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How Akai Advance Could Best NI’s Komplete Kontrol in Smart Keyboards

Smart keyboard controllers that integrate with software have been something various makers have tried frequently over the years, with various degrees of success. Propellerhead helped lead the way with Automap in Reason, which could cleverly link on-screen controls to devices. But by the time this was translated to multiple pieces of software, the resulting “automatic” features could be harder to use on than off. I tried at various points Novation’s ReMOTE, M-Audio’s Axiom Pro, and Cakewalk’s A-PRO keyboards, and found them all to be perfectly nice hardware – once I gave up and turned the automatic stuff off and just …

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Live 9.1 Preview: Dual Monitors, More Push Sequencing, High-Quality Sample Rate Conversion

In the midst of a pop-up week of events held with Köln’s Kompakt Records, Ableton has offered a surprise peek into what’s coming soon to Live. 9.1 is a free update for all users, adding some widely-requested features. There’s no release date yet – we’re awaiting a more formal announcement with details soon – but we have gotten a look at what’s in store. Ableton’s Dennis DeSantis gave attendees a demo of three upcoming features: 1. Dual-monitor support, finally allowing you to see Arrangement and Session Views side by side 2. More functionality in Push, including step sequencing of melodies …

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3 Things You Can Do in Ableton Live Now: Modulation, Dual Displays – Sorta, Pressure Grids

The Ableton Live 9 beta is trickling out, but not officially released until next year. Ditto that saucy new Ableton Push controller. And some users are complaining about things that aren’t in the feature list for Live 9. Waiting’s no fun. Let’s do stuff now. Here are three examples of things you can do right now, today, with your current version of Live. In fact, all three wind up being applicable to Live 9, too. 1. Modulate anything. First, I’ll start with my favorite. EXT, at top, is a free Max for Live device that does modulation. Unlike the new …

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An Amazing Free Touch Controller for Ableton Live; How Touch is Coming Your Way

Ableton Live has a number of robust touch solutions, but a creation from Graham Comerford called Yeco takes things to another level. It’s finally a Live touch controller that provides full views of clips, unlimited parameter controls, and extras like drum pads. There are even undo and redo shortcuts. The cost: free, downloadable now. It’s presently Windows-only (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions), but a Mac version is coming early September. The implementation is really elaborate and beautiful, giving you a much wider set of functionality than existing iPad apps and the like, which tend to focus on basic clip launching, …

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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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Bride of Lemur? Emulator Multi-Touch Display Hardware, Now with Wooden Endcaps

If you’re lamenting the demise of the dedicated Lemur display and multi-touch controller – since reincarnated as an iPad app – you might be intrigued by the Emulator. Like the Lemur, the Emulator uses a modular array of touch controls, with more than a casual nod at JazzMutant’s original. Here, though, the touch display is embedded in display hardware. (The vendor provides basically custom software and systems integration; unlike JazzMutant, they’re using off-the-shelf display and touch hardware, though that could actually be a good thing in the long run.) Most amusingly, you get wooden end caps on this. They’ve even …

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Updated Lemur Touchscreen Display Coming

It’s still anyone’s guess exactly what fruit parent technology maker Stantum may soon ship, but the JazzMutant Lemur touchscreen is getting a component update soon. Nat Lecaude points to a quiet MySpace post from JazzMutant with the details of a coming manufacturing change. “…the next batch of Lemur will feature the latest generation of our multi-touch technology: better optical performances, higher precision, greater accuracy and responsiveness. It will be clearer and have brighter colors. We plan on launching the new Lemur in early October, and of course we will keep you updated as we get closer to launch date. We …

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High-Density Screens Due; OP-1’s Gorgeous Display

The age of the high-density screen has begun. You can bet these will start to replace the tired (and functionally limiting) LED readouts of the past. The upshot: hardware with usability rivaling computers. Oh, and it’ll look damned purty. Teenage Engineering has this gorgeous vid of the Operator-1 “OP-1” controller/synth prototype in action: NOW talk | Teenage Engineering Blog By the way, my sources say this thing is real. Actually shipping is another matter entirely, but there is a talented team backing this one up. And I think we’ll watch hardware makers raise the bar in all aspects of design, …

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