October 22, 2012

Can't Touch This...

by Chris Randall

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison

Continuing my exploration of making a touchscreen-based recording/performing environment (that isn't on a fucking Twitter Machine... errr... I mean iPad) I decided to try a different tack this time. Since Brian Crabtree has already done a lot of the hard work on this front, I thought I'd bust out a touchscreen monome emulator, just to see how that might work.

As it happens, not so much.

While the monome is a comparatively simple device (the only things that make it special, as such, are the facts that the LEDs are decoupled from the buttons, and the extremely high construction quality and craftsmanship; otherwise, it's just a box full of buttons), as it turns out, and I think the above video proves, actually having the buttons under your fingers is somewhat important.

It was a pretty easy thing to code, just being a grid of lights, and some simple OSC messages. Rather than go through the trouble of faking the operation of the driver software, in the interests of quickly having a working prototype, I just altered mlr slightly so it could talk directly to my Cinder app and not look for a monome. I made a grid of 16 x 16 buttons (ignore the column on the left of larger buttons; those are scene triggers for Maschine, which I didn't use in the video) and it's off to the races.

While the functionality is, in and of itself, flawless, I think that the combination of mlr (and other patchers I tried) and the monome hardware is what makes the instrument. The more sensitive nature of the touchscreen sort of precludes laying in to it, and not being able to feel the buttons makes any sort of virtuosity difficult.

That said, it was a fun idea that, I think, merited exploration. But for this sort of thing, the money is better spent on a real monome, in my opinion.

Back to the drawing board.


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Oct.26.2012 @ 9:43 PM
Wow. That raven looks like it would be unbelievably frustrating to use. Trying to do any kind of multitracking or sound editing on an ipad is what killed touchscreens for me in the first place.

Oct.26.2012 @ 10:30 PM
beauty pill
The Raven is a textbook example of something that is immediately, obviously not cool.

Sorry to bring that topic back up.

- c

Oct.26.2012 @ 10:31 PM
Chris Randall
No, you're absolutely correct. When I saw the press blurb, I was like "ooooh, and we were just talking about this." Then I watched the video, and I was all "boy, howdy, did they miss the mark on this."


Oct.27.2012 @ 8:43 AM
Well, for starters, Slate's videos are just plain hilarious. Credibility of a drummer, unintentional comedy from the point zero onwards. If Raven's not going to bunk, I don't know what will.

Oct.28.2012 @ 2:30 AM
I instantly knew: here's something that's probably really expensive that I don't want or need. There's plenty of stuff I can't afford that I do want and need.

Slate is a trip, though. I do wish his partner, Old Fabrice Le MacDonald, would update his eieiosis plug-ins, or at least aireq native, which is the only one I have.

Okay, here's the "does anybody remember" part. It's an alternative controller related query: Jimmy Hotz and Hotz Box/Translator.

He and I worked out of the same studio, before he headed west to become whatever it is he became. He's actually very talented and I learned a lot from him.

Nov.05.2012 @ 9:23 AM
D' MacKinnon
Have you seen this? Not sure if this is vaporware or real:
link [www.tactustechngy.co...]

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