1010Music Fireball & Lemondrop Nanobox Synth Review

The latest Sonic Lab video takes a look at the new nanobox ‘pocket polysynths’ from 1010music.

Sonic State’s Gaz Williams takes a look at the fireball, an eight-voice wavetable synthesizer. And Editor Nick Batt takes a look at the lemondrop, a four-voice granular synth.

Check out the review, and share your thoughts on the new nanobox synths in the comments!

Topics covered:

00:00 Intro
2:30 Connections screen and SD card
5:00 Sounds Lemondrop
07:23 modulation
08:30 UI and Navigation
09:39 Sounds Fireball
11:05 Lemondrop audio files and live input
12:40 Fireball Wavetables from SD Card
14:27 Interchangeable Firmware?
15:25 more sounds and comments
20:00 Conclusions

28 thoughts on “1010Music Fireball & Lemondrop Nanobox Synth Review

    1. definitely. there’s not a lot of non-euro granular hardware out there. granular on the polyend tracker is half-baked and uninspiring to me, granular on the tasty chips gr-1 is pretty awesome, but probably out of people’s price range. and the only other granular hardware i really know of is the red panda granular delay pedal which is $299 with way less features.

      i’m curious about the addition of the traditional oscillator and if it helps alleviate the typical issue with granular, which is that it tends to be most useful (for me, at least) only for reverby atmospheric pad sounds.

      1. For granular hardware: In addition to the Red Panda Particle, you can also find such similar granular effects from the Pladask Elektrisk Fabrikat, Baklengs, and Draume; the Drolo Molecular Disruptor; the Mastro Valvola LEM; the Empress ZOIA; Cooper FX Outward; and even Red Panda’s own Tensor, amongst others. Most of them are around the same ($299-$399) price point.

        Or you can simply run through an iPad and you’ll have a veritable universe of different programs to pick.

        All of these sound a bit different and have their own take on this. The Lemondrop may be the one. But there are options out there if you want to evaluate which is best for you.

      2. I do a lot of granular stuff on the ipad and I guess technically iris is a granular synth even though it is also spectral – but it has the oscillator as well and really helps to create more interesting musical stuff the same way I imagine this does

  1. It would have been great if they kept the same form factor as the Blackbox and Bluebox and kept then in a series. I had a Blackbox, it was perfectly small, these are smaller somehow. They sound amazing but the size is a loss.

    1. Yeah, my first impression was that the small form factor and coloring make them seem somewhat toyish. Black or dark blue would make them seem less toyish IMHO. The first thing that crossed my mind when seeing the red Fireball is Miniature Etch-a-sketch.

    2. you buy every piece of hardware that samples. i notice this because it’s what i would do if i had the money. i was counting on you to order the lemondrop and be the excruciatingly honest review 🙂

      1. I was about to click away, disinterested, but then read your comment about it sampling. Dammit, I want this now! 🙂

  2. wavetable and granular, two very hot synth types at the moment. i love the idea of these so much, but seeing as they are digital and how many plug-in options there have been for years most of which are already on most of our computers, i don’t see how these can benefit other than the DAW-less crowd. that being said, i would love to have these but may never be able to justify it. gorgeous little objects!

  3. I don’t get the complaints about it not having a battery. The last thing I’d want is a battery that would need replacing in due time. Just hook it up to a powerbank for phones, which we all likely got lying around, and there’s no hassle to worry about whatsover.

    1. Just because something has a battery doesn’t mean it can’t be usb powered as well right?
      So yeah the hassle is there because 1010 didn’t wanna include it at this premium price.

      Btw people have been modifying their Blackbox & Bluebox with build in battery. It’s on their forum so they should know people would’ve loved that feature.

    2. most of the battery interest I am sure would rather have AA/AAA slots than a built in, that seems to be the trend for most synths rather than a built in. personally I like battery power because it is easier if you are traveling or commuting to pull out and use

  4. Nanobox VS Smartphone!

    – Two Endless Encoders VS Bigger Touchscreen
    – Color matched USB Cable VS Internal Battery
    – HQ Audio and Midi Connections VS Audio and Midi over USB
    – Focused without Distrtaction VS Runs tons of other Apps

    Some phones can supply power over usb, thus if the nanobox could also exchange audio and midi over USB they could be a killer team!

  5. I don’t get why these two cost 400,- each.

    This seems like a massive cash grab by a company that I would expect to do the opposite.

    Can anyone explain this?

    1. Yeh, some people will buy anything at any price…all they have to do is say its boutique!

      Probably the same hardware just running different code….if the launched it as ‘host’ (like OWL, Organelle etc) and these were the first 2 synths (both should be included for that cost) with more to come then maybe it has a place…but even in that case it is still too small for practical use and I don’t want 3 menu diving operations just to lower the volume.. 400E and you cant pot a direct volume control on it?

    2. people think they know all about the cost involved in making something but in reality they don’t. all comments about pricing of any product is not based on any facts.

      1. Well we got Youtube influencers comparing it to synths that cost a whole lot more to built. So who are we to believe/trust? I’m getting a bit sick from all these well known influencers kissing these companies on any place the company like just so they can keep receiving new products to review. 400,- is a lot for what 1010 is offering. Specially when it’s deliberately made impossible to swap firmwares. I hope someone hacks it asap, than I’ll buy one cause it does sound nice.

        1. you may think it’s not worth it to you but you can’t really tell what is the cost of manufacturing it so saying it’s a “cash grab” or “youtuber kissing” is not based on facts.
          maybe the sound you like is because of an expensive chip and high-end converters? maybe the touch screen is very expensive? maybe all new product will be 30% more expensive in the coming years because of the shortage?
          you also don’t know why it’s not possible to swap firmwares, you just assume it’s deliberate. it maybe different inside and they just save on the case mold? maybe they plan something else in the future? i don’t know too, i’m not defending it but i will not declare it like it’s a fact and get “sick” of it.

    3. Massive cash grab? By the time the dealer gets their 30% cut and the distributor gets their 10% cut, the seller has $240 left. Now deduct the manufacturing costs, R&D costs, and the business overhead, I’d be surprised if they make $100 per device.

  6. same same but different …
    instead of fixing bugs. its easier to bring new products.
    nothing realy finished.
    have bought one of them and its an ass in the pain 🙁
    do your homework and invest in the last 20% to finish a product …

  7. as someone that uses a lot of pedals and weird desktop boxes, the form factor here isn’t an issue at all

    I do wish however, that they’d added more hardware knobs. still, $400 for a dedicated granulator is still the best price on the market.

    I think these are intended to be used as complex “voice modules” that you control with an external sequencer/controller/etc, rather than instruments you use solo; they just dont have enough accessible parameters.

  8. I got giddy when I head the sounds from the Lemondrop, but I think l’ll wait until I can get a scratched up unit from Reverb, take it apart and solder two pots to the line in and out, and then stuff the whole thing in an typical pedal enclosure. Buying it new is not worth the hassle that it takes to mod this thing into what I need from it.

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