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What's an earbee?

It's a simple hand-held sound recorder and playback unit. They record and playback up to a minute of looped, reasonably high-quality sound, and anyone, kid or adult, can figure out how to use them in a matter of minutes.

What do people do with them?

They think of things to do with them. The earbees were invented as a device for playing sound and word games, they've been used in sound compositions, plays, dances, installations, and along trails (see 2003 video).

They're really good with a group of people. After a few warm-up exercises to make everyone aware of the pleasures of a loop, the sound, word, phrasing, and rhythmic possibilies inherent in multiple different sound sources ... there are sure to be some ideas.

In 2003 we built 13 copies of the Earbees v1.

"earbees at Hahamonga video " (2003)

In 2010 we redesigned the Earbee and build 50 copies of this v2.

These 50 Earbees are available to be given out to groups, adult or child, musically trained or not, for sound and word games.

The Earbees have since been used internationally in installations, puppet shows, dances, and musical compositions, by a wide variety of artists in different fields. Roberts has hosted many sound game workshops (see videos below) & classes with groups of all kinds - poets in Seattle, orphans in Uganda, students at virtually every college in the Los Angeles area.

“Meet the Earbees, or Games for Ears" (2011)

Open Field at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN


Currently a set of 10 of them are in residence at Matéria Prima, Porto, Portugal, being used by Portuguese recording artists.

“Sound Ensemble Concert" (2012)

from Sound Ensemble workshop at Artes Gallery,

Fundacao Manuel Antonio Da Mota

Porto, Portugal 10/22/12

Final example are using the earbees at a performance at Carnegie-Mellon University in a show called

"Mind reading for the left & right brain" (2012)

Earbees are shown only in parts of the video.