2018-06-04T10:00:53-04:00 2018-06-04T20:30:20-04:00

Artiphon's intuitive INSTRUMENT 1 [Review]

What is the INSTRUMENT 1?

For those that remember the Omnichord, the INSTRUMENT 1 by Artiphon is a kind of updated modern day equivalent. It's a genreless, intuitive, and exciting midi multi-instrument, which can be played as a guitar, violin / cello hybrid, piano, and drums all in one project.

With heaps of potential, and creativity at your fingertips this really is an instrument of the future. It's fair to say keyboardists have had a fairly easy run with midi. However, the INSTRUMENT 1 offers an alternative here. Clocking in at a very reasonable $399 we're going to dive in, and explore more about why this instrument is so worthwhile. 

Why is the INSTRUMENT 1 so great?

  • Well it's brilliantly portable, you can plug into iOS devices on lunch-break, and play it silently like a guitar with headphones.
  • The INSTRUMENT 1 offers a great introduction to violin, piano, and drums, but if you're a guitar player looking to get into production then this option will absolutely excel for you as an accessible midi recording option. 
  • The INSTRUMENT 1 can interface as VSTs on DAWs such as with Ableton / Logic Pro / Garageband, as well as countless 3rd party apps; yes perfect for making music in literally any situation.
  • The INSTRUMENT 1 can be plugged into amps, as well as headphones. It also has a loud in-built speaker.
  • Also for the more technical people out there, it's also a fully functional and ready to be mapped midi controller that can interface with all kinds of midi sound software. The limit is really your creativity here. 

Ok, so there are other midi instruments out there.. 

The INSTRUMENT 1 is part of a fantastic, yet extremely early wave of next generation midi instruments. It's more accessible and intuitive than a lot of the other existing midi options. As every note can be articulated individually for even greater expression. Are you curious to know more about it's more unique and intuitive midi capabilities?

  • It can be played using gestures (strumming, tapping, and sliding) that aren’t native to midi keyboard
  • It's intuitive, including features such as smart strum, iconic note bending, and epic tilts
  • It's MPE compatible, so each note can be responsive to our gestures, and generates a 'real' feel to each instrument hidden inside the INSTRUMENT 1

How can I get the most out my INSTRUMENT 1 with Artiphon?

Introducing Artiphon's Editor / App. Nearly everything is possible in here if required, it's a very user-friendly, and easy interface to use for both DAW & iOS. There's a huge amount of options available to help get the most out of the INSTRUMENT 1.

  • From picking keys, octaves adjustments, fretless mode, or even just right or left-handed options. Everything is here to help make it easier to play along to, and build-up songs.
  • The INSTRUMENT 1 Editor lets the user to configure their instrument (by controlling features, adjusting tunings, and saving presets) while connecting to their DAW of choice. Garageband and Logic come in-built with some beautiful sounds and customisable with effects. Particular favourites are the mellotron and ember tone sounds. The different sounds, like strings, feel warm and real. The sounds are far better than stock sounds existing in other DAWs. Many are available with the Artiphon Editor in Logic and Garageband at the moment. 
  • The Artiphon and Garageband app can use inter-app audio if you want to use other 3rd party apps alongside them.
  • Live loop layers. Switching instrument technique is as simple as pressing up a button. Building up a track is really easy across DAWs and apps such as Groovebox. Players can quickly switch into drum mode, as well as layer up melodies and record.

What other apps can I use on-the-go?

Ok, so for iPhone and iPad users. The INSTRUMENT 1 is fairly light and easy to pick up in all senses. As well as being incredibly accessible. Let's look at the iOS options: 

  • Artiphon app, Garageband, and Groovebox are all free and notably good. Many community artiphon players, and Artiphon staff swear by and recommend these apps.
  • Moog Model 15 and Model D, Korg Gadget, Geoshred are some great paid options. EARMILK advice here would be to pick one and stick with it depending on what you’re using it more for.

Is there anything else I should know before buying an INSTRUMENT 1?

If you're an Ableton live producer there's slightly more set-up with fretless mode and MPE. And, Ableton is not yet as fleshed out with the gorgeous Artiphon sounds as Logic and Garageband. Each DAW has idiosyncrasies and configurations. But, around 80% of the instrument's abilities are flawless in Ableton. Manual building for MPE only matters in practise with pitch-bend; extending Ableton's current MPE ability.

  • Great speakers; on the INSTRUMENT 1 you can also play along to Apple music / Spotify
  • A full battery charge will last a whole day (more if headphones are in). Think about how much practise you can get in.
  • Fantastic support with online community on the Artiphon website, their YouTube videos for self-teaching. The lovely Artiphon staff are also very keen, and eager to help get people up and running.

Here's a couple of things EARMILK would love to see with the INSTRUMENT 1 in future:

  • The Artiphon Editor app doesn’t yet have inbuilt recording and sampling ability at this stage. This would really next level the INSTRUMENT 1 in EARMILK's eyes. Artiphon are generally developing the software at the moment though..
  • Wouldn't it be glorious if there was an opportunity for guitar foot pedals to interface with the INSTRUMENT 1? 

Where can I buy an INSTRUMENT 1?

We love the INSTRUMENT 1. And, it's immense potential. Artiphon.com/shop/ is the best place to buy an instrument, if you're as keen as us. You can also pick between either black and white instruments. At EARMILK, we totally recommend buying a strap, and case as extras to keep your instrument in good condition too. Happy playing.


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Electronic · Feature · Gear · Main Stage · Reviews · Tech


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