Haken Continuum

The Continuum provides subtle, continuous control of software instruments. And now it has a stand that looks like it was lifted from the set of Deep Space Nine.

Alternative controllers come and go, but some designers lavish attention and craft on their controllers. The Haken Continuum is one we’re likely to revisit over time, because it’s an expressive instrument with continuous control that, for a small but dedicated audience, has proved its musicality. We saw a snapshot of the Continuum alongside the Buchla 200e, courtesy Richard Lainhart’s studio, and some of you were interested. After the jump, check out the Continuum in video action, courtesy GearWire and Jordan Rudess.

Haken Audio Continuum Product Page

In other news: the Continuum, which has a starting price just over US$3000 (really not that bad for a musical instrument, let alone one of this nature) has a new keyboard stand coming, shown above. Whoever just bought that Star Trek-styled apartment, this should fit in nicely.

GearWire.com points to a video they shot at Winter NAMM with a hands-on demo of the Continuum. (Somehow I missed this in the flurry of NAMM coverage, but Richard’s snapshot brought it up again — thanks to Joe Wallace at the site.)

The Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard Video- WNAMM ’07

Still with us? Want still more video? Jordan Rudess (who, incidentally, also works regularly with Richard Lainhart) is a huge fan of great instrument design. Here he is in a video clip from late 2005 working with the Continuum. And yes, this proves even great keyboardists sometimes want a different kind of controller.

  • dan s.

    Hmm… I dunno. After that last post about the continuum I did a quick look on youtube and only found videos of guys using it to sound like they were playing van halen guitar solos.

    COME ON!!! You're not gonna score chicks with it so why even bother?

  • dead_red_eyes

    Whoa … it's only $3,000 now?! I'm gonna start saving up. I'm really smitten with the Haken Continuum controller …. it looks freaking awesome. Thanks for posting this Peter!

  • There's a smaller, cheaper model, yes.

    And yes, please try NOT to sound like you're playing Van Halen solos. If you do, we'll make you give it to us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • dead_red_eyes

    Haha … I would never do such a thing.

    Ah, so the smaller model is $3,000 … and the full size is $6,000? Seems about right I guess. I'd kill for the full size tho … although the smaller is much more suited for touring and such …

  • Well, I don't have any video yet of me playing the Continuum, but here's an audio clip of a piece of mine for Kyma and Continuum that definitely doesn't sound like Van Halen:


  • Oops, I was trying to make a link and it didn't work. Here it is as straight text:

    http://www. otownmedia.com/The_Tiger's_Dream.mp3

  • OK, one more time:


    Man, it would be nice if you could edit these comments.

  • Sigh…..

    I guess it doesn't like apostrophes either. All right, here's a version without the damn apostrophe:


  • dead_red_eyes

    Hi Richard, TTD sounds really sweet. The Haken Continuum just reeks of awesomeness … the fact that you can add vibrato by tilting your finger (just like on a cello, violin, ect) is just sweet … and then the whole sliding up and down for different effects is sweet as well.

    Oh how I want one. Badly. But for $3,000 for a controller is still pretty expensive in my book. I'll continue dreaming for the day when I licence a song and "get paid" … then I'll be able to buy something along the lines of this, or the Lemur.

  • I got a full size white one which is very special.


    if the page doesn't come up, you have to first visit http://www.paulsop.com — my anti-bot code is protecting it, and not entirely debugged yet.

  • dead_red_eyes

    WOW Doktorfuture … that's one hell of a setup you have there! And nice white Continuum!

  • dave smith

    Would be nicer with guitar strings on one side ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Gil

    3k for one of those? i gotta start saving my pennies and nickels cus that thing would be awesome to have.

  • Do most of us drooling over this thing actually have a sound module that can respond to all the per-note expression and large pitch sweeps? What would be the cheapest thing you could get that would actually take full advantage of this controller?

  • I don't know what the cheapest would be, but to take full advantage of the Continuum's features, you would want the unit to have the following minimum characteristics:

    Full 10-voice polyphony (one for each finger)

    10-channel MIDI reception

    Support for MIDI Mono mode

    4-octave pitchbend range

    Full support for MIDI Continuous Controllers messages

  • We have another video of the Haaken in action with Kyma if your interested from NAMM 2005


  • Hey, thanks for posting the Continuum on it's own at last, it deserves it for sure!

    Nice to know you're listening ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You will all be the first to know when I get my half-size fingerboard!

  • steve

    Hey,guys.I've seen the abilities of the Continuum and i HAVE TO GET IT!I live in greece and i have a band and i would like to learn if you can play to lives with it.and what else i have to buy to change the type of the sound(while im on stage)?

  • Steve: It is a digital controller ONLY, as in it contains no onboard sounds of its own. The instrument acts as an interface so that you may control hardware/software synths and any sound producing tech that accepts MIDI or it's direct Firewire connection to the Kyma workstation

  • steve

    Myles:so you mean that i can't play on stage even if i have a laptop with many sounds?

  • No, certainly you can play the Continuum on stage with a laptop as your sound source. You'll need to interface with the laptop via MIDI, so you'll need a MIDI interface of some sort. Typically, this would be combined with an audio interface, which you'll need anyway to get high-quality audio out of the laptop. I use a MOTU Traveler, but there are many other choices.

    Next, you'll need some kind of MIDI-capable host to run softsynths or samplers or other virtual instruments that will respond to the MIDI data coming from the Continuum – a sequencer, Live, a VI host. Or, you could use a single stand-alone multi-channel virtual instrument, but it would have to be one that supports input on multiple MIDI channels and MIDI Mono mode, which many stand-alone VIs do not. If you have one that will, though, that might be all you need.

    Finally, you'd have to program the VI or host to respond correctly to the Continuum's MIDI data – see the post I submitted above about the requirements for effective Continuum use.

    But yes, you can use the Continuum with a laptop, and with a little programming skill, it should be a very effective instrument on stage.

  • lysander

    God, I want one of these.

  • matt

    this has been on my wishlist for a long time, much easier than using pitch bend on a keyboard, a lot easier on the fingers…

  • EoGPYl comment2 ,

  • ganesh

    Are there any cheaper clones of this one? The manufacturing cost of this one would like 1/10 or less of the selling price.

  • Hi everyone!

    I am looking for a normal little system for the collection of chips for windows, help me, I believe that will not burn just by bulldozer ….

  • Although there is a lot you can do with the Continuum, I am really impressed by the internal sounds of the keyboard. The album 'Continuum Fingers' uses only internal sounds http://tinyurl.com/2u5hzeo

  • It had now got under my fingers. And it's the best I've ever played. If electronic music needs an interface for musicians, it is this device.

    What is missing is the money.

    Here is my personal report in German… http://j.mp/dmId73

  • I went into another room, where the walls and ceiling were all hung round with cobwebs, except a narrow passage for the artist to go in and out. At my entrance he called aloud to me not to disturb his webs. He lamented the fatal mistake the world had been so long in of using silk worms, while we had such plenty of domestic insects, who infinitely excelled the former, because they understood how to weave as well as spin. And he proposed farther that by employing spiders the charge of dyeing silks should be wholly saved, whereof I was fully convinced when he showed me a vast number of flies most beautifully colored, wherewith he fed his spiders, assuring us that the webs would take a tincture from them; and as he had them of all hues, he hoped to fit everybody's fancy, as soon as he could find proper food for the flies, of certain gums, oils, and other glutinous matter to give a strength and consistence to the threads.

    Kobelco 7250-2f

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  • Joshua Olson

    For the record, genesh is incorrect. I've emailed Dr. Haken a lot, and he says he has tried many other technologies, none of which are as accurate. The majority of the cost comes from the precise machining of the sensing rods.

  • Jim

    I have the same T-Shirt on the 2nd video. Yes!

  • Jim

    I have the same T-Shirt on the 2nd video. Yes!

  • Jim

    I have the same T-Shirt on the 2nd video. Yes!