Lemur 1.5 was announced today, bringing some significant improvements to this unique multi-touch display/control surface. Specifically, this update addresses a number of complaints about Lemur, including some I voiced in my review for Keyboard Magazine:

  1. Easier mapping: MIDI and even OSC assignment was a bit of a chore in the existing Jazz Editor release, partly because it required multiple clicks to get to MIDI assignments, in particular. The new editor always has MIDI and OSC assignments visible in a tab, and there’s a new custom MIDI object for more complex, multiple-output assignments.
  2. More templates, reusable components: While JazzMutant hasn’t released an exact list, the update includes more templates, which should help you get started out of the box. You can now also reuse components between templates, answering another complaint many of us had, since previously you had to duplicate work each time you built a new template.
  3. Knobs: The previous Lemur lacked virtual knobs. Now, knobs are available, both in endless rotary and fixed-rotation varieties.

  4. Text: The surfaceLCD object lets you easily label tracks, etc., by feeding data from your computer. This basically acts as a virtual LCD screen you can add to your control layout.
  5. More MIDI Control: You can now control the Lemur itself via MIDI, and use up to 8 input and output ports for some complex inter-gear configuration.

I’m still not convinced the Lemur is for everyone, but this is a major improvement on an already-innovative design. If you’re a Lemur user, I’m sure you’re in hog heaven. If not, and you don’t intend to be, there’s still a message here for manufacturers: make configuration as flexible and fluid as possible. It has an enormous effect on how a control surface is used.