Many years ago while wondering around Musikmesse, I was stopped in my tracks by the very wonderful Mawzer system. It was (if it ever actually came to be is) a modular plug and play controller builder system. Large, clunky, almost certainly expensive, this was very definitely too far ahead of its time, and the complete antithesis of the plug and play preferences of the masses. And while various DIY controller and modular systems have appeared and disappeared, the Specialwaves Mine modular controller builder could just be the system we’ve been hoping for.
It’s pretty much the same principle as the Mawzer. You get a standard frame (in this case 8×8 and 8×4 formats that can be linked up) populated by discrete components, a controller construction kit if you will. But this time around, it’s considerably slicker, allowing for controls that are actually regular control sized. Actually, it’s more like Tetris than Lego.
Right now there are five modules including RGB velocity and pressure sensitive pads, double button RGB pads, rotary encoder with push button and LED ring, standard pot, and a 60mm fader. Beyond this, there are plans for a track pad, LED display, and jog wheels, although such a thing would either be tiny or necessitate hooking up a few units to make a useable controller. There also needs to be a blank module too, for those spaces where you don’t have controls.
The concept is undoubtedly clever, and is definitely something that people have called for. I can’t help but feel however that 99% of user’s needs are well served by off the shelf units. And being able to design your own is a great idea, but the price is likely to be prohibitive. Time will tell as this will be on Kickstarter very soon. If the price can come into the realms of affordability, then this might just work. Otherwise most people will settle for Launchpads or X1s.
Despite my reservations, I dearly want his to work. I’ve been an advocate for this sort of thing since the start of skratchworx. I’d love to see a time where DJs can pick and mix components to build their own specification and quality of gear. Sadly this makes things ridiculously expensive given the relatively low runs of gear. Oh well, one can dream.