Building on the original Midi Fighter, a 4×4 array of arcade push-buttons, the Midi Fighter 3D adds interactive, light-up color feedback and gyroscope-powered motion sensing. The work of electronic music site DJ Tech Tools, it’s an impressive-looking piece of work. But if you’re not interested in the “3D” sensing, don’t overlook the clever color feedback and bank shifting, which could prove as much of a draw.
The Midi Fighter 3D, announced today, will ship in April at US$249. There are now orders yet, but there is a preorder list.
DJ Tech Tools is pushing the 3D orientation functionality. In a good way, it mirrors a bit of the branding and design we see from Nintendo (well, at least that “3D” moniker). If you don’t mind moving your controller around as you play, it looks like it can do some impressive things. Dan White of DJTT explains how it works to CDM:
The 3D uses a gyroscope and a compass to track the position of the controller in space. The gyroscope tracks relative position (meaning angling the controller towards any of its sides), and the compass tracks rotation along the same plane that the controller is on (think turning the controller like a steering wheel).
While the sensing may not appeal to everybody, the big advantage here is integrating continuous control of parameters (which buttons obviously lack), in a way that’s integrated into the design and gestural.
A wrist-strap will be available, and designed in such a way that you can access all the controls, including even those on the side.
At $249, though, fans of the original could easily justify the purchase based solely on the new light-up, assignable color indicators on the buttons. Apart from looking cool, they promise to make elaborate control setups possible, with the aid of bank controls and lots of customization in the software. You get four banks of controls via the top, but there are also six nicely-integrated triggers on the side which can be used for whatever you like. That could give you more banks, effect kill switches, or some other function you haven’t thought of yet. The fimware can send up to 68 unique Control Change messages and 70 button messages, so presumably DJTT is betting – as they have with their other product line – on lots of preset ideas for different performance rigs and styles.
All of this communication happens via MIDI, so using it with your favorite software is a cinch.
- Included configuration software
- Customizable RGB arcade buttons: 4 x 4 button array, with individually-addressable light-up RGB feedback on each button
- Four banks, six side buttons
- 3D motion tracking of five movements
It’s hard not to notice the cable in the images. DJ Tech Tools tells us that’s their own DJTT USB cable, which will be bundled with the hardware and also available separately. They say it’s a “high-quality” USB cable – I’m guessing the main test is whether it can stand up to moving the hardware around, since it isn’t wireless. Having right-angle USB cables is hugely useful in tight corners, though; Hosa was showing off something like that at NAMM and I’m happy to replace my USB collection with them.
Also worth noting: DJTT says they’re applying for a patent on the five-way motion control tracking method they’ve developed. (I find the patent process to be pricey and arcane, personally, but I’ll be interested to see how it goes for them!)
$249 seems to me a really good deal for this gear, but if you liked the brute-force simplicity of the original controller – and its greater customization options – the Classic remains available, starting at US$119.99.
Introducing the Midi Fighter 3D [DJ Tech Tools]