February 9th, 2011
So I recently purchased another little noise-maker to join my Stylophone, Gakken SX-150, and FM3 Buddha Box in my modest collection of annoying sound devices. This little guy is called the Meeblip and is the brain child of James Grahame of Retro Thing. Like the Gakken SX-150, this is something you have to put together yourself, although it doesn’t require any soldering. Unlike any of the other aforementioned boxes, the Meeblip can be controlled over MIDI. Actually, this guy is really a full-on monosynth, which kind of surprised me. From what I gather, the Meeblip is a monophonic virtual analog synth, meaning the synthesis is performed on a chip rather than older, conventional methods like DCO and VCO sound generators. But no matter, it still sounds great. And every parameter has a switch or dial just like those old monosynths from the ’70s. The versatility of the Meeblip is pretty amazing once you start messing around with it. Of course you don’t have a fancy modulation matrix or anything like that, but the simplicity of the design makes it a lot of fun to experiment with. I guess my only real complaint is the USB port, which is only used for power. This means you need to have some USB enable device close by, like a laptop, to power the Meeblip. I use something called MintyBoost! for my USB power. The real problem with the USB port is expectations though. I see that port and assume I can stream audio or MIDI over it (which the Meeblip doesn’t support). I would rather just see the USB port dropped in favor of a battery compartment.
UPDATE: There is now an external power supply option for owners of early Meeblips. All new orders ship with the external power supply.