CDM, working with Reflex Audio in Canada, makes hardware. We would love for you to have it, so we’re doing two things. Through Sunday night, 11:59 PM North American Mountain time, we’re shipping our flagship synth for free. And, oh yeah, we’ll also start talking more about it. The sale is now over, but thanks to all of you who responded! We look forward to getting a lot of MeeBlippery to you!)

Lately, I’ve been having a surprising, repeat conversation. It’s a reason you should never, ever hire me to do your PR. It goes something like this:

“Oh, and MeeBlip is doing well.”
“Mee what?”
“MeeBlip, the synth we make.”
“I’ve never heard of that. Like, CDM makes a synth? A software synth? Or an iPad something?”
“No, a hardware synth.”
“Oh, hardware. How much does it cost?”
“A hundred and fifty bucks.”
“Wait, really?”

Yes, really. We really do make a hardware synthesizer. We’ve sold well over one thousand of them, demonstrating that open source music hardware can be a hit. But even though it’s open, it’s something you can use right away. You can assemble it with just a screwdriver in a few minutes – no soldering, no coding. And you can use its MIDI input to use it with your gear (including, yes, even that iPad). We thought from the beginning that it’d make a good first synth, but also a good synth for more advanced users, too – hardware we’d want to use ourselves. From the beginning, the plan was to use MeeBlip as part of Create Digital Music – part of the community, part of the story we tell on the site. At last, we’re getting to the point where we can do that.

Now that those MeeBlips are in the wild, we’re hearing from users – and the press.

Keyboard Magazine awarded the MeeBlip SE their Key Buy award, calling it “a hackable synth … for the rest of us.” It’s open source, but that means it’s “an ongoing exercise in refinement … ready for prime time — even if you don’t want any aspect of your musical life to involve holding a soldering iron or writing code.” And the sound: “a truly unique digital synth that can deliver grit, grunge, and grime.”

DE:BUG in Germany liked it, too.

It’s a new experience being reviewed rather than doing the reviewing. But what has really made this project worth it is the amazing things users have done with the instrument.

Watch and listen, for a taste of the MeeBlip SE:

Chris Randall plays both revisions of the MeeBlip, together, including the new SE (available as a firmware update for the original, too):

Having a bit of improv with some new kit. The bassline is done with the original MeeBlip; there are four two-measure MIDI clips in Ableton, and I’m randomly switching amongst them using follow actions. All drum and percussion sounds were created on a Yamaha TX81Z, then imported to and edited in the Maschine software.

Gear used: MeeBlip, MeeBlipSE, Native Instruments Maschine Mikro, SammichFM, DSI TETR4, Eventide Space, Eventide TimeFactor. Recorded with Ableton Live in one pass of live improv.

Our users make better demos than we do. Just last week, YouTuber MEGASYNTH1 did this:

This is a short demo of some of the Meeblip SE’s capabilities that I wanted to show. The track was made with only the Meeblip SE, a kick drum from a Korg Electribe emx1 and sequencing done in Reason with the Electribe for some parts. The other drum hits were made on the Meeblip with a noise osc. Extremely minimal processing was used.

Should I do more of these?

Yes, please.

We like having a version that doesn’t require soldering, but the timelapse here features some of the best musical sounds coming out of the MeeBlip we’ve heard yet. If you like soldering, there is a kit version; you’ll get the same sounds either way.

Sounds

You can hear what the MeeBlip sounds like in the hands of actual users just by doing a quick SoundCloud search:
https://soundcloud.com/search?q=meeblip

Here are some examples we’ve found that we really like:

Quick Build

We talk about the fact that you can make the MeeBlip with just a screwdriver. One Twitter user likened it to IKEA, but – depending on your lucky with Allen wrenches and particle board, that may be either a compliment or an insult, so we’ll instead show you exactly what we mean. Here’s what it takes to build it, uh, so quickly:

That video came to us from user Stan Taylor, as well, which was a pleasant surprise!

Get It

The MeeBlip SE Quick Build – complete with MIDI, knobs and switches, and a rugged plastic case – is US$149.95 and ships worldwide.

http://meeblip.com/get-one/

  • kent williams

    I really like the sound of the MeeBlip and it’s become a ‘go to’ synth for bass sounds. What really gets to me about it is how little source code it takes to make something sound this good. 
    Given how much commercial VST’s cost, I think buying one is a no-brainer for any synth-head.

    One thing that would rule:  A Meeblip modular unit — marry a Meeblip Micro to an Arduino with some analog I/O, knobs and jacks!

    If you want more of a bare demo, this is a few minutes of the same Live midi loop repeating as I change the parameters.  No effects, no EQ, just a mastering limiter to handle the highest peaks.

    http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/MeeBlipTest.mp3 

    • retroz

      Shawn Rudiman just finished building an amazing little Meeblip rack unit with CV inputs. We’ll feature it on meeblip.com later this month, but for now here’s a short video: http://youtu.be/7X5WHHDFgpA

  • http://twitter.com/Kajortoq Kajortoq

    *Loving* that Chris Randal hardware jam. He coaxes magic out of such simple setups. 

  • http://twitter.com/bigmisterdoom Big Mister Doom

    Just bought one here in the UK, can’t wait for its arrival. No shipping tipped over the edge…. I have been considering one for a while now. Great idea Peter!

  • Radiophobic

    This offer is timely. I have been seriously thinking of getting one of these the last couple days.

  • KarlPopper

     I love the sound and I love the concept.  Plenty of interface, great price, no gimmicks.  I’d like to see this project go as far as it possibly can.

  • Jo_mo

    This funky little box not only sounds great, it “plays” really well too – via fingers on a keyboard.

  • http://twitter.com/vomvorton Tom Morton

    Note to UK customers – I had to pay a customs charge of about £28 – might be worth asking if whoever ships them can tick the ‘gift’ box when sending them out (if that still results in no / smaller charges – I’m not sure).

    Still worth every penny though, and I’m really enjoying mine. I haven’t done a proper demo track, but all of the synth sounds on this track are from the meeblip se: http://soundcloud.com/vomvorton/vampires-will-always-break

    • retroz

      Good point, Tom. Buyers outside the USA & Canada should keep in mind that there will be VAT and possibly duty on their purchase. This ranges from 19 – 20% in Europe to some staggering charges to import into South American countries. If unsure, contact your local post office.

  • 2yiTB

    I added some Meeblip to a song on my Debut EP last year. If the song is not your cup of tea but you would like to hear the Meeblip being used in a subtle way, then the Meeblip kicks in at 2 mins 43 secs. I have it build more towards the end. Lovely instrument Peter and James. Thank you!

    http://soundcloud.com/2yitb/treefall

  • Mark Powell

    Is it deliberate that there’s no free delivery on the ‘Build it Yourself’ option?  That ends up costing more than the quick build.  I’d like to build one myself, but don’t want to pay extra for the privilege.

    Thanks,
    Mark.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      It’s a sale on shipping for one model, the Quick Build unit, so you’re reading this correctly.

    • Mark Powell

      No problem Peter; just thought I’d check as that might have pushed my indecision over the edge into a purchase.  Thanks for the quick reply.

    • retroz

      I responded to your query on the meeblip blog, will summarize here.  The DIY kit isn’t on sale because it’s already discounted. Counter-intuitively, the kit version is actually slightly *more* expensive for us to make than the prebuilt boards.

      Why? Because (a) it requires a through-hole board that sells in much smaller numbers and requires through-hole components bought in smaller quantities, and (b) it takes quite a bit of time to put together the parts cards and package the components. In contrast, the pre-built board is assembled in larger batches using surface mount parts and automated pick & place machines.

  • Oootini

    You guys should check out what’s going on in mutable instruments land. Some very impressive stuff – a six voice poly synth with pick and mix voice cards, based on various filter toplogies. Also a new 100% analog patchable monosynth.

  • Zoopy

    Examples of the open source aspect being utilized in cool ways?

  • Heinrich

    sounding good !

  • joel

    I’m looking forward to getting mine!  joel in Dallas

  • David D. White

    Very versatile little machine. ..I’ve noticed the music that sounds the best with these are those who take their time. That little bugger has a hair trigger, & is best to slowly open valves to release the xrunch…get some xrunch in your system, get some xrunch in your system, get some xrunch in your system…