While DJs who use controllers are often referred to as controllerists, or indeed class them selves as controllerists, the vast majority actually aren’t. But Ean Golden is, and that’s where he blazes a trail with his DJ Tech Tools company, by making hardware that has a specific need for a particular niche group of DJs and performers. The arcade button laden Midi Fighter Classic now gets a major upgrade – not just RGB buttons, but also with motion sensors. Say hello to the Midi Fighter 3D.
First the words and video from DJ Tech Tools:
DJ TechTools Creates New Paradigm in DJ Performance with
Midi Fighter 3D
SAN FRANCISCO – (Feb. 27, 2012) – DJ TechTools has introduced the Midi Fighter 3D, a groundbreaking MIDI controller that introduces a new dimension of performance for DJs and musicians. Midi Fighter 3D brings the controller off the table, using physical movement to control sound in a expressive and intuitive way.
The hardware combines a grid of 16 high performance arcade buttons with three dimensions of motion tracking for unlimited creative expression. Three sensors track the controller’s orientation in space with absolute precision, and each button has a unique analogue expression message for endless creative possibilities. All motions send out messages that are easily mapped to any software supporting MIDI.
The Midi Fighter 3D also features another industry first: fully customizable RGB arcade buttons that can be freely configured to display a wide range of colors, patterns or effects. Rather than labels, anyone can re-configure the buttons in seconds to display unique colors.
“I wanted to add expressive, analogue control to the Midi Fighter without adding complexity and think we have succeeded,” said Ean Golden, founder of DJ TechTools. “By combining highly accurate motion tracking with a simple, intuitive interface, the 3D brings a dimension of analogue expression that has been missing from digital controllers.”
For more information, photos, and video about the Midi Fighter 3D, visit www.djtechtools.com.
Whatever your pre-conception of controllerism is, this is undoubtedly clever, and thinking quite a long way outside the box. Yes, it’s button bashing with the added dimension of waving yourself around more than you might feel comfortable doing previously, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the thought and execution.
This will require a certain change in mindset from DJs. If you’re used to hitting inanimate boxes, or twiddling knobs to make effects changes, the idea of picking something up to make a change might take a little getting used to.
And that’s the key to this for me – a complaint about many DJs is how they’re pretty static and hunched over their gear. But the Midi Fighter 3D aims to coax a more visual performance out of an otherwise stationary DJ. Range wise, this is of course limited by the USB cable, even if it does look to be a fancy custom one. So you’re still pretty much tied to your setup. But I suspect that a battery powered wireless model is on a drawing board somewhere.
I am deeply impressed with the light show. How cool would it be if the colours on the buttons could somehow trigger a projected light show at the same time? Actually drawing your audience into your performance on a scale larger than watching you make a tit of yourself is compelling.
It goes without saying that it’s not for everyone, but at the same time can be made to do within reason what you want. With software becoming more complex, a 4×4 block with 6 shift buttons over 4 layers can do an awful lot if you use it properly. You don’t have to pick it up at all if you don’t want to, and may be much happier turning knobs instead. But as the video says, performance and expression are the key points with this little box. And for those DJs who like to stay less than sober when they perform – expect the unexpected.
The Midi Fighter 3D is available for preorder only right now for $249 and will ship early April. That is twice as much as the Classic, but for many it’s a no-brainer upgrade, and considering the technology included, it’s a pretty good price to me. Unlike many controllers out there, I feel that this can stand the test of time, as its core use is likely to be relevant for a very long time to come.
More info: Midi Fighter 3D