Monome sizesA box covered with buttons and lights can be much more. Such it is with the Monome, the open source controller for music and multimedia. Beloved for its simplicity, the Monome continues to earn fans. The original 40h is gone, but as we’ve seen here, a new line of models is coming to satisfy your unique sizing needs. Today, we learned pricing and availability. Numbered by numbers of buttons/lights:

  • two fifty six: $1400
  • one twenty eight: $800
  • sixty four: $450

… Shipping mid-October, with preorders a couple of weeks before. Volumes will still be low — 100 of each. The keypads have been redesigned, and there’s a new black walnut base. Details on the Monome site.

But, then, you don’t need someone else to design and make a Monome for you, do you? Monome lovers have had their hands on the kits, and the first creations are starting to emerge. Custom light colors, custom cases, new materials, new form factors — anything is possible.

Here’s a home-built Monome 40h triggering a Moog Voyager, with blue lights to match:

Boli and Xie have been documenting the whole process of making their model, with handsome wooden frames. Here they are gluing it; see the whole process on Flickr.

Monome in progressAnd our friend Jason Kramer has been working on his own custom Monome, doing some pretty heavy fabrication on his own. I hope to catch up with more on his model when he returns from vacation, but you can check out photos and even a SketchUp file (great idea; Google SketchUp is free and accessible to beginners — I was a fan before it got Googled). I’m working on a custom Monome kit design myself with a terrific designer named Joey Roth; more on that soon, as we progress.

More DIY Monome action, complete with videos, on the Monome forums.

If you want to meet the Monome creators, peoples of the greater Brooklyn Area, be sure to come to Etsy Labs tomorrow night. Brian even promises he’ll play.

  • http://discodirt.10pm.org M-.-n

    I'm having growing GAS for the monome. Wonder how cool it could be to have it coupled with a GP2x and littlegptracker for live mode performance….

    so much possibilities.. I need 48h/day !

  • http://www.cutwithflourish.com ed

    the one twenty eight looks pretty sweet. I wish I had the attention span to solder things. Sadly I couldn't get write this comment without getting distracted at least couple of times…

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    There's not much soldering on the kit. The big job is the enclosure.

    M-.-n, unless GP2x supports serial over USB, I guess you'd need to add MIDI ports to make that self contained? Hmmm…

  • NineTailedFox

    I'm TOTALLY building my 4×32 strap-on monomitar, one day…

  • http://toilville.com Peter

    m-.-n is trying to empty my credit cards. I was THIS close to getting a monome a few weeks ago, you bastard, and thought I had the compulsion nicked.

  • Anonymous

    Is it just me, or are these things ridiculously priced? I mean, for $450 you can almost by a new computer, with monitor.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    "Ridiculously priced"? Yes. But you've got it backwards.

    Those computers are so cheap because they're produced in unbelievably huge quantities. And much as I enjoy and advocate the latest and greatest, part of that is possible only because people treat computers as disposable. Production is also very often unsustainable, in terms of the environmental impact it has and the way materials are sourced and transported. That's not just a pro-environment argument: I think there's a good chance this will prove *literally* unsustainable.

    I'm not saying don't buy the computer, or that the Monome, which by definition is produced in small quantities, will change the system. But it's a reminder of the economic reasons we have these price disparities.

    One thing I can't explain: why certain lower-quality, plastic-y controllers actually cost *more* than Monome. ;)

    Anyway, if $450 is too steep, do what a lot of us are doing and get the kit for half the price. You'll still wind up out a few hundred by the time you're finished with manufacture — but on the other hand, you'll have a one-of-a-kind item.

    Also, you know we're absolutely advocates of super-cheap solutions — see Michael's $10 foot controller. So don't get me wrong: if you don't have the money to spend $450 on a Monome, get the $100 device, the $10 device, whatever gets you making music. We don't *need* any of this stuff. But whatever you spend, I'm all for getting something that is meaningful and doesn't feel disposable. That could be the rescued $10 QWERTY foot controller, too.

  • http://sidechainmusic.com Dave Dri

    Whats actually happening in that video? Obviously the patterns on the Monome relate to the sound but whats doing what? Without an explanation it simply looks like an expensive Winamp plugin :P How is it "triggering"? Thinking for potential to do some great interaction live with acid/303 riffs here, but whats the software side of things?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Dave, that's mostly a demonstration of the lights, not the function of the Monome. There are some really good illustrations, though, of the potential range of the device. Check monome.org. Hope to have some more here on CDM, as well.

    It's really a blank slate, so there's a range of what's possible here.

  • Namirako

    Peter, I am relatively new to digitally produced music and just bought a Pro tools m-box 2 bundle. I use Reason software a lot as well. I have just discovered this amazing instrument while watching Trent Reznor play around on a video. If i am understanding this right, there are endless possibilities with the Monome. What software can i use and how does the monome recognize the software? And one more thing. If this instrument is as important to live performance via midi information, such as in electronic music, then why hasn't a larger manufacturing company picked up on it? How long will it be produced in such small quantities?