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.”
“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.”
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?
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.
You can hear what the MeeBlip sounds like in the hands of actual users just by doing a quick SoundCloud search:
Here are some examples we’ve found that we really like:
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!
The MeeBlip SE Quick Build – complete with MIDI, knobs and switches, and a rugged plastic case – is US$149.95 and ships worldwide.