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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Trondheim's Aalberg Audio brings a new element to guitar effects pedals

As the story goes, back in 2010 Aalberg Audio co-founder Rune Aalberg Alstad was out with student friends in Trondheim, Norway and arguing with fellow guitarists about the best effects pedals on the market at that time. But Alstad argued that they all shared a common flaw – you’ve got to move to a fixed position on the stage to change the effects.

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“At that moment it was like the sky opened up and the ideas for a remote controlled pedal just came pouring in,” says Alstad who shared with us the a classic back-of-an-envelope blueprint from that night:

The solution, as you can see, is a remote controlled delay peddle for guitars. To house everything correctly, they’ve now produced an standard wired delay effects pedal that connects light weight wireless companion controller, where you can either velcro or clip to the body or strap of your guitar. With the setup, guitarists can now crowd-dive roughy 30 meters away from their setup while still switching between their favorite effects presets with the clip on their guitar.

This delay peddle, dubbed EKKO EK-1 and controller, AERO AE-1, is just the first step, but they’re planning on build a range of compatible pedals in the future for all the needs of roaming guitarists.

The AERO is now available to order from their Indiegogo campaign for their estimated March 2015 delivery, and is priced at $249 for the first 100 ordered with $299 seeming to be the price after that. The team hopes to hit a goal of $50,000, and seems to have gotten a decent bump on their first night.

I got a chance to test out AERO and EKKO myself up at Technoport, Trondheim’s Tech and startup conference, and while it didn’t make my rusty guitar skills sound any better, it was a fun and handy toy for jamming around on a couch without having to reach any effects pedals, and I could see it being much more useful up on stage.

Aalberg Audio ended up being part of Aalberg’s master’s thesis at Trondheim’s Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU), and from what I saw of the town, Aalberg Audio embodies exactly the hardware hacker culture coming out of the university. Like showing off the back-of-the-envelope idea to the prototypes, you can tell people up there really love to build stuff making Technoport or any other excuse you have to get up there well worth the effort.

“Guitarists have used stationary wired effects pedals for so long that they’ve learned to live with having to run over to the stompbox in the middle of a song to change effects,” says Aleksander Torstensen, CEO & Co-Founder of Aalberg Audio. “But it is restrictive as the guitarist never feels comfortable venturing too far away from their pedals. Our solution is highly liberating because it means guitarists can access all our effects no matter where they are on the stage – which is great for creativity and is why I think this product is the next big evolution in effects pedals.”

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