I started off tapping the ring all over the pad just to get used to the idea of turning colours into sound. The corresponding colours on the pad light up in the app, which is a handy visual in the beginning when navigating through the whole process.
But the cool part is that Specdrums also make sounds when tapped on objects, from walls to clothes. Even though the colours probably won’t be an exact match with any on the pad, the app will recognise them as the closest match.
I experimented on my blue denim jacket and a wooden table; but the fun of it was actually getting up and going around tapping on walls, plant pots, bench tops, an avocado, and whatever else I came across.
If you like tapping on a particular object, say, your jeans or a bench top, you can assign them to particular colours on the playing pad for a more consistent playing experience.
Just when I think I’m getting bored with Specdrums, there’s an option to record your own sounds and have them as part of the mix by assigning them to a colour on the pad. It’s amazing what you can do with recordings of a noisy fridge and barking dogs.
For more serious musicians, Specdrums can also be used to interact with MIDI software and digital audio workstations.
You can connect as many rings to the app as your device can handle. For example, the introductory video says the iPhone X can take up to six rings at once.
The rings are pretty sturdy. Made from relatively tough white silicon they can tolerate being dropped and thrown around.
A full charge gets about two hours of use, but if you leave the rings lying around and want to use them a few hours later, you need to charge them again. I found myself constantly charging Specdrums, which gets pretty annoying.
Sphero is known more for its robots (think of the cute BB-8 Star Wars droid), but education is still part of its vision with the programmable Bolt robot ball and now Specdrums to learn about creating different styles of music.
I’m not that much into making music, probably due to lack of talent, but the Specdrums app has so many interesting options that took me down paths of creativity I hadn’t really thought I could follow. Specdrums not only turns colour into sound, but turns ordinary people into artists.