Smart uke learning fattens the sound with built-in preamp
PopuMusic followed their ukulele learning from 2017 and acoustic guitar from last year – each with follow-me LED lighting in the neck – with a new take on the uke that rocks into a different shape and features an integrated preamp with effects.
Learning to play an instrument can be a difficult proposition, although technology can help – like software-triggered platforms where students follow LEDs on keyboards and necks to quickly master songs and techniques.
PopuMusic (formerly PopuBand) has been making LED-guided ukuleles and guitars for a few years now, and the Populele 2 Pro is the latest to join the family. The idea is for students to place their fretting fingers on the neck positions illuminated by built-in LEDs, with connected software supporting timings so that learners can strum their favorite tunes faster than using tablature. or a musical score.
The Pro 610 x 210 x 70.8 mm (24 x 8.2 x 2.7 inches), 800 g (28 oz) cradles 56 LED tracking lights integrated into the ABS neck (which are powered by two AAA batteries) , features an offset soundhole and larger soundboard than the first generation uke U1 for brighter sound and more presence, and benefits from a carbon fiber composite construction, which means that the instrument will not be affected by humidity or cold. PopuMusic also opted for PVDF carbon fiber strings, which would outlast their nylon counterparts.
The smart uke connects to a smartphone or tablet running a new PopuMusic iOS / Android app via bluetooth 5.0, which wirelessly triggers the LEDs in the neck when you learn a song, play a game, or watch a tutorial. The company promises students a “vast library of songs” to hone their skills, and learners can control the playing speed to start slowly and hit the right tempo at their own pace. That said, the company estimates that strummers can learn and play their first song in just 15 minutes.
We tried the setup on the U1 in 2017, and while the app we were using at the time was definitely aimed at younger players, it got us playing our first track in a matter of minutes. The latest app seems to have grown a lot and would suit players of all skill levels.
One potential downside is that the system relies on the microphone of the device running the app to record the pitch of the strings, although PopuMusic says the sound is routed through software noise reduction to remove unwanted background noise. for better precision.
The Pro also comes with a built-in preamp powered by a 1600mAh battery that incorporates reverb, chorus, and delay effects for richer unplugged sound, although there is an output jack for wiring up. an instrument amplifier or powered speaker. . Battery life is 10 hours when unplugged, or 20 hours when wired to an external amp / speaker.
Indiegogo’s promises for the Populele 2 Pro start at US $ 149, with a lower-performing version (without the preamp) also listed for $ 109. Contributors will also receive a VIP card to release tutorials and songs normally locked behind a paywall. If all goes according to plan, the expedition should start in October. The video below has more.
Populele 2 Pro Smart Ukulele: 2021 brand new with PopuBoost preamplifier