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 that mission, but what we can share now is the final design, pricing, and a pre-order.

The layout of the DS1 is mixer-inspired — so, it has what readers have told us too many controllers lack. That means, primarily, loads of knobs along with traditional faders, but in a form factor the makers say will be portable. As some controllers sprawl out into sizes that require their own luggage (yes, Maschine Studio, I’m looking at you), this is still backpack-sized, but without sacrificing number of controls.

What you get:
9 faders
44 knobs (note those color lenses in the image)
4 encoders
25 RGB buttons
Expression pedal input




It’s driverless, sending MIDI data. There are templates for Ableton Live, Bitwig Studio, Apple Logic Pro, and more, with additional templates planned. In Traktor, the same mixing surface becomes a four-deck controller with effects controls and even library access.

Livid also tells us they’ve focused a lot on manufacturing and component quality. The case is aluminum, but lightweight; details like fader quality are major considerations.

Street price: US$449, available later this month direct from Livid or Dubspot or via their international dealers.



Also, I want to share a project Livid founder Jay Smith has built. We’re all saddened to learn that Jay was recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). ALS could be treatable, with more awareness and funding. As Jay writes, “The sad fact is that all doctors agree with more funding we could have a cure, accelerate the current research from decades to years, and save the lives of people dying with the diseases, like I am.”

Jay’s new foundation calls attention to the fact that someone is diagnosed with – and someone else dies of – ALS every hour and a half.

Please take a look at the work they do and help spread the word. I look forward to finding the world soon where Jay continues to run Livid (now turned age 10) and spends time with his amazing wife and daughter – and many, many other people do, too.