The emergence of software-based digital tools for audio made an impact on the design of hardware controllers. The tactile aspect of working with audio tools was no longer a given, resulting in a steadily growing range of available hardware controllers meant for use with various audio software. Creative solutions vary from simple MIDI-controllers such as the Behringer BCR2000, generic music production workstation controllers like the Mackie control pro series and the Euphonix MC Control, to controllers custom-made for just one application, such as the Digidesign Icon.

Despite the ubiquity of hardware controllers, there is still a demand for a more generic type of interface that could be used with open audio software such as Kyma, Reaktor, PD, Max/MSP, supercollider, Csound and CLM. Enter the Mackie C4 and NOTAM’s new range of Max/MSP patches. Although not really an open-ended interface, the Mackie-controller has now been enabled for integration with Max/MSP thanks to NOTAM.

Open ended interfaces

Recently a new generation of open-ended interfaces has been introduced on the market. Examples of these are the Monome, Continuum Fingerboard and Lemur . Compared to these, the Mackie C4 is relatively limited, but it has two advantages:

  • It has tactile physical buttons (something you don’t get with a touch-screen interface)
  • It is relatively cheap ($ 1,099 for the Mackie, compared to $ 2,999 for the Lemur, $ 1,400 for the Monome two fifty six and $ 3,390 for the Half Size Continuum)

The tactile aspect is an especially valid point to be made, because research shows that tactile feedback is an integral part of the creative process.

This is a work in progress and should not be looked upon as a finished piece of software.

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