Controllers as Musical Instruments [Design Project] Would love your input!
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12
  1. #1
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    221

    Default Controllers as Musical Instruments [Design Project] Would love your input!

    Hey guys,

    I'm an industrial designer by profession, and also an avid DJ and musician. After observing the state of the current DJ controller market, I have (and I'm sure many of you have) seen a couple of issues that I'd like to address in a personal design project.

    Currently I'm in the early stages of research, and would love your guys input on it. Given the community here and DJTTs own products that start to explore DJ controllers as expressive musical devices, I think your opinions would be very useful.

    So anyway I have a few questions for you all here, and would love it if you guys took a little time to answer them. If you have any opinions to express about current controller products, please feel free!

    1. What controller(s) do you own?

    2. Do you consider your controllers musical instruments? Why/why not?

    3. Do you consider turntables as musical instruments? Why/why not?

    4. Did you start on a traditional DJ setup (2TTs and a mixer)?

    5. Do you own or play any other musical instruments?

    6. If yes, do you feel there is a difference between those instruments and your controllers? What is it that differentiates them?

    7. How often do you upgrade your gear?

    8. How much time do you spend looking at new gear every week?

    9. Would you replace your current controller(s) when new products come out?

    10. What percentage of your controllers potential do you think you use on a regular basis?


    My current thoughts:

    - DJ controllers are becoming increasingly cheap, throwaway products
    - advancing technology makes controllers outdated quickly.
    - Many new controllers are victims of "feature creep" without adding real value
    - Many brands basically put out the same products that just look different or are tied to different software
    - Many DJs seem to be ready to jump on the next best controller, rather than have one that they cherish
    - Controllers seem more like tools than expressive musical instruments that their users form a real bond with (think of rock musicians and their signature guitars).
    - DJs seem to settle on their controller as a temporary solution, until something better comes along
    - it seems that we want A+B+C+D features in a controller but often we are forced to pick between A+B+C but not D OR A+C+D but not B.

    Thanks so much in advance! Your responses will drive the direction of this project, so please put some thought into it!
    Last edited by faeruithir; 10-09-2011 at 08:52 PM.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru DJDoubleYou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Hyperspace
    Posts
    1,174

    Default

    1.S4 and mf pro cue master
    2. I don't know why but i don't see my s4 as an instrument but i have a diffrent feeling with my MF
    3. yes, i don't know maybey becaus you can make things that are completly different from the original tunes.
    4. No that was to expensive for me it was an hercules RMX
    7. As long as as i find something really good
    8.5 h
    9. Better yes newer no
    10. 50% of the s4 and 80 of the MF
    DN-X1600 | 2x X1 MKI | APC 20 | MC-505 | MF Pro & Spectra | Kontrol S4 MKI | XBoard 49

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    York, UK
    Posts
    48

    Default

    1. VCI 100 Arcade, X1, MF & MF Pro (some production tools as well)

    2. I consider the MidiFighters instruments, because you have to learn how to play them and you need real skill, there's no plug and play. I consider the VCI an instrument because it takes skill and practice to play - only I know the slight irregularities in its faders and potts etc (it's my equivalent of the old guitars you talk about). The X1 is just an organisational tool, not an instrument

    3. No

    4. Yes

    5. Guitar & Ukelele, badly

    6. I'm better as a controllerist, so it feels more natural

    7. I'll often buy new things, but they generally don't enter my actual set up (I rent equipment out, so I have a good excuse)

    8. Not much

    9. Not based on any controllers I've met so far

    10. The VCI, like 95% at least.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Thanks guys these are all great responses! Please feel free to elaborate more if you have specific opinions that aren't covered by the questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by rutierut View Post
    2. I don't know why but i don't see my s4 as an instrument but i have a diffrent feeling with my MF
    What do you think it is that makes the MF feel different to the S4? I completely agree with you. I have an S4 as well, and while it is a great mixing tool, it doesn't feel completely like an instrument to me. I would never sell my guitars, but I don't think I would have any qualms about selling my S4 should something better come around.

  5. #5
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Bump. Would love more responses from the community. I'm really interested in exploring your thoughts on the topic!

  6. #6
    RGAS Guru Xonetacular's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    4,027

    Default

    1. What controller(s) do you own?

    s4, ipad, x1s, maschine

    2. Do you consider your controllers musical instruments? Why/why not?
    No, they are not instruments because they don't produce any sounds they are just tools
    3. Do you consider turntables as musical instruments? Why/why not?
    no, they are record players
    4. Did you start on a traditional DJ setup (2TTs and a mixer)?
    yes
    5. Do you own or play any other musical instruments?
    no
    6. If yes, do you feel there is a difference between those instruments and your controllers? What is it that differentiates them?

    7. How often do you upgrade your gear?
    whenever i have the money and there is something new, controllers are like toys and fads for me i like have the coolest stuff out there
    8. How much time do you spend looking at new gear every week?
    a lot
    9. Would you replace your current controller(s) when new products come out?
    yes
    10. What percentage of your controllers potential do you think you use on a regular basis?

    I use the ipads potential extensively, the s4 i use a lot. I haven't touched the X1s in a while.

  7. #7
    Tech Mentor Jack Rabid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Orange, CA
    Posts
    155

    Default

    1. What controller(s) do you own?
    Numark Omnicontrol

    2. Do you consider your controllers musical instruments? Why/why not?
    Yes I do, because despite the fact that it isn't as well equipped as builds like APC's or midifighters, it's still incredibly versatile to modify in traktor.

    3. Do you consider turntables as musical instruments? Why/why not?
    Definitely, have you ever seen Qbert? Turntablism is a legitimate artform if put to good use.

    4. Did you start on a traditional DJ setup (2TTs and a mixer)?
    No, couldn't afford it.

    5. Do you own or play any other musical instruments?
    Own a guitar but I simply didn't enjoy it.

    6. If yes, do you feel there is a difference between those instruments and your controllers? What is it that differentiates them?
    I feel what differentiates my controller and my guitar is the ability my controller gives me to play literally whatever i want. If I want to, I can load up guitar sounds, tweek some hotkeys to modify key along with a cue point, and play my own virtual guitar. (or just use cue points on a scale)

    7. How often do you upgrade your gear?
    Not often, i'm poor. ;_;

    8. How much time do you spend looking at new gear every week?
    Probably like an hour or two a day out of browsing.

    9. Would you replace your current controller(s) when new products come out?
    Probably not, I'm looking to combine this set up with a 4 channel mixer hooked up to 2 TT's. Best of both worlds.

    10. What percentage of your controllers potential do you think you use on a regular basis?
    About 40%, I'm still mastering EQ techniques and very little effect/cue point juggling, but I know I can do so much more with the controller i have.
    My equipment: Numark Omnicontrol Midi Controller, Traktor Pro (lol pro setup right?)

    Rabid Season Mix

  8. #8
    Tech Guru dope's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    571

    Default

    1. What controller(s) do you own?
    I got a Kontrol X1, an Akai LPD8 and i'm using my CDJ 350 as midi controllers, i don't know if that counts

    2. Do you consider your controllers musical instruments? Why/why not?
    3. Do you consider turntables as musical instruments? Why/why not?

    Controllers are musical instruments,TT/CDJ are musical instruments too if the guy using them is not just fading in/out. They are tools to manipulate sound, and the basics tracks can be totally transformed and modified by them, so yeah, every DJ gear is an instrument to me.

    4. Did you start on a traditional DJ setup (2TTs and a mixer)?
    My VERY first step was on a controller (VCI 100) but it broke twice so i gave up, to finally buy something solid (pair of CDJ 350 and a DJM 350). After few month of standard mixing, i came back to controllerism again.

    5. Do you own or play any other musical instruments?
    Got some synth/piano at home (parent's) but i don't use them (never learned piano). I have a guitar, i took lessons years ago but i gave up, didn't like it.

    6. If yes, do you feel there is a difference between those instruments and your controllers? What is it that differentiates them?
    No difference for me. CDJ/piano/guitar/TT/controller, no matter what it is, you need to practice to be good at using them. But i think that someone how plays a "standard" (i don't like the "real" word) instrument gets a lot more respect.

    7. How often do you upgrade your gear?
    Well since i had my CDJs last chrismas, i didn't upgrade for 7 months but then, since July, i upgraded twice so yeah, every 2-3 months.

    8. How much time do you spend looking at new gear every week?
    I would say 3 hours looking at gear, even if i'm not planning to buy it.

    9. Would you replace your current controller(s) when new products come out?
    I'm looking forward to replace the DJM firstly in few weeks/months, and later in something like a year i would like to get 3 CDJ 900/2000/newer that will come out.
    About the X1 and the LPD, i'm fine with them atm, and unless i feel the gear is limiting my mixing, i won't change.

    10. What percentage of your controllers potential do you think you use on a regular basis?

    Kontrol X1 = 80%
    Akai LPD 8 = 50-60% as i only use it for samples decks atm.

  9. #9
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Great responses. Keep em coming!

    So far in my project I'm interested in how to design a controller that bonds more with the user as a musical instrument, as something that the user grows to love. Also making the controller have a longer useful life, to try and break this constant and short upgrade cycle that the market seems to be stuck in.

    So additional discussion points (some have expressed opinions on these already):
    - What makes something a musical instrument?
    - What makes you bond with your instruments?
    - Can controllers move away from just being tools in metal boxes?

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    221

    Default

    Bump. Still want more responses and opinions on the topic! Thanks guys!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •