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Odd Studios ODD Ball review

Is this for real? A MIDI controller without pads, keys, or even corners. Just bounce it, and watch out for your studio fish tank

  • £95
Odd Studios ODD Ball
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

ODD Ball is fun, and it’ll get you out of a creative rut. Looking forward to new features being added.

Pros

  • +

    Lots of fun, especially with effects.

  • +

    Makes a change from little pads.

  • +

    Instant gratification with the mobile app.

  • +

    Assign it to control a DAW.

  • +

    Makes you think outside the box.

Cons

  • -

    Fairly limited controls.

  • -

    If you bounce you will break things.

Odd Studios ODD Ball: What is it?

ODD Ball is a rubber ball that can be bounced, and as it does so, it sends messages to a dedicated iOS app, or through Bluetooth MIDI to DAWs on a computer. This sounds like a refreshing change from using backlit pads for everything!

The ODD Ball ships in a cardboard box, and within that box is a groovy looking padded tin to be kept for storage and transportation. Also included is a compact printed manual, and a USB cable. The ODD Ball is larger than we’d anticipated, measuring 7.5cm across and weighing 200g. It’s fairly mysterious, being simply a sphere with a small hole in it, and a discreet ODD Ball logo. 

The first step is to charge it, during which time a faint blinking LED can be seen. An initial charge of six hours is recommended – a bit of a buzz kill if you’re the impatient type. The USB cable has a regular ‘A’ connection at the computer end, while at the other end there’s a circular power connector, which goes deep into that hole we mentioned – it might not be easy to replace if lost. 

Odd Studios ODD Ball: Performance and verdict

The fastest way to get going is with the free iOS/Android app, where sounds can be assigned to the ball, and backing tracks launched, with genres including disco, grime, and rock. 

You can also record samples using your mobile device’s microphone, and trigger those. A looping section is included, where passes with different sounds can be overdubbed. Note that we bounced at a safe distance from our studio setup and other breakable objects!

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(Image credit: Artiphon)

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We were eager to try the ODD Ball with Ableton Live; enabling this requires the Korg Bluetooth MIDI app, and the ODD Pro application, through which the ODD Ball can be configured to send MIDI notes or CCs. There’s also an arpeggiator, with user-definable notes, and direction controls, and sensitivity controls which tailors response from a full bounce to a gentle tap. 

The ODD Ball will trigger Ableton’s MIDI effect devices, filters, anything you can imagine, and it can work particularly well with the arpeggiator, and randomisation tools, where each bounce triggers a different note, effect, or clip. It’s probably not something you’d use for an entire live set (well, you never know), but it certainly provides a different perspective. We also paired the ODD Ball with the Akai Force (which supports Bluetooth MIDI), and enjoyed the chance to use it with the Force’s array of pads, knobs, and of course the x-y touch screen. Somehow this seemed even better than using it with a DAW – getting this unlikely pair working together was a real treat.

This would be even more stimulating if a bunch of ODD Balls were let loose – it’d be like a real-world version of the notorious bouncing balls in the old Lemur app! It would be also a fun sight to watch what a good juggler could put into action with this device. 

Being able to assign just one parameter at a time is limiting, although we’ve seen a software update that’s going to add further control via spinning and shaking, so that will very likely open things up somewhat. 

ODD Ball is toy-like, but we don’t mean that in a disparaging sense. This could be fantastic in educational or therapeutic environments, as well as being a unique control interface for inquisitive electronic musicians. 

MusicRadar verdict: ODD Ball is fun, and it’ll get you out of a creative rut. Looking forward to new features being added.

Odd Studios ODD Ball: Hands-on demos

ODD Ball

TEDx Talks

LOOTd

Odd Studios ODD Ball: Specifications

  • Bluetooth.
  • Low Latency.
  • Water Resistant.
  • Use with Speakers.
  • 5h Battery Life.
  • Use with Headphones.
  • 5V USB Charging.
  • Kids Safe.
  • 200g in weight.
  • iOS and Android.
  • 7.5cm/3" diameter.
  • CE FCC Certified.
  • CONTACT: ODD Studios Ltd (opens in new tab)

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