Robotspeak: An electronic musician's toy store

Before coming to CNET, Donald Bell worked in a small San Francisco shop called Robotspeak. He returns to the scene for some geektastic fun.

Donald Bell Senior Editor / How To
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
Robotspeak storefront
Robotspeak's Steve Taormina stands outside the store's San Francisco storefront. Donald Bell/CNET

Robotspeak does not sell actual robots -- though I never tired of getting that question from people who wandered through the door. There are many delightful things you buy on San Francisco's historic Haight Street, but to the best of my knowledge, robots are not one of them.

In spite of the occasional befuddlement of robot shoppers, Robotspeak is a fitting name for a shop that specializes in the type of unique audio gear and music recording software perfect for composing symphonies of synthetic bleeps and squelches.

Robotspeak's walls are lined with synthesizers, drum machines, mixers, effect pedals, and MIDI controllers. But more importantly, the shop is filled with the kind of geektastic sound toys that bigger stores wouldn't risk carrying.

So why am I writing about Robotspeak here on Crave? Well, I might be biased, but I think a shop like this is even more precious and worthy of geek attention than the sum of the gear contained inside it. Like Crave itself, Robotspeak is a place for a curious cross section of obsessives and coveters of technology.

If you find these little peeks into off-the-radar nerd havens as fascinating as I do, give this piece some love; I'll produce more of them. They're fun to do and give me an excuse to stretch my aging blogger legs.

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