From ribbons to multi-touch, musicians are looking for expressive controllers, ones that allow continuous control for performance.

Oh, yeah, and it’s like totally super-cool on the original Star Trek when people run their hands over the Transporter controls and the blinky lights move. I mean, like still super-cool, even in 2008. (Hint: try to look completely chilled out like Spock when you do it.)

So, one of the things I noticed when the Monome was first introduced was, excellent as that open controller is, you’ve got buttons and no continuous controls. Ever wished another nice square box could sit next to it and give you multiple touch controllers? Good news: Stribe is here.

The Stribe is an 8-channel multi-touch controller for music or video software. 1024 individually-addressable LEDs provide animated visual feedback.

The low-resolution (16 x 64) LED display is controlled in real time by either firmware or host software, or both. MIDI or OSC communication to compatible hardware and software is achieved via patches written in Max/MSP.
Touchstrips down the center of each channel trigger events in the software and the firmware, which drive the display, creating a haptic feedback loop. Each of these eight “channels” has two 64-led-tall columns, e.g. a left and a right.

The Stribe can act as a touch controlled meter bridge, or as an interactive, animated16 x 64 led display. Oriented horizontally, the Stribe can more intuitively interface with step-sequencer type applications, or allow direct manipulation of granular synthesis sampling, or allow the user to perform “scratch” like gestures



Via NYC Resistor Microcontroller Group (thanks, phineus!), also posted with typical insane speed by Matrixsynth

Phineus created the Stribe (see more on his blog) after being inspired by the Monome, and uses his Monome and Stribe side by side. Whereas the Monome is typically procured as pre-built hardware or kit, Stribe is a DIY project (donations welcome). The basic components are pretty simple: standard lights and touch sensors. You can find all the specs and software, plus a new forum, on the Stribe site above.

I’ll be making one, that’s for sure. Too cool. And I think some improvements could be made in the case design, as well. It’ll be interesting to see where people take this.


  • dead_red_eyes

    Damn! That is hot.

  • so when can I order a Strinome? Or is it Monomibe?

  • daniel

    where can i order one? to combine with my lemur

  • Todd Fletcher

    What's the point of the LEDs if they only show where your fingers already are? Am I missing something?

  • Wow 1024 LEDs, wonder what micro-controller they're using to route that many through.

    Wish those crazy DIY-ers would have better tastes in music. You know actually play some notes or something ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Wow, I'm amazed this made it to CDM! It's still a bit early to say, "it's here," but here it is! A little clarification: the Stribe is all about DIY, and so you have to build it, and program it, yourself. There is no stack of these somewhere, and in fact I am the only owner of one at this moment (next week will change that as a few developers will be getting theirs). Also, no-one has yet designed a case. As explained on the site and the video, what you're seeing is only a basic "dumb" cursor mode controlled by the firmware, sending some random values out to Max. It is in fact possible to control the LEDs individually from Max/MSP using the latest "Virtual Stribe" patch, so any Max app can be made to work with the Stribe (I will hopefully have video of this up later today). The operative word there being "can be made to work", e.g., the work still needs to be done. I have yet to make real music with the Stribe, so far just the bleepy stuff in the videos, because I've been focused on getting the hardware to work. I also haven't hooked it to any monome apps, though that's just a matter of time. There's also an OSC protocol in progress.

    I've published everything I've done so far to the Stribe Project Forum, including the circuits and Max patches and firmware and protocols so far, in hopes that others will jump on this and make cool stuff happen. You can also pre-order parts through the Forum, or if you're ready to jump in, contact me to build you a custom Stribe.

  • if only we could jam with him. it sounds sooo ahh some.

    I mean awesome!

  • deb


    wow wow wow wow wow.


  • Chris Shaw

    I can see a great use for this with ProTools. Use the left side of the strip as a VU meter and the right side as fader position. Give me a set of 16 with bank select and I could mix with it.


  • @ Chris Shaw: I had a similar idea!

    I'm one of the anxiously-awaiting-hardware developers Phineus mentions above, and am planning to create something like this. I'm wondering how well it would work to use the two columns to display levels in stereo, then just use the touchstrip to change relative volume rather than set an absolute fader position. Would this work for your purposes?

  • Ok guys… after looking at all these DIY projects (and monomes in particular for the last year)- I want in!

    How hard would it be to put this "stribe" together? The only thing i've soldered was some buzzer thing that I made back in high school electronics.

    Are the parts expensive?

    I guess i'd love to make stuff – but wouldn't want to make a whole lot of stuff that wouldn't get used…

  • Have to commend you guys on doing a good job. OSC is where it's at and going the whole "monome community" route is the best way to handle it.

    One question: Are the red LEDs fixed, as in, are the LEDs at the top always red or can any LED change to a different color?

  • @vinyak: It's a non-trivial build, meaning I wouldn't reccommend it to someone just starting out building kits. If you know someone who can help you or give you some guidance then I'd say go for it, but otherwise I would start with something easier and most of all less expensive.

    @Myles: Yes, the LEDs are all fixed. You can take the Stribe apart and switch the arrangement, since the bargraphs go into sockets, but the colors don't change dynamically. I've experimented with some differnt arrangements as you can see in the 0.2 video. Maybe the "uber-Stribe 2010" will have RGB leds. I think you'd need 48 MAX7221s to do this (3 controllers per 64 LEDs) or maybe there's a way to do it with shift registers…?

  • @phineus: I figured as much – I guess I got to work out whats good to do as a first project – anyone have any ideas? I don't want to make something that will just sit as a paperweight…

    maybe a compressor pedal for my guitar… hmm..

  • Make a guitar pedal – then you can paint it all cool and it will sound even better – I recommend Chrysler blue.

  • You can use binary arrays to reduce the number of inputs needed for LEDs. Let me know if you need more info.

  • @ Myles – Please, more info!

  • Good to see this project popping up all over now.

  • Dirty Brown Clown

    I'm going to record my "Bowel Movement In Broad Daylight" with that hum-dinger!

  • Eddie Lloyd

    I'm hoping to make some prototype cases for the Scribe soon, and I think people will be pretty pleased with it.

    I'm really excited for this project, and it looks like it's going to do better than Phineus might've thought. Unless this has been his plan all along… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Vlad wrote: "…I’m wondering how well it would work to use the two columns to display levels in stereo, then just use the touchstrip to change relative volume rather than set an absolute fader position…" yes yes yes yes yes ๐Ÿ˜›

  • @ Vlad – Yes. That would definitely work for me although there should be some indicator to show the actual fader level. You could then use the strips for relative level – sort of like the trim mode on an SSL or similar VCA automation.

  • o yeah, there would have to be some sot of "scribble strip" above each strip for the track name and perhaps some way to switch the strip from volume to pan mode. Perhaps plugin control if you're feeling adventurous?

  • @Chris Shaw: Maybe we could blink a pair of LEDs to indicate the actual fader position on initial finger-down until finger-up? There's much experimentation in the pipeline.

    When you say "scribble strip" are you envisioning a hardware addition or something which would display in a software interface?

  • @phineus: I assume there will be more runs after the first run of 10, right? (some of you may have already snatched up the last of that!)

  • 4 kits left. There will definitely be a pause before the next run of kits as we get feedback and refine the design. I will probably produce a few extra PCBs with this run. Get in touch if interested!

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  • Wow, looks amazing, i already want one now :P!

  • ken

    Wow, this is exactly the kind of thing i as looking to add to my set up, this and the monome and ableton…awesome!