Minijam Studio launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, offering all the gear you need to start making music out of the box for just $163. Scott Wilson tests the budget set of hardware to find out if it’s as good a deal as it sounds.
Hardware synths have never been so popular. Ever since Korg introduced the Volca family in 2012 and made it possible to buy an analog synth for under $150, the market has been flooded with tiny, inexpensive devices for making electronic music. As affordable as these instruments are however, they still require a sizeable financial outlay to buy all the gear you need to put your laptop aside entirely.
Enter Mindflood, who earlier this month launched a Kickstarter for Minijam Studio, a drum machine, synth, filter, mixer and speaker for just £130/$163 (roughly the same price as a Korg Volca). Mindflood already has a proven track record with Patchblocks, an innovative set of magnetic components that allow you to easily build your own synths, and Minijam Studio is clearly intended to be an even simpler introduction to music-making. The devices are digital rather than analog to keep costs down, but there’s no denying that the prospect of a whole set of gadgets to jam with is pretty enticing, even if they are missing professional features such as MIDI connections.
Minijam Studio has already been a huge success on Kickstarter, smashing its £50,000 target with time to spare, but how good can a set of music making gizmos really be for such a low price? Pretty good, actually – but gear heads should be aware that these are definitely not devices for audiophiles, and nor are they they easiest instruments to pick up and play, especially if you’re a complete beginner.