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Some Orba feedback

Hi! I've received my Orba a bit more than one week ago and I love it. It's a lot of fun to play with, and it was well worth the wait. Here's a few things I've noted (and yes, I know a lot of them have already been mentioned, but I guess the more feedback you get, the better :)

Let's start with the bugs and odd issues:

  • Sometimes, the playing loop gets suddenly erased when shaking the device, but not while holding A or A + 6. I can't say for sure, but I think it happened a few times when switching instrument.
  • The "A + 6 + 3 seconds wait" to erase everything can apparently be shortened if you just press A + 6 and shake the Orba. It's convenient, but I suspect it's linked to the issue I mentioned above. Maybe I don't pay enough attention when shaking that thing, I'm not sure... But in any case, getting your loop accidentally erased while playing and doing some gestures is a huge usability issue.
  • I sometimes get a delay when recording notes. I don't have perfect rhythmic skills, so I often wonder if it's me or the Orba, but it still feels too odd to be always me.
  • It's not uncommon to get a delay and the recording loop silenced for half a second when switching instruments.
  • I once got a freeze on a single note while recording a loop, then complete silence. The Orba restarted, and when I hit play, the previous loop I had erased before starting the new one was back.
  • I don't know the technical reason why the thumb can't be used to activate the A button most of the time, but it's a shame. It makes using the Orba way harder when it's not on a flat surface, which kind of defeats the shaker/gestures fun.

Regarding the Windows app:
  • The export audio feature exports... something. It sounds like the loop, but with missing parameters, especially for the bass and the chords. It seems effects recorded when tilting the Orba aren't exported at all.
  • The export format buttons aren't displayed properly.
  • Using special characters such as question marks prevents to save the song, without any warning.
  • The UI is confusing. Overwrite/Save don't make much sense for the target device. Am I saving from the Orba to the computer? Am I overwriting what's on the Orba? You need to label this more clearly.
  • Please call a loop a loop, or a pattern. A loop is not a song. A song is what happens when you chain several loops (except you can't.) This is just misleading.
  • "Songs" need to display which presets they use. It's really a chore to load them randomly and try to guess what they use. Yes, you can take notes, but it's also a chore.
  • I don't think I've ever managed to change the key of a song. It seems to always get reset for some reason. Or maybe it's just me not uploading it correctly because of the confusing save UI.

Regarding the iOS app:
  • Exporting audio simply doesn't work. It produces 0 KB files.

Some features I'd love to see:
  • A way to turn off the metronome, replace it with lights and/or vibrations. It's useful, but it makes live performances sound quite awkward. I mean, I could jam for hours, but I can't record a session with that metronome sound.
  • Overdub undo would be really great.
  • Actual songs, with a way to chain several loops (though I guess the Orba lacks the memory for this) or at least a way to save a "song" history with the app, instead of filling it with a mess of files when you want to keep loops variations.
  • A way to mute/solo the different instruments, or even better, adjust their volume.
  • A way to tweak basic presets parameters: volume, default pitch, etc. Of course it would be great to be able to create presets entirely, but I doubt your target audience would need this, not to mention the complexity of outsourcing the tools (though you could release the specs and let the community do the hard work.)
  • Auto shutdown after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Pitch control for drums.
  • Quantization (though it might be less useful if we get an overdub undo at some point)
  • Key/scale change without the app.

The Orba is still honestly the most immediate fun I had in a long time with an electronic instrument, so much I'm now looking into buying some hardware sampler/sequencer to make full use this glorious little device. Keep up the great work, and pleeeease, publish a roadmap :)

2 people like this idea

Thank you for the thorough feedback! 

I just found out that you can enable/disable the metronome by holding down the the center A + BPM button for 3 seconds. The LEDs will go around to confirm.

1 person likes this

Yes, this is a new feature in today's update; see here for more.

Awesome, you've made quite a few improvements, thanks a lot for your hard work!

Quote from lectronice

"Holding the BPM segment to change the tempo by tapping seems random.  It either doesn't work at all,  increases the tempo massively or reduces it to virtually zero.  There is no fine tuning.  Holding A and sliding up or down to the adjacent segments makes no difference to the tempo at all."

_This_!!   Not addressed.  Fine song let's slow it a bit.  A bit too much let's bring it back. A +7  and TAPPPING LIKE HELL - the other lights flashing to the beat: song is now SLOWER!!!  

A+7 First tap enables BPM - how many taps are needed?  Non stop FAST beats= null  How many Tempos will it 'see'.

_This_ is the only thing that keeps me _irritated_ from the otherwise BLISS of owning this beauty.

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