Ye olde music boxes were the first way for folks to play songs in their home by using a mass-produced cylinders, each loaded with a unique tune. As the player rotated the tube, irregular pegs jutting from it would strike a comb of tines on the box — and voila, audio for the people. We’ve come a ways since then, but the revolving player was too tempting a mechanism, it seems. The XOXX Composer is a modern take that’s more beat pad redux than revolution, but it’s far more charming and tactile than a field of buttons.
The digital music box uses magnetic marbles that stick to one of 16 clearly-marked spots on each wheel, triggering sounds when they spin over the sensor on the base plate. Users assign different instruments or tones to each wheel, which have their own sliders for pitch and volume. Connect the XOXX to a computer over a MIDI connection and let the good mixing times roll.
Sadly, the digital music box is not yet for sale. Inventor Axel Bluhme built early prototypes while studying at the Royal College of Art in London, but he has yet to develop it into a full commercial product, he tells The Verge. But since each magnetic node clearly corresponds to 1/16 of a beat, it could become a great visual alternative to the traditional flat beat pad for the novice digital mixer.