Mercurial Innovations Group's STC-1000
is two devices combined in one MIDI unit: it's an X-Y continuous touch
controller, and a programmable multi-zone percussion-style MIDI
trigger. In other words, you can use it like a sophisticated touchpad
for controlling filters and synth parameters, or use its zones as
drum/note triggers. Street price US$225. (Why not by a Korg ElecTribe,
then? This does look more customizable, possibly more sensitive.)
Kinotex, owned by Tactex, manufactures the touch-sensitive surface itself.

Why haven't we seen more touch surfaces in instrument design? Even the
Nintendo DS has a touch surface in a portable device with a bright LCD
costing just US$150. The clever Surface One control surface, shown at Musik Messe in 2001, never appeared. (Ahem, M-Audio? Digidesign? Still there?)

CDM prediction: touch surfaces, particularly those coupled with LCDs,
could be standard equipment even on sub-$1000 devices soon.

Cris 'atariboy' Pearson, musician and graphic/UI designer, helped research this report.

  • Guest

    The only problem with touch-only surfaces combined with LCD screens (a la the Lemur device earlier) is the lack of tactile feedback. It's important in the heat of creativity to be able to twist knobs and move sliders without having to look for them and watch to make sure that you're pushing slider A and not activating toggle area B. This device does seem useful for percussion though.

    – Nasir

  • Guest

    "is the lack of tactile feedback."


    I'd love to say "haptics will be on mainstream equipment soon" but it still looks a while away yet.

    Collaborators and I are not sitting around waiting for it to happen though. 🙂

    Why not by a Korg ElecTribe, then?

    I think you meant the Korg Kaos Pad right?

    I am pretty sure this would be far more sensitive but I am guessing there. The kaos pad has FX but doesn't have the drivers to control apps in the way the STC does.

  • Guest

    opps, that was me above ^


  • Guest

    You mention the cost of the DS when discussing the STC-1000 pricing.

    I think it's a pretty good price actually. They would need a fair margin on it inorder to make it worthwhile.

    Still electronically, the components would be much simpler than the DS and much cheaper.

    The advantage Nintendo have is economies of scale. They make a load of DSes, cost per unit becomes cheaper. Also as this is a game console, they are willing to make a loss on hardware sales. They hope to make up the money through licencing games.

    This is a long winded way for me to say, they are different markets, so we can't expect comparable prices 🙂

  • admin

    Hey Cris,
    My point wasn't to compare the STC-1000 to the price of a Nintendo, clearly apples to oranges. But my point is, if Nintendo can produce the DS for $150, even without their hardware subsidies and mass production, couldn't you do something similar aimed at music under $500? I think you probably could, and something built for music would be worth a little extra!

  • Guest

    That was not me talking about the DS, I was the one talking about the Kaos Pad and haptics.

    I really need to sign up for an account 🙂

  • atariboy

    That was not me talking about the DS, I was the one talking about the Kaos Pad and haptics.

    I have an account now 🙂

  • Guest

    :grin ben merde alors !

  • Guest

    en tant que francais moi bien aimé les touche pad control pour 5.1 merci d'en parlé …
    peut-on configurer cubase sx 3 sur avec le patch accoumodul de ce type?