Discover the BlipBlox, a Kids’ Toy and Fully-Functional Synthesizer That Will Teach Toddlers to Play Electronic Music

A series of videos has been going around show­ing Zakk Wylde, for­mer gui­tarist for Ozzy Osbourne, play­ing clas­sic rock and met­al songs on diminu­tive Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tars. They’re fun­ny: see­ing the burly, beard­ed leg­end rock out on a kid’s gui­tar; but they’re also pret­ty impres­sive, when he wrings real grit and feel­ing from these unlike­ly instru­ments.

I imag­ine it won’t be long before we’ll see a sim­i­lar stunt with some­one like Moby, for exam­ple, rip­ping out dance­able grooves on the Blip­blox, a kids’ toy that is also a ful­ly-func­tion­ing syn­the­siz­er (“actu­al­ly, it’s both”!).

While the Blip­blox may look like one of thou­sands of noisy con­sole-like tod­dler toys, it’s one that won’t tempt par­ents to do what many par­ents do (be honest)—pull out the bat­ter­ies and hide them where they can’t ever be found.

Apolo­gies to Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tars, but by com­par­i­son with most instru­ments made for kids, the Blip­blox is seri­ous­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed. “What sets this apart from oth­er toys,” writes Mix­mag, “is that it uses ‘a pro­pri­etary algo­rithm that syn­the­sizes com­plete­ly unique wave­forms’ allow­ing users to cre­ate their own sound­wave. The fea­tures include one low pass fil­ter, two enve­lope gen­er­a­tors, eight oscil­la­tor mod­u­la­tion schemes, two LFOs and MIDI, plus more.”

If those specs sound like an alien lan­guage to you, they won’t make any more sense to your 3‑year-old, and they don’t need to. “The blip­blox was made to have fun with­out ful­ly under­stand­ing how it works,” says the toy synthesizer’s cre­ator in an intro­duc­to­ry video above. Turn it on and start hit­ting but­tons, twist­ing dials, and push­ing the two joy­stick-like con­trollers back and forth, and beats, bleeps, bloops, blurps, and oth­er synth‑y sounds spill out, at var­i­ous tem­pos and pitch­es.

As kids (or par­ents who hijack the device) gain more con­trol, they can start refin­ing their tech­nique and cre­ate orig­i­nal com­po­si­tions, as you can see hap­pen­ing in the “stu­dio ses­sions” video above. Then they can out­put their sounds to mom and dad’s home stu­dio, or wherever—Blipblox is ready, as its Indiegogo cam­paign promis­es, for “a pro stu­dio set­up.” Or just lots of enter­tain­ing goof­ing around.

The Blip­blox is a bril­liant inven­tion and has already won a 2018 award for “Best Teach­ing Tool for Pre-School Stu­dents” and made an appear­ance at the very grown-up 2018 NAMM (Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Music Mer­chants) convention—see below. Priced at $159, the Blip­blox ships this sum­mer. Sign up at Indiegogo for “ear­ly bird perks.”

via Mix­mag

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mis­ter Rogers, Sesame Street & Jim Hen­son Intro­duce Kids to the Syn­the­siz­er with the Help of Her­bie Han­cock, Thomas Dol­by & Bruce Haack

Every­thing Thing You Ever Want­ed to Know About the Syn­the­siz­er: A Vin­tage Three-Hour Crash Course

Free, Open Source Mod­u­lar Synth Soft­ware Lets You Cre­ate 70s & 80s Elec­tron­ic Music—Without Hav­ing to Pay Thou­sands for a Real-World Syn­the­siz­er

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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