Who said electronic musical bliss required deep pockets?

We’ve seen a steady flow of budget-minded gear over the last few years. What makes this equipment special isn’t just that it’s cheaper. It also has personality and produces distinctive sounds, loads of hands-on control, and fits compactly into carry-on luggage, meaning it’s a no-brainer on the road and in small live performance spaces. That’s encouraging more people to play live.

MeeBlip owner Zachary Hollback sent over a video that sums up why this can be fun. This isn’t necessarily about inventing new kinds of music: it really is, in the mode of folk music, about jamming and having a good time. And, boy, are there days when we need that.

From Roland, there’s the AIRA TB-3 – actually my favorite of the AIRA lineup, because not only does it have a clever touch interface for making melodies and decent, built-in 303 modeling, but it also sequences external gear, all in a compact package.

From KORG, who deserve the lion’s share of credit for leading this hardware renaissance, we get the MonoTribe, volca keys (one of my favorite synths at the moment), and the volca beats (with its massive bass drum sound) – see the volca series.

From Arturia, there’s the BeatStep, the cute pad controller with a built-in standalone sequencer.

And our own MeeBlip anode jumps in as the bass synth, sequenced by the BeatStep. (Funny – I’ve also used the TB-3 to sequence the anode.)

It’s all titled a jam for a sunny day, which is not what I have here – so time to make some hardware jams in the gloom and lighten things up!

Got a hardware rig of your own? What are you using? Let us know in comments.