The a-box : a wireless audio & MIDI repeater

Remotely play over Bluetooth, a-pipes can do that, but a PC+Bluetooth is needed and some operations are needed for establishing the connection.

Its great, but could be better.

There are also some limitations due to Bluetooth itself :

  • Latency time - 5 milliseconds uselly - is low but hearable, especially for sensitive pipers.
  • Bluetooth electric drawn is high and reduces a-pipes playing duration.
  • Range is short and connection can be easyly cut by obstacles, after that connection comes back after a while.
  • Connection doesn't work easily on some systems, like Windows 10, and is not possible on iPhone and iPad.
  • A PC or an Android device is needed.

The a-Box is an alternate solution that fixes all this limitations. It is a little box, 50 mm x 20 mm x 20 mm, powered through its mini USB plug. It includes a UHF low power radio, a sound card with a jack 3.5 audio output and an optional MIDI output.

Once the a-Box plugged to a speaker, an amplifier or a headphone, it will playback all notes coming from the a-pipes, including vibrati, glissendi and metronome.

Connection to a-pipes is automatic and instantaneous.

Electric drawn is dramaticaly lower than using Bluetooth.

Latency time is close to 1 millisecond and not noticable.

Wide range (more than 17 meters without obstacles) and reliable connection.

When MIDI adapter is plugged in (a special optional wire), the a-Box doesn't play anymore on jack output, but sends notes on its MIDI output.

Then a-pipes can be wirelessly be used through a synth or a software synth such as "Universal Piper" or "Studio piper / ePipes".

The a-pipes should previously be upgraded with the same radio device, whose electric drawn is extremly low ; a-pipes playing duration is not reduced.

When ordering an a-Box, the a-pipes device would be sent back for radio updrade. Bluetooth keeps operational after that.

The a-Box is available since january of 2017.

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