arcmonome

A new arc and a new module from monome

Wheels were never as big as grids. Well – in this context, anyway. The arc was the spiritual successor to the monome from designer Brian Crabtree – ultra-high resolution encoders for turning, with lights, as continuous as the monome grid was binary. But despite some poetic, meditative videos the monome project produced, the arc was always mostly quiet on the scene. And then it disappeared, supplanted by other projects (like an entry into Eurorack). Now it’s back, on preorder.

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uc4

The Best Little MIDI Fader and Knob Box Just Got Better

I just can’t hide my affection for the Faderfox line, and one unit in particular: the UC3 was pretty close to perfect. While there are other MIDI controllers with faders, the UC3 stands out by combining a healthy assortment of encoders and faders (plus one crossfader) in an ultra-compact, lightweight package. Nothing comes close to saving space either in your bag or in cramped performance setup situations. Every component feels smooth, solid, and premium, in contrast to rivals that have generally favored low price over quality. And it’s USB class compliant, so drivers aren’t issue. Well, the UC3 was nearly …

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DS1_top_wlense

MIDI Controller with Loads of Faders, Knobs, App Support: Livid DS1 on Preorder [Gallery]

The world has no shortage of MIDI controllers. There are big ones, small ones. There are, increasingly, loads of specialized controllers designed around apps. The DS1 is designed to be something different: it’s a mixing controller. And as conceived in a partnership between educational studio Dubspot and Austin, Texas boutique builder Livid Instruments, it’s meant to mix in any app. It’s a mixer for prodution, but also for DJing. With templates for a variety of tools, it’s made to be as comfortable in Traktor as in Ableton Live as in Logic. We’ve still yet to test whether it delivers on …

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A USB MIDI Controller, Designed Like a Mixer, from Dubspot + Livid: DS1 [Q&A]

We’ve got grids, more grids, and disco grids. We’ve got fake platters and big, whirling plates. We’ve got iPads and things you wave around in the air. But as controllers have embraced digital design, the number of controllers that have the logical layout of a mixer has, remarkably, diminished. And what really don’t have much of is a controller that’s truly DAW-agnostic. Integration is great, but you need hardware for people who don’t believe in One Tool as religion. It’s taken New York-based learning center Dubspot to reignite that idea, in a controller collaboration with Dave Cross and Livid Instruments. …

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djtt_twister

Midi Fighter Twister 4×4 Encoder Controller, and More Traktor Step Sequencing

DJ site DJ TechTools continues to create their own hardware, augmented by custom mappings to popular software, with the Midi Fighter Twister. From the early days of their 4×4 arcade button controller Midi Fighter, things have gotten a bit more sophisticated. The Twister keeps the compact housing and 4×4 matrix design, but swaps those on/off buttons with 16 encoders, each with push-button capability, ringed by color LEDs for additional feedback. (You get white LEDs for indicators, plus full-RGB color at the very bottom.) There’s no pricing yet, but availability is slated for January. Anyone wanting a box of encoders should …

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A Brilliant 199€ Hardware Sequencer with Jog Wheel: MTRX-8 Preview [Photos, Video, Interview]

Sleek and black, sporting a high-resolution jog wheel, the MTRX-8 is a futuristic sequencer the likes of which you probably haven’t seen in hardware before. Even though it’s the product of a boutique DIY maker – France’s Fyrd Instruments, aka designer Julien Fayard – it’s eschews the usual homebrewed, retro aesthetics. And it’s not expensive, either; the launch price has been lowered to 199€ based on early demand. It’s a MIDI sequencer, it’s a drum sequencer, it’s a performance-geared machine with quick access to presets, and it’s covered with quick access controls rather than confusing menus. At last, it’s sequencer …

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arc2

Reinventing the Wheel: Engineering arc2, Digital Instrument from monome Creator [Gallery, Interview]

Engineering a production instrument is a kind of study in compromise. For mass-produced musical instruments, it’s a fusion of practicality and economics, made affordable by a mass-market supply chain. What makes the monome creations special isn’t just that they look beautiful; the art isn’t aesthetic only. They are uncommonly uncompromising. They’re designed in such a way that tells a story about materials, one that weaves connections between suppliers – many of them local suppliers – and focuses the experience of the device on the interface. They have the kind of obsessive attention to detail associated with the finest acoustic musical …

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HybridControl

Mixing Knobs with iPad Touch: Liine Griid + Livid Code Now Available (and Core MIDI for Griid, Too)

Users of Ableton Live, among other tools, have a dilemma. A touch display like the iPad is really good at simple triggering and interactive displays – navigating Live’s grid of clips, for instance. It gives you visual feedback without having to hunch behind your laptop, and it makes seeing (and touching) clips far easier. But it gets fairly clumsy when it comes to manipulating mixer levels and effects: there’s no physical feedback for what you’re doing, and it’s too easy accidentally jump between values or bump the wrong mixer channel. Physical knobs and other controls are perfect for mixing and …

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monome128branches

On arcs and monomes, a Loyal Community Makes Music Together

Grids and roots – a close look at the monome 128. Photo (CC-BY) bm.iphone. They’re not great in number – only a handful of producers have monome hardware, scattered across the globe. And their obsession is unique, the boutique grid (and now encoder) creations of Brian Crabtree and partner Kelli Cain. But in the latest signs of how committed this community of artists is to using these hardware interfaces for DIY software and to doing it with one another, the monome community has been busy. They have a new compilation, the first experiments (via monome maestro stretta) with the new …

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arc-and-sixtyfour

Arc: New Music Controller in Video, Detailed Q+A with monome Creator Brian Crabtree

Can minimalist controller design make even two knobs into a digital instrument? We’ll soon see. The arc, the new controller from monome designer Brian Crabtree, contains just two high-resolution encoders (known to us in everyday usage as “knobs”). It makes no sound; every minute rotation and a push-button action are telegraphed to a computer. Everything that would make it musically interesting, then, is up to the makers of interactive software on the computer. At their disposal are interactive, brightness-adjustable LED displays that ring those encoders. At US$500 (or $800 for a four-knob model), the results aren’t cheap, challenging even loyal …

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