French sound design firm HyVibe hit Indiegogo in late 2017 with an acoustic guitar infused with digital smarts. Now the company has announced a kit that can turn pretty much any acoustic into a hybrid smart guitar.

“Acoustic guitar players have high standards for natural sound, but also want the features and flexibility of digital,” said HyVibe’s Dr. Adrien Mamou-Mani at the time of the crowdfunding push to get the HyVibe guitar into production. “We address these needs by using the natural vibration of the guitar to create the best possible sounds and add digital control and connectivity to give the player effects, recording, and playback – all within the guitar itself.”

That acoustic was made by fellow countrymen Lâg Guitars, with HyVibe’s technology cooked in to make effects available to the player without having to plug into an amp, while also offering an onboard looper, a sound recorder, tuner, metronome, EQ and a Bluetooth speaker.

But musicians wanting to tap into the technology had to buy into a new guitar direct from HyVibe. Now the company says that the piezo sensor, high-speed processor and actuators are available as a kit for installation into any acoustic by after-market specialists.

The HyVibe System kit comprises a processing unit, piezo sensor, two actuators and outputs (though you don't need to plug into an amp or external effects chain to use the digital smarts)
The HyVibe System kit comprises a processing unit, piezo sensor, two actuators and outputs (though you don’t need to plug into an amp or external effects chain to use the digital smarts)

HyVibe Audio

Once installed, the sensor measures the vibrations of the strings as they’re picked, and the signal routed to a processor. Two actuators mounted inside the guitar (on the back of the soundboard near the bridge) then start exciting the guitar. Vibrations are measured again and readings sent back to the processor for optimization, and to nip any feedback in the bud. This process is said to take less than 23 microseconds. The player controls the show from an interface installed on the upper side of the host guitar.

The battery-driven HyVibe System results in effects sounding without having to cable the instrument up to an external amp or stomp chain, players can jam over backing tracks streamed to the Bluetooth speaker from a smartphone, and more.

Slide maestro Justin Johnson recently took the HyVibe guitar for a spin and posted a walk through to his YouTube channel. Players can expect similar results from the new HyVibe System kit, which is priced at US$390 and available now for after-market installation.

Product page: HyVibe System

Audio New Atlas