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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 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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Hi all, 

I am new to the forum and also new to any musical instruments, having read via the forum and found some guys are able to make presets themselves by the editor program. I would like to make preset with sound like basic wooden guitar chord, can anyone throw some light to me?  Sorry if the question is too dumb.

 Hi all Just ordered My Orba. i am looking forward to playing it. got a question are there hang or tongue drum sounds for the Orba already?

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Hi their, I'm a totally blind user who uses VoiceOver, and I've tested the Orba app for both iOS and MacOS. sadly, the app is not accessible with VoiceOver. when will the app be fully accessible with VoiceOver? I would love to have an accessible way to update the firmware of the Orba, as well as customize settings, if possible.

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I've had the orba for about 12 hours - it was kinda hard at first, to get the tapping right, but once I figured it out, it so fun and addicting. I've had it crash a number of times and can't get it to loop right with my self-made odd time signature loops, but this is a super fun instrument and I really lose a sense of time while playing it! My only bigger issue is that the A button doesn't seem to hit well, hopefully improvable with software. Not perfect (yet!) But such a great product. Can't wait to see all the improvements to come.

met wanneer kunnen weer geluiden opslaan in de orba zelf zoals mij beloofd is alweer enige maanden geleden lk moet helaas zeggen dat ik ook de Orba geen geweldig muziekinstrument vind. als je kan investeren in de dure software zal het waarschijnlijk interessanter zijn maar de soms wat standaard "Chinees" geluidjes gaan snel vervelen. Een correcte uitleg van Orba met Win10 kan samenwerken is er niet. Als ik een Mac had zou alles waarschijnlijk zijn maar nu is het een warboel om verder te komen. Het blijft wat pingelen op de Orba. En als je toevallig een leuk loopje kan ik het nergens opslaan. Ik hoop op een wereld van dus al met al vind ik het apparaat toevoegen aan mijn persoonlijke ervaring.

Robert Walker: "Hi all Just ordered My Orba. i am looking forward to playing it. got a question are there hang or tongue drum sounds for the Orba already?"

@Robert Walker - The Orba uses synthesis rather than sampling to make its sounds. There are four places that you can put new sounds which Artiphon refer to as "presets" - DRUM, BASS, CHORD, and LEAD. The place where you would most likely put a hang or tongue drum sound would be in the LEAD. None of the current official lead presets sound much like a hang or steel tongue drum. The closest might be the Ambient lead preset, but that's more bell-like than tank-like. Some people in the community are working on Orba preset editors and easier ways to add presets to the app, but we're all really hoping for better support for third-party presets or user preset editing from Artiphon.

The real trick with hang (tank, hand pan, steel tongue drum) sounds on the Orba will be support for non-standard scales. Currently you can select from 12 major scales and 12 natural minor keys for all presets and songs. Then, only one lead preset, Orba Diatonic, gives you a diatonic scale for playing lead. All of the others give you pentatonic scales - either major or minor depending on your key selection. Lots of steel tongue drums play a major or minor pentatonic scale, but most of the more advanced ones play more unique meditative scales like "Integrated", "Mystic", "Akibono", etc. A steel tongue drum lead preset should give you the ability to play these scales that are popular on those instruments.

For now, we're all in wait mode.

Zack: "My only bigger issue is that the A button doesn't seem to hit well, hopefully improvable with software."

@Zach: Yes, the A button does seem a bit dicey at first. I've figured out that it's not really activated by a "tap." Rather, it's activated by a short "press." This is better because it allow you to "glide" over it without activating it so that you can do very quick "trills" between notes that are across from each other not just right next to each other.

Hi there, 

Just received my Orba and its great. 

Are there plans to provide Bluetooth support for the Windows app?

Windows 10 supports MIDI-LE via the MIDIberry app

Best regards,


"What are the chords in the major and minor scales? Do the major scale chords correspond tothe Nashville numbering system: 10-G, 2-Am, 3Bm, 4-C, 5-D, 6-Em, 7-F#m, 8-G (in the scaleof G major), for example?

The harmonizaiton of the major scale is major, minor, minor, major, major, minor, diminished. So, for the key of C it's:

C D E F G A B C -> C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, C

For G it's:

G A B C D E F# G - > G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, F#dim, G

For F it's:

F G A Bb C D E F -> F, Gm, Am, Bb, C, Dm, Edim, F

And so on. This DOES correspond to the Nashville numbering system. The traditional chord numbering system uses roman numerals to indicate the root of the chord and upper/lower case to indicate major vs. minor like this: I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii. The Nashville numbering system uses Arabic numbers and ASSUMES that you know that the 1, 4, and 5 chords are major and that the 2,,3, and 6 chords are minor.

The numbers on the Orba also correspond to the Nashville numbering system. If you're in C Major chord mode, the 1 pad will always play a C major. The 2 pad will play a D minor, and so on. In Major mode there is only one "tricky" thing. Normally the vii (7) chord is diminished, but the diminished chord much less useful than the others. It's basically V7 (5-7th) chord with the root missing. So, for example in the key of C, the vii (7) chord is a Bdim. Bdim is the same as a G7 without the G. A much more useful chord that almost always works when you're trying to use the vii (7) chord is the V7 or maybe even better the V with it's 3rd on the bass. That's why the 7 pad on the Orba doesn't play a diminished chord. Instead it plays the V with the 3rd on the bass. In the key of C, this is a G/B (G with a B on the bass). For technical reasons this isn't exactly true. The lowest note is a G, not a B, but the B is the one that's doubled up. To summarize, the primary difference between the Orba pad numbers and traditional numbering systems is that they replace the 7dim with the 5 chord with it's 3rd on the bass. I the key of C, the 7 pad plays a G/B instead of a Bdim. In the key of G, the 7 pad plays a D/F# instead of an F#dim. In the key of F, the 7 pad plays a C/E instead of an Edim, and so on.

Harmonizing the natural minor scale is similar. For C natural minor, the chords are Cm, Ddim, Eb, Fm, Gm, Ab, Bb. Those chords can be a bit awkward to use, especially the Ddim. Once again the folks at Artiphon made a good musical choice for the chords, and once again I think they do something different with the Ddim - maybe Bb/D? I haven't had time to analyze the the major chords yet. Artiphon publishes the notes for the major chords, but not the minor chords. In theory, they should be the same, just shifted over.

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Great explanation! Thanks!

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Hi all!

I'm a new user from Rome, Italy. I received Orba as a Xmas present and I like very much playing around with it, I really like the concept and the feeling it provides.

I also like that there's stuff to explore, like its usage as a controller for Logic Pro and creating new presets for the internal synth.

Here are some minor negative notes instead, I suppose it can always be useful to know the first impressions from newcomers:

  • Like reported by others, the definition of "song" in the app is confusing, it makes you expect that when you load a "song" from the app you also get a demo sequence which showcases the loaded sounds. Justs a wrong naming IMHO, then you read the manual and understand that a song only loads sound presets for all 4 modes and some global settings. Then maybe they should have been named "global presets" or "globals" or similarly. But it's ok once you understand it.
  • I was also confused by how the "change-octave-by-sliding" feature works: I expected that when holding A, pressing pad 8 and then sliding one pad up, I was moving one octave up with respect to the current setting, e.g. like pressing the usual "octave up" button on a standard controller. Instead pad 8 always represents the base octave; so if you already are playing two octaves up from the base setting, and you want to move one octave further up, you have to press pad 8 and then slide up THREE pads, which is not always an easy gesture. Anyway, as in the previous note, this is also ok when you understand how it works; though I still think the other way around would have been more user-friendly.
  • The pitch change when I use the vibrato gesture is hardly noticeable, and it seems to me it's not enabled for many preset sounds.
That's all for the time being. Looking forward to exploit all of Orba's features!

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I just unboxed my Orba in the last hour.  Messing around with it now.  Hope to share thoughts and suggestions on the forum in the future.  Let's all share experiences and learn from one another.

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