Currently launching on Kickstarter, Artiphon is out to revolutionize the industry with it's new Instrument 1. It's definitely coming, because at the moment of me typing this, over 1,500 backers have pledged over half of a million dollars (well over the $75,000 goal)!
So what the heck is it? What's it look like? The name doesn't give us much to go by, so let's look at some pictures of the thing:
It looks like some kind of guitar neck with a bunch of buttons and a knob below it... That's intriguing. Okay, so how do you play it?
Here's the dealio. This new-fangled contraption is a MIDI controller, but unlike your typical keyboard you're not confined to the layout of a single instrument. This is a bonafide multi-instrument. You can hold it upright like a cello, play it like a guitar, tuck it under your chin like a violin, and more.
Hook this sucker into your phone, desktop, or tablet, and you can control any set of sound fonts through the MIDI capabilities. The magic is playing it in the format you're used to or switching up to emulate the playing style of another instrument (if you're that kind of virtuoso). This keeps the barrier to entry pretty low for a lot of musicians that are already familiar with their instrument of choice.
The main list of instruments is:
Basically, if it's a string instrument, you can do it, or you can learn to treat it like a set of drum pads. Of course, you can hook into any set of sound fonts or synths you like through your favorite app like GarageBand, Logic Pro, ProTools, Ableton Live, and any other sequencer that handles MIDI. Which is pretty much all of them since it came out in the 1983. It doesn't matter if you want to play it left-handed or right-handed, just use all of the gestures you're familiar with like strumming, picking, tapping, sliding, and bowing, and you're off to the musical races. We're talking full-on pressure sensitive, polyphonic digital strings and pads.
The cool part is that there are multiple speakers, a headphone jack, and a battery pack. That means you're not tied to an amp if just want to practice, and you can do so without annoying your roommate to death. It even has an accelerometer, although I'm not sure what it does. Maybe you can emulate string bending by whipping it upwards.
If you've read this far, then I'm sure you're thinking "Let me see someone play the darn thing!". Without further ado, a demo:
That's a specialized, custom version, which I'm sure you noticed. It looks very respectable in that form, except maybe the smart phone tucked in there. But talk about convenience. You can access and switch sound fonts on the fly like that. I just wouldn't want the audience to be looking at it the whole time. Which is what would happen since we're all addicted to our phones.
If you're impressed and want one as soon as their available, back Artiphon on Kickstarter. Get in while the getting is good! Order two and ship me one. I got five on it.