For those of us who spend most of our time in front to of a screen for work, it’s only natural to want to enjoy an opportunity to get away from the computer for bouts of tactile, mouse-free producing. However, the final result almost always ends up inside your DAW. And a regular mixer or digital recorder doesn’t always cut it when you want to present your music in the best possible way. Something is missing, and 1010music may have stumbled on to it…
The 1010music Bluebox is a cute and compact little digital mixer and recorder with a big ol’ colour screen, and a pleasant amount of knobs and buttons. One look at it and DAW-less musicians will be immediately intrigiued! The unit lets you hook up modulars, synths, samplers, and so on to six stereo 3.5mm TRS inputs. These are mapped onto 12 mono tracks or six stereo controls, and each track is independently controlled in terms of recording and playback. So what we have is a capable little mixer with added live performance features.
Each track features volume, gain, a 4-band parametric EQ, pan, mute, and solo controls. Global compressor, reverb, and delay effects let you mash your instruments together into a deep, cohesive whole. Tracks can be recorded separately or inside the stereo mix, onto a standard microSD card. Coupled with the physical knobs, nav, and transport buttons, the 3.5-inch touchscreen practically puts a micro-DAW at your fingertips. Finally, MIDI I/O with clock enables connecting and syncing to synthesizers and other MIDI-capable equipment.
Three stereo outputs
Instead of a single stereo output, Bluebox offers a solid three. There’s the main mix, the assignable Stereo out 2 (with dedicated pre or post-fader sub-mixer), and Stereo 3 (headphone output with dedicated pre/post fader sub-mixer). Mixer mode enables global control over a single parameter for multiple tracks. The built-in parametric EQ is surprisingly capable, boasting Low Cut/Shelf, Parametric, and High Cut/Shelf settings for each of the four bands. The recording format is a more than adequate 48kHz/24-bit WAV in multi-track or stereo mix variants. Project settings can be saved and recalled with all parameters for tracks, outputs, EQ, and send effects.
Notably, being such a compact unit, Bluebox is bus-powered. You can plug into a power outlet or a USB power bank, or even connect another bus-powered device to the USB-A port on the back. Great stuff!
Price and availability
Bluebox costs a fairly reasonable USD 499, but it’s already sold out until December. Let’s hope 1010music is able to meet the demand. The package includes the mixer, a microSD card, USB power cable and AC adapter with three international adapters, 2 MIDI adapters, and a Quick Start guide. Basically everything you need to go out and start making music.
- 6 stereo 3.5 mm TRS inputs
- 12 mono tracks, 6 stereo tracks or something in between
- 3 independently controlled stereo 3.5 mm TRS outputs
- 5” touch screen, 4 knobs, 8 navigation buttons and 3 transport buttons
- 3 effects: reverb, delay and compressor
- Records and plays back 48k, 24-bit audio WAV files
- 4 band EQ per track
- MIDI In and Out for beat syncing effects
- Dimensions: 5.5″ x 5″ x 2″ (14 cm x 13 cm x 5 cm), 1 lb (450 grams)
- Durable metal case