N40 Shipping Status Summary; Music Arrangement Tools We Recommend

Muro Box-N40 Update #20

Hello everyone,
We are the founders of Muro Box, Dr. Chen-Hsiang Feng, Dr. Shiao-Chen Tsai, along with our arranger, Ms. Hung-Yin Liu.

Thank you for your patience. Here are the key points of this update:
(1) The current shipping schedule for the N40 music boxes ( for 3 crowdfunding platforms).

(2) An explanation of the reasons behind the current slow production progress. We appreciate our loyal customers for their patience and for recognizing our dedication to quality craftsmanship.

(3) Our team’s arranger, Ms. Hung-Yin Liu, provides the following personal recommendations for keyboard and software tools, based on our customers’ inquiries.

Please see the detailed content below.

First of all, we apologize for the slow shipping speed. Currently, we are assembling approximately two units per day, whereas our original goal was four units per day. Several reasons have caused this slower-than-expected pace, which we will explain in detail shortly.

Since we received orders on multiple platforms for this pre-sale, the shipping sequence is based on the order date. For example, backers who paid on Indiegogo will have their orders processed later than Kickstarter and Wabay because we opened the Indiegogo campaign page after the Kickstarter campaign ended.

Please click on this table to see when your Muro Box-N40 is estimated to be shipped.

We are continually adjusting our assembly process, so shipping ahead of schedule is our goal. We kindly ask for your patience.

Currently, the delay is solely due to our slow assembly speed, and there are no issues with the music boxes themselves. You might wonder why we cannot speed up the process; here are the challenges we are facing and the directions we are working towards:

1. Insufficient Manpower

Our initial setup included two senior operators dedicated to assembling the music boxes. However, one of them is on parental leave due to having a child, which has left us short-handed. The difficulty lies in the fact that assembling and inspecting the music boxes requires training. Our new operator, after three months of training, has only recently started handling assembly. Previously, all production was bottlenecked by our sole senior operator, Mr. Tsai, which slowed down the pace.

Although we anticipated this personnel change, the recruitment process for new operators did not go smoothly. The general labor shortage in Taiwan is not due to a lack of people, but rather a lack of individuals willing to commit to and excel in the role of an operator. We are still in the process of expanding our workforce, and we foresee further improvements in productivity in the near future.

We have three full-time production line operators in house now, the man on the right is our senior operator (Mr. Tsai), and he is in charge of the sound quality of the music box after assembling its components carefully.
We have three full-time production line operators in house now, the man on the right is our senior operator (Mr. Tsai), and he is in charge of the sound quality of the music box after assembling its components carefully.

2. Optimization of the Assembly Process

If we had to pinpoint the most difficult and troublesome part of assembling the music boxes, it would undoubtedly be the comb. The comb is directly related to the sound produced, and we have come to realize that it cannot be mass-produced; each note must be adjusted slowly and manually.

Since the N40 has both a standard version (requiring the installation of two combs) and the Sublime version (requiring the installation of four combs), nearly half of our assembly time is spent adjusting and assembling the combs. To address this issue, we have reallocated our manpower. Now, we will let the new operators be responsible only for the pre-assembly of the music boxes, excluding the combs. A senior operator like Mr. Tsai will handle the adjustment of each note on the comb, and I (Dr. Feng) will take care of positioning the combs within the music boxes. This assembly line approach is expected to increase our assembly speed.

Mr. Tsai skillfully plucks the pins on our patented cylinder of the Muro Box-N40 Standard music box, carefully listening to ensure each note produces the correct sound without any abnormalities
Mr. Tsai skillfully plucks the pins on our patented cylinder of the Muro Box-N40 Standard music box, carefully listening to ensure each note produces the correct sound without any abnormalities.

We appreciate our loyal customers for their patience and support.

Our long-time customer from the Netherlands, Joeri, was delighted to receive the handwritten card and team photo we included with his shipment. He sent us a picture featuring both his previously purchased N20 standard version music box and the newly received N40 standard version music box with the pinewood resonance box to express his gratitude.
Our long-time customer from the Netherlands, Joeri, was delighted to receive the handwritten card and team photo we included with his shipment. He sent us a picture featuring both his previously purchased N20 standard version music box and the newly received N40 standard version music box with the pinewood resonance box to express his gratitude.

Our connection with Joeri began during the 2020 Indiegogo campaign. As a musician, Joeri discovered the Muro Box-N20 while browsing an article on Dutch Pianola Association (https://www.pianolavereniging.nl/pianolabulletin/murobox).Intrigued, he pre-ordered an N20 music box during the campaign. Like other backers, Joeri waited a year to receive his N20, but we kept everyone informed with honest updates about the difficulties and challenges we faced. We shared how we experimented with different techniques and overcame obstacles to ensure the high-quality sound our customers expect.

Because of this transparency, early supporters like Joeri, who have been with us since the 2020 Indiegogo N20 campaign, were eager to support us again. On the first day of the N40 crowdfunding campaign on October 26, 2023, Joeri pre-ordered the N40. We sincerely thank every customer who trusts us and patiently awaits their shipments as Joeri does.

Joeri's custom-engraved text on his N40 music box is "Created and Achieved by the Muro Box Team" because he believes the creation of this music box is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team.
Joeri's custom-engraved text on his N40 music box is "Created and Achieved by the Muro Box Team" because he believes the creation of this music box is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team.
The photo was taken at Joeri's request for a picture of our team members with the N40 product he purchased. From left to right: Mr. Tsai, our senior operator, is holding the N20 standard version.Behind him is Ms. Zeng, our newly trained production operator. Co-founder, Dr. Shiao-Chen Tsai is holding a java sparrow.The inventor of the product, Dr. Chen-Hsiang Feng, is holding the N40 music box. Our music arranger, Ms. Liu, is holding the pine resonance box. Our engraving designer, Ms. Chiu, is making 2 YA hand gestures. On the far right is Ms. Guo, our administrative staff member in charge of shipping arrangements.
The photo was taken at Joeri's request for a picture of our team members with the N40 product he purchased. From left to right: Mr. Tsai, our senior operator, is holding the N20 standard version.Behind him is Ms. Zeng, our newly trained production operator. Co-founder, Dr. Shiao-Chen Tsai is holding a java sparrow.The inventor of the product, Dr. Chen-Hsiang Feng, is holding the N40 music box. Our music arranger, Ms. Liu, is holding the pine resonance box. Our engraving designer, Ms. Chiu, is making 2 YA hand gestures. On the far right is Ms. Guo, our administrative staff member in charge of shipping arrangements.

We are confident that we will meet everyone’s expectations and ensure that each customer will be as excited and satisfied with their N40 product as Joeri. Joeri recently received his N40 and mentioned in his email that he is preparing a surprise video to share with us. Let’s look forward to it together!

Recommended Composition Tools

Due to the limited screen size of mobile phones and the time constraints on our engineers, our goal for the Muro Box app is to serve as a remote control for the music box and a simple, portable composition tool. For more complex and professional composition needs, we recommend using commercial desktop composition software. Here is a brief introduction to our app and some recommended tools. We hope these will help you realize your musical dreams with Muro Box!

For composition, you can choose from the following options:

1. Muro Box’s exclusive free app: Create music easily by tapping on your mobile phone.

2. Computer-based composition software: Use your mouse to click and create notes.

3. MIDI keyboard: For those familiar with playing, connect an external MIDI keyboard and use it with composition software.

Below, we will introduce the app’s composition features, recommend online composition software, and share the MIDI keyboards we are currently testing. We also hope to inspire others to share their tools or recommend software for music creation!

In summary, as long as you can create a MIDI file within the range of Muro Box, you can import it and let Muro Box play it!

With the “Muro Box exclusive app” at hand, your creativity in music creation will be unleashed.

One of the fantastic features of the free Muro Box app is that it allows you to compose directly on your phone and connect to the music box for immediate playback. Even when not connected to the music box, you can still use preset music box tones for composition. Utilize your spare time to jot down melodies whenever inspiration strikes. You can refine your compositions gradually, editing and modifying them while listening, and then let Muro Box perform the final product. Our customer and prolific music creator, Yan-Ting Chen, said:

“After all those 35 years I finally found exactly what I am looking for. Although I don’t have what it takes to play an instrument promptly and precisely, I can however polish my arrangement over and over again then leave it to Muro Box to play it out. Best of all, I can have my work debut till I’m satisfied, no rush, no pressure because it’s my stage, my pace!”

If you want to learn more about his music creation process, you are welcome to read Yan-Ting’s story: Destiny’s Instrument: Muro Box-N20, with its app, I composed over a hundred songs!

Furthermore, the intuitive interface with sound-producing capabilities is an ideal way for children to learn pitch while playing games.

Using grid-based composition software in the app is another way to create surprises! What's fascinating is that due to the relatively soft timbre of the music box, even melodies lacking in music theory can still be pleasant to the ear when played. This could be considered a hidden feature for enthusiasts to explore.
Using grid-based composition software in the app is another way to create surprises! What's fascinating is that due to the relatively soft timbre of the music box, even melodies lacking in music theory can still be pleasant to the ear when played. This could be considered a hidden feature for enthusiasts to explore.

To Obtain the Free Muro Box App:

(1) Free Download Method: For Apple phones, go to the App Store; for Android phones, go to Google Play. Search for “Muro Box” and download our product’s app for free.

(2) Once the app is opened, on the toolbar at the bottom, click on the fourth icon from the left, labeled “My Creations.” On the following page, tap the “+” icon in the top right corner and select “Create Music in the App.”

(3) Once you’re on the information page for the song, input the song details, set the rhythm and tempo (the tempo can still be adjusted and changed during editing), and choose whether to make the song public.

(4) Regarding the range of notes, please select according to the Muro Box model you own:
For N40, which has 40 notes, the range is from F2 to C6, excluding F#2, G#2, A#2, and C#3.
For N20, which has 20 notes, the range is from C3 to A5.
(Note: Middle C is equivalent to C3, with a frequency of 261.6 Hz.)

APP Composition Interface

On the left side of the screen, there are English letters + numbers. The English letters CDEFGAB represent the musical scale displayed by note names, representing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si. The numbers increase from bottom to top, indicating higher pitches.

The scale-like markings on the top row represent beats, with the number 1 representing the first beat and the number 2 representing the second beat. Each beat is divided into four large squares, each representing 1/4 beat (similar to sixteenth notes), with each small square representing 1/16 beat.

Recommend Free Online Computer Composition Software: Signal

Thank you to many customers for their feedback, recommending the online composition software Signal (https://signal.vercel.app/). You can use the mouse to click on the composition interface, or connect a MIDI keyboard or instrument to play and record notes directly, and then export them as MIDI files. Use the app’s import function to add the MIDI files to your playlist and let the music box play your creations!

Here is a demonstration video of how we use the Signal software to connect to the Muro Box, explaining the steps to connect the Muro Box:
(1) Input notes using the keyboard or mouse.

(2) Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and set the Muro Box as the output device. (You can uncheck the original output device to prevent overlapping sounds between the original instrument and the Muro Box when playing.)

(3) Press play, and the Muro Box will begin playing the notes you’ve input.

Please note that the software uses a scale system with C4 as middle C. However, the scale system used by the Muro Box has C3 as middle C. Therefore, if you adjust the Muro Box’s range in the software, the playable notes are as follows:
N40: F3-C7 (excluding F#3, G#3, A#3, C#4)
N20: C4-A6 (middle C = C4)

When composing, please pay attention to these scale ranges to avoid importing MIDI files that contain notes lower than the Muro Box app’s music range.

Why are there two different systems for middle C (C3 or C4)?

On the piano, middle C (MIDI note number 60, frequency 261.6 Hz) is sometimes referred to as C3 and other times as C4. Typically, when referring to middle C on physical instruments, it is designated as C4 because it is the fourth octave of C in terms of piano key numbering.

However, in MIDI terminology, this note is referred to as C3. Therefore, in different music production software or controllers (instruments), whether middle C is defined as C3 or C4 depends on the choice of the product manufacturer. For example, the music production software Logic Pro uses C3 as middle C, but you can change it to C3 or C4 within the settings.

To summarize the explanation above, the most accurate identification of middle C is:

◆The C in the fourth octave from the left on an 88-key piano keyboard.
◆A C with a frequency of 261.6 Hz.
◆A C with a MIDI note number of 60.

If you want to know whether the music production software or MIDI instrument you are using uses C3 or C4 as middle C, you can directly check the manufacturer’s official website.

Reminder: The Muro Box APP uses C3 as middle C.

The MIDI keyboard we use for testing

Many friends who purchase the Muro Box often ask us which external MIDI instrument we recommend. When we conduct our own tests, we use MIDIPLUS brand keyboards. Any other brand should work as long as it’s a standard USB keyboard. However, we advise against purchasing overly complex keyboards because the more complex the functions, the more likely they are to require special drivers, which may not be supported and could pose a higher risk. Additionally, consider the number of keys on the keyboard. The N40 music box has 40 notes, so if the number of keys is fewer than 40, transposition may be required to play all notes.

編曲師用MIDI PLUS的MIDI鍵盤控制智慧音樂盒(20音標準版)演奏出她彈奏的曲目。The arranger uses a MIDIPLUS MIDI keyboard to control the Muro Box music box (20-note standard version) and play the songs she performs.

If anyone has more good tools to share regarding music box arrangement, or if there are particular themes that interest you, please feel free to leave us a message and let us know. There might be opportunities in the future to share topics related to arrangement sporadically!

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Millettia Laurentii (Chicken wing wood) resonance box paired with Muro Box-N40 Sublime; pinewood resonance box paired with N40 Standard. Which combination do you prefer?
Millettia Laurentii (Chicken wing wood) resonance box paired with Muro Box-N40 Sublime; pinewood resonance box paired with N40 Standard. Which combination do you prefer?

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