Embrace the future of making music by adding the Orba by Artiphon to your music production arsenal. As technology evolves so do the ideas and the innovation that goes into creating music. One such mention-worthy musical innovation is the Artiphon Orba.
There are thousands of MIDI instruments available to use, however, few are as cool as the ones offered by Artiphon. For those of you not familiar with the brand Artiphon, they design smart and innovative electronic instruments.
Artiphon previously released the award-winning INSTRUMENT 1 with huge success a few years ago on Kickstarter. Following up on that success, they’ve released Orba, described as an instrument for your hands.
The Orba is a small hand-held synth, looper, and MIDI controller. Some have even described its size and shape as resembling a halved grapefruit. The face of the Orba has eight touchpads that produce sounds and a menu button located in the center. Designed as a hand instrument, there are a few different ways to interact with the Orba when making music. The Orba incorporates simple yet intuitive gestures like tapping, waving, shaking, as well as other actions to create songs.
In addition, the Orba also has a couple of built-in speakers. It also features an onboard synthesizer so you can enjoy immediate playback of your loops and songs. Not to mention with the Orba, you have the capability to control MIDI devices via Bluetooth or by using a USB cable.
One of the keys to the success behind the Orba is its ability for anyone to easily make music. The Orba can produce a wide range of bass, drums, lead, and chord sounds. By using different gestures and over-dubbing, your imagination is the only limit to the music you’re able to create.
When it comes to creating a loop or song using Orba, it’s pretty straight-forward. Each of the eight pads makes a sound corresponding to the selected sound categories drums, bass, chords, or lead. Depending on the selected category and the way you interact with Orba you’ll hear different effects on the sound.
There are 10 different gestures that you can do to produce a different effect on a sound. These gestures are tapping, pressing, spinning, moving, tilting, shaking, sliding, vibrating, bumping, and radiating. By combining different gestures you’re able to create an unlimited number of sounds for loops or songs.
With Orba, you play all the notes of a single instrument and have the ability to change octaves and BPM. You can also easily switch between the four instrument categories to create hundreds of melodies and effects.
It’s definitely worth noting that Orba also has a mobile and desktop app available. By using the app you have the ability to change the style of the instruments that are on the device.
In addition to using Orba as a standalone looper and synth, you can also control other MIDI devices. Via Bluetooth or USB, Orba works with most MIDI production software like Ableton and GarageBand for example.
Depending on which production application you choose will determine whether Orba works as a DAW or thru a companion app. In any case, the options and capability to work as a MIDI controller are there.
Having purchased and received my own Artiphon Orba, after an exceptionally long 3 months wait I might add, I find that it’s definitely fun to use. The design is pretty sleek and overall very intuitive. Its small size allows it to fit inside a pocket and makes it perfect for making music on the go. Once powered on it’s super easy to get started making loops, patterns, or songs.
Aside from the eight pads generating sounds, they also have alternative functions. While pressing the center menu button you can then press one of the pads to change the instrument category. In addition to the four instrument category pads, the remaining four pads control BPM, octave, recording, and play and pause.
Once unpackaged I downloaded the mobile and desktop apps to explore all the other sounds that are available. Although the number of different kits is somewhat limited, there are more than enough sounds available to get you going. Although I have GarageBand I have only used Orba as a looper and haven’t tried it as a MIDI controller…..yet.
While the app is certainly a great addition to Orba there are definitely a few areas that could stand improvement. At the top of my list of improvements that I’d like to see would be the ability to export the loops and songs that you create. The ability to create on the fly and export or save locally is an improvement that could extend its usability. The other improvement would simply be adding more kits to choose from on the app.
Orba, the second instrument to be released by Artiphon, is a lot of fun and does not disappoint. Regardless if your a beginner, hobbyist, or professional, the ease of use and capabilities are quite unique and wide-ranging.
While I still have yet to test its MIDI control abilities, I can only assume they work just as well as the looper and synth. And even though there could be more kits to choose from, that only means an already great device still has room for improvement.
Even despite the inability to truly save songs or export them, the Orba shows us the potential of combining music and tech in a portable package. Just picking Orba up for 5 minutes might turn into an hour of your time because of how addictive Orba is. Although there’s room for improvement, for me the Artiphon Orba is definitely worth the cost and wait.