Blipblox Synth For Kids Now Available To Pre-Order

Playtime Engineering has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund production of the Blipbox – a synthesizer and beatbox designed to be easy-to-use and safe for children as young as 3 years old.

While it’s designed with kids in mind, it also offers MIDI support:

Blipbox FAQ

The developers shared an FAQ that addresses some common technical questions about the Blipbox:

Don’t synthesizers usually have keyboards?

The Blipblox has a sequencer that plays hundreds of built-in melodies, so the user can focus on exploring the tone and textures of the sound, not just play individual notes. You can use the MIDI Input port to connect an external keyboard.

Why aren’t the buttons or knobs labeled?

The Blipblox was designed to be inviting and accessible to people of all ages. Those interested in learning more can refer to our in-depth Learning Toolbox Instruction Manual that outlines the Blipblox controls and signal flow for each of the buttons, knobs and levers.

Can I program or load my own sequences into the Blipblox?

The Blipblox comes pre-loaded with hundreds of fun melodies. The MIDI input port allows an external sequencer or keyboard to play the sounds instead of the internal sequencer.

Are samples used to make the sounds?

All sounds in the Blipblox come from synthesized algorithms instead of samples. This allows for an unlimited range of sounds to be explored and is the primary difference between the Blipblox and other music toys.

Does the Blipblox time-sync to other MIDI gear?

Yes. The Blipblox responds to MIDI start, stop and time sync commands.

Can I play the drums via MIDI?

Yes. The synthesizer is played using Channel 1, the drums with Channel 2.

Can I control sound parameters via MIDI?

No, only note on/off/pitch and MIDI sync are supported.

Is the Blipblox in tune? When I play it from a keyboard, are the notes matched to the correct frequency?

Yes. As crazy as some of the sounds can get, they are still frequency matched and in tune. You can incorporate almost any Blipblox sound into a music track.

Where are all the controls for the two envelope generators?

The Amplifier Envelope has only a Release control knob. The Modulation Envelope has only an Attack control knob. The envelopes automatically adjust some parameters based on tempo and other factors to keep them fun and usable.

How do I select the LFO waveform??

The two LFO waveforms are automatically randomized.

How does the Blipblox select modes such as Oscillator Sync, or Pulse Width Modulation, or De-tune? How does it select oscillator waves?

There are 8 Oscillator Modulation Schemes. Each scheme takes two Modulation inputs. Different Modulation schemes automatically assign the Modulation inputs to parameters such as Sync, PWM, Detune, etc. Some modulation inputs use non-traditional sound warping to insure a there is a wide range of sounds to explore. Different waveforms are hard-wired into the different Oscillator Schemes.

How can this work like a real synthesizer with so few buttons?

There are several special modes accessed by pressing multiple combinations of buttons. These include turning off the sequencer, changing the LED mode and editing drum sounds. The manual describes these in detail.

How do the control signals work?

There 3 modulation sources: LFO1, LFO2 and Modulation Envelope. Any 3 of these can be routed to Oscillator Modulation 1, Oscillator Modulation 2, and Low Pass Filter Modulation. This forms a 3×3 modulation matrix. There is also the Amplifier Envelope dedicated to controlling the release time of each note.

Pricing and Availability

The Blipbox is available for pre-order to project backers starting at US $139.

17 thoughts on “Blipblox Synth For Kids Now Available To Pre-Order

  1. A 3 year old would play a MPC. Funny that it appears to take on the look of a kids toy when they cant keep their hands off anything electronic. Kind of tightened the market to only kids when it could have been a bit broader with a better design.

    1. not really, they can hit pads and all but that is about it – I have a pretty advanced 3 year old at home and she’ll play my E2 sometimes or I’ll hook up the Kboard or quneo to something for her to go wild on but really, for the most part she understands the keyboard but all the other functions she is just randomly turning knobs, same with when I play guitar with her, she gets the strumming but not the fretting . if you are talking a 5 year old, yeah probably, but not a 3 year old.

  2. I’m into the retro sci fi vibe and love everything Toy like, so I want to love this thing. I even went 90% of process to buy it. But after listening to the demos its like it was purposely made to not make anything that sounds musical. Perhaps I’m not being fair not having heard the full range of sequences, but the examples he played just sound random and the filter seems only gritty. But even a kid might sometimes want to make beats and harmonic noises that sound like actual music, not to mention the parents in the next room. Maybe there’s still time for the creator to hire a musician to create a few interesting sequences and loops before he ships it. This could be so much more endearing if is sounded as cute as it looks (at least sometimes). As it is, I’d rather gut it and put an organelle inside of it.

    1. (assuming, you’re also talking about the first video?)
      funny. i just thought the exact opposite: why would they put in melodies and beats in 4/4 measure? kids often aren’t as biased as us and don’t have such a limited definition of what is musical and what is not. so for my taste this instrument serves the taste of loop-oriented music too much with its short riff-like melodies and regular, even beats. i do like the sound a lot, however. and i sure want one 🙂

      1. I watched all the vids on the kickstarter and searched youtube for some more. I just couldn’t find one that seemed that interesting. I love toys that make noise and have a bunch. When I was 13 I built a PAiA. Turned out like shit but I eventually learned to solder! There are other ways to learn synthesis or make weird noises. Great ios apps for example. All my friend’s kids seem to want Ableton and pushbuttons and then rap. I get that this is meant to be diff. But its not that hard to create some basic musical arpeggios like most of Daddy’s keyboards has built in. Or support some musical concept like preset scales and chords as building blocks. Here’s a rudimentary example:

  3. Ya, the critter and guitari boxes could be for kids if some of the specs were slimmed down and if things were labeled. Good call. Especially if it were batter powered. I’ve seen kids rocking sp-404s with no issues. The younger they were, the more you had to be a bit hands on but around 6-7, they were sampling, editing and sequencing.

  4. im expecting this….this device wont have a kids attention for to long

    {edit] im in someway a big kid and i even didnt the patience to watch the whole vid :p

  5. This is absolutely brilliant on all fronts! Job very well done! I think people are missing the point. It’s amazing twist on the introduction of music for the little ones. All the stuff under the hood offers the ability to dive deeper learning more as they grow with it. They gave you everything to make it play nice with all of the gear head parents equipment. Could be some cool collaborations on the horizon.

  6. This is too expensive for kids. My kids will play with anything they get their hands on they don’t discriminate against knobs being labeled or not if it makes noise they will figure it out somehow.

  7. I would like to have updates in order to place my order for your product, awaiting anxiously VGR 303 263-5504

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