Artiphon’s Chorda ‘band in a box’ allows you to produce beats just about anywhere

There's plenty of unique control methods to suit different instruments.


Niche music gadget manufacturer Artiphon is back with a new instrument called the Chorda. This unique bit of gear is a combo meal of sorts, bundling together the form factor of the Instrument 1 with the standalone functionality and looper of the Orba 2. The Chorda builds upon the multi-instrument technology of the Instrument 1, with access to a diverse array of instruments, from guitar to drums and piano.

However, the Instrument 1 was tied to a phone or tablet, whereas the Chorda is fully standalone, making it an attractive entry in the burgeoning field of DAWless recording gadgets. There are “hundreds” of built-in sounds and corresponding control methods that actually resemble playing the analog version of the instrument. The device plays via micro-gestures that incorporate an array of control parameters. There are 12 pads that each respond to control methods like tapping, tilting, strumming, vibrato and more, via capacitive sensing technology and Midi Polyphonic Expression (MPE).

There’s also a new bridge section that allows non-musicians to automatically play chords, thus letting folks play along with their favorite songs. This bridge integrates with the built-in arpeggiator for changing the tempo and the key. The integrated looper lets you layer tracks as you see fit. Though there’s not much by way of sound design on the device itself, you can access an affiliated app to access the inner workings of the sound engine.

As for connectivity, the Chorda can control any MIDI-based software and hardware instruments via USB-C or Bluetooth. The device also automatically integrates with most DAWs, including GarageBand, Ableton, Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase and FL Studio. It also supports any standard MIDI and MPE-compatible mobile app or hardware. The battery life isn't winning any awards, however, at four hours of use per charge.

The Artiphon Chorda is available for preorder via Kickstarter and is available in three colors: black, white and blue. The early bird pricing is locked in at around $200, but as the tiers sell out, the cost goes up. The instruments ship in November.