We’ve been seeing wave-your-hands-in-the-air gestural controls for music since the early part of the last century – thank you, Leon Theremin. But one of the more wholehearted efforts to make it useful has come from the makers of Hot Hand. Initially they peddled the idea to guitarists and bass players, who were already accustomed to adding additional expression to their hand via whammy bars and the like. The Hot Hand USB is the latest iteration, and now hopes to woo computer DJs and producers.

The draw: plug-it-in, driver-free control of anything via MIDI, wirelessly.

Whereas these sorts of things are often the domain of one-off experiments by musicians, they already have some impressive users – think David Bowie, Phish, My Morning Jacket, The Cure, and Adrian Belew, plus awards from the sometimes tech-phobic guitar press. For the computer market, they’re touting compatibility with Ableton Live, Traktor, Reason, Serato DJ, and Logic (plus Mainstage) out of the box. (Interestingly, there was already a wireless bridge you could use with other pedals, via jack plugs. Here, we switch to MIDI over USB.)

This isn’t necessarily meant to replace other controllers so much as augment them with additional, touchless control. Each ring provides X, Y, and Z axes, assignable in some fairly sophisticated-looking Mac/Windows editing software to whatever you want. You can use up to four rings, and the range is significant – over 30 meters (100 feet).

The device itself is driverless MIDI, too, so if you aren’t interested in using their editor product, you don’t have to – and you can use this with any device that supports USB MIDI (Linux and iPad included).

hh_usb

hh_usb_software

US$119, available now. We have one on the way. I expect readers aren’t blown away by the demos, so I now have the burden of seeing if we can make this useful – and seeing if I can make a demo that doesn’t get me flamed. (Gulp.)

I promise nothing resembling dubstep.

If you’ve got questions – or challenges – for us, let us know.

Oh, yeah, and you can still get loads of Hot Hand-equipped pedals and the like.

http://www.sourceaudio.net/products/hothand/hothand_usb.php

Update: DJ TechTools actually reviewed this product last year. Here’s that video review:

Wait, sorry, wrong video.

Review: Hot Hand USB Wireless MIDI Controller

  • RB

    Call again when position is provided besides movement.

  • Dan White

    Watch Mad Zach use this in the DJTT review from earlier this year: http://www.djtechtools.com/2013/03/27/review-hot-hand-usb-wireless-midi-controller/

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Ah, thanks for that. Yeah, I’m kind of confused at how this is new. New version? PR was claiming they hadn’t shipped this until now.

    • rsmith601

      Roger – Source Audio
      This is the full production unit supporting multiple rings, lower price point, fancy packaging and can be purchased beyond just us and DJTT. We sold a very limited number via DJTT and the SA site that were hand built. High quality, but very expensive.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Ah, okay! Makes sense. Looking forward to testing this soon.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I actually watched that whole video. #memoryfail

  • Paulski

    Would like to see an “activation/muting button” on the ring, allowing on-the-fly selective data transmission.

    • Mat

      +1

    • Jesse (Source Audio)

      You can mute outputs in the software. Also you can automate muting/un-muting by sending CC or PC MIDI messages to the receiver. Or you can set up a MIDI output channel from the ring that “triggers” on a certain motion and enables or disables an effect or instrument in your DAW.

    • mat

      cool, so I can send on/off to the ring with a switch from another USBcontroller that sends on a certain channel and controllernumber ? Awesome.

  • Peter

    Needs more jewelry.

  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    please peter, some more of your lovely process minimalism.

  • neb

    If you need a synth violinist to make this look wonkas, let me know. ;)

  • Nivekevil

    Iconnectmidi4+ with USB hub into octatrack. I can see uses.

    • Igor Molochevski

      Unfortunatly you can’t combine these things, unless you are using Iconnectmidid4+ as a router to IOS system.

  • Igor Molochevski

    Love this controller, I have been using it since it was released. There are some problems with QA of the board. Crashes, the usb dongle casing is so so. But the controller is supper cool. I have been using it in this project. http://www.bareimage.com/#/?page=godnoise&index=2&zoom=true

  • xzuma

    Can I use this for human motion tracking? For that I would need about 20 rings hung on a single human body, and raw xyz output for each ring sendable as, say OSC.