If an August release has become the most famous gadget of the moment, this is the Yamaha Tenori-On. Everybody is talking about this device created by Yamaha and Toshio Iwai that is able to work as an instrument, an input controller, a synth, a sampler, … and even as a LED paint surface.
The Yamaha Tenori-On has six operation modes: score mode, you can play notes pushing the buttons briefly and if you push one, or more, of them longer the note will be played every time the loop indicator (that goes from the left to the right of the LED display) coincides with the note selected; random mode, this mode allows you to play a note, or a note sequence, and they will be played repeatedly on the order you have played them; draw mode, you can play notes by drawing a line or a curve in the LED display that will be played and repeated endlessly, until you stop it, of course; bounce mode, this is a somehow special mode, you select one note and the Tenori-On will create a loop with the light bouncing like a ball, the sound will be played when the light reaches the bottom of the display; push mode, this mode is similar to the delay effect, if the button is pushed shortly the sound will stop quick, but if the button is pushed for a longer time the sound and flashing will continue after you released it; and the solo mode, that plays a note only while you are pushing the button.
The functions buttons of the Tenori-On allows you to do some operations like changing layers (modes), changing octaves, changing voices, adjusting the layer volume, transpose notes, …
The Yamaha Tenori-On features 256 LED buttons, 10 function buttons (5 at the left and 5 at the right), clear, ok and cancel buttons, 256 included studio-quality sounds (organized by categories, from real instruments like drums, bass or guitar to the most strange and cool synth sounds), 10 built-in effects (reverbs and delays), monochrome backlit LCD display, 1-watt built-in speaker, MIDI connections (the MIDI IN connection allows you to play with 2 Tenori-On at the same time), SD card lot reader and works with 6 AA batteries or with a AC adapter.
It will probably be available during this month at the official Tenori-On on-line shop and its MSRP is $1,200. It reminds me to some Apple gadgets, even if you’re not a musician you’ll like this gadget.