Artiphon – maker of the Orba – has revealed its sequel – the Orba 2. Orba is a small, handheld music making device that almost defies description, and the Orba 2 piles on new features to make it even more indispensable and unusual.
At its heart the Orba is a synth with a simple control surface allowing the player to quickly and easily tap out musically correct sequences on its top surface with fingers or thumbs as you cup the device in your hands.
You can even tap the sides of the device for a percussive element and tilt and agitate it to change pitches or add modulation effect.
With a sense of scales and intervals it’s impossible for anything you play to not sound great and the built-in synth (feeding its built-in speaker) is capable of a huge range of tones from leads to bass, electronic tones to more traditional acoustic instrument textures.
A simple 8 bar sequencer lets you build parts using Drum, Bass, Chord, and Lead modes to create a track right there on one device. And Orba 2’s improved ceramic-like playing surface simultaneously reacts to nine musical gestures: Tap, Press, Radiate, Tilt, Shake, Spin, Vibrato, Move, and Bump.
The Orba 2’s biggest step up is the addition of digital audio playback, meaning that you can now sample sounds and use them as instruments in the Orba. It’s all done via the Orba app on your phone – record a sound and fire it into the Orba 2 for playback and manipulation.
And now the built-in sequencer/looper has an auto quantise feature so whatever you play and loop will always be in time plus extended playback time offers sequences of up to 128 bars in length, giving greater freedom to experiment and compose.
And you can even use Orba 2 to control your hardware and software instruments via USB-C or wirelessly via Bluetooth MIDI.
“We want people to express themselves musically in their everyday lives,” explains Artiphon CEO Mike Butera. “We’ve dreamed of allowing anyone to play any sound they can imagine, anywhere they go, without worrying about historical instrument skills or abstract music theory. Orba 2 finally makes that possible.”
Orba 2 is available for $149 and will sit alongside the original Orba for $99.
Find out more at Artiphon’s website.