It's the stuff of rock 'n' roll fantasy: a ring that gives its wearer the power to morph the sound of an electric guitar at will. A technology called Hot Hand aims to create a scenario where the movements of the ring are tracked and the sounds varied accordingly. It’s the I-Phone of the guitar world.
Among the volume effects possible with Hot Hand is the use of a slow attack envelope to simulate the sound of a bowed instrument such as a violin. Other volume control effects include tremolo, or amplitude modulation. Ordinarily, tremolo is controlled by a low-frequency oscillator, but in Hot Hand it is controlled by waving the fingers, hand, wrist or forearm.
With volume changes one can do wonders by just hitting a chord and then raising one’s hand to make it stronger, and produce tremolo effects whose speed is controlled by the hand position. Even the wah-wah effects can be minutely modified with this Ring, to a surreal level.
The new wah-wah effects combine both low-pass and band-pass filters and what is called multi-peak filters, which are like two or more wah-wahs moving in sequence against each other.
Hot Hand is likely to be popular among adventurous players looking for unique ways to manipulate the sound of their guitar or produce new sounds altogether. It may not appeal as much to live performers, especially guitarists who don't move around much on stage and as such it’s a gift to all the budding Elvis Priesleys.
The technology pairs an automotive airbag accelerometer with an audio processor to achieve this Hot Hand.
Devised by Analog Devices Inc. spin-off Source Audio LLC, Hot Hand puts an ADI accelerometer chip in a ring that guitarists place on a finger of their plucking hand. The movements of the ring are tracked by feeding the wired control signals into a box that houses an ADI-customized SigmaDSP—a 56bit audio processor with 24bit ADCs and DACs, and a 100dB dynamic range. Two foot pedals control on/off and cycling through user-defined presets.
The company Source Audio hopes to demonstrate the prototype flanger and phaser capabilities at the National Association of Music Merchants show on July 14-16 in Austin, Texas. Be there to witness this new phenomenon.