umidi – The World’s First Custom & Visual DJ Controller from umidi on Vimeo.

DJs, laptop musicians, and VJs may never agree on what layout is optimal for controlling their apps. With UMIDI, they might not have to.

The Kickstarter-funded project has an ambitious goal: building whatever control you want, to order. Use a graphical Web interface to select a layout, and the producer will custom-machine a case out of aluminum, etching it with your own design, and adding the controls you want. The resulting hardware is USB class-compliant and works with any software, they say, and weighs under 3 pounds in a reasonably small form factor and less than an inch thickness.

For now, controls include knobs, endless encoders, faders, and an especially nice-looking aluminum push-button trigger. There’s also a textured-aluminum jog wheel for cueing and the like. Most intriguingly, though, if they reach their “stretch” funding goal, they say they’ll add drum pads. You then choose from these controls to add up to 36 on the 6×6 grid.

Custom lighting shines through cuts in the faceplate, Tron-style. With 288 LEDs, you can create both effects and visual feedback.


The project’s visual appearance and approach seem more than a little inspired by DJ Tech Tools, down to the sleek IKEA furniture in the background of their promo shots with controllers and records tastefully propped against the shelves. And, in turn, they use DJTT’s soft-touch caps. But with build-to-order availability of any layout, they could give DJTT a run for their money.

Speaking of money, yes, this will cost you. Even the early-bird rate is roughly US$850 or 600€. But that’s a fraction of what a one-off custom controller would normally cost, it includes what appears to be some high-end components, and it ships worldwide.

Shipping estimates run early spring.



Check out the Kickstarter:
umidi – The world’s first custom DJ controller

I think putting “the world’s first” in front of anything is probably guaranteed to make it instantly false, but they do have something novel here.

The project is the work of Australians Bartosz Kowalski and Joseph Chehade.

Official site:

And you can check out the Web-based creation interface:

  • Dream Hike

    Has anyone else played the game where you try to listen to the whole song in this video without praying to god for a temporary lobotomy? I’ve tried twice and failed. :)

  • Expdog

    Trying… not to Hardwell hurl…. ah crap! all over my controller too. Guess I’ll need a new one… I wonder if someone will write something about the intended musical use behind new MIDI hardware designs and target markets branding etc. Is it intended that the hardware be used to play banal EDM to drunk people? What if they can’t see your hands? Does it matter what controller you are using to playback such barfable beats or any beats for that matter?

    • Sequadion

      Well, to be realistic, most DJ controllers are used “to play banal EDM to drunk people”.

  • Greg Lőrincz

    ‘Reacts to your touch’ – you mean it has buttons?
    ‘Visualize your mixing’ – that’s what the graphics card and the screen does

    Gorgeous product, shame the video is so bad:( I assume it’ll be ridiculously expensive.

  • Greg Lőrincz

    For 600 euros you can buy a cool synth AND a controller.

  • http://website.coma/ DAE Error 7002

    I’m sorry….$845 USD? Suddenly buying an old lemur sounds more attractive.

    • Traxus

      an old lemur? just buy an ipad 2…

  • Traxus

    Wow, this is awesome but what if you alter your work flow and need a new layout? Too bad there isn’t a device that would let you build as many custom layouts as you’d like. Limitless inter connectivity between components would be nice too but thats probably a pipe dream. Oh and what if it had the option to be wireless?

    Forgive the cynicism but it just seems that so many of these hardware manufacturers are completely out of touch with reality. You can get a used Ipad 2 and purchase lemur for around $200. I could be running 4 separate touch screen controllers and still have enough money to buy a solid 18 year bottle of scotch by the time I paid for one of these. Tactile feedback is nice, but is it that nice?

    • Steve

      Traxus – You already sort of can have a device where you can change the layout etc as you need. There are some restrictions based on modules but the basic elements of the dev ice are there and so this gives quite a bit of flexibility. Check this out Livid Elements (BTW Other Livid gear is also worth looking at)

  • thopa

    If you need a mixer that lights rhythmically with the music your are playing, you need to reconsider your djing. Also, it is probably the worst advert i have seen for a very long time. Sad thing is, there is probably a market for this.

  • Foosnark

    This is very pretty in that Tron-like way. It’s not $800+ worth of pretty. Or practical.

    Maschine MK2 is $600, and while not quite as pretty, it’s way more useful…

  • wolf

    Awful music choice and terrible video, the 12 yr old girls at the front of the dance floor made it look like a teenage disco.