Boss went wireless with their Katana-Air amplifier, a totally wireless guitar amplifier (when run off batteries) which is capable – thanks to motion sensing technology in the transmitter – of powering up the amplifier when the guitarist picks up their guitar.
Expanding on wireless capabilities Boss have released their “virtual cable” technology in three formats, allowing musicians to roam and interact freely without entanglement! Allowing, for example, a guitarist to check the tone from the front of house, and dial in the desired sound without tripping over themselves or patching or routing cables.
Truly plug and play, connect the transmitter and receiver together for a few seconds and they establish the optimum wireless connection. Then simply plug the transmitter into your guitar (or other line level equipment, use your imagination) and the receiver into your amp. That’s it!
The devices provide up to 12 hours runtime from a full charge which can be provided by a standard USB adaptor. None of which would be of much use if latency was an issue, but with an ultra low latency of 2.3 ms there’s no discernible lag. To put this into context 2.3ms is the time it takes sound to travel one meter or about 3 feet. Depending on local conditions these “cables” deliver up to 50 ft line of sight transmission and up to 14 wireless cable systems can be used simultaneously in the same space. The transmitter weighs 43g and charging time is 3 hours for the receiver, or 4 hours when charged simultaneously with the transmitter, which is easily achieved by slotting the two together and and charging them from a single USB source.
The three models are the WL-20, with built in cable tone simulation. This emulates the natural capacitive effect, a slightly warming tonal roll off that you would expect when using a 10 foot cable with passive pickups.
The WL-20L is the same but without cable tone simulation. This would be the choice for guitarists with active pickups, those with passive pickups who don’t desire the natural warmth as produced by cables, or for line level sources for example the Roland Aerophone digital wind instrument or a synthesiser.
Last but by no means least, the WL-50 is an integrated dock that matches other Boss pedals in form factor and so is a natural companion in a pedalboard setup. It has two cable tone simulation options, and the simulation may also be defeated. The transmitter charges when it’s placed in the dock, and the dock acts as a DC output distribution source for other pedals – again streamlining an effect setup.
These virtual cables will give musicians more flexibility and freedom of movement, and that can never be a bad thing. We hope you enjoy Boss’ video below demonstrating the virtual cables in practice.