Toshia Iwai’s sleek grid-based performance instrument, the Tenori-On, has now been released in a cheaper, ‘Orange’ version. However, considering the design sacrifices made, and heightened competition from other devices, the price may not have been reduced quite enough…
The Tenori-On At Home
The original Tenori-On was a very good looking device, with a brilliant white LED matrix on the front and back, a machined metal case and an internal battery. Its price on release was about £999.
This new incarnation – the Tenori-On Orange – is billed as a ‘home’ version, presumably because it lacks the LED grid on the rear (for the audience to see) and also has been deprived of its battery.
The launch price of the Orange is £649 in the UK, which is not exactly cheap – especially when you consider the raft of customisable grid-based controllers already on the market for far less cash – and its beige plastic body certainly makes it far less aesthetically pleasing than its predecessor.
The Bliptronic 8-Bit Budget Showdown
Just to illustrate how little you really have to pay for a grid based electronic instrument, ThinkGeek have introduced the Bliptronic 500 LED Synthesiser. This is a device with a grid of LED buttons that acts as a pattern-based step sequencer, for the humble price of $49.
Its sounds are quite primitive, but an infinite number can be linked together for multi-party sequencing, and it seems to offer some hacking potential as well. When you consider the significant features that have been removed from the Tenori-On Orange, and then compare it to something like the Bliptronic that costs a mere fraction of the price, then it really does seem as if Yamaha need some serious downward revision of their RRP…