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Make Novation Circuit your own, with updates, browser tools

When Novation’s little Circuit came out, it was already an appealing, simple box for making music. You got two polysynths and a four-part drum machine built in, coupled with a step sequencer, RGB pads and encoders for control, and MIDI, all for just a hair above $300. At the same time, though, you were restricted to the built-in sounds. Today, Novation are unveiling a bunch of updates that open up the machine to more customization – to personalizing it for your own use.

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Novation’s Launchpad Grid, Now in Color, for Ableton or iPad

Novation’s Launchpad has seen slimmer and smaller versions. And upcoming is a Pro version with pressure/velocity and MIDI in and out. But if you just want the grid, you can now get the base model with RGB color. It’s officially called the Launchpad mk2. No availability or pricing yet (damn you, unstable Euro), but you can sign-up for notification. The update has the same basic design as the original, but updated with styling from its Pro sibling, and RGB color behind the pads for more visual feedback. Here’s the obligatory video of the new model, which gets a very cute …

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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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Will Your Next Controller Be 3D Printed? Meet Adafruit’s Open Source Grid

The original monome project did more than just create a novel piece of hardware for music. It established a design language for what essential digital interfaces might be, in the deceptively simple form of its light up grid of buttons. It’s not so interesting to just copy that hardware, then. More compelling are efforts to extract the elements of the design in ways that can be turned into new things. Adafruit has been slowly building up a nice set of building blocks clearly inspired by monome. Trellis is a system for making the grids component work – lighting the buttons …

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M-Audio Trigger Finger Pad Controller is Back – with a Step Sequencer, High-Res Screen

This is not your father’s Trigger Finger. The Trigger Finger has to be one of the biggest success stories in controllers, ever. Back before “controllerism” was a thing, this was what you took along – cheap, light, easy-to-abuse, it was a warhorse 4×4 grid of pads with faders. I’ve watched Flying Lotus tear up his; I’ve seen it win laptop battles. I’ve seen people play them with pads weirdly half ripped-off and all the knob and fader caps missing. I’ve seen Trigger Fingers that looked like someone dragged them through the mud tied to a pickup truck. (I knew that …

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Color and Light: Gestures Manipulate Music, RGB Lights [Ableton + Kinect]

Motion, light & sound / Kinect & Madlight from things happen on Vimeo. In a teaser video just released by Spain’s Things Happen, a silhouetted performer uses arm position to sweep through RGB colors and trigger sound cues. It’s the latest effort to integrate the immersive media environment with a performer’s body, part spectacle, part interface. The ingredients, apart from Microsoft’s ubiquitous Kinect depth camera: Motion capture + image = light + sound Software: MadMapper [using MadMapper’s Madlight feature to trigger lighting] Quartz composer Ableton live Music: Sun Glitters x Isan – Snowfall The nice thing about the inter-linked, comment-enabled …

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Roland V-4EX: HDMI, RGB, SD Mixer Will Have US$1995 List

We’ve gotten more details on Roland Systems’ Group’s V-4EX mixer. This really is an evolution of the V-4 – and Roland apparently still views “V-4” to mean standard definition, meaning you’ll need to look elsewhere for internal HD mixing. But the V-4EX does deliver on connectivity, with functionality via things like HDMI, and all in the VJ-loved V-4 form factor. We also know the price: US$1995. The bad news: there are some design glitches, like putting tap tempo on a touchscreen. And you are limited to SD mixing, even with those HDMI ins and outs; everything is upscaled. I could …

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RGB color grid? Mais ouis! Here, though, add in velocity-sensitive touch strips, too. Product photos courtesy Livid Instruments.

Livid Base: Colored Pads Meet Touch Faders, $399 [Gallery]

So, other than lots of new analog monosynths, the one thing we now have lots of is grids of RGB pads. Livid is betting you want your touch-sensitive, pressure-sensitive pads paired with some touch faders. So, unlike offerings like KMI’s QuNeo and Ableton’s Push, the grid at the bottom is coupled up with a set of strips for fader control at the top. That opens up some flexibility for expression or as a control surface. Specs: 4×8 grid = 32 pads (so, two groups of 16 pads if you want to think of it that way). Nine touch sliders. Eight …

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V-4 Video Mixer, Now HDMI: First Look at Roland's V-4EX

For years, the Roland V-4 was the battle axe of the VJ and visual performance scene. Not owning one almost meant you weren’t serious about playing. And the ubiquity of these at community events meant more collaborative and back-to-back sets. Then computers evolved past – and even dropped – composite/component analog video outs, and the V-4 was left behind. The V-8 was a step forward, but still couldn’t keep up with the shift in video ins and outs. At last, we get the Roland V-4EX. Like the original V-4, it’s a four-channel mixer with effects. And it shares the V-4’s …

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V-4 Video Mixer, Now HDMI: First Look at Roland’s V-4EX

For years, the Roland V-4 was the battle axe of the VJ and visual performance scene. Not owning one almost meant you weren’t serious about playing. And the ubiquity of these at community events meant more collaborative and back-to-back sets. Then computers evolved past – and even dropped – composite/component analog video outs, and the V-4 was left behind. The V-8 was a step forward, but still couldn’t keep up with the shift in video ins and outs. At last, we get the Roland V-4EX. Like the original V-4, it’s a four-channel mixer with effects. And it shares the V-4’s …

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