Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    Spotify's shared playlist queue feature expands to Polestar 2 vehicles

    Last year, Spotify started beta testing Group Sessions. It's a feature that allows up to six people to share control over the music playing in the background of a physical or virtual get-together. Those involved can queue up songs, podcasts and playlists, as well as skip tracks they don't like. In an expansion spotted by The Verge, you can now take advantage of Group Sessions in the first (and currently only) Android Automotive car, the Polestar 2. Once a driver starts a session, everyone else in the car can join by scanning the Spotify code that appears on the Polestar 2's front display. One important limitation is that only those with Spotify Premium accounts can join, so not just anyone can hijack your playlist and turn a fun road trip into an exercise in patience. The driver can also revoke access at any time because, as Polestar correctly points out, "passengers aren't always right."

    The most recent Google Arts & Culture exhibit enables you to explore days gone by history of electronic music

    If you have any interest at all in electronic music, you owe it to yourself to check out Google’s latest Arts & Culture exhibit. Music, Makers and Machines celebrates the history of the genre, highlighting the people, sounds and technologies that helped make electronic music what it is today. Google got help on the project from more than 50 international institutions, record labels and industry experts, including the Moogseum. [embedded content] One highlight is an entire section devoted to the early days of Dubstep. You’ll find short, written segments on artists like Burial and the subgenre's development complemented by photos and YouTube videos. You can even use Google Street View to explore the locations of long-closed but seminal clubs like Plastic People. Another compelling exhibit explores the role Black artists and musicians have played in pushing the boundaries of electronic music. That said, the highlight of the exhibit is an AR synth module that allows you to play around with five classic instruments, including the Roland CR-78 and Akai S900. Speaking of synths, Google has uploaded 3D models of some of the most iconic ones. You can check out Music, Makers and Machines online, as well as through the Google Arts & Culture app on Android and iOS.

    Turntable.fm is and Turntable back. fm back can be coming

    2021 is bringing back some good things we've lost in the past. Social DJ site Turntable.fm launched ten years ago, letting people take turns to add songs to a shared playlist in a room with their friends (or strangers). Sadly, it shut down in 2013 over high operating costs and a shrinking audience. Now, though, not only is the website itself back up and running (though with a password required for access), there's also another effort to bring it back in a new form. Founder Billy Chasen responded to a tweet confirming his involvement with the revived website, which currently doesn't appear to be available to the public. Some people are reporting issues like tracks missing even while searching with a video ID, but the majority of questions are folks asking for access. Details on when this might open to the public are also sparse. Meanwhile, one of the original founding team members Joseph Perla announced in February that he was bringing the service back as Turntable.org with a target April beta launch date. Perla's version will be mobile-first and appears to involve a subscription payment model. Perla is also working with Simon Oxley, founding designer of Turntable.fm's avatars.  [embedded content] While the original version relied on YouTube videos to provide music, Turntable.org will also support MP3 uploads, according to its website. Clearly, this version needs to work out how to work with the music industry if it's planning to enable that, and in its press release the company wrote that it plans to "develop a breakthrough use case and business model that works for both artists and fans." A sound business model is vital to ensuring either version of the revived Turntable will stick around. Perla's team launched a crowdfunding campaign with a target of $500,000 and has already raised $522,400. Those who supported will receive various perks like discounted subscriptions at launch, early access, downloadable avatars, special badges and more. These efforts to create a source of income might help Turntable.org fulfil the promise it made on its site: "We're designed to stick around forever, promise."

    Ableton Live 11: The largest upgrades explained

    Ableton announced Live 11 in mid November and now it's finally here. The latest version of its incredibly popular DAW is out of beta and available to all. The list of new features in Live 11 is long and impressive: Comping; linked track editing; MPE support; expression editing; live tempo following; macro improvements; updated devices and soundpacks; five new devices, including a hybrid reverb and new pitch shifting plugin; chance tools; plus a host of improvements to Max for Live. That's in addition to lots of little interface tweaks and updates to Push support. I've been using the beta since it was announced back in November and while I haven't put every new feature through its paces, I can say unequivocally that Live 11 is a solid upgrade from 10 and well worth your time. Just know that Live 11 is a bit more resource intensive that Live 10. And Live 10 was a lot more resource intensive than Live 9. So if your machine was already struggling after the last big update, you might want to wait until you can upgrade your hardware too. Here's a quick overview of what's new and the standout features (to me). MPE Terrence O'Brien / Engadget Lets start with arguably the marquee feature — MPE support. Ableton Live is one of the last major DAWs to add support for MIDI polyphonic expression. Bitwig has it, Logic has it, even Garage band has it. That means instruments that respond to MPE like Arturia's Pigments and sonicLAB's Fundamental can be that much more expressive when paired with the right controller, like the Sensel Morph. I mention those two in particular because they've been my go-to testbeds for exploring MPE. (They also couldn't be more different from a sonic standpoint.) Ableton was smart enough to update a few of its stock instruments to support MPE too, like Wavetable and Sampler. You can find presets under "MPE Sounds" in the browser if you want to quickly dabble and explore. Ableton also included MPE Control and Expression Control devices, which you'll find under MIDI Effects. These let you decide how exactly you want various MPE functions to be used and map them quickly and easily. MPE Control also lets you take advantage of some of the tools available to you on an MPE controller, even if the instrument you're using doesn't support it. So, for example, you could fire up Ableton's Analog, tick a couple of boxes in MPE Control and slide your fingers around to trigger pitch bends and move the mod wheel. To be clear, you could always do this, but it's just a lot easier to get set up now. This might sound minor, but I think one of the barriers to adoption of MPE controllers is getting them to play nice with non-MPE software. I don't want to spend an hour building custom mapping for every virtual instrument. I want to connect my Morph or Roli and just have it work as expected. This is a big step in that direction. Especially since, in my experience, your settings will need a lot of fine tuning to make the most of MPE and this really simplifies the process. You can still take advantage of many of MPE's features even if you don't have a compatible controller by using Ableton's new expression editing tools. These allow you to dive in and manually tweak pitch bends, modulation and aftertouch on a per-note basis, just like you would any other automation lane. It's intuitive and simple, and might even convince a few more people to embrace MPE once they've gotten a taste of what it has to offer. Comping Ableton The other headlining feature, at least for me, is comping. This simply allows you to record multiple takes of the same section of a song without stopping and then combine the best parts easily. (I can already hear a bunch of purists screaming "that's cheating", but they're wrong.) Now, I'm fully willing to admit my technical skills as a musician are mediocre at best and I can be a bit sloppy, so just being able to record eight takes in a row without stopping is huge. Plus, this is a feature that many other DAWs have had for quite sometime, so Ableton is actually playing a bit of catch up here. And you can get creative with comping to create harsh glitchy juxtapositions or to just pullout the best parts of a jam. Comping works with both audio and MIDI too, so whether you're trying to nail a vocal, a guitar solo or a complicated chord progression with a VST there's something to be taken advantage of. And it's incredibly easy to use. Basically each take is a "clip" (that will make sense to existing Ableton users) and they're grouped as take lanes under the main track in arrangement view. You then simply drag markers back and forth to indicate where you want to switch between your takes. And then, if you want, you can bring those clipped bits over to session view so you can trigger them separately to create new variations and combinations. Linked track editing [embedded content] This is pretty straightforward, but it makes finetuning multi-tracked parts a breeze. You can link a bunch of tracks together and, whatever you do to one, is automatically applied to the others as well. This is great for cutting up and automating double-tracked rhythm guitar parts, or if you've got a melody being played on a piano and a synth at the same time, you just sync them up once, then start editing. This also makes Ableton a lot more flexible if you're using it to edit say a podcast, or working with video and audio simultaneously. Once you've got everything synced up properly, you just link the tracks so that any changes you make don't cause the tracks to become misaligned. And again, this works with MIDI as well as audio. In fact, you can link MIDI and audio tracks and edit them both at once. I'll sometimes use this as a way to pull out new musical ideas from a long jam. I'll record the MIDI and audio simultaneously, then go back and edit them as a linked track. The audio track gives me a preview of what the new part will sound like, and when I want to record the freshly pieced together melody without the harsh cuts, I have the MIDI ready to go. Inspired by Nature Terrence O'Brien / Engadget There's a number of new sounds and devices in Live 11, but few have captured my attention quite like the Inspired by Nature pack. These instruments and effects use physical and natural models to determine sounds, modulation and sequencing. The most straightforward of these is Bouncy Notes which drops a virtual ball when you play a note and as it bounces, that note repeats. But you can draw walls and obstacles inside the "sequencer" (if you can call it that) that deflect the balls, or alter things like the launch angle and speed to create generative patterns. Similarly Vector Delay uses a gravitational model and orbiting spheres to determine the parameters of a multitap delay. Terrence O'Brien / Engadget Then there's Emit, another bouncing ball / moving particle style device, but this one is a granular looper and synthesizer. It has so many controls and modulation options, that it can do everything from glitchy percussion loops, to atonal drones, to pretty plucked melodies, but all with a unique and slightly unpredictable bent. The 10,000-foot view is: you have particle emitters that fire either automatically as your track plays, or when triggered by MIDI. The particles then careen through the spectrogram of your sample. Honestly it's probably deep enough to get its own 1,000 word write up. Just be aware the Emit is quite resource intensive. So, I highly recommend you record your results as audio or at least freeze the track once you're done. Vector FM and Vector Grain function almost exactly like Vector Delay, except they rely on FM and granular synthesis respectively. Then there's Tree Tone which is a strange sort of generative resonator instrument that's built for drones and gentle random melodies. Probability and randomization

    Ever heard a catchy song on your smart speaker and wanted to share it right away? You can act on that impulse if you have an Echo. Amazon is rolling out a music sharing feature that lets you share songs with Alexa contacts using Echo devices or the Alexa app. Ask the voice assistant to “share this song with” a contact and they can not only choose to listen, but send a reaction. Thankfully, you don’t need to use Amazon Music or even the same streaming service as your recipient. Alexa will try to find a track on any services available to you. If there’s no match, you’ll still get a station based on the artist’s name and song title. You can try the feature by enabling Alexa Communications. If you’re not sure about the contacts that can receive a song, you can start a new message to see who’s available. Amazon characterized this as “just the beginning” of the sharing feature, hinting at possible upgrades in the future. For now, though, the feature could be helpful if you’d rather not turn to text messages or social networks just to spread the word about a can’t-miss tune — at least, so long as your friends are as invested in the Alexa ecosystem as you are.

    Meters' OV-1-B Connect headphones have VU dials and a $349 price tag

    Daniel Cooper The best laid schemes of mice, men and niche British audio brands can go awry when the world is gripped by a global pandemic. Meters Music announced its new flagship headphones back in January, with shipping due a few months later. It’s now December, and this is the first time we’ve seen the new OV-1-B Connect cans in the flesh.  Meters Music is a part of Ashdown Engineering, a British company that makes bass amplifiers for musicians. Its selling point is the inclusion of working analog VU (Volume Unit) meters in its pro hardware, which are also added to the headphones. Here, both ear cups have outward-facing VU monitors, making it look like you’re wearing a ‘70s HiFi unit on your head.  The headphones are sturdily built, with an emphasis on retro styling, a silver aluminum body and a faux-leather headband in tan, black or white. They’re not the lightest cans in the world, but the weight is at least well-balanced, and the thick faux-leather keeps them soft. I’ve worn them for two or three hours at a time and found them to be comfortable enough on my head when placed just so.  Daniel Cooper I’m not the first (or the hundredth) person to point out how much of an affectation the VU meters are. You can’t see them unless you’ve got a couple of mirrors and a bendy neck, so they’re not the most useful to see if your music is too loud. They’re calibrated to EU listening standards, and so only really start bouncing when the audio reaches semi-uncomfortable levels anyway. They’re sensitive enough, however, that with the audio off, they’ll jump pretty far when you have a small coughing fit. Meters says that the point of them, beyond the fashion, to help parents see if their kids are listening to their music too loudly. (Who knew that there was a market for parents who buy their kids luxury headphones big enough to sustain a whole company?) Really, they’re an easy way for you to tell the world that, ya know, you really care about the music, yeah? There’s an RGB LED hidden behind each VU meter, and you can change the color of the backlight from the default yellow, as well as the brightness. In terms of additional flourishes, it’s nice, but you’ll soon notice the other shades don’t really go with the set’s retro stylings. In fact, after scrolling through the colors, I realized that the default yellow was put there for a reason.  Daniel Cooper Meters made a big deal about the inclusion of Qualcomm's QCC5124 SoC, which offers low power Bluetooth 5.0 connections and 24-bit audio. The resulting sound is ruthlessly clean and clear, making it ideal for songs that aren’t too aggressive, with subtle treble and vocal tracks. Go for something a little meatier, with a lot of bass, and things remain fairly polite and clean.  I switched to a high-res audio player and played some studio masters in FLAC, Meters’ strengths and weaknesses are even more exposed. Throw classical, or delicate-like-spider-silk songs at the OV-1-B-Connect, and you’ll be treated to beautiful songs reproduced beautifully. It excels at playing delicate music, but this milquetoast reproduction is at odds with its rock-and-roll stylings. With closed back ear cups and ANC, you can drown out a heck of a lot of ambient noise with these things. Since we’re not able to fly right now, I instead sat and asked my two kids to scream, jump around and generally be awful in my general direction. And I was barely able to hear any of that while listening to something mellow, enjoying the most blissful moment of zen I’ve had in weeks.  Daniel Cooper It’s not all perfect, however. One of the biggest objections with the previous version of these headphones was the fixed ANC and EQ modes, controlled with a physical switch. To remedy that, the company has launched Meters Connect, an Android / iOS app that lets you dynamically adjust the EQ (and change the VU meter backlight). To say I’ve had issues with the app is something of an understatement, with regular connection brownouts slowing down the firmware updates. When I was able to play with the EQ, however, I found that you can either make the songs excessively, unpleasantly crunchy or hissy but still relatively flat. In fact, it’s one of those options that presumably makes sense somewhere, to someone, but seems less than pointless for general use. Perhaps the professional musicians and producers that Meters consults with (and uses in its promotional material) get more out of the technology than I do. Daniel Cooper While I’m nitpicking, I’d add that this is a brand new pair of $349 headphones which still ship with a micro-USB cable for charging. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does mean that, if you’re living in a USB-C world, you still can’t ditch the legacy cables in your carry case. Fundamentally, Meters’ had plenty of fundamentals in place, with a good-looking pair of well-made headphones and a unique statement feature. But I’m struggling to really connect with this device in the sound itself, which to my non-audiophile ears seems to be fussier than it needs to be. When you’re asking for this sort of money, you don’t just need to be good — which these can be — you need to be better than Sony’s class-leading WH-1000XM4. Sadly, we’re not quite there yet.  In this article: Meters Music, Meters, VU Meter, Headphones, Cans, ANC, Bluetooth, Ashdown Engineering, Music, feature, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Bad Bunny is Spotify's most-streamed artist of 2020

    Spotify ‘Tis the season for top 10 lists, so nearly every streaming service or content-hosting website will release its “best of” roundups between now and the end of the month. Spotify is one of the regulars, and as part of its annual Wrapped festivities, the company has revealed its top charts for the year. For 2020, Bad Bunny is the most-streamed artist on the platform globally with over 8.3 billion streams, followed by Drake, J Balvin, Juice WRLD and The Weeknd — in that order. Billie Eilish is the most popular female artist for a second straight year with Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa and Halsey rounding out the top 5. The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” is the most-streamed song globally with almost 1.6 billion streams this year, while Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLG is the top album — amassing over 3.3 billion streams. Other popular albums, in order of global rank, include The Weeknd’s After Hours, Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, Harry Styles’ Fine Line and Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia. When it comes to the rest of the top-five singles, “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I, “The Box” by Roddy Ricch, “Roses - Imanbek Remix” by Imanbek and SAINt JHN and “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa finish up that list. In 2019, Spotify bet big on podcasts and it continued to do so in 2020. This year, future Spotify exclusive show The Joe Rogan Experience is the most popular podcast globally. That’s a pretty impressive feat considering it just debuted on Spotify in September. And of course, that’s a great sign considering the podcast will become exclusive to the service at the end of the year and reports indicate the agreement is worth over $100 million. Interestingly, Rogan’s show falls to number two on the US chart, with NPR News Now eclipsing it for the top spot in the States. TED Talks Daily, The New York Times’ The Daily, The Michelle Obama Podcast and Barstool Sports’ Call Her Daddy also make up Spotify’s year-end top five. As far as podcast genres are concerned, Society & Culture is number one, followed by Comedy, Lifestyle & Health, Arts & Entertainment and Education. In typical Spotify fashion, the company also noted some trends for 2020. Unsurprisingly, the service saw 1,400+ percent increase in work-from-home-themed (WFH) playlists between April and May. What’s more, the company says about 65,000 playlists were created by users with the title “Black Lives Matter” or “BLM.” Perhaps as a coping mechanism, Spotify users contributed to a 180 percent increase in health and wellness podcast listening in 2020. And overall, the most popular time to listen to a podcast this year on the platform was between 6AM-9AM. While the US top charts stack up similarly to the global lists, there are some interesting changes. The full collection of top-five charts for the US are as follows: US Most Streamed Artists: Juice WRLD Drake Lil Uzi Vert Post Malone Taylor Swift US Most Streamed Female Artists: Taylor Swift Billie Eilish Ariana Grande Halsey Megan Thee Stallion US Most Streamed Songs: “The Box” by Roddy Ricch “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd “Blueberry Faygo” by Lil Mosey “ROCKSTAR (feat Roddy Ricch)” by DaBaby, Roddy Ricch “Life Is Good (feat Drake)” by Drake, Future US Most Streamed Albums: Legends Never Die, Juice WRLD Eternal Atake (Deluxe) - LUV vs. The World 2, Lil Uzi Vert Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone After Hours, The Weeknd Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, Roddy Ricch US Most Popular Podcasts: NPR News Now The Joe Rogan Experience The Daily Call Her Daddy The Michelle Obama Podcast US Most Popular Podcast Genres: Comedy Society & Culture Lifestyle & Health News Education In this article: spotify, 2020, top charts, charts, music, music streaming, podcast, podcasts, bad bunny, the weekend, joe rogan, the joe rogan experience, billie eilish, juice wrld, wrapped, news, gear, entertainment All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Roli’s light-up, learn-to-play Lumi keyboard can be acquired for pre-order

    Sponsored Links Roli / James North Pre-orders for Roli’s crowdfunded Lumi keyboard are now open. The small, light-up keyboard pairs with a companion app and is meant to help you learn how to play music, whether you want to dive right into your favorite pop songs (Beyonce) or start with the classics (Beethoven). At first glance, Lumi looks like other small MIDI keyboards. But the keys all light up via internal LEDs. Those sync to a Lumi app, available on iOS and Android. The free app comes with 40 songs, more than 60 lessons and 72 exercises. For $9.99 per month, the premium version of the app offers more than 400 songs, more than 130 lessons and 380 exercises. Roli / James North Since we first demoed Lumi, Roli has made a few improvements. The hardware is now heavier and more durable. The key action performance and sensitivity is improved, and Roli improved the app’s navigation and overall performance. It helps that Roli has a strong track record, which includes the Seaboard Rise and Roli Blocks. You can get the light-up Lumi keyboard — along with a free case, free shipping and a $50 voucher for Lumi Premium — for $299. But you’ll have to act relatively quickly. Stock is limited, so orders will ship on a first-come, first-serve basis. The first shipments will go out in early November. Roli / James North In this article: lumi, keyboard, roli, midi, light-up, learn, music, kickstart, pre-order, available, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 14 Shares Share Tweet Share

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