• Follow us


Blipblox is a synth made for kids that adults will like too

Sponsored Links

Blipblox is a synthesizer designed for children. The company behind it, Playtime Engineering, even calls it a toy. And it certainly looks like one. It's made out of bright, glossy, primary-colored plastic. The large knobs and buttons are clearly meant for the clumsy hands of a child. Oh, and it's covered in crazy blinking lights that are mostly there for show. But if you start digging a little deeper, you'll find more than just a plaything.


Under the hood is a surprisingly robust digital synth engine capable of producing rich and downright bonkers sounds. In addition to the oscillator there's your usual assortment of synth parameters. There's an amp envelope (though you can only control over the decay), a pair of LFOs, a modulation envelope and a low-pass filter that take the raw sound of the oscillator and turns it into something far more compelling.

But here's the thing: Most of those controls and options have been streamlined or hidden to make synthesis more approachable. For instance, you don't select a wave form yourself; you press a button in the middle to cycle through various algorithms that combine oscillators and modulation schemes in various predetermined ways.

In fact, you won't find the words "cutoff" or "wave shape" anywhere on the front panel. Or any labels, for that matter. There's not even a keyboard here. Instead it comes preloaded with hundreds of melodies and sequences that it automatically and endlessly cycles through... whether you like it or not. The idea here is to avoid the usual prescriptive approach to sound design and encourage experimentation. And that is largely in service of the target audience: children.


Blipblox is meant for kids as young as three. And I can tell you from experience, most three-year-olds wouldn't understand what an LFO does. Nor would they care. But they can probably piece together that the blue knob makes things sound all wobbly and crazy. And by taking away the keyboard, they're encouraged to focus on how the knobs and buttons affect the sound rather than trying to play a melody. It is, after all, a toy and shouldn't remind kids of their boring piano lessons.

Of course, there's more to do here than blindly turn knobs and hope for the best. The Blipblox is designed to grow with a child. Once they get past the turn-knobs-and-push-buttons-at-random phase -- maybe somewhere between five and eight years old -- kids can start connecting the knobs to their specific functions and learn to follow the signal flow lines on the front. And if they need a little help, there's an online Learning Toolbox that spells everything out: It tells you the big lever on the right controls the cutoff, the light blue knobs on the bottom control the modulation level, and so on.


Now, here's where things get fun even for the adults in the room. There are a number of hidden features in the Blipblox that you can unlock using certain button combinations. I won't run through all of them, but the two most exciting are the "bonus wave form" mode and "sequence off" mode. The first of those options adds four more sounds that the company deemed "too crazy" for a younger audience. The latter turns off the relentless internal sequencer and transforms it into a pretty standard if somewhat limited desktop synth. From there you can hook up an external sequencer or keyboard to the standard five-pin MIDI DIN on the back and play it like any other instrument.

That means that even as your child enters their teenage years, they can still get use out of the Blipblox as a source of real music rather than just a source of unending cacophony. Once you play this thing with a real keyboard, plugged into a decent amp, you realize it's not just a noisemaker.

Yes, the Blipblox is shiny and made of rather cheap-feeling plastic. Yes, it's explicitly designed for children. But that doesn't necessarily make it just a toy. And honestly, at $189, it better be more than a toy. That's more than most of Korg's Volca line. You can even find "real" analog monosynths like the Monologue or Arturia's Microbrute used for around that price.

But those instruments can also be intimidating to a child. Blipblox's appeal is in its simplicity and sense of whimsy. And its only competition on that front is the Dato DUO, which takes a different approach to teaching synthesis. It puts more of the "standard" synth controls at children's fingertips and encourages parents to play with their kids. But at this particular moment in time, they're kinda hard to find in the US and cost more than $400. As much as I love my child, I'm not entirely sure he needs to own the most expensive synth in the house.


The Blipblox is basically everything you'd expect out of a children's musical toy. It's immense fun. And it will probably drive parents insane. It also feels like a toy, which is the biggest knock against it. It's survived a few weeks with my crazy toddler, but I'm not sure yet if it could survive a few years. It will need to survive that long for him to get the most out of it. Because what sets Blipblox apart from other music toys is that it's a learning tool and an instrument -- not just a way to introduce new forms of noise pollution to your home.

In this article: art, av, blipblox, children, educational, gadgetry, gadgets, gear, hands-on, instrument, kids, music, musical instrument, playtime engineering, synth, synthesizer, toy, toys, video All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. 149 Shares Share Tweet Share Save Comments Sign In Read More

Leave A Comment

More News

Engadget RSS Feed

Good luck sliding into anyone's Twitter DMs right 2019-07-03 14:02:00Facebook isn't the only internet behemoth suffering from serious downtime. As of mid-day on July 3rd, Twitter is experiencing "some issues" with d

Mobile game streaming service Hatch is available in 2019-07-03 13:03:00When it comes to game streaming, it's not just the likes of Microsoft, Google and Sony who are trying to capture players' attention. There's a mobi

Blipblox is a synth made for kids that 2019-07-03 12:30:00 Blipblox is a synthesizer designed for children. The company behind it, Playtime Engineering, even calls it a toy. And it certainly looks lik

Canon is crowdfunding a tiny, rugged clip-on camera 2019-07-03 11:52:00Canon may be late to the clippable camera party, but it's still convinced it can bring something new to the table. The company is preparing a crowdf

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are struggling to stay 2019-07-03 11:23:00Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are experiencing outages this morning. Downdetector maps show the services are struggling around the globe, but the i

Netflix creates UK production hub at Disney's preferred 2019-07-03 11:04:00Netflix is setting up another big production hub, and this one is steeped in cinematic history. The streaming giant is establishing a 14-stage UK ope

D-Link agrees to 10-year security assessment to settle 2019-07-03 10:23:00D-Link has settled a two-year-old lawsuit filed by the FTC over its products' insufficient security, and it has agreed to a few conditions to put the

Sony's 230-Walkman exhibit celebrates 40 years of a 2019-07-03 10:00:00To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Walkman sold (the TPS-L2, naturally), Sony is showing off the history of the portable music player in c

Waymo will test its self-driving taxis on employees 2019-07-03 09:39:00Self-driving venture Waymo has been given permission by California authorities to transport people in its robotaxis. According to TechCrunch, the Cali

Amazon keeps Alexa transcripts unless you manually delete 2019-07-03 09:21:00Back in May, Amazon introduced a new Alexa feature that makes it easy to delete your voice history -- apparently, that could be pretty handy if you do

The best games for Nintendo Switch 2019-07-03 09:00:00Nintendo's Switch is on a roll. The youngest of the games consoles is punching above its weight with a mix of core Nintendo games that have pushed ic

The Morning After: Windows 1.0 is back and 2019-07-03 08:45:00Hey, good morning! You look fabulous. Yesterday's Orion test went off without a hitch, and we're sure that Samsung is hoping its Galaxy Fold can ev

Sciences et Avenir en temps

Le projet Loon d'accès internet par des ballons 2019-07-01 08:54:32par Paresh Dave SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Alphabet, via Google et ses autres filiales, a énormément investi au cours des dix derni&egrav

La 5G est-elle dangereuse pour la santé ? 2019-07-01 04:44:40La 5G devrait faire son apparition début 2020 en France. Mais cette technologie ne représente-t-elle pas un danger pour notre sant&eacut

Il ne fait pas moins chaud dans une 2019-06-28 14:00:00Si les voitures blanches sont majoritaires au Moyen-Orient, c'est parce que leur carrosserie s'échauffe moins vite au soleil. Hél

Dunant, le câble sous-marin de Google qui change 2019-06-27 10:21:26En 2020, un nouveau câble à fibre optique reliera par l’Atlantique les États-Unis à la France, fluidifiant ainsi cons

France: Un texte pour sécuriser le déploiement de 2019-06-27 06:53:05PARIS (Reuters) - La proposition de loi adoptée par le Sénat pour encadrer le déploiement futur de la 5G en France garantit un &e

Les véhicules les plus polluants bientôt interdits dans 2019-06-27 06:00:36La Métropole du Grand Paris (MGP) va interdire à partir de lundi 1er juillet 2019 la circulation des véhicules les plus polluants

Hyperloop TT : des essais avec passagers dès 2019-06-27 05:17:38Installée en France, près de Toulouse, la société américaine promet un investissement de 40 millions d'euros sur 5

Huit géants de la tech victimes d'une attaque 2019-06-26 10:47:25par Jack Stubbs, Joseph Menn et Christopher Bing LONDRES (Reuters) - L'attaque informatique "Cloud Hopper", attribuée par les Etats-Unis et

Hyperloop: Essais avec passagers en 2020 pour son 2019-06-26 09:49:14TOULOUSE, Haute-Garonne (Reuters) - La société américaine Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) a annoncé mercredi s

Les cryptomonnaies surtout utilisées par les criminels, selon 2019-06-25 15:37:50ZURICH (Reuters) - La Suisse devrait faire un bon accueil aux innovations en matière de cryptomonnaies tout en restant sur ses gardes ét

La Nasa a été piratée par un mini-ordinateur 2019-06-25 03:09:09Un hacker a infiltré le réseau informatique d'un centre de la Nasaforçant l'agence spatiale américaine à dé

Philips lance des ampoules pour se connecter en 2019-06-24 16:00:00Signify, l’entreprise derrière les ampoules connectées Philips Hue, a annoncé le 18 juin 2019 le lancement d'une gamm

LEXPRESS.fr - Rss High-Tech

Crypto-monnaie Facebook : des avantages (et un gros 2019-06-17 12:23:00Le réseau social dévoile mardi le fonctionnement de sa devise 100% numérique. Elle devrait faciliter les échanges à

Devant la télé, 88% des Américains utilisent un 2019-06-17 11:41:47Les recherches sur internet devant un programme de télévision sont désormais un geste banal, constate un rapport.

Trois hommes soupçonnés d'animer une plateforme du darknet 2019-06-17 01:47:18Un vaste coup de filet visant le forum Deep Web-Market a mis hors ligne une grande majorité des places de marché illicites du darknet fr

Twitter ou l'illusion du pays réel 2019-06-14 07:00:00Pour viser juste, les dirigeants politiques seraient bien inspirés de regarder plus loin que Twitter, estime le politologue germano-amér

L'assureur de téléphonie SFAM écope d'une amende de 2019-06-14 05:18:23Plus de 1000 personnes ont porté plainte. Elles estimaient avoir été victimes de pratiques trompeuses à l'achat d'un t&e

La Hadopi fête ses dix ans, mais reste 2019-06-13 13:40:36La Hadopi a enregistré une baisse des téléchargements illégaux en pair à pair en 2018, selon un bilan annuel. Elle

Un micro découvert dans le robot cuiseur connecté 2019-06-13 07:09:00Le site Numerama a découvert la présence d'un micro non signalé dans le Monsieur Cuisine Connect, sorti début juin en Fra

Données personnelles : Facebook dément que son patron 2019-06-13 05:39:47Selon le Wall Street Journal, Mark Zuckerberg pouvait savoir que des applications externes avaient accès aux données personnelles des ut

La messagerie Telegram, victime d'une cyberattaque, accuse Pékin 2019-06-13 03:00:04Un des fondateurs de la messagerie cryptée pointe la Chine du doigt, en faisant le lien avec les troubles politiques en cours à Hong Kon

Deepfake, le mensonge animé 2019-06-12 13:05:00L'intelligence artificielle a trouvé mieux que les infox, les "deepfake", version vidéo, et redoutable, des fausses informations qui

Jeux vidéo : de la guerre des consoles 2019-06-12 11:17:00Le développement des services de streaming et d'abonnement, illustré par l'arrivée de Google sur le marché, marque un to

Thom Yorke se fait pirater des chansons : 2019-06-11 13:50:44radiohead.bandcamp.com rebellion.earthSe faire pirater des informations sur Internet, ça peut vous arriver tous les jours. Les cas se multiplie

Ars Technica » Gear

The Galaxy Note 10 launches August 7 2019-07-01 21:00:26Samsung's next big phone launch happens next month.

Report describing Jony Ive’s Apple exit gains a 2019-07-01 19:07:20The report claimed Ive was frustrated with the company's leadership.

PlayStation Vue applies a $5-a-month increase to all 2019-07-01 17:41:33The stage is set for messiness as more channels launch streaming options.

Samsung CEO calls Galaxy Fold launch failure “embarrassing” 2019-07-01 15:28:19"I pushed it through before it was ready," CEO says of the Galaxy Fold.

Catalyst deep dive: The future of Mac software 2019-07-01 07:30:51The people already using Catalyst tell Ars what Mac users and devs should expect.

Jony Ive will depart Apple to start his 2019-06-27 17:34:54Apple will be one of his new business' key clients, however.

Gmail’s API lockdown will kill some third-party app 2019-06-27 12:49:17Google emails users: "the following apps may no longer be able to access your data."

WireGuard on Windows early preview 2019-06-27 12:17:34WireGuard for Windows is still in pre-alpha, but it's looking very good.

Apple bolsters its chip team by hiring architect 2019-06-26 18:57:03The CPU-for-Macs rumor is bound to resurface, but nothing’s for sure still.

Oppo’s first under-display camera demo looks decidedly first-generation 2019-06-26 13:25:17Taking a picture through a display requires a "redesigned pixel structure."

Microsoft OneDrive gets a more secure Personal Vault, 2019-06-25 18:37:21Microsoft is adding a protected section to its cloud storage.

Apple updates Pages, Keynote, and Numbers with new 2019-06-25 17:09:02Face detection will now be used to intelligently position subjects in photos.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Team studies drone strikes on airplanes by firing 2019-07-01 17:52:58Bird strikes are a very real danger to planes in flight, and consequently aircraft are required to undergo bird strike testing — but what about

Startups at the speed of light: Lidar CEOs 2019-06-29 11:41:04As autonomous cars and robots loom over the landscapes of cities and jobs alike, the technologies that empower them are forming sub-industries of thei

Apple’s Sidecar just really *gets* me, you know? 2019-06-28 09:40:24With the rollout of Apple’s public beta software previews of macOS and the new iPadOS, I’ve finally been able to experience first-hand Sid

Police body-cam maker Axon says no to facial 2019-06-27 18:01:35Facial recognition is a controversial enough topic without bringing in everyday policing and the body cameras many (but not enough) officers wear thes

NASA’s Dragonfly will fly across the surface of 2019-06-27 17:20:37NASA has just announced its next big interplanetary mission: Dragonfly, which will deliver a Mars Rover-sized flying vehicle to the surface of Titan,

Tiny Robobee X-Wing powers its flight with light 2019-06-27 14:52:26We've seen Harvard's Robobee flying robot evolve for years: After first learning to fly, it learned to swim in 2015, then to jump out of the water a

Oppo shows first under-screen camera in bid to 2019-06-26 13:32:33Ever since the notch was first added to smartphones, everyone in the world except the deeply deluded and my editor have wished it gone. Oppo has done

This robot crawls along wind turbine blades looking 2019-06-24 16:17:51Wind turbines are a great source of clean power, but their apparent simplicity — just a big thing that spins — belie complex systems that

Apple just released the first iOS and iPadOS 2019-06-24 13:46:15This is your opportunity to get a glimpse of the future of iOS — and iPadOS. Apple just released the first public beta of iOS 13 and iPadOS

The Raspberry Pi Foundation unveils the Raspberry Pi 2019-06-24 02:01:51The Raspberry Pi 4 is here — and it’s an awesome upgrade. Earlier rumors said that it would take a while before a major Raspberry Pi upgra

Crowdfunded spacecraft LightSail 2 prepares to go sailing 2019-06-21 13:47:30Among the many spacecraft and satellites ascending to space on Monday's Falcon Heavy launch, the Planetary Society's LightSail 2 may be the most int

Hasselblad’s new medium format camera is a tiny, 2019-06-20 15:25:10While mirrorless cameras accelerate into the future, medium format models are hearkening unto the past — and Hasselblad chief among them. Its ne

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.