They’re fully-assembled. They have a (North American) power supply in the box. 30 patch memories (up from 16) will store your favorite sounds for quick access in performance and studio work. And now, MeeBlip SE features a retro-style makeover, with black-and-orange livery and nice, new knobs.
MeeBlip SE is a perfect holiday gift to others … or yourself. It’s designed for hands-on control and playability, and works with MIDI. (No keyboard? Add an inexpensive MIDI interface to a computer or keyboard and connect to MeeBlip right out of the box. We like the dirt-cheap, very playable Rock Band 3 keyboard – seriously.) We want it to be a good first synth for newcomers – or a good addition to your studio for experts. It’s an open source hardware synth that isn’t just for hackers.
And, at last, we’re shipping the new models, starting with the United States and Canada. US$149.95 buys you a MeeBlip SE that we’re shipping right away. It’s a perfect way to celebrate Black (and Orange) Friday.
James has been hard at work in Calgary readying these for shipping. Europe (and other international orders) will shortly follow, as Peter starts shipping MeeBlip SE from Berlin. (We’ve reserved units for Europe and pre-reserved customers.) Stay tuned.
We’re pleased to again offer MeeBlip SE for sale – now fully-assembled. MeeBlip has been winning praise from press and users, and we can’t wait to ship more of them out to you. Buy one now from your part of the world.
We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes improving MeeBlip and making it easier to get it in the hands of musicians. That means some not-so-musical stuff like working out how fulfillment operates so we can ship these easily and quickly, including to Europe.
You won’t notice those changes, other than finding that it’ll be easier to buy a MeeBlip when you want. But we have made some other enhancements to MeeBlip SE:
New orange-on-black color scheme, inspired by some of our favorite synths of the past. We like the way it’s looking – and it’s also easier to read.
New retro knobs. (And knobs are important; we still believe in being able to control the synth from the front panel – no menus needed.)
More patch storage. The original SE had 16 slots for storing sounds; you can now use up to 30. We think people who use patches in performance will be especially pleased.
The latest MeeBlip firmware – as always, fully open source and ready to read or hack at GitHub.
Fully assembled. Previous MeeBlips were “quick build”; now you can plug this in and use it right away.
SE owners: you’ll get access to the extra patch storage, too; we’ll post a firmware update soon. We’re swapping the high-pass/low-pass filter switch for this, because you’d almost always want the low-pass filter with our unique digital filter characteristics.Continue reading »
Baseball and other sports have had their own trading cards, so why not maker projects, too? Fabian Fabian of Hamburg has released a delightful set of cards featuring projects from the maker scene, from Fritzing to Makey Make, and we’re flattered that MeeBlip gets its own lovely card.
My favorite card, though: one is blank, so you can draw your own creation.
Each card has extensive details of the project on the back. There’s also beautiful artwork, as you can see in our gallery. Everything is up on GitHub and released under a Creative Commons license, of course.
The other booster packs are looking terrific, and a proper launch for others to buy these will come early next year. Now, we just need to be able to trade more cards, see other cards from the community – and, of course, get someone to open source a homebrewed recipe for the Topps-style bubblegum. (It can’t be that hard to make sugary cardboard, can it?)
Calling it “the first hackable do-it-yourself synth for the rest of us,” Keyboard Magazine gives the MeeBlip SE its coveted Key Buy award.
Francis Preve, writing for Keyboard, is also quick to point out that “open” doesn’t mean “for hackers only.” Instead, being open source is “an ongoing exercise in refinement … ready for prime time—even if you don’t want any aspect of your musical life to involve holding a soldering iron or writing code.”
The sound is “a tasty blend of analog style subtractive synthesis and digital grunge … What makes the MeeBlip cool—and a part of my synth arsenal—is that it doesn’t sound like anything else I own.”
“If you want a truly unique digital synth that can deliver grit, grunge, and grime—while sporting a set of features familiar to keyboard players— the MeeBlip SE truly deserves a closer look … a terrific value and a total Key Buy.”
Working with Francis Preve as a reviewer was a pleasure. In fact, testing an earlier revision, Francis discussed revisions that led to the SE firmware he reviewed for the magazine. It was terrific to get outside feedback in our development process.
We’d love to get you a MeeBlip SE if you don’t have one. Do come ‘Blip with us:
So begins the review of the MeeBlip in a recent desktop synth round-up in Germany’s fantastic DE:BUG Magazine, by writer Benjamin Weiss. “Bratzeln” or some variation is an onomatopoeic word in German, and thus impossible to translate. (It means the MeeBlip feels like this, maybe. No, seriously, we asked Benjamin and he reported it was a nice thing to say about the MeeBlip’s sound.)
DE:BUG has high praise for the MeeBlip – and high praise for you, in the community. Lesen Sie den Test in deutscher Sprache: Im Test: MeeBlip SE
What’s it like getting a MeeBlip SE Quick Build in the mail, then assembling it? Sure, we say you just need a screwdriver and a few minutes, but what’s the reality of this thing?
Well, a big part of what keeps us passionate about working on the MeeBlip is you, the users. And so, Stan Taylor, a MeeBlip user from the USA who’s a trained sound engineer and musician (working in Atlanta and Florida), sent us a pretty incredible gift. He shot a video showing the whole process, from opening the box to playing your first notes, and even offers some handy tips on the way.
If you’re thinking about getting a MeeBlip SE Quick Build, this is a good way to see what it’s about. And we’ll add it to our documentation page for those of you still waiting to put together yours and make some sound.
We really are planning some video production this summer. I have to say, you in the MeeBlip community have set a pretty high bar. If we had gone off and done videos on our own, I don’t think they would have been as good as the ones you sent in. Now, we’ll just have to raise our standards.
You never get it right the first time. A view of iterations of the MeeBlip board as it has gradually evolved, including several non-shipping prototypes.
A goal of the MeeBlip project is not only making our hardware open, but being open about what we learn making that hardware. We tended to keep some of that to ourselves at first, but now that we have something more meaningful to share, we’ll be a bit less shy. Getting things rolling, MeeBlip’s chief engineer James Grahame – no stranger to hardware design and manufacture – explains why making hardware can be … well, hard. Happily, with each mistake, you get a chance to get a bit smarter. But it can come down to something as simple as a ribbon cable. I’ll let James tell the story. -Peter
Designing and building boutique music hardware is hard. Anyone who tries to tell you different is either trying to sell you something or hasn’t tried it themselves.
A case in point — we shipped about a hundred MeeBlip SEs in mid-March. They started to arrive about a week later and I received an email asking for help to get a Quick Build kit running. That in itself isn’t that unusual, and we can usually get stuff sorted out in a couple of back and forth messages.
But this message was followed by another. And then another. For some reason, it seemed like quite a few boards were arriving DOA. That’s a rare occurrence, because the final assembly step before they leave is to program the latest firmware and play them for a minute or two. Continue reading »
We have a new, step-by-step guide to connecting and playing the MeeBlip SE. For all users of MeeBlips with the current firmware, this includes some explanation of how to get the most out of the new sound controls and synthesis parameters. And if you’ve got MeeBlip SE hardware, we show you how to load and save presets (at last!), as well as set the default MIDI channel.
So, if you’ve got a new MeeBlip, this is where to begin. And if you’re thinking about it, this will give you a taste of what the user experience is like.
The MeeBlip micro is a small project board, ready for everything from completely custom synth builds to wearable projects and installations requiring synthesis. (Really. More on that soon.)
Now that we have all our SE-generation MeeBlip hardware available, you may be wondering what the difference is between these models, and which you should get. (Actually, you might be wondering that even if you’ve already got a MeeBlip!)
We have three major models:
1. MeeBlip micro: Project board for true DIYers – no case, no knobs, compact size.
2. MeeBlip SE Build Everything Kit: Build your own full MeeBlip from parts, with some soldering and a bit of time.
3. MeeBlip SE Quick Build: Grab a screwdriver and a few minutes, and you’ve got a full MeeBlip, no soldering required.
How do decide:
Want to play sooner than later: If you want to get playing as quickly as possible, you should probably get the MeeBlip SE Quick Build. No soldering means you get going just about right away.
Love soldering: If you’re a DIYer and like to solder, you should get either the micro or the SE Build Everything.
Need something small and really inexpensive: If you’re short on cash and are happy using a MIDI keyboard or sequencer to control your MeeBlip – and don’t care much about having switches and knobs included – you should get a micro.
Want to design your own MeeBlip: If you want a board that’s as small as possible to make your own custom form factor, you should get a micro.
In fact, the best way to explain why it’s important for us to offer the micro is to explain why we changed the DIY kit version of the full-sized synth. So many people wanted the faders or knobs that it was simpler for us to just bundle all of it in the kit. That simplicity helps us ship faster and keep costs low for you.
But if you want to build your own custom enclosure and even completely reimagine the layout of the board, the micro is for you.
If you want a MeeBlip that’s easy to play, right away, the full-sized SE is probably a better choice than the micro. The micro is completely playable via MIDI, but the full-sized SE has dedicated knobs, switches, and even buttons for storing up to 16 presets. You can buy it either as a Build Everything kit, which requires a soldering iron and some time, or the Quick Build, which requires just a screwdriver and can be … um … quickly built.
Today, at last, we’re building and shipping MeeBlip SE. Whatever the “SE” stands for – seconda edizione, or a meaning of your own choosing – the MeeBlip SE is the original MeeBlip, but better. Building on the first version of our open source synthesizer, we’ve worked with feedback from users to make the MeeBlip more usable and more sonically versatile. New in this version:
A more intuitive, playable control layout. The changes are subtle, but after lots of conversations with users, we worked to make each knob and switch the choice we liked best. (Of course, you can still modify those choices via our open source firmware, if you like.)
Patch storage. Sure, it was a bit more “pure” never being able to store patches, but this is a digital synth, after all. Now, you can save and recall up to 16 patches right on the MeeBlip, using dedicated front panel load and save buttons. It’s especially nice for live performance.
Variable pulse width. Instead of a fixed square wave, you can now use the dedicated PWM knob to adjust the timbre of the first oscillator. There’s also a “pwm sweep” switch for enabling an automated PWM envelope, of which we’ve grown rather fond. Hello, thick synth leads.
Anti-aliasing. You can now use more pristine anti-aliased waveforms, or turn this off for other timbral effects. It gives you another option for coloring the MeeBlip’s sound.
Control everything with MIDI. It’s simple: if there’s a sound parameter in the MeeBlip, there’s a switch or knob to play with it. And now, the reverse is true, too: if you see a switch or knob, you can control it via MIDI. At last, you can use a tracker or sequencer to program detailed MeeBlip sounds.