We set some big challenges for ourselves in making a sequel to the MeeBlip. We wanted a synth that made more and better sounds, with fewer controls. We wanted an instrument that was more hands-on, but took up less space. And we wanted it to have a real personality in a world awash with synth choices.
If we’ve been quiet for a while, it’s because that took a lot of time. Sometimes subtracting is harder than adding; it took lots of mistakes and iterations before we were really happy.
We’re happy now. Today, we’re introducing MeeBlip anode.
anode is roughly half the size of the original MeeBlip, and has fewer controls. But to create something smaller and simpler, we’ve focused on building an instrument that delivers grungy, dirty, bass-heavy sounds right away, and puts those sounds directly under your fingers. And we fit it all in a rugged, small and simple 4″ x 4″ (100×100 mm) box, focusing on just the controls you really need for sound.
And here’s what it sounds like:
Get Your Hands – and Your Sound – Dirty
We start with digital oscillators built from the original MeeBlip and SE. At the low end, these are generated live with aliasing, for added character in bass sounds. Higher registers use anti-aliased wavetables for clean leads and melodies.
We’ve focused entirely on getting pulse width sounds just right, with a variable width knob, plus a Sweep switch for adding PWM. You can detune by a full octave in either direction.
These oscillators are paired with an Attack/Decay/Sustain envelope, capable of both fast-clipped percussion and long sustains.
Then, you get something never before heard on a MeeBlip: an original analog filter with resonance, based on a classic Twin T circuit. (Geeks, if you want some reading on this idea, check this TI document.) It behaves like a classic vintage low-pass filter, but in actuality, it’s a modified band-pass filter. The upshot: angry resonance and musical frequency cutoff. It’s raunchy and aggressive and not-boring – perfect for bass sounds.
Finally, we add an LFO that we’ve tuned carefully for the best results across the whole Rate and Depth knob, whether routed to oscillator frequency or filter.
Right out of the box, MeeBlip is ready to use – we even include a power adapter. You can be up and playing in the time it takes to plug in a MIDI cable and switch on the power button.
You can play anode via MIDI input, selectable as channels 1-4. And with the exception of the resonance on our new analog filter, every single control can be automated via MIDI Control Change messages, as well as the physical knobs and switches. Audio output is via a stereo minijack (mono on both left and right, for convenience).
As with MeeBlip SE, MeeBlip anode is fully-assembled and ready to go. We believe there are benefits of being open for everyone, not just those who can program or solder. But it’s also open when you want it to be – and, just like all the MeeBlips, fully open source hardware (GPLv3/CC-BY-SA). You get an instrument that can be modified, with a design you can learn from, that’s future-proofed by being available to a community of musicians.
anode’s hardware itself is also more hackable than MeeBlips before. Intrepid hardware lovers can try changing component values to modify the filter – for the first time, this is a MeeBlip with analog mods possible as well as digital. And we have new opportunities for transforming the code. There’s still a programmer port, for modifying the firmware via an inexpensive hardware adapter or an Arduino.
(We’re also this month introducing the new MeeBlip micro, for those who want a custom board to build into their own instruments or interface with tools like Arduino.)
Be The First to Own anode
We want to get the new MeeBlip to you as quickly as we possibly can, at the lowest price we can offer. To jump-start the run, we’re offering a special preorder.
If you prepay now, you’ll get a discount on your MeeBlip anode and be guaranteed to be the first to get one. Your anode is built to order and shipped to you as soon as they’re assembled. Manufacturing starts immediately and we will ship to our early MeeBlip anode adopters as soon as the custom-molded cases and circuit boards arrive from final assembly in Canada. (European customers will get theirs shipped from Berlin.)
129,95€ (Continental Europe, including VAT)
£109.95 (UK, including VAT)
Including a localized 9V power adapter – no hunting around for adapters or batteries.
Shipping is $10 to USA/Canada, €10 to Europe, £10 to UK. All other international orders are US$129.95, plus $20 (USD only).
You will receive your MeeBlip anode by post in approximately 7 weeks – and you’ll be sure to get one before this run sells out.
You’ll also receive a limited edition, full-color MeeBlip anode card, with an image of the new anode and a full reference guide to the MIDI Control Change mappings, printed on high-quality paper. We’ll mail these as soon as we receive orders, so they can be used as gift cards if you desire.
The MeeBlip Team
We’re really excited to get to share anode with you, having spent two years in the process of making it. As with earlier MeeBlips, anode is engineered in Canada by James Grahame, and co-designed by Peter Kirn for CDM.
This time, we’ve also had new input. Norwegian-born, Berlin-based designer Anette K Hansen created a new visual identity for MeeBlip, from logo to panel design to our thank-you cards. Dutch designer/musician Arvid Jense worked with us as MeeBlip’s first-ever intern, provided immense research and insight into how to develop MeeBlip, then went on to produce these renderings of the anode design.
We’ve also been extremely grateful to the feedback of our MeeBlip customer base. Combining our different versions, roughly 2000 MeeBlips have been sold, from DIY kits to fully-assembled SE hardware. And you’ve given us ideas about what matters and what’s possible.
Please, if you have any questions, we’ll be happy to answer them. And we can’t wait to hear the music you make with anode.