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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars43
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on September 8, 2006
This 'toy' has it all! Music, visual stimulation, stunning design, intelligent interaction, and enormous fun factor. It also happens to be useful -- it's an alarm clock and speakers for your mp3 player. Whether played with while alone or with friends, the feeling of being a futuristic DJ is engrossing, while the combinations of sounds is limitless -- this is possible because you can record your own sample to mix with all the other sounds that it already comes with! What makes it especially fantastic in the design category is the way in which you interact to mix the music. Rather than just turning knobs or pushing sliders, you use beautiful little sculptures! Everything about the Zizzle Zoundz is amazing, and we're getting another one to have at the office.
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on November 15, 2006
This "toy" is a bit pricey, admittedly, but the expense is at least justified with a great and imaginative product. If you got sucked in by the iDog or the iPuppy and were disappointed, fear not. These Zounds, though similar in concept, really deliver. I bought one for a six year old girl and opened it up to customize the square piece with her name. Boy, will she be surprised to find her name in there with the sounds on Christmas day. After loading the batteries I gave it a run-through and a had a great time experimenting, and I'm a 39 year-old man. It's back in the box and now I'm ordering more for my two sets of nieces, aged 6 to 18. Maybe somewhere in there I'll really get a chance to play with this, I'm hoping. The great thing is that the spots on the board are sensitive to the pieces even if you just wave them over it, hence you can get endless variations with sounds and compositions. It's really a futuristic instrument but simple enough that anyone can make good sound. Very satisfying for non-musicians. I have Garage Band on my Mac and this is a simlar loop-based concept. In fact, some of the loops are the same but they're packaged into a much more visceral experience. I could see a creative professional having this somewhere in their office or reception area actually, admittedly in a non-plastic, classier looking version. In the meantime this "toy" stands up to the hype.
22 comments28 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 27, 2006
This should be in the tech gadget category as well as toys. I brought it into my IT shop and was instanly sourrounded by techies - going oo and ah

a fantastic way to work with sound. It may become my Christmas best seller.
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on December 25, 2006
If you were down with EPCOT center in days of yore and remember the playground that was on the second floor of the "Journey Into Imagination" ride, you'll have some idea of the creative thrill this toy provides.

My five-year-old daughter received this today for Christmas and it was the hit of the day. Everyone played with the toy, people in their 20's to 50's... it is addictive and hard to put down.

The little sculptures used to make the music are beautiful and appear to be lighted from within when they are on the spotlights of the playing board. They are all made of plastic, rubber, or cloth, so there is little fear of breakage if dropped. There are three "hot spots" on the board, and depending on where you place a piece, you get a different looping riff. The orange spikey piece is percussion, the red cylinder is bass, the purple cone is "cosmic," and so on, with each piece having three different themes. The clear cube is the "record your own noise" piece, where you get five seconds of record time. No microphone is needed, as there is an internal one in the base unit... just hold down two of the buttons and when the piece glows red, it is ready to record. The unit speaks to you in a dramatic female voice when telling you the time or going through menu options.

The light show produced by the toy is really beautiful and changes based on what pieces you have on the board. If you have ever seen a color-changing LED light like they have in some hot tubs, you will have an idea of the smooth effects the lights in Zoundz are capable of. Small children can create some impressive-sounding music, and if they are like my daughter, will be inspired to dance around to their creations! The toy does the work of getting all the pieces' sounds to come in on the same beat and blend together beautifully. You can also adjust the tempo. volume, echo, and reverb of the music. Fans of trace-type music will get a kick out of the many possible combinations of melody.

If you are a parent buying this toy for your child, don't feel surprised when you get a slightly haughty feeling that you are buying a superiorly creative and mentally stimulating toy instead of another piece of Dora crap or Bratz garbage that will be quickly outgrown or forgotten-- because you will be justified! This toy will provide amusement and dreamy atmosphere for years to come. As another reviewer pointed out, it can be used as an alarm clock, waking you to the last musical composition you made, or a "modern cuckoo clock to chime the hour" (according to the box). I haven't figured out how to set the clock yet but I can say that it is possible to create music that would indeed be pleasant to wake up to (or go to sleep to, as the unit also has a "sleep" button).

It may pay to compare prices for this item-- I paid $45 for it but have since seen it for as low as $30. Yes, it is more than I would normally pay for a toy, but when I think of all the toys that have gone to the thrift store in the past few years, I believe it is worth the price, especially if your child enjoys musical toys as much as mine does. Time will tell if the toy is well-made enough to withstand years of play, but my hopes are high. The combination of art and music is just all-around pleasing and I applaud the creative minds that made it possible.
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on January 11, 2007
I purchased this as a gift for my grandchild, age 13. She was really thrilled with it and found all different kinds of things to do with it. Kept experimenting with different functions. Not only that, but her two brothers (11 & 6) were also very facinated with it. It's a gift that has kept on being used and not put aside after a couple of weeks.
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on March 16, 2007
I found this at the Sharper Image while in a very bad mood after a horrible two days. (Don't ask.) Ten minutes of playing with it really helped the stress to melt away. I bought two immediately, one for at home and one for at work. I showed it to my brothers and ended up picking up another three for them. Picked up another for my granddaughter. We all love it and can't get enough of it! It makes us smile and laugh out loud, not to mention marveling at the technology behind it. For me the main value besides the fun is the soothing music, the light show, and the stress release / relief. And playing with it together as a group or family, several people moving the pawns around and enjoying the music and the show. This is a fantastic product and I can't wait to see version 2.0!
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on May 1, 2008
I was looking for a cool and fun toy (and also one that would be a bonus if it was educational) for my 5yr old niece who is getting spoon-fed the current popular drivel such as the Hannah Montanna junk (with its horribly destructive effects of the dumbing down and premature sexualization of young girls). I was hoping to find something like the toys I had as a kid which were fun and innovative and taught me to think and play; and I didn't care about getting a gender specific toy either - just something cool.

I was lucky to have stumbled on the Zizzle Zoundz and almost went right past it, thinking it was just another one of those over-priced iPod flashing lights toys like the fish or the dog that do nothing but annoy you when you walk into a Brookstone or electronics store.

Luckily, I went to Youtube and searched for videos on this and found several of them that show the toy in action and how fun and easy it is to play with. This toy is not just some flashing ipod plastic junk, it can teach auditory discrimination, pattern recognition, and math, foster memory boosts, and of course most of all it can get a child started in literally creating their own music.

Yes the music style is more electronic (or as my 5yr niece put it, "it's DJ music" ;) - but it is very cool as each of the shapes is like a different instrument. The Red Cylinder is Bass, the Yellow one is Strings, the Orange spiky one is drums/percussion, etc. and placing them on each of the spots (I assume through some kind of RFID chip in the piece) generates loopable patterns all in the same key - so no matter what you do, you are creating different musical sequences.

It takes a tiny bit of supervision to help the child (if you give this to a small child - most of the people of all ages that came across this wanted to play with it!) in order to help them not just throw the pieces around, but instead patiently discover what each piece sounds like. But once they "get" the depth this of this toy (with the patterns and learning about Tempos, Measures and bars of music and effects like reverb etc.) it will have lots of replay-ability! In no time at all my niece was making a fast dancable loop and then created her own slow and mellow trance loop which she said was like a lullaby. :)

Most kids listen to music and songs on their iPods as a "whole-package" just as likable or unlikable noise that is one monolithic thing. This toy can help a child tap into their early musical abilities and help them distinguish separate instruments from each other so they can groove on just parts of the song they want to. I have no doubt this will translate into an increased ability to play music at a later time.

Because it is an electronic toy, it probably is not for careless/overly clumsy small children as I'm not convinced of it's durability if dropped or thrown - but regardless it's a truly a brilliant and fun toy.

We haven't even started using it's iPod connection and spoken alarm clock features yet, but this is certainly a favorite gender and age neutral toy!! :)
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on January 9, 2007
Not a lot of people had heard of this product and it was somewhat hard to find. But, found it, and happy I did. My daughter loves this and so does her 15 year old sister. Light show, techno beats, it has it all. Easy to use right out of the box. Great Christmas gift!
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on January 9, 2007
Entertaining product. Can't call it a musical toy, can't call it an art toy. Zizzle Zoundz is both and more. Occupied children from age 4 to 15 as well as adults from age 40 to 67. Colors moved with the sounds and both colors and sounds were easily changed.
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on April 12, 2007
very fun product. me and my son always play around with it. I like that it has an alarm clock on it. Its fun changing the beats and recording on it also. it keeps my son away from the video games for a little while. :-)
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