NI Traktor Kontrol S8: Big Screens, Remix Controls – and Why Killing Jog Wheels is Good

Numark may have announced this week that it’s shipping the Numark NV controller, adding two displays with a window on Serato. But Native Instruments, for their part, appear no longer to be satisfied letting you hear about their upcoming Traktor Kontrol S8 via leaks on forums and social media. (Yes, uh… some of you noticed that.) No, this time, we get to see the Kontrol S8 in an official Native Instruments video. And right away, you’ll notice a big difference between Numark’s and Native Instruments’ perspective on the future of the controller: the S8 ditches the big jog wheels. Frankly, …

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This Virtuoso Ableton Push Performance Comes Full of Tips for Controllerists

Jesse Abayomi, Ableton Product Specialist, is one heck of a virtuoso Push player. And you can learn something from him, too. Performance technology doesn’t always add to performance, it’s true. But when the machine and human are in sync, it’s beautiful. People can develop their musical chops and machine control chops at once – improve on their musical practice and technique. And when that happens, the quality of performances actually gets better. I’ve seen a funny thing as Push has crept into performances. Just as with the spread of custom controllers in the past, access to more playing technique has …

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An iPad Controller for Ableton That’s Gesture-Friendly, Free: Conductr, Now with X/Y [Gallery]

Ableton Live’s iPad-augmented control can take some forms. There are apps that do everything, replicating the mouse so that you can go directly to touch for every single task and avoid your computer completely (Touchable, for instance). There are specialized controllers, which focus on a few tasks or a particular device or Max patch. And then there’s Conductr, and it’s something a bit different. First, as of June, it’s free – or freemium, anyway. The free version is limited to four tracks and eleven scenes, but it’s enough to give you a taste. And with user modules, it’s easily a …

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This Could Be Your Next DJ or Visual Controller: Allen & Heath Xone:K1

UK DJ builder Allen & Heath may be best known as a mixer company, not so much a controller maker. But that’s a pity, because they make one of the most compelling controller units on the market. Spoiler alert – the K1, like the K2 before it, feels great, has a terrific layout, works with anything you like, and more or less beats every other slim-line controller for DJing or VJing. Whatever you own now, you may find yourself wanting one of these to go along with it.

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Electric Psychedelic: Dengue Dengue Dengue Talk Peru, Cumbia, Playing Live, Visuals

From the early days of techno and electro, dance rhythms in electronic music have been woven together from international sources. The machinery of the groove has evolved from the threads contributed by a global tribe, absorbing sounds and forms, driven by the energies they find on the dance floor. That image of solitary music making is a myth – what you’re hearing is a sound made by connections between people, across the normal constraints of geography. And now, the technologies developed in Berlin and elsewhere take on new life in the hands of a new generation of musicians, and their …

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$200-$250 Right Now Gets You Hardware and Full-Featured Traktor or Serato; Deckadance Solo Free

Okay, if you’ve got some old version of your DJ software, or (ahem) a pirated copy, or want to get your DJ rig together from scratch, this month there are really no excuses. As covered yesterday, AKAI is bundling their new AMX controller and audio interface with a full-blown copy of Serato DJ. The timing for Serato fans is perfect: Serato DJ finally integrates what had been a muddled product lineup (ITCH?) under a single, rebuilt product. It’s tough-to-impossible to DJ well without some kind of basic audio interface and cueing interface, so the AKAI bundle gives you the smallest-yet …

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Serato DJs Get Slim-Line Controllers at Last, with New Akai Hardware

Serato DJs swear by their software. But one thing they haven’t had lately is a lot of choice in DJ controller hardware. Sure, there’s now a range of hardware getting updated for the latest software. But even after a transition to the new Serato DJ platform, almost all of this hardware is of the “really wide with two big wheels” variety. That big hardware is a big problem. It leaves out Serato DJs working with vinyl who just want some added control of the software. It adds two big platters, which are arguably something you don’t need in the first …

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24 Knobs, 8 Faders, 16 Buttons, in a Launchpad Form: Launch Control XL

If you’re reading this, and if you care about controllers at all, you’ve probably got one. Now the question is, what are you missing? LaunchControl XL is coming with a whole mess of handy faders and knobs if you’ve got more controls than you can map. In fact, while it would make an utterly horrid marketing statement, I would dub the slogan of this hardware like this: Twist knobs without having to constantly press shift and select keys or give up having some faders. There’s Push, of course, the Ableton-controlling flagship, complete with pressure- and velocity-sensitive grid. There’s AKAI’s former …

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Control, Shortcuts for Ableton Starting at $99: A Look at the New AKAI APC Line

For any tool that has “live” in the name, physical control will always be important. And so even with a broad market for controllers targeting Ableton’s flagship software, now including the slick Push hardware from Ableton themselves, AKAI’s re-vamped APC line earned intense interest when it debuted at Musikmesse this month. Let’s make sense of what the new APCs can do and how you might choose between models. I got some hands-on time at Messe, and now even in advance of a review of finished, shipping hardware, it’s worth teasing out the breakdown of the 2014 APC line. The original …

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vs Ableton Push

This is … real. This is really the famed “crack-smoking” mayor of Toronto, laying down a beat live with Ableton Live and Ableton Push. And it’s definitely not an official Ableton artist endorsement, nor is Rob Ford a certified Ableton trainer. (Though if he does want to consider another career…) Well, some people do find Push addictive. Next: Putin on monome? If you aren’t impressed by Ford randomly jabbing pads, you might watch this instead, via Synthtopia:

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