Building on the original Midi Fighter, a 4×4 array of arcade push-buttons, the Midi Fighter 3D adds interactive, light-up color feedback and gyroscope-powered motion sensing. The work of electronic music site DJ Tech Tools, it’s an impressive-looking piece of work. But if you’re not interested in the “3D” sensing, don’t overlook the clever color feedback and bank shifting, which could prove as much of a draw.

The Midi Fighter 3D, announced today, will ship in April at US$249. There are now orders yet, but there is a preorder list.

DJ Tech Tools is pushing the 3D orientation functionality. In a good way, it mirrors a bit of the branding and design we see from Nintendo (well, at least that “3D” moniker). If you don’t mind moving your controller around as you play, it looks like it can do some impressive things. Dan White of DJTT explains how it works to CDM:

The 3D uses a gyroscope and a compass to track the position of the controller in space. The gyroscope tracks relative position (meaning angling the controller towards any of its sides), and the compass tracks rotation along the same plane that the controller is on (think turning the controller like a steering wheel).

While the sensing may not appeal to everybody, the big advantage here is integrating continuous control of parameters (which buttons obviously lack), in a way that’s integrated into the design and gestural.

A wrist-strap will be available, and designed in such a way that you can access all the controls, including even those on the side.

At $249, though, fans of the original could easily justify the purchase based solely on the new light-up, assignable color indicators on the buttons. Apart from looking cool, they promise to make elaborate control setups possible, with the aid of bank controls and lots of customization in the software. You get four banks of controls via the top, but there are also six nicely-integrated triggers on the side which can be used for whatever you like. That could give you more banks, effect kill switches, or some other function you haven’t thought of yet. The fimware can send up to 68 unique Control Change messages and 70 button messages, so presumably DJTT is betting – as they have with their other product line – on lots of preset ideas for different performance rigs and styles.

All of this communication happens via MIDI, so using it with your favorite software is a cinch.

Specs:

  • Included configuration software
  • Customizable RGB arcade buttons: 4 x 4 button array, with individually-addressable light-up RGB feedback on each button
  • Four banks, six side buttons
  • 3D motion tracking of five movements

It’s hard not to notice the cable in the images. DJ Tech Tools tells us that’s their own DJTT USB cable, which will be bundled with the hardware and also available separately. They say it’s a “high-quality” USB cable – I’m guessing the main test is whether it can stand up to moving the hardware around, since it isn’t wireless. Having right-angle USB cables is hugely useful in tight corners, though; Hosa was showing off something like that at NAMM and I’m happy to replace my USB collection with them.

Also worth noting: DJTT says they’re applying for a patent on the five-way motion control tracking method they’ve developed. (I find the patent process to be pricey and arcane, personally, but I’ll be interested to see how it goes for them!)

$249 seems to me a really good deal for this gear, but if you liked the brute-force simplicity of the original controller – and its greater customization options – the Classic remains available, starting at US$119.99.

More details:
Introducing the Midi Fighter 3D [DJ Tech Tools]

Images courtesy DJ Tech Tools. And yes, we’ve got high-res images, so click for big, gear-pr0n-ny closer looks.
  • Zootook

    This seem to be a happy marriage between a game controller and a DJ tool. This will be the stage axe of the future!

  • http://www.facebook.com/djjustinreed Justin Reed

    love my 

  • http://www.facebook.com/djjustinreed Justin Reed

    I love my original midi fighter – I use it extensively with serato performance and ableton production.
    It’s built like a tank and stores so nicely in my record bag…
    For my money – nothing beats the feel of arcade buttons for responsive non-velocity sensitive triggering.
    That said, i don’t really care to swing it around for variable control.  The board has inputs for variable control that would be better suited for controller knobs or touch strips IMH.
    The RGB lights are a definate + though and this price is not far beyond the og MF.

  • Gary

    It would be perfect if the light rings around the buttons were continuous rotaries. I’m sure they’re planning a “Pro version” with extended controls.  However, the only real design flaw I see is with the USB cable not secured by a hook (like the NI sound cards) or some type of locking screw. How am I supposed to thrash about when I’m worried about the cable coming out?  I’m also curious as to how much Ableton support this will get. DJTT in general tends to lean more towards Traktor, but with the right mapping and effects chain the MF3D could be the Ableton performance controller to beat.

  • Joord

    the software that shows up on screen almost like bitwig…

     

  • leo

    While this looks quite cool, and there seem to be some interesting possibilities, it also seems a little awkward in practice. In the video, Ean almost always ends up putting the controller down to press a button, then picks it up again to do some tilting and turning. With your hand gripping the outside edges, it doesn’t look like you’d be able to hit more than the two or three closest buttons on each side without putting it down. Perhaps it would be useful to have a way to attach a neck strap?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jordaanallison Jordaan Allison

    I like the bank buttons, shift keys, and the RGB lights. While I like the motion control and the subtle movements that can be tracked.. I feel the same kind of reservations about how this would work in a live environment without sacrificing functional. This is where fixed rotaries or faders help out so that all buttons can remain accessible with a stationary unit. I’m not saying I don’t like the motion control but really trying to envision how time sensitive mixes could be executed while in mid air. I’m also concerned about disconnecting the unit by accident too but that can be resolved with a slight modification. That said I welcome the addition of motion sensing as an option particularly the way it is implemented for each individual button. I’m thinking maybe the shift or bank buttons could be programmed to jump through values while holding down one arcade button? Something like the two center buttons move up or down values in small increment (i.e. 2) and the two outer buttons on the left and right move up or down values in larger increments (i.e 10). If this could be defined in the software as a preference that would also be a great addition – allowing users to decide when to bust out the motion for climatic moments in the evening and using the bank buttons to modify parameters during more technical mixes.    

    If DJTT needs a tester – hit me up ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/chromatouch Leon Trimble

    wow! they invented the monome!

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, and in fairness I neglected to mention in this article that the monome already had a tilt mod, too, that worked more or less the same way (though on fewer axes)

  • http://twitter.com/tracyevans Tracy Evans

    I’ve been looking for USB cables with an L-connector for ages. My Launchpad came with one, but I have never found a source for this type of cable.

  • GabeCarter

    Looks kinda cool, but I’ve been looking at touch screen stuff lately and iPad DJing. IK just released DJ Rig and it looks awesome!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8y3AUIPnYk

  • patcoll

    Kind of awesome. I still feel like a wearable suit with integrated sensors or buttons could be supremely more awesome. Have that, will buy.

    • DBZ

       ….building one right now! I’ll let you know when it’s all done :)

  • http://www.pistas-hiphop.com/es Troke ProducZone

    Wow! Cool machine!