Thursday, January 04, 2007

Zounds! ...

No, this is not advertising. It's a testamonial. An unsolicited endorsement. A product review. And a nudge.

For Christmas, my nephews and niece (via my brother and sister-in-law) gave me Zoundz, "an interactive fusion of light and sound."

When I tore the paper off the box, I didn't know what I was looking at at first, but my brother popped in the batteries and gave me a quick tutorial and it's really, truly cool.

An opaque white plastic amoeba-shaped platform has three hot zones onto which you place the differnt pawns to make different sounds - the orange, spiky dude is percussion, the cube can be used to record a voice, etc. Each hot spot causes each pawn to create a different sound and, using controls on the platform, you can adjust the volume and tempo and echo and reverb.

Which means that you can create a lot of very cool tunes.

So what, you ask? Well, if you create a particularly cool groove, you can save it. For what, you ask? You can go to sleep to your music, using a built-in sleep timer, or wake up to your music, using the alarm feature. And each of the hot spots glows different colors in time to the music, so you not only get a cool groove, you get a groovy light show to go with it.

Long ago, Dave turned me onto an iTunes streaming radio station called Groove Salad.

I was playing with Zoundz on Christmas Eve night, completely addicted to moving the pawns around in different combinations and creating new tunes when I realized that what I have is a Groove Salad machine.

My brother is a partner with Big Monster Toys. Big Monster Toys partnered with Zizzle to create Zoundz. But that's not why I'm plugging it. I'm plugging it because it's seriously cool.

Update: I finally had the chance to show this to Dave a couple weeks ago after my recording session. He'd come in to do some work. I showed him the functions (which takes all of 10 seconds) and let him start playing. He found a sound he liked, turned to his keyboard, and started composing around it. Completely fascinating to watch his musical brain work. He picked up the base and examined it for an output - no such luck. He suggested any future iteration of Zoundz should have an output so he could record the sounds into his computer. He's not alone. Several commenters on Amazon said the same thing. Even three months later, i still totally dig mine. It's a great distraction on my desk.


Blogger Dave said...

Mmmmmmm, Groove Salad! :)

Verification word: zgjnq

12:35 AM  
Blogger dennis said...

i just got one of these myself. i'm really liking it and find it a bit theapeutic. go zizzle!

12:06 AM  

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