Oval is a new electronic instrument that allows you to play, learn and perform music using any sound you can imagine.
The brainchild of one Barcelona startup, Oval is a Bluetooth-enabled and MIDI-compliant USB device with multi-sensing pads and LEDs that helps users learn, play and create music. The electronic device, which doubles as an open source music controller, pairs to a smartphone, tablet and computer to allow musicians of any level to develop new sounds and share their compositions using its accompanying app.
Inspired by the handpan family of acoustic instruments (which resembles the classic steel drums of Trinidad and Tobago), Oval offers total freedom to make various notes and piece them together to perform an entire tune. This is accomplished through its Android and OS-friendly mobile app, as well as any MIDI-compatible software. Like a mini four track sequencer, the app lets users upload their own sounds and play them in different scales, add effects, adjust the sensitivity of its touchpads, download other songs, and pretty much anything else a percussionist would ever require.
“There are other ways to enjoy music besides listening. You are never too old or too young to experience the awesome feeling of playing an instrument and creating music. We believe that learning music should be fun and instruments have to be made to be ready to play right away. The Oval speeds up your music learning curve by leveraging the power of technology, gaming and sharing with others,” the team writes.
The Oval takes the design, ergonomics and musical qualities of handpans to create an electronic instrument that can be as simple for a beginner to start exploring music as a means of expression, and as complex as a professional musician needs it to be for layering samples and real-time looping. Its durable yet lightweight case is comprised of all natural materials like bauxite, marble and quartz, and comes in three colors: white, red and grey.
Designed with portability in mind, the unit itself only measures about 16” x 16″ x 5” in size and weighs roughly seven pounds. Oval is equipped with pressure-sensitive pads which illuminate to provide visual cues for tutorials, metronome mode and music-driven games. Meanwhile, housed inside its shell lies an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E Cortex-M3 MCU for its brains, a Bluetooth Low Energy module for connectivity, and a lithium battery for recharging via USB. What’s more, the instrument comes with a jack that can be used to input pedals or an external controllers.
Whether you’re a pro musician looking for a new tool or just someone who misses the steel drum sounds of the Caribbean, head over to Oval’s Kickstarter page today. The team is currently seeking $109,492 and hopes to begin shipping units out by spring of next year.