Rolling Stones move over, here come wireless electric guitar effects pedals

August 20, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Nordic Semiconductor ASA has announced that Norwegian startup, Aalberg Audio, is employing Nordic nRF51822 Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) to provide the wireless connectivity in the world's first remote controlled effects pedal for electric guitars.

Aalberg Audio claims the development represents the biggest evolution of the guitar effects pedal since its earliest use by legendary guitarist Keith Richards on the 1962 Rolling Stones hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction".

Called 'stompboxes' in the guitar industry, effects pedals (which as a category include a variety of wired add-on effects pedals that musicians use to achieve around 15 separate audio effect-types from electric guitars such as 'wah-wah', 'fuzz', 'reverb', and 'tremolo') were used to create some of the most famous sounds of the 1960s and 70s. The pedals were made famous by such legendary early adopters as Jimi Hendrix and The Kinks and have been at the feet of virtually every electric guitar player ever since.

To be introduced on crowd funding website Indiegogo later this month (, Aalberg Audio's solution comprises the "EKKO EK-1" wired delay effects pedal and a light weight (37g), palm-sized (30 x 73 x 43 mm) "AERO AE-1" wireless companion controller that is attached to the body or strap of a guitar. This allows guitarists to control every effects parameter - including up to three saved presets - on their pedal using their hands from wherever they are on stage (up to a range of 30 meters / 98-feet) rather than being restricted to the position of a conventional foot-operated pedal.

"One of the biggest challenges was making sure that by replacing a hardwired solution we didn't lose the reliability or introduce any wirelessly-induced delays, that guitarists simply would not tolerate, compared to the 'instant response' of a wired connection," comments Aleksander Torstensen, CEO & Co-Founder of Aalberg Audio. "To make things even tougher, we also wanted a single-chip wireless solution with enough memory and processing power to handle what would otherwise demand two chips and lead to a significantly more complicated, costly, and cumbersome product form factor.