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Timmygyu

The death of a great product

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First off I would like to say that I am not being paid to post this, nor am I receiving any personal gain from spending my time typing this letter up. I am writing it specifically for the reason of telling the world of the death of a great product: The Madplayer. About a year ago my father bought this device for usage in a project he was working on, mostly because the Madplayer could record uncompressed audio, something he needed. I didn’t fool around with it much at that time, and he himself barely turned it on, since he didn’t need it yet. So it went into a drawer somewhere to collect dust for almost a year. Until a few weeks ago. My father is currently getting ready to do an internet podcast so he wanted to record it uncompressed. Out came the Madplayer. Unfortunately complicated circumstances rendered the Madplayer useless in this regard. Since it was out (and I was bored) I decided to give it a spin. That’s when I blew my own mind. What the Madplayer does is make music. Sure it can also play most audio formats (mp3, wma, wav, midi) but with no internal memory and support of smartmedia cards with a capacity of only 128 MB or lower, this is not it’s best utilization. It’s also a wee bit bigger than a Gameboy. So far this device really hasn’t sounded special or useful has it? Let’s get into that now. In fact I’ll start with a bold but true statement: While an iPod can hold thousands of songs, the Madplayer holds even more. To be specific the Madplayer comes preinstalled with an infinite number of songs. That’s right, an infinite number of songs. That’s not a typo. How does it contain an infinite number of songs? By creating them on the fly. You see, the Madplayer is what’s called a music synthesizer, though it the only portable one ever made. It creates a completely random song by following a loose set of rules and creating a set of completely random music patterns. Once these patterns are created the Madplayer assigns each to a position, such as drums, lead, bass, riff, etc., then maps a certain musical instrument onto the patterns, depending on the music style you pick. But I am explaining the mechanics, not how this device truly works. How do you go about telling the Madplayer to create its music? First turn it on. If you are using the preinstall 32 MB smartmedia card it will start to play a demo Madsong, with samples thrown in and re-recorded as a wma. Ignore this or listen to it. Now press the E-DJ button; the manual will show you where it is. The screen will display a list of music styles: HardRap, Bossa, Manga, R&B, Jungle(my fav), and many more. Pick one and press the play button. There’s your song. That’s right, no wait, the Madplayer composes instantly. You can listen to that song for as long as you like, the Madplayer will intro, build, climax, and end the song, according to its randomly generated length, anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes. When it ends, the Madplayer will instantly compose a new song in the same style. Or if you don’t like the first song, just press the Fast forward button and it creates a completely new song. Don’t like that one? Press that FF button until you hear something you like. Want to hear the song in the middle? Just hold the fast forward button to skip to wherever you want. Don’t like the style? Press the E-dJ button and pick a new one. Sound’s pretty good doesn’t it? But then again what the heck does this have to do with game development? Now for the best part. You see the creators of the Madplayer have been generous enough to let its users own the music their Madplayer creates. You only have to perform one task: press the save button. That’s it. Once you press the save button you own the song. From beginning to end, it’s all there, with a file size of about 4 to 6 KB, meaning even on the included and half filled 32 MB card you can save hundreds of songs and variations. You can export it using the software on the included CD, bring it into a midi program, one of which is also included on the CD. Once there you can save your song as a mp3, wav or one of the other supported formats. Then you can do anything with it. Rap over it, use the midi software to edit out and add in whole parts. Or don’t do anything with it, just put it on your iPod, put it in your album. Heck, if you want you can put it in your movie. And you don’t have to pay Madplayer a cent. Oh, and there’s one more medium where this music can be used. You all know where I’m going. Games. The kind of music the Madplayer creates is exactly the kind you hear in games, but with the added benefit of not needing to hire a composer. For the amateur game developer this device is absolutely priceless, since almost no skill is needed to use it. Heck, I’m only fourteen and I managed to make something that sounded better than what’s in a lot of the games I play. Imagine what someone with some actual skill could do. Even as it is I have barely scratched the surface of what the Madplayer can do. The onboard editing capabilities alone are simply mind-blowing. But now I come to the title. The Madplayer is dying. Its reviews were spectacular, its slightly asymmetrical, new age shape was both attractive and ergonomic, and the functionability and ease of use were simply unbelievable. It was first sold for $350.00 and worth every penny. At this moment the last of them are being sold for $59.00, probably half what it cost to produce the unit. Why did it die? Because no one could believe that it could truly create music, no one could consider the idea of ignoring the masses and buying a Madplayer instead of the white, comparatively ugly little maggot called the iPod. And so it has been forgotten, passed over by the consumers, much like it went into the drawer after my father bought it. But it’s coming out of the drawer now. I just bought one of my own and received it yesterday, and I’m am in the process of upgrading the firmware at this very moment. I’m absolutely hooked on it, and I am seriously considering using some of the music I have created in some of my future games. Yet I am taking the time to write this because it REALLY irritates me that this great, easy-to-use, incredibly innovative and powerful product is dying. Therefore I’m begging you, please, go to the web site ( www.madplayer.com ), listen to some of the sample music they have up there, or some of the user music they have uploaded. Then take a look at the Madplayer itself. Buy it. Use it. Fall in love with it. Then pull yourself away from it and email a simple message to the creators: WE WANT MADPLAYER 2!!! Please, I’m begging you. Very, very sincerely, Tim H.

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Hi,

Sorry it took me a few minutes to get back, I was looking up some AI articles.

http://www.madplayer.com/flash/contactIndex.asp

This gives you contact information for the madplayer. I'd try the webmaster, but it's up to you.

Bye,
Tim

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Quote:
Original post by Timmygyu
Why did it die? Because no one could believe that it could truly create music, no one could consider the idea of ignoring the masses and buying a Madplayer instead of the white, comparatively ugly little maggot called the iPod.


That sounds like a very cool device. But you're not making a fair comparison here. Most people want to listen to music that someone else has written in very distinctive styles, which this device can't give you, not to mention the lack of vocals and nuances of real instrumentation.

A better business model for them might be to license the composing engine for use in software. (If indeed they didn't get it from a software application originally.)

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This kind of stuff is a little scary for guys like me, who are making a living (or at least a hobby) out of creating music. At least I have the consolation that it can only create music, while I can bungee jump AND make music.

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I can only find one of these things, between amazon.com, ebay and other sites, and its going for well over 120 dollars on a resell.

Show me where I can get one for 59 dollars and I'll be glad to speak out on its behalf:P

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Hi,

First off to Kylotan. Yes you're right, in that regard I was being unfair. I penned the entire first post in one long sitting, by the end of which I was becoming a little irrational and tired. You're right, I'm wrong. I apologize.

Now to Blaise Douros. The madplayer can make some pretty good music, yeah, but it's not going to spit out something like the 9th symphoney. Still, if my little post gets the madplayer back into production(fat chance) or maybe even causes the advent of a new madplayer(sickeningly obese chance) the bungee jumping skills might come in handy.

Now to krikkit and imbusy. www.alternatemode.com Once the page loads, scroll down. You'll see it.

Bye,
Tim

P.S. To Kylotan. I don't have the specifics, but I think madware-the company that makes the madplayer-sells some other products, possibly the algorithem in the madplayer is one. I don't know this for sure though.

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Thanks for the heads up about such an interesting device. After taking a look at it I decided to place an order for one and should get it here this week. It looks like its going to be a great piece of equipment for a hobbyist/independant developer like myself. To have a basically unlimited supply of music which I can use is a great investment, even if it only provides 'decent' music as a placeholder for demos or small projects I'll be happy. The sample music from the site seems addiquate, although I suspect that one will have to pass over a few scores before finding a suitible tune.

Rating++ for you, and I'll be sending a letter to the company after I have a chance to check out the device later this week.

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Hey ravyne! Put together some demos of what you can -really- do with this bad boy?
Let me know if it can be put to any decent use beyond just placeholder, generic music or toy-like fun. :)

Mostly, I'm wondering if it would be useful as an inspiration machine. Dial up something on the madplayer and use it as a starting point for an idea.

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