Artiphon Orba 2

21

Portable Synthesiser/Sampler/Looper/MIDI controller

  • 8 Sensitive touchpads detect velocity, vibrato and pressure
  • Sample engine with 2GB memory
  • 24bit ADDA converter
  • Quantisation function
  • Songs up to 128 bars long
  • Multicolour LEDs
  • Motion and position sensors to detect waving, tilting, shaking, etc.
  • Vibration motor for direct feedback
  • Onboard MIDI looper with 4 tracks
  • 4-Part polyphonic synthesiser with subtractive and physical modelling synths and 10 voices
  • MPE MIDI support
  • Bluetooth LE MIDI
  • Orba app for managing songs, loops, samples and presets
  • USB-C port (USB 2.0 Class Compliant Audio/MIDI)
  • Headphone/line output: 3.5 mm stereo jack
  • Built-in 1250 mAh Li-Po battery for approx. 4 hours of continuous operation
  • Built-in loudspeaker with 3 Watt music power
  • Dimensions (D x H): 81 x 48.5 mm
  • Weight: 158 g
  • Incl. USB-C-A cable
Available since October 2022
Item number 545372
Sales Unit 1 piece(s)
Number Of Keys 10
Touch-Sensitive Yes
Aftertouch Yes
Split Zones No
Modulation Wheel No
Number of simultaneous Voices 10
Sound Engine Digital
MIDI interface None
Storage Medium None
USB-port Yes
Effects 0
Arpeggiator No
Number of Analog Outputs 1
Digital Output No
Display No
Pedal Connections None
Weight 0,2 kg
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£136
Including VAT; Excluding £10 shipping
In stock
In stock

This product is in stock and can be shipped immediately.

Standard Delivery Times
Delivery until approx. Thursday, 20.06.
1

21 Customer ratings

4.1 / 5

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14 Reviews

I
Interesting concept, destroyed by half-baked software implementation.
Ignis32 08.03.2023
This thing is cute and tactile. It is a cool concept, that should pack quite a good functionality in a small package for casual music creation. Physically it feels nice. I truly believe that there is a huge potential in this device to be fun.

Problem is, that software part quality ruins it all, and I cannot recommend Orba2 to anybody until these issues are resolved. And, unfortunately, there are no visible signs that it is going to happen.

I waited four months before writing this review, hoping that Artiphon would provide fixes and I would be able to write a positive review to support a small company doing interesting device, but there was no significant change during this time.

First of all, you need a bluetooth app to control the device, as soon as some vital functions are not available on device itself - without an external app you cannot swap sets of instruments, set tunings, set reverb. (there is a pc app using usb connection for that as well, but the whole point of the Orba is to be portable, so using it in pair with a phone is a main use case).

Below I am speaking only about Android app, I have no idea if Iphone version is any better.
The Android bluetooth orba app quality is, to put it mildly, disappointing. To be honest, it feels like it was developed by a students being paid with a bag of chips. App is constantly crashing, disconnecting from the Orba, or app can decide that it is connected in the connection menu, but refuse to do anything useful telling that you are not connected indeed.
Reconnecting often requires switching Orba off and on.

When it happens four times in a row in ten minutes while you are trying to jam with you friend - it takes all the fun from it, and it is embarrassing.

Scrolling list of presets in the app is almost impossible without switching to preset accidentally. Volume and reverb knobs are not working properly. Saving songs creates visual bugs that I cannot even describe.
When you open the app it refuses to respond to any controls until you switch to another app and back. Whole time while app is running it uses microphone for some unknown reason. Also currently all sounds recorded via phone are uploaded to Orba2 permanently and cannot be removed with official software. Instrument volumes sometimes change randomly sometimes when app is connected.

That's just from top of my head, I think the list is longer. App and it's connection to Orba is really bad, but it is required.

For device problems itself:
Orba itself also can hang and crash with no reason.
Changing volume of the particular instrument type forces switching to the next instrument type, that's really annoying.
Orba2 cannot be connected to a windows machine as a bluetooth midi device.

All that stuff had been reported to Artiphon months ago, and none of them had been fixed or any feedback provided. (except one for mixed up minor and major scales)

This device has potential for custom presets, but Orbasynth app that was available for Orba1 device and can edit instruments, does not work with Orba2. It is not clear from the marketing materials that there is such a regression in functionality compared to Orba1 and no version for OrbaSynth for Orba2 is still available, after half a year of release.

Speed of development of Orba2 seems to be quite slow paced, and no patches or fixed had been provided for more than a month at this point, so it is hard to expect some dramatic changes soon.

Another side of the problem is an absent vendor communication - while Orba2 seems to be in state similar to Early Access games, that usually requires speaking with community a lot, Artiphon is completely silent about their roadmap and development, and their presence on their own forums is close to zero. Actually. They might release OrbaSynth for Orba2 tomorrow or never, you cannot guess. Nobody knows if they are doing something cool or filing for bankruptcy. That's quite annoying too.

To conclude - in this state I would recommend to stay away from this device until software quality will be improved, you will pay for disappointment. However, it might worth to check it in a year or so, to see if any improvements are made, as with a more solid software it has potential to be a really entertaining device.

UPDATE as per 6th of July:

There are no new firmware updates or software updates for the last 100 days
Bugs and disconnects are the same we had at autumn.
Last comment from anybody from the Artiphon team had been made 2 month ago on the forum, they do not even try answering users questions anymore.
No OrbaSynth or it's equivalent appeared during the whole year since release.
Project seems quite dead at the momen, unfortunately. Changing my rating accordingly.
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D
A Nifty Little MPE Controller
Daub 27.11.2022
I’m always interested in an unusual and interesting ‘musical instrument’ and the Orba 2 has turned out to be a standout example of a “Good Buy”. I bought it thinking it had potential as a portable sampler and that if I didn’t get on with it then the kids would have fun with it.
On checking out the Mac app I discovered that along with a multitude of patches combining various sets of sounds for the 4 voices there was one that was specifically set for use with GeoShred’s GeoSax instrument implementing MPE. I easily set up to ‘talk’ to my iPad (running the GeoShred app) via Bluetooth and discovered that I instantly had an untethered, one handed, expression controller capable of a 2 octave range that worked with my GeoCello patches.
I’m an absolutely awful musician who loves to explore (play with) the technology but thanks to the Orba’s ability to communicate with my iPad I’m flying!! There are so many possibilities yet to explore such as Scale change and Key setting both of which are available in this little ‘ball’. What I thought would be a great and amusing toy for a family Christmas has turned out to be so much more. The Orba 2 is CERTAINLY NOT A TOY!!
If you are the kind of person, highly skilled musician or fumbler like me this is a worthy addition to the ‘tool bag’ - check it out.
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b
Gimmicky toy
bmfof 29.06.2023
Ultimately, this is a toy. It has limited capabilities as an instrument and that's not necessarily a horrible thing (I like to think of it as a minimized digital handpan). The interface is not really immediately intuitive, so it takes some time to get used to it before you can actually jolt down any ideas and you are ultimately better of using a smaller keyboard if you have basic abilities.

Furthermore, the sound library is not really that impressive and last I used the instrument, it didn't actually allow you to export any of your recordings outside of the supplied software.

I also tried using this as an MPE controller for MPE enabled software and the results weren't that impressive either, although I can see some limited use with careful planning I suppose.

Perhaps this would be a fun instrument for kids to develop an understanding of loops, basic music recording and song structure and generally spark interest in playing actual instruments.
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n
Great piece of gear
nemonihil 11.06.2023
A tiny synthesizer with enhanced sound options (via phone app) that places you straight to the space of creativity. It needs some learning curve for sure, but once learnt makes you able to create music anytime anywhere!
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