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Artiphon Orba 2: An entire studio in half a grapefruit

Orba 2 expands on the original fruity concept of thumb-based music-making in the palm of your hand. It brings in sampling and massively increases the length of loops.


Orba 2
The Orba is a fun machine. It originally had a bunch of synth sounds inside with which you could build tracks and move parameters with a bit of tilting and shaking about. You layer stuff up, grab more sounds from the app, and go on your way tapping out tunes. The new Orba 2 loses none of the playful nature and lets you “play any sound in the world”. That, of course, refers to Orba 2’s ability to sample.

The very slick demo video is awesome in how the guy wanders around the neighbourhood and snags samples from passing bicycles, buskers, ducks and things that twang. He’s then playing a whole new tune with his newly sampled instrument. It’s all so easy and I really hope it is. I hope it’s not minutes of fussy around creating folders, renaming clips, having to trim everything, retake samples, retake again and then access an app to save everything – I hope it’s not like that.

Artiphon Orba 2
Artiphon Orba 2

Orba 2 features 4 tracks of looped recording for Drum, Bass, Lead and Chord and can now handle loops up to 128 bars. Artiphon has improved the ceramic playing surface where somehow you can create whole symphonies from those 8 segments. It also now has quantization built-in which I can’t believe wasn’t in the original, so that will help in keeping everything together.

Orba 2 is also a Bluetooth MIDI controller for taking hold of any compatible software or hardware.

The original Orba is still available at $99 whereas the version 2 comes in at $149. It is a better device though. The fact that you can build your own instruments and sample on the fly really elevates it to something more than a phone app. Looks like a lot of fun.

Artiphon website.
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