Who Needs a Turntable When You Can DJ With a Ball?

Who Needs a Turntable When You Can DJ With a Ball?

I love EDM and have briefly tried my hand at DJing before to, let’s say, mixed results. So when I found out that I could make music with a pair of balls instead of a turntable or digital mixer. Who knows, maybe this will be the start of my career as a juggling DJ.

Here’s how the Odd Ball works. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and establishes a connection with its companion app for iOS and Android called Odd. Next, you browse through the app’s playlist and pick a beat. And then you play around with the ball to add effects to the beat. Each gesture on the ball corresponds to a specific effect.

For example, you can move the ball around to mix in tracks, quickly shake it to play percussions, slowly spin it to play a melodic loop or throw it in the air for special effects. The best part is that you can pair as many Odd Balls to your phone as you want. There’s no limitation on Odd’s side, though your phone might have a Bluetooth maximum. For my iPhone 12 Pro Max, that’s seven devices.


#asmr record and jam with ODD Ball 😛 #music #sound #remix #oddballism #odd #tech #shorts

I paired both Odd Balls to my phone, which took less than a minute. Then I paired my phone with my Sony Ult Field 1 speaker so I can have a better time DJing. Since your phone is at the center of the entire connection, you can have your music play from any headphones or speaker you’d usually enjoy our music on.

After playing with it for a few hours, I am confident about the Odd Ball being one of the coolest gadgets I’ve checked out in a long while. It made me wish I was still in elementary school and Show and Tell was still a thing. I was very suspicious about the Odd Ball’s responsiveness to gestures and wrongly presumed there would be a delay between performing an action and the ball registering it. I was also unsure of its sensitivity and was hoping I wouldn’t have to tap too hard for it to read my tap. That would’ve significantly downgraded my overall experience. Gladly, none of that happened.

Tapping the ball plays rhythmical lines.

The Odd Ball is extremely sensitive to gestures of all kinds and responds instantly. I picked a beat on the app—Midnight in Tokyo was my favorite—and started playing around with the Ball. The app will instruct you on what gestures make the most sense on the current track, so you’re not harassing the ball and wondering why your music isn’t sounding nice. Another feature I loved is the visual effects on the app while you’re mixing. They’re synced with your gestures and add to the overall mood of the music production part.

Shaking the ball plays percussions.

For a newbie like me, it was great to have on-screen instructions on gestures I should be using, and when I did everything right, the app would let me graduate to another song of the same genre, which helped to keep monotony away. I had to throw it in the air to move to another song and catch it, which was pretty fun. I lost track of time playing with the Odd Ball; it was more fun than expected.

Tossing the ball adds special effects.

All my past DJing endeavors have been limited to digital software. I have debated investing in a Pioneer mixer for a few years but haven’t taken the step yet. Another reason why I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Odd Ball is because it offered me, quite literally, a hands-on experience with making music. I was no longer tapping on my screen or clicking on my mouse. I had a pair of tangible, physical objects in my hands that I could shake, move, twist, and toss in the air.

Moving it through space mixes in tracks.

On a full charge, the Odd Ball lasts around 5 hours, more than enough to last a long session of messing around with your friends. I will say, though, that its standby charge isn’t ideal. When I first received the balls, it took me an entire day to leave them tethered to a socket to wake them up from hibernation.

The company behind the Odd Ball (also called Odd Ball) told me that it was because they had been resting in the warehouse for a long time and that it needed some time to come back to life. I fully charged both balls but didn’t get a chance to check them out then. When I returned to them a few weeks later, both of them were fully dead despite not being used at all. I wish you could charge the Odd Balls via USB-C instead of what looks like an old DC charger from an old Nokia phone.

This $US100 ball comes housed in a metal carrying case (along with a charging cable). I liked its look so much that I decided to keep it on my TV console as a showpiece, and a lot of my friends have asked me about it. Their bright orange, or “punch” color as the Odd Ball calls it, is also enough to intrigue people. There’s also a turquoise, grey, and black variant.

The balls sport a rubbery silicon body. Both its size and material feel just perfect in your hands. But it was a magnet for dust. Every time it touched a wall or the floor in my room, it came back filthy. I put it on the desk at my workplace for a brief moment, and it had a million little dust particles stuck to it. Thankfully, it wasn’t anything a nightly wipe down with a Lysol wipe couldn’t cure.

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

I love the companion app as much as I love the ball. It offers tutorials on using the Odd Ball, on DJing, a sufficiently large library of beats, the option to record your own sounds as the background beat, a place to save your finished projects, and a share option to post your work on social media. It features an easy interface and regular firmware updates that improve its functionality. I also came across an update at the beginning of my testing.

Screenshot: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

All in all, for $US100, the Odd Ball is a fantastic gadget. The best thing about it is that it can be what you want it to be. You can gift it to a musically curious kid, which would make for a neat toy, or you can recommend it to your friend who’s recently started getting into EDM (me). That same EDM-obsessed friend (also me) will appreciate it as much since it’s a great way to practice making beats.

It’s a ridiculously economical investment if you’re looking for a novel and easy way to make some music and don’t feel like dropping hundreds of dollars on a digital mixer. And the option to record your own background beats in the app means you can work on a track from scratch.

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