REVIEW – Both of my children ages 4 and 5, are musically inclined and very creative. My son can build just about anything with his construction sets, and both kids can sing in tune and know the words of popular songs that play on the radio and that I have never even heard before. I try to get as many STEAM/STEM toys/devices for them to play with to support their imagination and creativity and to aggressively engage their minds. The Blipblox Toy Synthesizer may be a good fit for them. Let’s see if they like it!!
What is it?
The Blipblox Toy Synthesizer can be a toy or more than a toy. It is a new design that is geared towards kids exploring electronic music, but it has enough features and connectivity for adults to add it to their musical creations. The colorful buttons, knobs, and levers along with the electronic sounds and flashing lights keep kids engaged in STEAM/STEM learning. It is simple to use right out of the box.
What’s in the box
1 x Blipblox
3 x AA Batteries
1 x USB Power Adapter Cable
1 x Quick Start Guide
Design and features
- Safety certified for ages 3 and up.
- A multi-color LED light show is synchronized to the music.
- MIDI input for external keyboard or sequencer.
- Built-in speaker plus 1/4″ Audio Output jack.
- 12 unique oscillator modulation schemes.
- 1 Low Pass Filter, 2 Envelope Generators, 2 LFOs.
- Safety certifications: FCC, CE, ASTM, CPSC 16, EN62115, REACH, RoHS, and CA Prop 65 for toys.
The surface of the Blipblox has two levers on each side and a variety of buttons and knobs in between. Each button and knob has its own ability to add or subtract from the sound. In the top middle of the device, there is a built-in speaker.
It is quite noticeable that there are no labels for the buttons on the device. Here is the question and answer from the FAQS page on the website:
At the back of the Blipbox from left to right, as shown below, there is the audio out port, the Midi in port, the DC 5V optional/alternative power port and the on/off power button.
Underneath the Blipblox there is a battery compartment with a door that is secured with a small Phillips screw. The device takes 3 AA batteries.
The Blipbox comes in a box that seems designed to immediately attract the attention of kids. Once you take it out of the box, the only thing that you need to do is install the 3 included AA batteries. Then, you just press the power button to turn it on and you can start to play around with it. My kids are 4 and 5 (almost 6), and they were immediately attracted to it. Neither of them knows how to play an instrument as yet, but just the various sounds had them fully engaged. I suspect that given enough time, they will start to create sound compilations that will not require me to use earplugs. 🙂
The biggest issue that my son (the almost 6 one) has with it, is that the built-in speaker is not loud enough. The Blipblox does have an audio out port, and while that allows as much amplification as desired, I quickly had to unplug it because there was just no way to enjoy the amplification of the music my kids were creating!! LOL
The first video below shows when I first turned the Blipblox on and played around with the numerous buttons. It actually sounds like the speaker is loud enough, but that is because of the proximity of my iPhone to the device. (I recorded the video using my phone)
The next video below shows my kids competing to use the Blipblox at the same time. What you hear in volume is a more true representation of the actual volume of the speaker. It does seem to get a bit louder when connected via the USB/DC cable to an external power source. I did try a high capacity USB battery pack, but it seems like the Blipbox does not have enough of a power draw to keep the battery pack on, so it turns off. A USB to AC plug adapter like the one that smartphones use works better.
Based on the sounds I have heard the Blipblox produce, I can see it working for some techno and creative musicians.
What I like
- The decent build quality
- The attractive design
- The dual power option
- The endless sounds it creates
What I’d change
- A better built-in speaker as well as more built-in amplification
- The inclusion of a few pre-designed sequences for children and beginners to follow
The Blipblox is a nice device to engage kids’ attention and to help to expand their creativity. While I do play a couple of instruments, I do so as an amateur and I am certainly not a “Musician”. I have to leave the opinion regarding its benefit to the professional musician to someone else, but for kids like mine who are musically inclined, they seem to really enjoy using it.