Teenage Engineering Drum Machine, Hacked with Big Buttons

You’re going to need some bigger pockets. (Overalls?) British-born, Kyoto-based Ally Mobbs has hacked the inexpensive Teenage Engineering PO-12 drum machine into a full-sized box. Instead of the tiny, fingertip-challenging buttons, you get nice, big arcade buttons. He’s also made a lovely-looking wooden case and a jack connector.


Midi Fighter Spectra: Crazy-Sexy Arcade Buttons, US$175.99 [Live+Serato+Traktor]

If you want to mash on some arcade buttons for your DJ or live set, your perfect hardware may have arrived. Sure, okay – you’ve seen this before. DJ TechTools followed up on their original, DIY-centric Midi Fighter with the swanky-looking Midi Fighter 3D. The industrial design was gorgeous, replacing the homebrewed original with a crisp-looking case, subtle side buttons, and features like a custom USB cable. But we heard from plenty of readers who weren’t interested in waving the hardware around to take advantage of the gyroscope features. At a lower price (US$175.99 to the $249.99 3D model), and …


Moldover, Playing Live with Latest Sensor-Laden, DIY Controllers (The Mojito!) [Music Video]

Matt “Moldy” Moldover helped champion the notion of controllerism, focusing live performance on manipulation of digital parameters. In his latest music video, he shows off his latest creations. What’s nice about what he’s doing currently is that he’s able to augment traditional live rigs with buttons and sensors. Having your controls clamped to a mic stand? Eminently practical for vocalists and instrumentalists. The guitar gets the full sensor treatment, too. Moldover explains to CDM: Both the guitar and mic controllers are prototypes I made for my recently completed Super Villain Tour. The microphone attachment is called The Mojito. It’s simply …


Arcade Buttons and Gyroscope: New Midi Fighter 3D from DJ Tech Tools

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 …


Choppertone, Wooden Ableton Jazz Controller, and Folk Music of the 21st Century: Video

“Folk music of the 21st Century” – radio broadcaster, jazz aficionado, and jazz-based Ableton Live instrumentalist / remix artist Nick Francis really sums up what this whole site is about. As he chops up jazz greats in Ableton, his mash-up music chops are as much musical analysis as they are performance. He walks through his controller moves in a pedagogical way, highlighting the meat of the jazz legends he puts into play. It’s a kind of digital transcription, transcribing re-imagined for Ableton’s colored blocks in place of. Of course, you’ll only be able to reflect on this once you can …


New Performance Controllers: Midi-Fighter Pro will Face Grid+Fader Rivals

With game-style arcade buttons – and the pre-mapped combos to match – DJ TechTools’ latest wants your pocket full of quarters. Midi-Fighter images courtesy DJ TechTools. What should DJing with a computer look like? We’ve seen over a decade of products that can emulate the vinyl turntable experience, of course. But a native hardware interface for the computer – with all its internal looping, slicing, and effects capabilities – by definition must be different. DJ TechTools, led by DJ Ean Golden, has mixed writing about technology with designing custom solutions to that problem, interacting with the community on the DJ-centric …


A Controller Love Supreme: Beautifully-Crafted Wooden Jazz Controller with Ableton Live

Nick Francis poses with his DIY, wooden controller – good enough for jazz. Photo: Justin Steyer for Seattle’s KPLU radio. In a world of disposable computers and electronics, making something “custom” is an antidote to throwaway hardware, a way of putting one’s own handiwork, care, and attention into the object with which you play music. Of course, it’s one thing to say it, and another thing to do it, but Nick Francis falls squarely in the “doer” camp. A jazz-focused radio broadcaster from Seattle’s KPLU, Nick says he’s been chopping up audio since he was doing it with razor blades …