms that eliminates issues such as fadeouts, dropouts, and 'pops' that often plague wireless musical instrument jacks.

"All wireless systems traditionally struggle