Gallery: The Music and Visual Controllers of NAMM, Up Close

Jay Smith of Livid Instruments may be in the business of making controller hardware himself, but that doesn’t stop him from appreciate the knob-laden goodness of the NAMM show floor. Jay’s own gear reveals a not-so-secret love of knobs and buttons and faders, and if you’re into that sort of thing, this year’s NAMM music trade show had plenty to love – Akai’s APC40 controller for Live, Akai’s MPK keyboard, the Alesis MasterControl, Arturia’s Factory Experience controller for their soft synth emulations, and even another brutish-looking computer-in-a-keyboard, now with pads, from Open Labs. The shots give you a particularly good …

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NAMM: MiKo Keyboard/Computer Groovestation Home Entertainment Center?

Sure, it may sound crazy to stick a Windows PC into the chassis of a big, blue keyboard. But trust me, the people at Open Labs are even crazier than you think. This isn’t a keyboard you’ll check email on. It’s a keyboard you’ll watch movies on. Here’s my hands-on report (or, as I like to say here at CDM, grubby, greasy fingers-on report . . .)

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NeKo Windows/Keyboard Hybrids: The Next Generation

Open Labs’ NeKos are powerful keyboards that pack a full-blown Windows PC, tuned software, and control surfaces into a single musical instrument. They’ve got some heavy-hitting celebrity endorsements, and they’re rugged: one NeKo managed to continue functioning after being being beaten with a baseball bat and set on fire by DJ Richard Devine. This month, Open Labs unveiled the next-generation NeKo keyboard: sexier looking, more features, and cheaper. Porsche car paint, faster processors (up to a dual core 64-bit AMD CPU), Pro Tools software, and even Borg-like ability to clone your hardware synths and automatically create multisamples. Priced for mortals, …

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NeKo Keyboard Set on Fire, Beaten

Here at CDM, we've covered instruments powered by flames, but not necessarily instruments set aflame. This one is just too painful to watch. At a party hosted by Native Instruments, Windows-powered keyboard maker Open Labs encouraged DJ Richard Divine to destroy their NeKo keyboard, supposedly to demonstrate how rugged it is. So Rick D responded by setting the NeKo on fire. Apparently that did nothing, as the keyboard plays on in the video. Until he hit it. Hard. With a baseball bat. Several times. I had to avert my eyes. Um, Open Labs, next time can you just give it …

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