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MPE Controller / Device Thread

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MPE Controller Thread

With V4.0 in beta testing officially, MPE implementation on the Deluge is upon us, so I figure it is time to start pondering many things, with MPE controllers being among them. So here we are … I’ll start the thread off and hopefully those with more knowledge and experience can add insight.

Linnstrument

https://www.rogerlinndesign.com/linnstrument

The layout should make sense to Deluge owners. Roger Linn is a legend in the industry. It’s not cheap but also not bonkers expensive (relatively speaking in today’s market). It is strictly a controller with no synth engine. There is a 128 button option and a 200 button option.

Haken Continuum

https://www.hakenaudio.com/

This thing looks like the bee’s knees but costs and arm and a leg. I don’t think this is in the cards for me considering I could probably get a nice Taylor AND a nice Martin acoustic guitar for the same price. But it looks so cool.

Roli Seaboard

Link pending … re-branding due to bankruptcy

Roli appears to be re-branding as “Luminary” sometime in 2022. Hopefully they will support the Roli brand products already sold.

Per an article on Music Tech website, “The new company, Luminary, will pivot away from innovative controllers for pros. Instead, it will focus on the LUMI keyboard and app, which teaches beginners to read and play music.”

Keith McMillen K Board Pro 4

https://www.keithmcmillen.com/products/k-board-pro-4/

I don’t know much about this product yet …

Osmose

https://www.expressivee.com/2-osmose

Another one that I don’t know much about but looks nice and expensive. Anyone have one?

Sensel Morph

https://morph.sensel.com/

One of the cheaper options but seems always sold out. I’m curious if it is a serious option if anyone has used it.

I’m sure there are more out there. Please feel free to add.

Peace.

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Comments

  • 0
    CADCAD Auckland, NZPosts: 8

    This is a relatively new one that looks quite cool - https://www.embodme.com/

    Will be interesting to see how it uses midi 2.0 going forward

  • 0
    WardOTRWardOTR USABeta Tester Posts: 5
    edited December 2021

    I'm currently testing with the Linnstrument.

    I don't believe that it sends a MCM to Deluge. So far I have it working for Deluge synths with (In> Lower > 8) and (In> Upper > Off).

    Post edited by WardOTR on
  • 1
    Soon_ForgetSoon_Forget USAPosts: 17

    @CAD said:
    This is a relatively new one that looks quite cool - https://www.embodme.com/

    Will be interesting to see how it uses midi 2.0 going forward

    Good call ... I was trying to remember the name of this one. Looks very customizable and about the size of giant mousepad. The video on their website shows it being used as a drumstick pad in one example ... I would like to see user testimonial on how that holds up over time! But could be a good sign for quality if the engineering team is expecting it to hold up to the sticks.

  • 1
    Soon_ForgetSoon_Forget USAPosts: 17

    This video features the Linnstrument, Haken Continuum and the Roli Seaboard. It is interesting to see how unique each instrument is relative to each other.

  • 1
    Soon_ForgetSoon_Forget USAPosts: 17

    Quick video on the ERAE Touch showing off it's features ...

  • 0
    FnordFnord CanadaBeta Tester Posts: 15

    There's also the Roli lightpad block, not just the Seaboard

  • 2
    musiegfriedmusiegfried GermanyBeta Tester Posts: 2

    What about the Jouè Play with the Pro Option? It`s cheap and not sold out.

  • 0
    theowstheows Beta Tester Posts: 9

    @WardOTR said:
    I'm currently testing with the Linnstrument.

    I don't believe that it sends a MCM to Deluge. So far I have it working for Deluge synths with (In> Lower > 8) and (In> Upper > Off). Having a bit of trouble getting to Deluge to output the MPE signals externally though. So far, with (Out > Lower > Off) and (Out > Upper > 8) I have it passing midi note ON and OFF through to a Hydrasynth, but it is not passing the rest of XYZ data through.

    I do not have the beta, so I do not know yet how the MPE mapping works.

    I was just wondering though, depending on how many channels will be used, if there might be issues with the midi mappings for the controls REC, PLAY, UNDO etc which only support notes in 3.1. it would be obviously great to not have that limitation, especially when mapping several "normal" midi controllers and/or ones supporting MPE to the deluge.

    I have the Linnstrument and the Sensel Morph, previously the Roli Lightpad and Block, awaiting the Osmose. If there are questions about those, I would be happy to provide some answers if I can.

  • 2
    SolejkushaoSolejkushao Marseille, FranceBeta Tester Posts: 36
    edited December 2021

    Sensel Morph owner here. Great controller and great match with the Deluge. I've made a video with it a while ago (for the online fest back in March):

    Can't wait to try it with MPE enabled :)
    I'll report my impressions here!

    Post edited by Solejkushao on
  • 0
    CADCAD Auckland, NZPosts: 8
    edited December 2021

    Good call ... I was trying to remember the name of this one. Looks very customizable and about the size of giant mousepad. The video on their website shows it being used as a drumstick pad in one example ... I would like to see user testimonial on how that holds up over time! But could be a good sign for quality if the engineering team is expecting it to hold up to the sticks.

    Yea I was particularly interested in that aspect too, hopefully it holds up with drumming! As an aside I would love to see someone have a run at building MPE drums (pressing the stick in the drum skin after a hit to pitch bend the note, timpani etc)

    Post edited by CAD on
  • 0
    createdculturecreatedculture St. Louis, MO USAPosts: 1

    I have a roli seaboard 25 and like it much better than I did the Linnstrument which felt dated. Haven't tried the less expensive options but had a Microfreak for a while and that was good MPE!

  • 2
    theowstheows Beta Tester Posts: 9

    @CAD said:

    Good call ... I was trying to remember the name of this one. Looks very customizable and about the size of giant mousepad. The video on their website shows it being used as a drumstick pad in one example ... I would like to see user testimonial on how that holds up over time! But could be a good sign for quality if the engineering team is expecting it to hold up to the sticks.

    Yea I was particularly interested in that aspect too, hopefully it holds up with drumming! As an aside I would love to see someone have a run at building MPE drums (pressing the stick in the drum skin after a hit to pitch bend the note, timpani etc)

    For this kind of application modifying the drum overlay of the sensel morph might do the trick. Also the BopPad is very powerful and sturdy. I haven't played around much with pitch-bend-after-hit scenarios on these two controllers but I could happily dig into their software editors.

    In general, after having tried several MPE controllers I would say ideally try before you buy (tactility). If not possible, think about the exact applications you would want it for and educate yourself as much as possible on the internet. The devil lies in the details with all of them.

    Also everyone of us has a different experience depending on the use case but also where we are coming from. @createdculture for example likes the seaboard better than the Linnstrument. Me, as a guitarist with very rudimentary playing experience on keys, I feel exactly the opposite. The Linnstrument with its hard silicone surface and isometric layout feels best to me for expressive and fast solo instrument passages. A keyboard layout on the other hand (seaboard, morph piano overlay) has more travel ( = finer control) for the y-axis movement and pressable keys (osmose, seaboard) easier control for velocity and aftertouch.

    In summary, consider:

    • layout (key, isometric etc)
    • tactile experience (hard surface, key-style, squishy)
    • implementation of the different axes/movements/expressions (I find this to be very important)
    • need for external editor for configuration
    • portability
  • 0
    cube48cube48 EUBeta Tester Posts: 24

    @WardOTR said:
    I'm currently testing with the Linnstrument.

    I don't believe that it sends a MCM to Deluge. So far I have it working for Deluge synths with (In> Lower > 8) and (In> Upper > Off).

    Linnstrument can send MCM if you go to Per-Split Setting and hold the ChPerNote or ChPerRow depending on mode you want to use. It blinks shortly and switches selected split to MPE mode.

  • 0
    CADCAD Auckland, NZPosts: 8

    In summary, consider:

    • layout (key, isometric etc)
    • tactile experience (hard surface, key-style, squishy)
    • implementation of the different axes/movements/expressions (I find this to be very important)
    • need for external editor for configuration
    • portability

    That's a great list, really informative thank you :)

    I had heard of the Sensel but not the BopPad, so appreciate the suggestion. Being a drummer originally, I would definitely lean towards the BopPad, but I'll take your point to research as much as possible to heart. It's a shame try before you buy is painfully rare for these devices, so it's looking like pouring over forums and videos will have to do for now.

    With that said I've already spent my allotted music money for the next little while, so I'll at least get to see how the current MPE devices handle and develop with the growth of the MPE instrument market. Pending a deeper dive on the BopPad, Osmose and ERAE touch look the most interesting so far.

  • 0
    bleurghbleurgh Sydney, AustraliaBeta Tester Posts: 26

    I recently sold my beloved Roland SH-5 to fund a Continuum. I can confirm it’s the bee’s knees! Haven’t yet been able to test it out with the v4 firmware but should be able to report back on that in a week or so.

  • 0
    vanklomkvanklomk United StatesBeta Tester Posts: 19

    I have a Joue Pro and I don't know if I love it. I listed it on Reverb actually. It works fine but I've had trouble configuring it for use with the Deluge. Requires unplugging from Deluge to plug into computer (I only have a work computer at the moment) for the editor and I really don't know what settings to use. Probably user error. I do like the ease of swapping overlays, and it looks great with the Deluge. And very portable (unless you take lots of overlays (I have 11).

  • 0
    pmeyerhigginspmeyerhiggins UKBeta Tester Posts: 1
    edited December 2021

    Dreadbox/Polyend Medusa can act as an MPE controller (even though its synth engine doesn't respond to MPE!). Its pads send note, velocity, x, y, and z (aftertouch) values.

    Post edited by pmeyerhiggins on
  • 0
    BitFarmBitFarm Posts: 4

    The Artiphon Orba is an MPE controller as well as a quirky little groovebox. It's limited, but inexpensive, and it's tiny, so easy to pack. I'm hoping it pairs well with the Deluge.

  • 0
    BertoBerto GermanyPosts: 13

    @pmeyerhiggins said:
    Dreadbox/Polyend Medusa can act as an MPE controller (even though its synth engine doesn't respond to MPE!). Its pads send note, velocity, x, y, and z (aftertouch) values.

    Well mine does ??

  • 0
    kbrakbra Helsinki, FinlandBeta Tester Posts: 28

    A Linnstrumentalist here - have owned it for half a decade now. Works great with the betas, and does send MCM on request so MPE auto-config with Deluge works.

    The thing I like a lot about it is that when connected to something that responds to MPE, it really feels much like an "instrument" instead of a "controller" if that makes any sense whatsoever. This is heavily subjective of course, many don't like the surface / can't get used to the layout and for them eg. the Osmose should be godsend. But having played a lot of different instruments (badly) and sort of learned to adjust to different layouts, it makes a lot of sense - and because of that the Deluge keyboard mode with the same layout was a huge plus for me, even it's on-off velocity only.

    Used to own a Medusa, and while it's a superb instrument and has sort of a similar grid with MPE support, the response to touch is quite crude compared to a Linnstrument. It isn't really primarily designed to be a controller though, rather a superb synth-sequencer that also happens to work as a controller to external devices, so makes sense. But despite external similarities and layout, they aren't too much alike in expressiveness IME.

    I'd love to try the Erae Touch, because that's a really nice form factor and, apparently, very responsive as well. The thing I'm worried about is that it looks like the playing surface is basically flat silicone... Again, it makes sense because you can customize the functionality and layout based on the LEDs, and for a huge super responsive percussive surface it looks perfect - but I wonder if it's possible to learn to play with eg. a Linnstrument / Deluge like isomorphic layout naturally, without looking at the surface and positioning your fingers very carefully all the time, as you don't have any kind of haptic feedback on when you move from one note to another. Sort of what the problem is on when playing something on an iPad.

  • 0
    Soon_ForgetSoon_Forget USAPosts: 17

    Hydrasynth has MPE "poly touch" keys. And the new Hydrasynth Explorer sits at a decent price point ... has anyone in the Beta tested to see if the Hydrasynth keyboard can be used as an interface with the Deluge?

  • 2
    Soon_ForgetSoon_Forget USAPosts: 17

    I've been learning the isomorphic keyboard on the Deluge and to be honest, it feels like being given superpowers once you learn the 19 simple patterns for chord types (heck, you just need a few to start having fun). It's pretty much a musical Konami Code. After several years of plunking away at a traditional keyboard, I think I've surpassed my ability with keys by using the Iso layout in just a few days ... at the very least I've expanded my range by using chords I've never used before.

    The next week should be much fun playing with this option. I'm not sure if the layout is too small, too large or just right. The tendons in my hand will let me know soon. I'll have to see how it compares in size with the Linnstrument

    Page 301 and 302 in the Deluge manual have all the patterns for reference.

  • 0
    Soon_ForgetSoon_Forget USAPosts: 17

    Well Roger Linn should send a fruit basket ... for some reason Sweetwater hadn't moved a Linnstrument in quite some time and now for some reason ... hmmm ... they are now out of stock. Probably saved my bank account!

  • 0
    bartjanbartjan netherlandsPosts: 6
    edited April 30

    @theows said:

    In summary, consider:

    • layout (key, isometric etc)
    • tactile experience (hard surface, key-style, squishy)
    • implementation of the different axes/movements/expressions (I find this to be very important)
    • need for external editor for configuration
    • portability

    this!

    and in some cases you don't get what you tested.
    for example, i have 2 roli seaboard blocks where one is soft and squishy and the other is much more firm... they must be from a different batch and use different silicone inside or something

    by the way roli seaboard block works perfectly on deluge

    @CAD said:
    This is a relatively new one that looks quite cool - https://www.embodme.com/

    Will be interesting to see how it uses midi 2.0 going forward

    Looks like a big roli lightpad :-)

    Post edited by bartjan on
  • 0
    t0et0e Posts: 6

    Hi all,

    regarding sensel morph - the "where to buy" section on the website unfortunately says it is discontinued.
    https://morph.sensel.com/pages/where-to-buy

    Too bad. Has been my favourite option since the 4.0 MPE announcement.. :neutral:

  • 0
    HeptagenHeptagen Posts: 267

    @t0e said:
    regarding sensel morph - the "where to buy" section on the website unfortunately says it is discontinued.

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  • 0
    t0et0e Posts: 6
  • 0
    theowstheows Beta Tester Posts: 9

    Regarding the Sensel Morph:

    Here is the announcement and more importantly the FAQ in case you are considering buying a used one (should you find one that is).

    Unfortunately, there will be no more software updates and the code will not be open-sourced (they provide valid arguments, at least from their perspective). What I would expect from a committed company, would be for them to go the extra mile and provide at least an API so that technical users / the community can maintain basic functionality, like changing main settings of the device and loading preexisting maps.
    This relates to the above mentioned criterion "need for external editor for configuration" :smile:

    I had my Morph for almost a year as a traveling companion mostly for when I didn't want to carry my Linnstrument and have been very, very happy with it and its versatility. After the announcement I sold it for the above reasons.

    The Joué should be a similar alternative, but I have no experience with it. In Europe, one only seems to be able to find the play version only.

  • 0
    jsilencejsilence GermanyBeta Tester Posts: 24

    @Soon_Forget said:
    I've been learning the isomorphic keyboard on the Deluge and to be honest, it feels like being given superpowers once you learn the 19 simple patterns for chord types (heck, you just need a few to start having fun). It's pretty much a musical Konami Code. After several years of plunking away at a traditional keyboard, I think I've surpassed my ability with keys by using the Iso layout in just a few days ... at the very least I've expanded my range by using chords I've never used before.

    (…)

    Page 301 and 302 in the Deluge manual have all the patterns for reference.

    Someone made a nice cheat sheet: http://ravensdomain.com/deluge/DelugeChords.pdf

  • 0
    jsilencejsilence GermanyBeta Tester Posts: 24

    @BitFarm said:
    The Artiphon Orba is an MPE controller as well as a quirky little groovebox. It's limited, but inexpensive, and it's tiny, so easy to pack. I'm hoping it pairs well with the Deluge.

    Going to make a MPE video also. But I'm very busy atm, so don't hold your breath!

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