Donda Stem Player Review

For many (many) years in the past, Kanye West modified hip-hop ceaselessly. Arguably one of many friendly musical geniuses of the 21st century, West’s preliminary signature sound revolved around chopping up outdated samples and remixing them in methods different artists simply couldn’t contact. In 2021, nobody would blame you for now not holding Kanye in such excessive esteem. Nonetheless, suppose you wish to strive your hand at making your songs in his audio picture. In that case, the weird but artistic $200 Donda Stem Participant places the facility to remix his newest album Donda (in addition to every other music records data or YouTube clips) in your arms.

Like Nothing You’ve got Ever Seen (or Touched)

The very first thing you discover in regards to the Donda Stem Participant from “Yeezy Tech x Kano” is its unnerving bodily presence. The light-weight round disc (2.5 inches throughout and 1-inch thick) matches simply within the hand; however, I didn’t take pleasure in holding it for too lengthy. Not solely does the beige design resemble the color of flesh, it has a fleshy texture, too. The website boasts about this anti-static “gentle pores and skin,” and whereas it’s good not having to take care of any sharp edges, it simply feels gross. It’s harking back to the creepy organic machines from a David Cronenberg film like eXistenZ or Videodrome

Compounding the difficulty is the way you work together with the participant. Like an outdated iPod shuffle, the Donda Stem Participant has no display (it solely has mild strips, defined under). You join it to your laptop by way of USB-C to replace it, add new songs, and make use of it. To flick and stroke numerous touch-sensitive grooves continuously, it’s a must to flick and stroke multiple touch-sensitive grooves. The Stem Participant doesn’t require you to fret about that many choices, although an urgent button to alter tracks or elevate the amount is straightforward. You’ll know you’ve moved onto a brand new way due to the color due to the lights changing.

Donda Stem Player instructions
Donda Stem Participant directions

Nonetheless, when you do get confused about tips on how to carry out a special exceptional performance, wildly rubbing the Stem Participant’s flesh gained assist, so you’ll want to hold the (hilarious hand-drawn) directions close by.

808s and Remakes

When you get previous the best way it feels, the Donda Stem Participant is certainly one of my favorite private sorts of music creation instruments: the mash-up machine. Years ago, when you wished to remix songs like a real DJ, you needed to educate yourself on how to use an advanced digital audio workstation. However, now, everything from the DropMix card recreation to the Fuser online game to the Lego Vidiyo toy lets real amateurs uncover the thrill of bending music to your will. The Donda Stem Participant continues this development.

As a track performs, the Stem Participant shows four colorful, colorful strips of pulsing lights. These lights characterize 4 “stems,” or items of the monitor. One stem is likely to be the vocals, whereas one other is the bassline. When all four limbs play directly, the track sounds regular. However, at any time, you’ll be able to isolate the stems to create Capella tracks or karaoke-ready instrumentals. Lastly, you’ll be able to repair “Wolves.” 

Past isolating stems, the Donda Stem Participant permits you to apply numerous enjoyable audio results. For example, you’ll be able to elevate and decrease the pitch, make the track go backward, or chop out and alter the size of a loop if you wish to make some actual Ye-style pattern beats. The Stem Participant retains all the things on tempo, so no matter the rhythm you concoct will always sound at the least listenable; however extraordinary,; however, you even have room for experimentation. After I accidentally, by accident, turned the Sopranos theme track into an upbeat disco tune, I instantly saved that banger to my monitor library. 

Exploring all the things the Stem Participant can do pushes its management scheme and light-based interface to the restrict. For instance, to shorten a loop. Swiping horizontally adjustments the velocity and route. To take part in regular tracks once more, you have to press a button to exit out of the remix mode. You possibly can even mix stems from throughout totally different songs, a way I nonetheless haven’t mastered. There are loads you can do right here, and it simply takes some apply.


The Donda Stem Participant comes preloaded with West’s newest album, Donda, together with some unreleased tracks. I’m not going to write down one other assessment inside this assessment selecting aside the meandering mess that’s Kanye’s modern method to music, however, at the least, this included album offers you leaping off level for utilizing the Stem Participant. For starters, “By no means Abandon Your Household” isn’t only a petty Kim Kardashian breakup track, but a stable assortment of clear and simply identifiable stems that lend themselves nicely to remixing.

When you tire of those tracks, although you may as well add your, audio high quality varies depending on the supply records data; however, the Stem Participant helps a wide range of codecs, together with lossless ones. You can add AAC, AIF, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, M4A, MP3, MP4, WAV, and WAVE records data; however, the best way the Stem Participant intelligently separated the stems in, say, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate theme track blew me away. 

You mustn’t obtain any additional software program. Simply plug the Stem Participant into your PC and go to to handle the gadget. As soon as your browser connects to the participant, merely click on “add” on the minimalist menu to start importing songs from records data or hyperlinks.

Nonetheless, with solely 8GB of space for storing (and no straightforward strategy to see how a lot house you may have left at any given second), the Stem Participant gained be changing your devoted music participant anytime quickly. Plus, whereas getting songs onto the participant is a breeze, there’s no strategy to extract your remixes for additional modifying simply to remove your remixes for additional adjusting. To share the songs I made with it, I must play the monitor and file it via one other gadget. Maybe that is to keep away from any authorized shenanigans that may come up from ripping songs from YouTube. 

At the very least, with the headphone jack and Bluetooth connectivity, you extra must depend on the participant’s serviceable, however tiny and considerably muffled built-in 97dB speaker. 


It’s pretty doable that someday, an enterprising musician will get on stage and ship essentially the most mind-blowing set conceivable utilizing nothing however the Donda Stem Participant. I sit up to see that if and when it occurs. However, most of us aren’t that precise sort of freak. For us, whereas the Donda Stem Participant is an imaginative and surprisingly versatile music creation software, it’s extra of a toy than a path to superstardom.


  • Allows you to create catchy remixes simply.
  • Helps upload track records data or YouTube hyperlinks
  • It comes preloaded with Donda


  • No display makes navigation tough
  • Restricted storage
  • Disagreeable fleshy texture
  • Donda’s high quality as an album is questionable


Regardless of some odd design decisions and nonetheless you would possibly really feel about Kanye West, the Donda Stem Participant is an intriguing software for creating and remixing music.

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