Bliptronic 5000’s Creator: Hacking Tips, Prototyping, and the Switchnome

Ed.: Resident hardware hacker and sound artist Michael Una chatted via phone with the creator of ThinkGeek’s $50 Bliptronic instrument. We’ve already got some early tips on how you might hack this design into custom creations, which could make the Bliptronic 5000 an ideal hardware hacker choice. (And, because it is cheap, you may be a little more adventurous with the thing.) Designer Ty Liotta also talks about prototyping, the design process, and reveals an entirely toggle-switch prototype that I wish they had actually shipped. It’s a must-read for hardware geeks. -PK I just spoke to Ty Liotta, the head …

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Bliptronic 5000: Tenori-On, monome, Meet Your $50, Hackable Clone

You know the grid craze is in full steam once ThinkGeek offers a $50 clone. The Bliptronic 5000 is somewhere between the Tenori-On and monome. It certainly looks like the monome, with an 8-by-8 grid of light-up pads in a square form factor. But like the Tenori-On, it has built-in sounds and speaker, it’s made of aluminum, and it runs on batteries. The Bliptronic also simplifies its user interface. Its 8×8 pads are simply an eight-note octave with eight steps. There’s a play button, and knobs for tempo and tone selector. There’s also the ability to link up devices and …

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Livid Block: Open Grid Button Controller Adds Knobs, Faders – and Choice

The grid is in. While the monome remains the standards bearer for hardware with grids of buttons on it, arrays of buttons are suddenly everywhere, in the commercial Akai APC40 and Novation Launchpad, and, from Livid Instruments, the Ohm64 and now the Block. I think it’s a real compliment to the monome’s creators – and the community that has authored ingenious open software for the monome – that there is this excitement around the design. The latest entry is Livid’s Block, a compact, aluminum-and-wood controller that’s easy to carry and which weighs less than 3 pounds. It’s not a monome …

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First Hands-on: Novation’s New $199 Launchpad Grid Controller for Ableton Live

A monome-like grid controller built for Live, shipping in November for $199 – and I’ve got a first hands-on look with the hardware. The feature that makes Ableton Live Ableton Live has always been its Session View, an array of Lego-like blocks of music triggering samples and patterns. In the grand tradition of the MPC, mapping hardware controls that make music non-linear has been a major theme of computer music, leading to the monome and the Tenori-On. Usually, consumer gear has only combined these with traditional drum pads, knobs, or faders. Enter the Novation Launchpad. It’s $199. It’s a grid …

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