Ohm MIDI control surface for the VJ and visualist

Visualists have a challenge: visual hardware needs often aren’t quite the same as music’s. To make matters worse, there’s still no single, killer DJ-style control surface. There are lots of interesting entries, from Numark’s Total Control and NuVJ to the M-Audio Xponent and Vestax VCI-100, but, as our own Jaymis can attest, finding one that’s “just right” for you personally can be a challenge.

The new Livid Ohm, open for preorders now and shipping by the end of the month (US$790 intro / $899 list), has an interesting combination of features in a lovely case. In the center is a set of 36 trigger buttons with backlit LEDs, with mixer-style controls on either side, and trigger/mute buttons on each fader. For mix-heavy visual performance, this could be really ideal. I’ve never been a big fan of endless layers of video composited, so I’d love to see what’s possible assigning layers to generative visuals instead (possibly mixed with a layer or two of video), using a tool like Processing or Flash.

What this controller isn’t is a scratch controller, which may disappoint Jaymis. But as a mixer controller, everything’s where it should be, and all the additional trigger buttons, logically placed as mute/trigger buttons or on/off switches for effects and A/B switching, could make this really ideal in performance.

Lastly, it’s a pretty good deal. $800 or so may sound steep for a hardware controller if you’re strapped for cash, but Ohm comes with the full version of Livid Union, Livid’s Mac/Windows visual software, normally US$299. Finally, VJ hardware bundled with full-blown software and not some “special edition.” All in all, while I seriously doubt this will satisfy the ongoing search for a “perfect” controller for everyone, it’s a balanced-looking design I’m eager to try. I expect to have a test unit. Naturally, I’ll try it with software aside from just Livid Union, as well — choice is good!

Ohm MIDI controller in hardwood case

What’s your current hardware controller of choice? (Me, I’m working on setting up this Wacom 6×8 and a Monome, so my setup may look very different!) Let us know in comments…

Full specs and details of the music implications over on Create Digital Music:
Ohm Controller: Buttons, Crossfader, Faders for Visualists, Musicians, and DJs

And check out the Livid product page for ordering info. Worldwide shipping, rest of the world! (Have that currency converter ready…)
Ohm Performance Instrument [lividinstruments.com]