AlphaSphere nexus controller hits Europe

As the lines between DJ and musician blur, we’re always looking for new ways to perform in front of a crowd. Mixing track A to B just isn’t enough for some, thus interesting instruments pop up that challenge convention and get us to think about how we interact with music and importantly the audience. The AlphaSphere nexus is one such piece, and after hitting the US and Japan earlier this year, the UK-based nu desine is ready to put out a limited run of the AlphaSphere nexus closer to home. Well… our home anyway.

Here’s the verbiage from nu desine:

27/11/13 AlphaSphere nexus launches in Europe.

nu desine have announced the launch of a limited run of the AlphaSphere nexus series which is now available for purchase throughout Europe. After launches in Japan and the USA earlier in the year, it is now Europe’s turn to have a generation of producers and musicians empowered by the creative possibilities of the AlphaSphere. AlphaSphere nexus is the definitive version of the AlphaSphere, and is available through nu desine’s web store or one of their partner sites.

The AlphaSphere is a completely new electronic musical instrument. It’s 48 tactile pads allow you to sculpt, manipulate and perform electronic music in an unrestrained, expressive way usually reserved for acoustic instruments. Through the accompanying software, AlphaLive, the AlphaSphere is compatible with all existing DAWs and MIDI software, and it is also completely programmable and allows a series of notational arrangements to be mapped to the spherical lattice pad layout.

Rou Reynolds, frontman of post-hardcore band Enter Shikari who recently closed out the  Warped Tour UK show at Alexandra Palace, London, with the AlphaSphere front and centre, says, “I love the diversity and control available with the AlphaSphere, and let’s be frank it also just looks plain badass”.

Founding Director Adam Place says, “Here at nu desine we couldn’t be more excited about the state and direction of electronic music. We are constantly inspired and amazed by the new sounds coming out of the studios and homes around the world, and hope our product can inspire the masses of new producers and musicians continue their role in shaping this exciting musical movement.”

AlphaSphere nexus is the second product offering from Bristol, UK, based nu desine. It can be bought at where free shipping is currently being offered on all UK orders placed before Christmas.

AlphaSphere nexus

Is the AlphaSphere nexus for you?

It would be safe to say that this is more in the realms of pure controllerism that DJing. And in the right hands, I’m sure some really clever Ableton Live based work can be pulled off. But sat in the corner of your local wine bar knocking out top 40 hits? No. Casual inebriated punters will be aching to tap those pads for fun and dares.

But the AlphaSphere nexus isn’t for your average DJ, or I would venture DJs at all depending on how sharp or blurred your own line is. I feel that this is as much about visual performance as it is technical abilities. LED lights aside, all but the smallest pads are pressure and velocity sensitive, allowing some pretty complex MIDI based tricks to be pulled off.

It’s the kind of thing that you need to play with before really forming an opinion. The AlphaSphere is pretty unique within the field it operates in, and it incredibly challenging to established workflows. I’d love to see how flatter and more linear artists like Jeremy Ellis or AraabMuzik would take to this. It certainly comes across as more subtle and nuanced than all out pad bashing.

With nu desine being UK-based, I’ll extend an invitation to the guys to come along and show us what’s what. But for anyone over here who wants one, the AlphaSphere nexus is available with free shipping for £678.90.

  • tony corless

    i want to kick the thing it looks like a football!

  • Ben

    Da fuuuuh?

    Might be great for kids as a learning aid or some big art installation or the like, but otherwise this looks objectively useless.

  • Weezy

    Hopefully they get grandmaster jay as the companies poster boy

  • BelgianJungleSound

    Looks like a nice concept, but probably too avant garde to really kick off, although I hope it does. That voiceover guy was really starting to piss me off towards the end though…

  • Ztronical

    Wouldn’t it be better as maybe half a sphere? The video only shows touching around once.
    It just doesn’t seem very ergonomic to me.
    Unless someone makes a HUGE one and lowers it at New Year’s. And the crowd plays We are the World on it.
    Make a pet toy one. No really. I would buy a toy one for my dog.

  • Disqus

    Dragon’s Den fail concept.

  • yeahdef

    prediction: absolute failure

  • What’s the name of the song? You Gotta Get A Gimmick….

    That’s all this seems to be. Certainly not a “completely new electronic musical instrument”. Nothing new about drum pads. It’s not a musical instrument either – it’s a MIDI controller. It does nothing unless it’s plugged into a computer.

    £700-£1000 for some MIDI pads? For that money you can get a Roland HandSonic that’s got 850 sounds on board, can import up to 500 of your own samples and is completely standalone with all controls, display, inputs and outputs built in.

    There’s a forum on their web site. Nobody’s there! The only posts are by the staff. I think only Enter Shikari have got one of these, and they probably got it for “promotional use only”.

  • Sergio Pantaleo

    Who’s gonna be the next GrandMaster Jay?

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  • Buxton The Red

    I had a quick hands-on with this at BPM. My lasting memory is “squishy”, and I recall not being entirely sure if I was hitting the pads hard enough to trigger all of the time. I think most of the pads are rubber diaphragms with some sort of air-pressure sensing? Either way, I wasn’t all that impressed in person.

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  • H8er

    for some reason i dislike gear thats named Nexus, dont know why ;D

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  • aat83

    Interesting concept but far too expensive and perhaps gimmicky, if they could retail at around £150 I think enough people would give it a proper go, but at almost £700 its an almost certain fail IMO :/

  • AlphaSphere have announced an entry level model for £150