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New Orba Players Welcome!

Hi there and welcome to the new Orba forum!


Please introduce yourself, and let us know what you think. We’re eager to hear your thoughts. 


If you come upon an issue, the fastest way to find a solution is by contacting support@artiphon.com. Though we do our best to always respond, your post in this forum could get lost in the more high-volume threads.


You can also feel free to start a new forum thread if you have an interesting discussion point. It could be about anything – the sounds, the industrial design, the app as it continues to be developed, or anything else!

 

Rock and roll,

Adam from Artiphon


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Got mine today and having lots of fun with it. Chemotherapy saved my life last year but left me with nerve damage in my hands and feet. I'm exploring ways to make music that don't involve guitar and keys. Orba came along just in time!


My big request would be for a chord editor in the app to select voicings which could be assigned to the 8 buttons. Maybe a user wants to have a major and minor version of the same chord to get that In My Life mojo working. I know you guys are trying to make this simple for non-musicians. Maybe the app could have an "advanced" tab for those of us who know our way around a little?


Thanks so much for the Orba. I'm loving it.


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Hello, just got my Orba a few days ago, having fun playing it with my 505 looper and handpan. Would love to see more variety of pre-sets.

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Just got mine last week and playing around with it.  Definitely a unique device and still getting used to it.  One of my better Kickstarter purchases for sure.


I think I know the answer, but have to ask any way.  I'm not 'that' musically inclined but have some experience using some of the Teenage Engineering pocket synths.  One feature I like, since I'm not a great beat maker, is the quantization.  It doesn't appear to available directly on the Orba itself, correct?  I've been trying my hand at making some songs but when I'm off beat, it drives me crazy.


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Cannot get mine to work after trying presets. Chords and Lead have gone silent

Hello, when will the Orba app be available in the Google Play store?
It already is.
I searched the app in the Google play store and nothing came up

stick a fork in me...i;m done w. this forum and probably this product. i finally got my Orba and have started to do a lot of diff things with it.  have a great Daw that works with it, found great sounds for it, found an additional free x platform daw  with mpe sounds that works on almost any device and does midi over bluetooth well without installing 3rd party apps on android, am an android beta tester, and etc.  


unfortunately I view this product (especially the software and firmware)  as still being in beta stage and my posts here get screened for some reason and most of them never show up for unknown reasons. so no need to bother anymore.  I;m just trying to help out and share info.  I;m keeping my Orba but will spend time with a Roli Lightpad block which is coming today thinking I wont have these sort of issues.  I bought this device because I got tired of waiting for Orba and hearing all the 'fake news' about when we will get it. as luck would have it they are arriving one day apart.


I consider Orba as having a lot of potential. diatribe over. i;m going back to learning and playing music rather than wasting time trying to force something in beta stage to work so i can play music. Lots to like about Orba..they are not quite there yet IMO.

I got my Orba today and used it for several hours. Here are my first impressions...


First of all, it's a nice piece of hardware and well designed. And it definitely has a lot of potential. But....

The iPhone app and the experience with the Orba itself is... not living up to that potential. Yeah, I get it, it's early days and all that. But honestly, it's very rough around the edges. As in, the iphone app loses the bluetooth connection pretty regularly. Doesn't seem like the app is particularly well-designed or tested. Presets don't tell you if they don't load. So I loaded and kept testing only to find out it lost the bluetooth connection again. Now I'm sure we can blame apple or bluetooth for these problems, but you know, it's 2020 and my Garmin has figured out how to make it work and the Orba hasn't yet.  


Similarly the layout of presets, well. I thought I'd be loading a whole set at once (e.g. bass, drums, chords, lead) that all go together. Nope. You load them one at a time. The descriptions are not that handy either. Why not let me hear them before loading? Also, I'd like to be able to load a group of presets that work together, getting something that sounds like classic rock or jazz or blues. Ok, your mileage may vary, there are vaguely new-agey kinds of things that may or may not go together. Some sound quite nice, but they are all pretty similar to me. I was able to create a simple song that sounds kind of soothing, but I want more...

I'd love to have some more traditional sounding instruments like an acoustic drumkit, an upright bass, electric funky bass guitar sound, lead guitar synth sound. Acoustic piano or hammond B3 chords. Fuzz guitar power chords. How about strings? Trumpet, french horn, sax. Vocal chorus oohs and ahhs. Maybe I'm not the target market. Can this be fixed, of course. I hope they do make this and other sound packs that go together better and match a greater range of genres beyond synthy new age. Let me load a bunch up all at once.


Sometimes loading sounds caused glitches. Maybe I'm doing stuff that shouldn't be done, like accidentally loading a new sound while playing my song. That caused some interesting high-pitched sound glitches and then my song disappeared. (No loss, I'm just experimenting.)  So you could blame the user for that. Or you could, you know, test the app and not let that happen.


And admittedly, my sense of timing is awful, so it's hard for me to get a handle on the recording process. I'm trying to play some drums and I'm offbeat, for sure. Would be cool if it could just quantize to the nearest beat or 1/4 note or something. I'm totally unclear what happens if I play more or less than 4 bars. Is it recording just 4 bars?  Or is it until I stop playing? No idea. But you know, it's not idiot proof. Really good looper pedals handle this sort of thing automatically and I don't have to worry about it. With this, yes seems like you have to get it exactly right. (Which if you're in the pro market, makes sense. For amateurs, perhaps not.) Can I change the metronome sound to something less obnoxious than the classic instrument of torture of my youth?  Not that I could find. For me, it's difficult to hear the metronome accurately while other instruments are going and trying to count the beat, to know when I've hit four bars. Why can't the lights flash the beat? 


Wanna change the key? Apparently that requires the iphone app.  Sure would be nice to have a gesture or special keypress (A hold Oct?) on the Orba to do that. That's a pretty major inconvenience. Ok but how do I change the scale of the lead instrument?  No idea. Can't I select a minor pentatonic scale for lead? Major pentatonic? Not that I could find. 


Perhaps in designing such a minimalist instrument, Artiphon went too minimal. There's no display, I get that. But if I have to use an iphone app to make the app work, you better make that app a lot better. More stable and easier to make changes to instruments, key, scale, whatever. 


Bottom line, this is a very cool device. And I appreciate all the hard work that went into it. It is certainly doing a lot and it has great potential. But please continue to issue updates to the app and/or firmware so that it becomes more robust, easier to use and more capable. I realize that's a tall order. I am patient. I don't need it all in a week. But I would like for this to become something I use regularly, not something that ends up in a desk drawer.

Thank you! 


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I just got my Orba, and love it!   I was playing with it, and put in my pocket as I walked out to show it to my wife.  It started making music just from my motion.  She had no idea I had such a gadget in my pocket, so it was quite a surprise to see me walk up making music to my motion.  Fun stuff.


So it got me thinking about setting it up for a dancer to make her own music... Kind of like carrying around a castenet, but instead it would give her the ability to use her dance motions to set up loops, so her motions would make the music, which would then give her a loop to dance to, etc.  Just wondering if anyone has played with this idea...

@ZUrlocker When you hit the record pad and the metronome starts, it doesn't start recording until you play a note. Then, it will record until you hit the middle menu (logo) button again, at this point it will wait until the end of the current bar and then begin looping. It's different from a guitar pedal in that it does sort of quantize this part, but not the actual playing/notes. 


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@ZUrlocker Want more sounds, more instruments? Don’t bother with the Orba app, use GarageBand instead. The Orba becomes an amazing little device when you do.
Perfect description!!! I sign under it totally!! You exactly described my wishes as well!!

Okay, 24 hours with my Orba and I have some first impressions I'll share:


Hardware Construction and Interface Usability: Great work Artiphon! 

Very thoughtful design for how users will interface with the Orba. It is a pleasure to use and the controls are intuitive and easy to learn. Feels good in the hand. The right weight for longer sessions - Not too light to feel like a toy - Not too heavy to prevent longer sessions - Just right for me.


Now, some constructive feedback and ideas for improvement: 

#1) Looper -  The looper function is a critical function of this device achieving its potential as a standalone synth. I notice that the record loop function works well however there is a noticeable delay between the end of the loop and the restart of the loop. I have recorded several loops and ensured I ended the recording immediately after playing last note. I also tried recording loops of various lengths (2 bar, 4, etc.) to see if it was a length issue. All of my results experienced a slight but noticeable delay between end of loop and restart of loop. Drums are the most noticeable instrument this occurs with, the bass chord and lead are less noticeable. This would be a priority improvement for me to be able to use Orba without the app and/or a DAW. 


#2) Quantization - I agree with others above, a Quantization feature on the device (not app) is priority because most of us don't play as well as a metronome. We need the ability to adjust directly on the device.


#3) Change key from device -  I also agree that a key change feature on the device (not app) is priority. We need to be able to select key including toggle from major to minor on the device.


#4) The Desktop and Mobile app - 

 Ok lots of work to do here. What I'd suggest first (before any effort is expended) is for Artiphon to internally consider: What you want this app to be to its users? I question whether you even need an app outside of something to push firmware updates. Who is your target market? 

Consider: 

- Entry level beginner musicians have almost everything (See my list above)  they need to make music directly on the great piece of hardware you've designed. The app is not adding value to this segment, other than a very small list of additional sounds, which I'm sure you intend to grow over time  however......

- The world doesn't need another sound library or DAW so why take it in that direction? Ableton, FL Studio, Garage Band etc. perform well in this space and work great with the Orba so what do you have to add here? If I want a nice ambient soothing pad vs. the chord built into Orba, I'm picking my sound from Ableton (maybe Kontakt) or if I'm using my iPad, Garage Band or Groovebox.


My main suggestion is this: Consider your target users. The way I imagine it, you have two groups of potential users: 

  • Beginners who want to an instrument that makes music more accessible. Orba is already poised to meet these users with current design. To better serve this market, you need much more education, tutorials etc. I suggest building out tutorial content further but also partnering to point your beginner users toward more music education resources. ("Want to dive deeper into music production and become an Advanced Orba user? Check out our partners and get the Orba owner discount....etc.") If beginner users want to develop beyond playing on the Orba, they need education in music production and some music theory. They do need not an Orba app. 
  • Users who know what the acronym DAW means. What do we want out of Orba? We want something small to carry around like a music fidget spinner that we can noodle around with to generate ideas. The minute an idea starts to take shape, we're plugging in to our DAW of choice, choosing or shaping the sounds we actually want to hear and using the Orba to get our MIDI data into our DAW. You've already made this experience pretty seamless and I was able to get my idea into Ableton in less than 5 minutes to start shaping it. Great work here. As advanced users, your goal with us could be to delay the amount of time it takes us to reach for the DAW. Give us the features requested above so we spend more time on Orba before being forced into the DAW to continue the development of our ideas.
All said, I'd consider spending time and resources on the features users are requesting on the Orba itself and dump the app unless you've identified a market between beginners and advanced AND you have a solid roadmap to build the app into something relevant and usable (it's not currently). 

In summary, thank you for innovating in this space. The hardware you've designed here is truly ground-breaking and I'd like to thank you for bringing this to market. Looking forward to seeing where you take this next! - Foster 




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@Foster Presley I feel like you’re right that Orba appeals to both casual musicians as well as pro producers, but I think that’s exactly why the app needs to be expanded, for the folks who don’t know what a DAW is like you said. How are those people supposed to try new sounds if there was no app at all?

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