Giving us a ‘why didn’t someone think of this before?’ moment, Boss has announced the Waza-Air Wireless Personal Guitar Amplification System. Or, to put it another way, it’s a set of wireless headphones with amp and effects modelling built-in, along with a wireless transmitter for your guitar.
Boss claims that the Waza-Air offers “the natural dimension, resonance, and ‘moving air’ feel” that you get from using an amp in a real room, giving you a much better experience than you’d get from plugging standard cans into an amp. There’s a built-in gyro sensor that tracks head movement; this drives a set of 3D algorithms that promise to generate an immersive and realistic sound field.
This technology enables three operating modes. Surround places the amp in a virtual room, giving you an experience akin to being in a recording studio; Static offers “natural spatial localisation”, meaning that the combined amp and room sound changes depending on where you move your head; and Stage imagines you in a live environment, with the amp sound seemingly coming from behind you.
Waza-Air’s tones and controls are derived from Boss’s Katana amplifiers, and you can customise your sound in the Boss Tone Studio app for iOS and Android. The five amp models run the gamut from classic clean to high gain, and there’s also a full-range voice option that’s suitable for bassists and electro-acoustic players.
The amp models are augmented by more than 50 effect types that have been optimised for Waza-Air. You’ll find mod, delay and reverb processors, and you can store your favourite setups in six user memory slots.
As well as connecting wirelessly to the Boss Tone Studio app, Waza-Air’s Bluetooth connectivity means that you can also stream music to the headphones to jam along to. What’s more, in Stage mode, this music will sound like it’s coming from the backline, giving you the feeling of taking part in a live performance.
Of course, the obvious concern is that there could be some latency issues to contend with, but Boss assures us that, thanks to the inclusion of the wireless tech from its WL series, this won’t be a problem.
If Waza-Air sounds right and works reliably, we can see it being a big hit. It’ll be available soon at a price of $400/£378, and you can find out more on the Boss website.