The Bliptronic 5000 from @ThinkGeek – A Tenori-on for the rest of us


The Bliptronic 5000 from @ThinkGeek – A Tenori-on for the rest of us

I first saw the Tenori-on in a video by Little Boots; it is a real-time, matrix input musical instrument.  It is also very expensive (to me at least) at $999.00 (a less expensive plastic cased version is coming out soon). I got the regular “what’s new” email from ThinkGeek and I skimmed it.  I saw the Bliptronic 5000 and thought it looked a lot like a Tenori-on. And it was only $49.99, so I ordered one.

Here are some pictures of the Bliptronic 5000 – its about 5.75 x 5.75 x 1.25 inches and its in a metal case, which has a nice amount of heft to it.


The top of the Bliptronic 5000


The front, note the 8 x 8 matrix, pitch goes up, time across


You can slave multiple units together and plug into an amp

There are four knobs on the right side, from the top: Loop, BPM (60, 80, 100, 120, 140, 160), Tone and Off/Vol. There are eight tones available, all sounding very much like an old Casio keyboard from the 90s. There four jacks on the left side. from the top: Link in, Link out, Line out, Phones. You can link up to 4 Bliptronic 5000s in series.

The matrix buttons for selecting when a sound plays are just the right size and spacing; I rarely hit the wrong button, and its quick enough to clear three to four notes in one measure at 140 BPM. The tone choices are nice if somewhat cheesy. And having a line out means I can record what I did to my computer or a tape deck for further processing, a huge plus.

And here’s a video where I show off the Bliptronic 5000:

I love this – I plan to use it after I set up some of my musical gear and start composing again; its a wonderful sketchpad and I think a neat way to incrementally compose music. For less than $50 US this is a definite “glad I bought it.”


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