What the hell kind of musical instrument is this?

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Innovating the shape and functions of smartphones and wearables has become pretty common in recent years, but somewhere along the way digital musical instruments fell out of the tech spotlight.

But the ring isn’t just a cool-looking MIDI controller — it also houses an accelerometer and 96 velocity- and pressure- sensitive pads.

The base station can store up to 468 instrument and drum sounds, as well as a wide array of effects, like reverb, filtering and delay. You can also add your own audio via the base station’s dual 1/4-inch inputs.

“ZOOM has a long history of working outside of convention to bring new technology with never-before-seen features that inspires and empowers creators,” said Micah Eberman, vice president of brand experience at Zoom North America in a statement. “It opens up a world of new production options while also empowering artists to reinvent their performance.”

musical Zoom Arq

But users of the ring component aren’t just limited to communicating with the base station, the ring can also communicate wirelessly with a computer or iOS-based digital audio workstation.

With the device’s musical  wireless and colorful LED capabilities, the Arq’s role is probably best suited to live performances rather than in-studio usage (although it appears robust enough to handle that as well).

Selling for $599.99, the Zoom Arq is set to be shown off and demonstrated in public this week at NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) and will be available in April.

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