Blipblox myTracks Review: A Beatmaking Pad for Kids

Playtime Engineering launched the $199 Blipblox synthesizer about 5 years in the past. It didn’t come anyplace near toppling the simple king of the price range synth market, Korg’s Volcas. Then once more, that wasn’t the purpose. Blipblox isn’t a tiny, low-cost keyboard designed to contaminate synth dads with a nasty case of substances acquisition syndrome. It’s a kids’s toy—a cumbersome piece of shiny plastic with the purpose of instructing the fundamentals of synthesis.

Now the corporate has simply wrapped up a profitable Kickstarter marketing campaign for its second instrument, the Blipblox myTracks. MyTracks mainly tries to reply one query: What if an Ableton Push and a Leapfrog toddler laptop computer had a child? It’s a stand-alone sampler and groovebox that lets children create their very own songs from begin to end. It tries to simplify issues as a lot as attainable whereas nonetheless delivering an honest quantity of enjoyable sound mangling.

Editor’s observe: The myTracks remains to be in preorder and can start transport later this yr. We had been granted early entry to a preproduction mannequin as the corporate finally ends up the gadget for estimated supply in November.

A New Musical Toy

Let’s begin by clearing up what the myTracks will not be: It’s not a fully-fledged MPC. You can’t chop up samples on it. The pads aren’t velocity delicate (or notably delicate in any respect, actually). It’s additionally not a synthesizer. While it has melodic tracks, they’re simply single-shot samples that get pitched up and down by enjoying them again slower or sooner. It has a sure lo-fi vibe that may be charming on the appropriate sound, however this isn’t going to be the gadget in your children to be taught sound design or finger drumming on.

Top view of audio mixing device with colorfully illuminated buttons a speaker on the top and a gearshift on either side

Photograph: Terrence O’Brien

Instead, what myTracks is supposed to show is the fundamentals of music manufacturing. It has 5 tracks, one in every of which is devoted to drums. Kids (or children at coronary heart) can merely hit Record, faucet out a beat, then transfer on to the following observe to place down a bass line, and so forth, till they’ve an entire 5-track music. It even has a built-in microphone to allow them to pattern their toys or their very own voice and use that as a part of the composition.

The arguably larger distinction between the BlipBlox synth and the myTracks, although, is the complexity. Where the colourful strains, buttons, and built-in sequences made the corporate’s kid-friendly synth approachable to even the youngest kids, myTracks is geared towards older children. For one, they’ll want to have the ability to learn a few of the labels. The myTracks has an precise workflow for making music, whereas the BlipBlox synth was extra about button mashing.

In addition to notice mode, there’s a clip mode, like what you’d discover inside recording software program like Ableton Live. Here, the pads set off loops that you just mix and recombine to create new variations on a theme. It’s an effective way to introduce children to the idea of arranging a music.

Top Closeup of audio device illuminated buttons and joystick. Bottom Closeup of audio mixing device button pad with...

Photograph: Terrence O’Brien

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