Tom Phillipson sends us a really lovely video in which he extends what’s possible on a ReMOTE SL keyboard from Novation by adding the touch controls of an iPod touch. This is exactly what I’ve been talking about in terms of the usefulness of the iPod and iPhone apps: they’re a perfect, reasonably affordable (US$220 for an entry-level iPod touch) means of adding interactive controls to your hardware. You can use the touch controls for parameters well-suited to touch and that layout (and see those controls in the dark onstage), and physical controls for other tasks.

Tom writes:

Rob from Hexler suggested you might be interested in this video i made. I recently made a simple yet very effective mod of my novation 25SL compact to incorporate my ipod touch, running TouchOSC.

Via the YouTube post:

TouchOSC is awesome little software, just like having a Lemur, only infinitely cheaper.. and the mod is completely reversible ..
Its extended the functionality of an already very useful keyboard. No keyboards were harmed in the making of this video
Novation 25SL Compact and TouchOSC controlling Ableton 7 and a Access virus Snow.
For my music, check out

TouchOSC by hexler (R.J. Fischer) is US$3.99 from the iTunes App Store.

See also: ReMOTE SL @ Novation Music

… which I reviewed for Keyboard Magazine

  • Max

    Oh yes, that's what i've been waiting for – it's a Mini-Lemur for my iPhone!

    To use it with Ableton Live, i combined it with OSCulator, and it instantly worked.

    Thanks for this great tip, Peter!

  • Leslie

    Sorry, but I just don't see the reason for using iPhone as midi controller… I do own Novation SL 37 and Behringer BCF-2000… What is the point/advantage of using this app instead..?!

  • Max

    @Leslie: The main advantage for me is that you can use it without any cables attached, thus free in your movement. Plus, I see this whole iPhone-Controller theme as a starting point for a paradigm shift in music creation, and it's exciting to see the early experiments!

    But of course, if your set is stationary and you just want some solid midi-controller, you would be better off using your Novation SL 37…

  • great stuff.. in coilege, I've asked a teacher if he previewed that in some time for instance there would be synthesyzers with midi, osc and cv (following the nowadays line of moog, which has yet implemented osc on its synthesizers) and midi controllers with osc implementation.. I guess the question is well answered and the future is coming

  • Max

    I made a quick demo of controlling Ableton Live with TouchOSC. Find it at

  • Leslie

    Looks cool… but, I still can't see the point of using iPhone instead of real sliders, faders, pots and pans instead…

  • @Leslie: Well, for starters –
    * persistent settings without motorized faders (i.e., you can send data *to* the device)
    * X/Y controllers (the X/Y pad on the iPhone works better than the one on the Novation, I have to admit, and does multi-touch)
    * different control pages
    * high-res control via OpenSoundControl with apps that support it
    * other displays / readouts

    And "instead" doesn't seem like the right word when they're next to one another.

  • Leslie

    @Peter, During my live sets, normally my Mac does the "trick or or two" 😉 but, I can understand where You're coming from…

  • Jake

    That looks cool; it almost makes me regret getting rid of my iPod touch. Maybe I'll pick up one of the new ones if I get the money.

    That said, I have been thinking of picking up a Remote SL Compact 49 but have heard that the trigger pads aren't the best. Would you say that the ones on the Remote SL were usable, at the very least? I'd just like to use them for tapping out some drum beats from time to time.

  • Leslie

    @Jake You can adjust the sensitivity of Novation pads to suit Your needs… 🙂

  • What if…

    …he get a phonecall during his session from his angry girlfriend!?

  • @"What if" …
    It's an iPod touch. If he gets a phone call, something's very wrong. 😉

    The SL pads are usable, yes. They're very stiff; they don't feel like Akai pads — they feel different. They're reasonably responsive. Also depends on whether you really care about velocity response; if you don't, the feel is going to matter less. If you do, you need to make sure you can adjust it to a point you're happy with.

  • Nick

    You know what would be cool? Some sort of MIDI to iPhone cable and an app that gets the midi signals from any controller and forwards them over the air to the computer. That could turn any wired MIDI controller into a wireless one. What do you think?

  • JohnG

    Nick: Sounds like a great idea to me. Race you to the patent office 🙂

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  • Hey Leslie,

    in response to why i decided to mod this instead of just use the keyboard or another keyboard with sliders.. its pretty simple really.

    In this video i only demonstrated 1 of the feature sets of TouchOSC.. i wasnt so much showing off the software more its integration into an existing controller.

    The ability to quickly access multiple different sets of controllers (xy, faders, drum pads, eq etc) is what makes this software cool..

    As for getting phone calls, this is an ipod touch.. so no calls.

    Also to be honest, i have found the responsiveness of the ipod over the novation to be far better.. there is no lag what so ever..

    the novation is still awesome.. i just liked being able to make it more

  • Sean

    People with a negative "why" attitude are really silly, this is about adding a great deal of extra contols at your finger tip for extremely cheap compared to a jazzmutant lemur. By your logic leslie the lemur would never excist in the first place, you are just missing the point

  • I just posted a how-to on my blog explaining how to set all this up on a PC.