The ukulele are immensely popular, lightweight and easy to play, these guitar-like instruments with four nylon strings are everywhere, and PopuMusic he presented his staff Populele 2 Pro, a ukulele equipped with LED lighting follow-me in the keyboard, and a preamplifier integrated with effects.
Learning to play an instrument can be a difficult thing, however there is technology that can help today, such as with software-activated platforms where students follow the LEDs on keyboards and necks to quickly learn songs and techniques.
PopuMusic (formerly PopuBand) has been making LED-led ukuleles and guitars for a few years now and its new Populele 2 Pro is the latest addition to the family.
The idea is for students to place their fingers on the positions of the keyboard illuminated by built-in LEDs, with software linked to the timing app so students can play their favorite songs faster than using tablature or sheet music.
The box contents of the Populele 2 Pro are quite modest, although I really liked the way in which it is box also acts as a carrying case thanks to the practical handle on the top.
Returning to the contents of the box, you will find a manual of the instructions which paradoxically – at least in my case – is completely in Chinese and, unless you know it, it will be a bit difficult to understand what is written, but let’s say that its use is quite immediate and, once you have downloaded the app, everything will be – in part – simpler; then inside we find a USB type C cable, the same Populele 2 Pro and two AAA batteries.
The ukulele is available in two models, the Populele 2 and the Populele 2 Pro which is the model I will tell you about in this review, with four colors available: Midnight Black, Snow White, Mint Green and Light Pink.
Populele 2 Pro: the design and the features
Coming to the point, the Pro version of the Populele 2 measures 610 x 210 x 70.8mm (24 x 8.2 x 2.7in), weighs 800g (28oz), and has 56 follow-me LED lights. (which are powered by two AAA batteries) built into the ABS keyboard, features a staggered soundhole and larger soundboard than the first generation U1 uke for a brighter sound and more presence, and benefits from the carbon fiber composite construction, which means that the instrument will not be affected by humidity or cold. PopuMusic has also opted for PVDF carbon fiber strings, which are said to last longer than nylon equivalents.
The smart uke connects to a smartphone or tablet running a new PopuMusic iOS / Android app via Bluetooth 5.0, which wirelessly activates the LEDs on the neck when learning a song, playing games or watching a tutorial. The company promises students a “huge library of songs” to hone their skills, and students can control the playback speed to start slowly and jump to the correct tempo in their own time. That said, the company believes that strummers can learn and play their first song in just 15 minutes.
We tried the setup on the U1 in 2017 and although the app we were using at the time was definitely geared towards younger players, it got us strumming our first tune in minutes. The latest app seems to have grown quite a bit and is said to be able to accommodate players of all skill levels.
A potential downside is that the system relies on the microphone of the device running the app to record the tone of the strings, although PopuMusic claims that the sound is routed through software-based noise reduction to remove unwanted background noise for greater accuracy.
The Pro also features a built-in preamp powered by a 1,600mAh battery that features built-in reverb, chorus and delay effects for richer unplugged sound, although there is an output jack for wiring an powered instrument amplifier. or a loudspeaker. Battery life is 10 hours when unplugged or 20 hours when connected to an external amplifier / speaker.
Populele 2 Pro: price and availability
Indiegogo’s commitments for the Populele 2 Pro start at $ 149, with a less capable version (without the preamp) also priced at $ 109. Backers will also receive a VIP card for freeing tutorials and songs normally stuck behind a paywall. If all goes according to plan, the expedition is expected to begin in October. The video below has more.
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