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.