Mawzer Controller

We first heard about the Mawzer modular control surface over two years ago. In CDM time, that’s like the Bronze Age. The idea was appealing enough: assemble controller layouts by plugging in different modules in whatever combination you like, Lego-style. (See below for someone using actual Legos; that’s another story.) Building specialized music hardware from scratch and dealing with production issues takes time, though, so for quite a while the Mawzer has been off the radar screen. Surprise: the Mawzer is nearly here.

The modular controller prototype has been making the rounds in performance. As of last month, the Mawzer’s creators began taking preorders for the device. And starting this week, the MAWZER is touring Europe in a series of workshops in the device. If any of you Europeans happen to be a stone’s throw from one of the workshops, we’d love a hands-on report! Do take photos!

Mawzer to Launch [Matrixsynth]
Mawzer Controller Demo bei Schneidersbüro [; in German]
Mawzer News

In the intervening time, I have to admit I’m somewhat less interested than I was originally, just personally. If you want to go custom, it’s not just custom layouts that matter, but changing the form factor and controllers themselves. And since 2005, an increasing number of people have begun forming communities around building such truly custom controllers. I also notice that you can’t hot-swap modules; there’s a warning printed on the inside of the module bay. But those things said, I still love the concept, and I’d love to see the actual unit — if the overall form factor makes sense, this could be ideal. (It also looks especially nice for visualists; one of those performances involved VJing with Resolume.) If you are interested, here’s the preorder pricing, which I imagine looks less scary if you’re in Europe and aren’t suffering from an insanely weak US Dollar:

Prices are intented for first batch of production due July 2007 :
M1610 (empty case) : 627,40 €
Case to hold 16 modules with core system and LCD
M3210 (empty case) : 770,20 €
Case to hold 32 modules with core system and LCD
POTv410 / POTh410 module : 46,35 €
4 potentiometers in horizontal or vertical position
FADv110 module : 43,40 €
1 fader 10cm
ENCv410 module : 49,75 €
4 endless encoders
BUTv410 module : 48,25 €
4 push buttons with leds
XFDv110 module : 51,35 €
2 push buttons with leds + 1 fader 6cm
BLANK module : 6,00 €
Empty module

Related Project: stekgreif: Build Your Own Modular MIDI Controller out of Legos

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  • Ethan

    "And since 2005, an increasing number of people have begun forming communities around building such truly custom controllers."

    Perhaps i've not been studying CDM hard enough, but could someone present some other custom controller options beyond this and Monome?

  • Sorry, I should clarify — I mean that people have gone and really built their own stuff, working with kit platforms like the MidiBox. That's different from ready-made hardware, I know, but rather than one or two form factors with custom layouts, you have effectively unlimited possibilities. More work, but potentially worth it. The idea of plug-and-play modules still makes sense for devices *between* the scratch-built kit and the pre-built hardware.

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  • poopoo

    Someone was proposing a similar idea a loooong time ago on

    The modules only seem to work as inputs and not outputs which is a pity. Motor faders and flashing LED's are always good. Maybe in 2.0.