Don’t be fooled by the abundance of colourful soft-touch silicone: the Joué Play gives off “my first MIDI controller” vibes, but is really a comprehensive digital beat machine aimed at experienced musicians as well as amateurs.
The Go-anywhere Play is a more accessible version of Joué’s previous effort, the Joué Pro. It’s a modular MPE MIDI controller with interchangeable pads that represent different instruments: piano, guitar, drums and keys. Pair one up with a tablet or laptop companion app and it’ll mimic more than 40 bespoke instruments.
It plays nicely with Windows, MacOS and iPads, recognising which pad is placed on the board and putting relevant instruments just a few taps away. Built-in tutorials hold your hand through your first few beats and melodies, then you’re free to jam away with effects like looping, quantizing and mixing sounds on the fly, ready to share later. The app supports as many as eight Joué Play boards at once, for some McBusted-levels of musical collaboration.
Once you’re ready to get serious, a Pro option unlocks the ability to plug the Play into a digital audio workstation. The MPE capability and support for fine-grain gesture inputs for vibrato & glissando promise the sort of flexibility professional musicians expect from their gear.
Each board is built from sustainable beech wood and powered via USB-C. Not much longer than a laptop, and much skinnier, the Joué Play should be portable enough to take just about anywhere. Hook it up to an iPad and you’ve got a music production suite that’ll squeeze into a backpack.
The Joué Play is on sale now directly from Joué at jouemusic.us (US) or jouemusic.com (UK), in a choice of Fire red or Water blue colours. Prices start at €245 for a starter pack, which includes the board and two pads. A full four-pad setup is €295, stepping up to €345 for the Pro option.