RGB color grid? Mais ouis! Here, though, add in velocity-sensitive touch strips, too. Product photos courtesy Livid Instruments.

Livid Base: Colored Pads Meet Touch Faders, $399 [Gallery]

So, other than lots of new analog monosynths, the one thing we now have lots of is grids of RGB pads. Livid is betting you want your touch-sensitive, pressure-sensitive pads paired with some touch faders. So, unlike offerings like KMI’s QuNeo and Ableton’s Push, the grid at the bottom is coupled up with a set of strips for fader control at the top. That opens up some flexibility for expression or as a control surface. Specs: 4×8 grid = 32 pads (so, two groups of 16 pads if you want to think of it that way). Nine touch sliders. Eight …

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kaossilator2

Korg’s Kaossilator 2, Mini Kaoss 2: Handheld Sonic Fun That’s Not an iPhone

Photo: Marsha Vdovin for CDM. Remember when electronic sound gear hid in hulking, rack-sized cases? Korg’s Kaossilator series had already begun shrinking the desktop KAOSS Pad gear, but even the first-generation Kaossilator wouldn’t fit in your pocket, given its square shape and corners. (Well, unless you were wearing overalls.) The Kaossilator 2 and Mini Kaoss Pad 2, on the other hand, are scaled perfectly to your hand and would tuck neatly into a pocket in your pants or bag. And while I know some readers were hoping for a new Pro addition to the KAOSS line, these little bundles of …

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minibrute_top

Arturia’s $550 Minibrute Analog Monosynth; How it Compares to Moog Rogue; Update on Fabric of Reality

Arturia’s new Minibrute analog monosynth, from the virtual analog software company, seen here blazing away in the apocalyptic moments just before Hell freezes over. We’re calling it: on Thursday, January 19, the soft synth age, and synth polyphony, officially came to an end. Also, Arturia, the people who make virtual analog soft synths, are now making analog hardware. And I just saw Roger Linn, and he was sporting a new goatee and had an agonizer in his sash, and he’s working for Akai again but calls them the Terran Empire. So it’s possible something very odd is going on. Yes, …

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Alesis Vortex - 5

Keyboard Surprise: Keytar, Control Voltage, Touch Faders in New Models by Akai/Alesis

Imagine Also Sprach Zarathustra playing here, a la 2001. And note what this keytar has – a real pitch wheel, right on the neck. One is a keytar. One is a master controller with touch faders and real MIDI and — control voltage, for working with analog gear. Seriously. The keyboard controller market may have faded into a dull, gray blur of nearly-identical models, but under the Alesis and Akai monikers, there’s some fresh-looking variety. Love it or hate it, these are not the same keyboards you’ll get from anybody else at the moment. I got to meet with Alesis/Akai/Numark …

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prod_i_ks1974

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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wretch

Music Geek Christmas: 10 Cool Things That Make NAMM Show Worth Getting Excited Over

You kneed KNAMM knobs. The Metasonix Wretch – photo (CC-BY-SA) Brandon Daniel. I sure hope we can look forward to Metasonix at NAMM – stuff that makes me love NAMM from someone who doesn’t. Trade shows aren’t what they used to be. For those of us who love music technology and the spirit of invention, it’s a good thing – why shouldn’t people be coming up with ideas year round? Why not spread them in places other than the gray, fluorescent glow of a big trade show floor open only to the industry? On the other hand, there’s something to …

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