I love the feel of a button... what does the future hold?
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  1. #1
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    Default I love the feel of a button... what does the future hold?

    In this post I'm going to make some sweeping generalisations, so please try not to be offended

    These days with all our multitude of controller based options, from the midifighter to the 4midiloop (chuckle), we have more ways to control our music than ever. The one thing that most of them have in common is physical controls, be they buttons, faders, knobs, jogwheels or whatever.

    But a lot of DJs, particularly those who've been around for longer, still use things like the technics 1200, and this they often say is because they like the feel of it, the level of contact with the music. I'm from a new generation, and while I enjoy playing with vinyl, I don't miss it when I'm playing with controllers. It's more of a curiosity subject for me, something I'd like to become more proficient in to consider myself a more complete DJ.

    My question is, what does the future of DJing hold? There are many new control methods becoming available which have no physical controls as such, like the iPad and of course the SCS system (did anyone see that 42" transparent touch screen traktor controller omgfmlabp!?!?!?!?!?! ), will physical buttons and faders fade into the past with VCR and 1/4" tape reels to be replaced by touch screens and whatever else?

    Is it just because we've been brought up without things like the iPad that we often prefer something more solid? After all, midi itself has been around since 1982, when the nearest thing to a Macbook Pro was this baby:


    (Which, by the way, cost $7,800 and came with an OS called 'SOS' which apparently was HORRIBLY unstable...)

    Will future generations of DJs use something completely different and radical? Will we be the old guys complaining and saying yeh, but it's just not the same feeling you get with a button...

    Go wild on this one, I want to see if we can be as accurate as this.... aluminium clothing and a phone/radio that you take with you everywhere!

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    Last edited by fullenglishpint; 03-17-2011 at 04:55 PM.
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Physical controls will ALWAYS have their place. But touch controls will become popular as well. You will always have idiots out there that don't think things through and jump off half cocked when you bring up the subject of touch control, like their mere existence will somehow stop them from using knobs, buttons, or faders. That's NOT how it's going to happen.

    It's going to play out like this. Physical and touch controls will be used for the things they excel at. If there is a function that NEEDS tactile feedback, that function will most often be mapped to a physical control. A good example of this are the PLAY and CUE buttons. Touch controls will most often be used when tactile feedback isn't necessary (like scrolling through a library or track, selecting effects or control values, etc - basically anything you'd be comfortable using a mouse now for). They'll also be used on surfaces with high modality. If you have a small control surface where physical controls would be difficult to place, or if the entire surface needs to be reconfigured often, touch will be used here.

    Of course, there will always be people who like playing around with control styles, and manufacturers that try to switch things up (for a number of reasons). But generally you'll always see this basic rule in action. I don't think fully touch surfaces are the future, any more than fully tactile surfaces are. We're going to start seeing a lot of both.

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    Insert a scene from Minority Report here.. I can see the day when a DJ is more like a composer up on stage with a wand controlling the music.

  5. #5
    Tech Guru Fatlimey's Avatar
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    The company that invented the Minority Report UI idea are called "OOOii" (http://www.ooo-ii.com) and specialize in fantasy user interfaces for movies and movie sets. They used to fake UIs as post production FX but are more and more getting into live UIs on projection screens and built into sets so that actors can interact with them more realistically.

    They admit that the main problem with Minority Report style UIs are that your arms get very tired. We had the same experience doing these kinds of video-based interactions using the Playstation Eye at SCEA R&D back when I worked there. Projection onto a flat surface like a huge touchscreen is a more realistic goal, although the Cyberpunk "twitch interface" idea where tiny micro movements are detected and interpreted by your personal computer (i.e. phone) is more where I see it going. Minimal motion to get total control.

    Nope, buttons and knobs are here to stay, they offer an interface you don't need to be looking at and touching (two interactrion modes at once) to use, in fact you can use them with your eyes closed with a little practice.

    We just need companies to stop using the cheapest 6mm Micro Tactile they can source for every damn control...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucky View Post
    Insert a scene from Minority Report here.. I can see the day when a DJ is more like a composer up on stage with a wand controlling the music.
    i feel like a while ago, i saw some video where some edm artist was acting like he was controlling/making music by waving around a wii controller or something like it. kinda goofy, and turned out to be a hoax.

    the dude was just waving this thing to the beat of the music. nice joke, right?

  7. #7
    DJTT Scribe Mod smiTTTen's Avatar
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    You only have to look at the myriad of Microsoft Kinect hacks to know that a true virtualized mixing environment isn't a huge distance off. With a group of savvy developers Traktor could be made to work today...
    Beats By Dre is like audio flu for your balls.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru MiL0's Avatar
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    the future is clearly both tactile AND touchscreen control... the sooner companys like Apple realise this, the better.

    its Steve Jobs' stubborness that's preventing the iOS from becoming a serious gaming platform... and no, Angry Birds doesn't count as 'serious'. Let's see some proper control pads that work at an OS level!!

  9. #9
    Tech Guru deevey's Avatar
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    Deadmau5 uses a lemur (i think thats what its called) to control his effects. It's already seeing commercial use for DJing.
    You missed the boat already they are discontinued since Jan and the company shut down. http://www.jazzmutant.com/

    I really feel for creating or mixing music you NEED the feeling of physical contact with the control surface, at least for playing live, be that faders, buttons or knobs.

    Maybe its just me but I dont like to have to think too much about what page a controller is set at... or what might happen IF. Instant visual and physical reference is just my way of doing things. Hell I HATE soft-takover though, the midi4loop looks just the toy for me

    For studio work touch screens are bloody brilliant given the flexibility of the multiple devices you can control from one screen for the price.
    Last edited by deevey; 03-18-2011 at 08:44 AM.

  10. #10
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    meh, this touch control thing is overhyped atm. e.g., a mixer section on an ipad? with no tactile feedback at all? idk, i can only say i wouldn't want a touch screen in the center of my DJ setup.

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