Key features • Tap, grab and squeeze for sounds • Five main interactive points • Free desktop editing software
Learn more: www.skoogmusic.com
Available from: store.apple.com
Musical instruments come in all shapes and sizes, but few look anything like the Skoog, a soft cube that creates sound through the way you tap, squeeze and tilt it. Each of the coloured areas is an interactive point, and indeed so are the corners. Plug the device into your Mac via USB and the Skoog has its own music studio and editor where you can customise every aspect of the sounds you hear, from the instrument applied to recording your own vocals.
When you first handle the Skoog it feels like a big stress toy – but this is great when it comes to manipulating it to create sounds. The idea behind its design is to make music creation and instrument playing as accessible as possible. The Skoog has already been deployed in schools and among those with disabilities as an example of its all-encompassing nature.
There is a short setup process before you begin, but once the Skoog is hooked up and the music software downloaded from the company’s website, the fun begins in earnest. Much more than just an output for sounds, the Skoog can be used to record your own sounds and vocals before your interactions on different parts of the cube mix them together. The touch sensitivity is impressive, with how you grab the Skoog altering the pitch of the output audio. You can set different instruments to play on each segment, essentially turning the Skoog into a one-device band, and it’s even possible to connect to GarageBand and Logic Pro X – taking advantage of their own array of instruments – and turn the Skoog into a MIDI controller. Once you think you’ve got the hang of it, which will take a while, there is even a Guitar Hero-style play-along section with famous song bass lines for you to tap out on the Skoog.
The biggest issue with the product is the price. At nearly £500 this is some investment, and given the slight response issues we had between the desktop software and the Skoog, it’s understandable that some would be discouraged. While it is a fantastic device for fun and creativity, it feels like a casual experience. There is no doubt that the Skoog is a brilliant piece of design and a wonderfully unique way to make music, but the price tag will rightly turn casual users away.
Pros: Brilliantly unique and easy to pick up and play
Cons: Expensive and has some response issues