Looking quite handsomely like 70s stereophile equipment, a couple of prototype Ableton controllers have shown up on the website of Kenton, the UK MIDI manufacturer:
Kenton Electronics MIDI Controllers; AB mini (shown left) and AB DJ (right)
Via Gearjunkies, who I swear are wired directly into some sort of psychic network that tells them when anyone comes up with anyone new. The controllers are beautiful looking, certainly, with brushed aluminum, high-end knobs, and (on the AB mini, at least) handy light indicators around the knobs. The AB mini is admirable for its minimalism, though it seems wanting of a crossfader. (Love the joystick, though, and this could fit neatly on a keyboard or, as shown, at your laptop.)
“DJ” has come to mean, oddly, generic design and not enough controls. But here, there are some interesting ideas, like the velocity-sensitive pads, color-coded buttons, and joystick. If the design remains flexible, people could find it useful.
Here’s the next question, though: can someone think of a hardware interface that truly matches Ableton Live, rather than combining existing controls in a slightly different configuration?
Kenton is asking for feedback. I’m sure you have plenty of suggestions.
[Updated:] Marc van den Hurk of Gearjunkies writes in to explain their news gathering secret: “We are no member of a psychic network, we ARE a psychic network.”