Laptop or iPad DJ? What If It Didn’t Matter? New NI Hardware, Mad Zach Demo

That’s one small step for DJ hardware, one giant leap into the post-PC era. Native Instruments today has updated their integrated hardware for Traktor DJs, the 4-channel Traktor Kontrol S4 and 2-channel Traktor Kontrol S2. But while the updates are nice, the biggest transformation is that you can watch a DJ working with these controllers alongside either an iPad or a Mac/PC laptop – and it really doesn’t matter which they’re using. Oh, sure, the laptop is more flexible when it comes to storage, and NI’s iOS software still lags on some of the nice features of the desktop version, …

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Control from your [Livid] Code, without [writing] code. And that's an excuse to show this beautiful custom Livid Code controller, one of a number of devices from Akai, Livid, and Korg supported with this powerful tool.

A Controllerist Dream Come True: Custom Mappings in Ableton Live, Without Code

You’re not other people. You want things your way, right away. You might not want to buy a new controller for each piece of software, or, worse, the latest controller that purports to control said software, and then live with the particular way in which the two integrate. You want things to work the way you want things to work, darnit. Hidden in the depths of Ableton Live, MIDI Remote Scripts have for some time allowed you to map controllers to software functions. Now, you could do fancy things with Max for Live, but that means, first, buying Max for …

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Moldover’s MOJO, Now Open Source; Grab Build Details and Ableton Live Sets and Effects

Live electronic musician Moldover’s MOJO is the Sherman Tank of controllers: enormous, indestructible, destructive. It’s also a deeply involved build, costing US$1999.00. If you want to get some of that … um, MOJO … but don’t have two grand lying around, or if you want to adapt it to your own mojo, Moldover’s work is now fully open-source. If you’re an experienced hardware maker, you could use these files to build your own MOJO or adapt ideas into your own design. (Moldover uses the excellent, powerful Livid Builder line of parts.) If you are a builder, you can get an …

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Arcade Buttons and Gyroscope: New Midi Fighter 3D from DJ Tech Tools

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 …

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A Monster Frankenstein Controller, with Fur Keys and Borg-Like Eyepiece, Built by Julie Covello

Photo by Nina Mouritzen; courtesy Julie Covello/Shakey. In an explosion of color, buttons, keys, velcro, and fur, and coupled with a cyborg-chic eyepiece, the VoltAxe is controllerism gone Mad Max, a post-acocalyptic keytar bred from salvaged parts. And if you want to make a unique construction of your own, creator Julie Covello – aka New York’s DJ Shakey – is willing to tell all her secrets, as well as why this was important to her music. In modeling (the basement hobby variety, not the skinny fashionista one), “kitbashing” is the act of combining bits of multiple kits to produce one …

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Choppertone, Wooden Ableton Jazz Controller, and Folk Music of the 21st Century: Video

“Folk music of the 21st Century” – radio broadcaster, jazz aficionado, and jazz-based Ableton Live instrumentalist / remix artist Nick Francis really sums up what this whole site is about. As he chops up jazz greats in Ableton, his mash-up music chops are as much musical analysis as they are performance. He walks through his controller moves in a pedagogical way, highlighting the meat of the jazz legends he puts into play. It’s a kind of digital transcription, transcribing re-imagined for Ableton’s colored blocks in place of. Of course, you’ll only be able to reflect on this once you can …

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Traktor Kontrol Goes Two-Deck, in Action Live-Remixing Depeche Mode; Will it Fit Your Booth?

Walk into a club, and it seems far too often you’ll find a DJ operating Serato or Traktor with their laptop touchpad. At best, you might get a digital vinyl system that’s mostly spinning around and looking pretty. (Some people do amazing things with scratching; some love the feel of cueing on vinyl. Some don’t do much at all.) But at least digital DJs can’t say they don’t have options. Native Instruments’ Kontrol S2 is the latest entry, a two-deck version of their S4 we saw earlier. That hardware is impressive-looking, with unique electromagnetic technology that builds up greater resistance …

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A Live Mashup Video Goes Viral, with Ableton + Launchpad; What Have We Learned?

It’s easy to forget that some of the simple joys of electronic music are foreign to many lay people. Odds are, if you read this site, you’re an intelligent and well-informed digital musician. (I don’t mean to stroke my own ego, either; because so many of you are intelligent and well-informed digital musicians, you send a whole lot of the information my way that makes this site even possible.) But for all the extensive discussion, a lot of what digital musicians seek to do in their performance is simple: they want to make their work expressive and performative, and convey …

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New Performance Controllers: Midi-Fighter Pro will Face Grid+Fader Rivals

With game-style arcade buttons – and the pre-mapped combos to match – DJ TechTools’ latest wants your pocket full of quarters. Midi-Fighter images courtesy DJ TechTools. What should DJing with a computer look like? We’ve seen over a decade of products that can emulate the vinyl turntable experience, of course. But a native hardware interface for the computer – with all its internal looping, slicing, and effects capabilities – by definition must be different. DJ TechTools, led by DJ Ean Golden, has mixed writing about technology with designing custom solutions to that problem, interacting with the community on the DJ-centric …

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Novation + Serato Touchstrip Twitch; Pics + Inside Details on the DJ ‘Controllerist’ Collaboration

The question of how to build controls to fly today’s live laptop music sets – whether “DJ,” “live PA,” or something else – remains open. We’ve got an inside look at the newest entry, the most recent device to explore just what should be mapped and tactile, and what should be left behind. Amidst various look-alike mixer-and-deck controllers, it fits in with those pushing to make computer control a hybrid of traditional DJ metaphors and new computer ones. Meet the Twitch. The result of a collaboration between New Zealand DJ software developer Serato and UK hardware maker Novation, Twitch deviates …

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