I got to get up close and personal with the just-deliver Ohm from Livid Instruments. It’s a new MIDI controller with a 6×6 grid of on/off pads, two times four knobs + four faders (that is, eight total of each), lots of custom buttons, and a DJ-style crossfader with a lovely wooden handle. Price is US$750, but it comes bundled with Livid’s full VJ software, Union, for Mac and PC.

Livid is first and foremost a visual software developer, and the controller is unusually well-suited to visuals, so it was a natural for Create Digital Motion:

Hands-On: Livid’s New Ohm Controller, Custom Control Geared for Visualists

Music folks have been equally interested, though, which raises the question of how to use it.

As a DJ controller, or Ableton Live controller, it looks very interesting. You could use the 6×6 pads as clip triggers or sample triggers, then assign the mixing functions. In fact, while initially it appears to be short on knobs, the fact that you have eight faders means you could assign a combination of effects and mix levels to cross-faders — or just set up a basic two- or four-channel mix and focus on effects and other settings.

Readers were split on its potential when they first saw it last year, as you can see in comments. But I’ll be interested to hear how people actually using it respond. I was very impressed with the physical feel and handcrafted design in my hands-on — not enough to shake me from my own favorite controllers, but then, I think the future of controllers is more choice, not less.

And if you think you can do better than the Livid team, keep your eyes glued for the MIDI DIY. It’s the control board / brain of the Ohm, ready to be turned into any project you desire. (With 128 note contacts and 32 control changes, you can do something pretty hefty.) More on that when it ships. It won’t be for the first-time DIYer, but I know we have some advanced readers out there.

  • holy f'ing drool!

    color me backlit blue with envy

  • I agree – I think this looks really attractive ๐Ÿ˜‰ — and practical too!

  • Greg

    That is hottttt…!

    This is pretty much the perfect Live controller…or at least it would be if Ableton supported custom sysex interfacing (are you listening, Berlin?)

  • hardass…did they drop the price on it?

  • Ok, that's maybe nice, but honestly: not my choice as a VJ controller. I use regularly an EMU XL7 Command Station which IMHO is the best you can get. And I do music with it as well. Real cheap nowadays seconf-hand on eBay, and it's a keep.

  • Benton

    This is perfect for my Live setup!

  • Any photos that *weren't* taken in an unnaturally dark room? Blue is great, but what about the rest of the day? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • nq

    looks definitively great, but really needto see and feel that in real. at the moment it looks a little bit too fancy.

    maybe this is the first controller sporting the monome-look.

  • brianvega


    what ARE your favorite controllers then ?

  • @brianvega:

    Disclaimer: I'm really probably just rationalizing to try to resist what's a *very* nice controller. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    But, basically, my approach is a bit more modular. I tend to adapt to the project. MVPs in my studio:

    * Korg padKONTROL — yeah, fewer pads, but fantastic velocity response

    * Faderfox: super tiny, terrific to use, very Ableton-y

    * Novation ReMOTE SL — because I love keyboards

    * Edirol PCR-M1 — my do-everything, drop in a suitcase when you can't carry anything else

    * Really liking this new KORE

    * Most excited about the Monome I'm building

    For gigs, it's nice being adaptable in this way, just personally.


  • brianvega

    well, will all that gear you must be in control.

    (i'v got the Novation, the Edirol and the Monome and they are each one of them very specific) -I was wondering, would i really enjoy a Faderfox for my Ableton use ?


  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Hands-on: AudioCubes as Alternative Controller for Music and Visuals()

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Hands-on with Aurora, Open Source DJ Control Surface, Shipping Now()

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Akai APC40 Ableton Live Controller, in Detail: Plug-and-Play Live Control For Everyone?()