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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The Augmented Guitar: In Final Hours of Crowd-Funding, Watch What Guitar Wing Can Do

Like superhero armor, the sleek Guitar Wing fits over the edge of your guitar – your existing, beloved guitar – and gives it badass bonus powers. The crowd-funded accessory finally brings control for digital instruments and effects to the fingertips of guitar and bass players, without forcing them to change instruments or give up their conventional techniques. Instead, Guitar Wing, via Bluetooth connection, provides pressure-sensitive pads, faders, buttons, switches, and (if you like) three-dimensional motion control right to the instrument. USB charged, rechargeable battery-powered, and with RGB color feedback and editing options, it’s ready to go anywhere and control anything. …

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A USB MIDI Controller, Designed Like a Mixer, from Dubspot + Livid: DS1 [Q&A]

We’ve got grids, more grids, and disco grids. We’ve got fake platters and big, whirling plates. We’ve got iPads and things you wave around in the air. But as controllers have embraced digital design, the number of controllers that have the logical layout of a mixer has, remarkably, diminished. And what really don’t have much of is a controller that’s truly DAW-agnostic. Integration is great, but you need hardware for people who don’t believe in One Tool as religion. It’s taken New York-based learning center Dubspot to reignite that idea, in a controller collaboration with Dave Cross and Livid Instruments. …

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Bitwig Sets a Date: Here’s When You’ll Get Bitwig Studio, What It’ll Cost

It’s been a wait that’s driven some music producers mad – some, rabid with desire to get their mitts on new software, others, angrily dismissing the tool. But it’s a wait that’s nearly over. Bitwig Studio, the Mac/Windows/Linux production and live software, is coming on March 26 of this year. No more beta — a final release. Pricing has been announced, as well. Downloads will cost US$399 / €299, which means any notion that Bitwig would drastically undercut rivals on price is pretty much out the window. (Boxed versions run slightly higher; Japan will get a boxed version for 41,000 …

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Watch Frenetic Beatboxing and Live Electronic Music in a Video Album by Ryo Fujimoto

Music into 2014 continues with about the wildest live vocal and electronic virtuosity you can imagine… If what “beatboxing” means to you is just someone sputtering drum sounds out of their mouth, Ryo Fujimoto might change your mind. Ryo, born in Japan but based in Berlin, is a whirling dervish of a performer. Vocal fragments do indeed form percussion, but listening to the artist himself is like listening to a human sampler. Sounds from his voice and assembled electronics spin and build in dizzying, hypnotic splendor, rapid-fire lyrics reaching frenzied proportions, before being dialed back more contemplative mantras. And Ryo, …

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Digital Warrior Goes Open Source, DJ-friendly Step Sequencer Hardware Gets Better

A USB-connected step sequencer with controller is now improved, and open source. The Digital Warrior is a boutique hardware controller hailing from Cyprus, combining a 16-voice, 32-step sequencer with four pots and two three-color endless encoders, all attached via a driverless USB connection. It’s capable of acting as a step sequencer/controller with any tools you like, but out of the box includes support for Traktor remix decks and Ableton Live control. The remix deck functionality with Traktor is a particular draw; developer and producer/DJ Tomash GHz pioneered this particular way of combining step sequencers and Traktor’s Remix Decks. (Check out …

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UMIDI are Custom-Designed DJ Controllers, Built to Order [Gallery, Video]

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 …

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TouchAble 2 Puts Ableton Live Beneath Your Fingers: Gallery, Video Tutorials

Ableton still doesn’t make an iOS app for Live. The software seems to lend itself to direct touch interfaces, emphasizing live performance and improvisation and real-time workflows. But there’s little reason for the developer to make one themselves: there are just too many superb third-party solutions, and they continue to dazzle. TouchAble 2, available now, goes further than any app has before. If hardware controllers or the mouse or computer keyboard act as narrow windows into what Live can do, the latest TouchAble just seems to do … everything. Short of Live running on a touchscreen directly, TouchAble brings what …

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