An innovative, British made product has been unveiled at the Frankfurt Musikmesse this week that could change the way digital musicians play!
The AlphaSphere is a spherical, touch based controller created to offer digital musicians the tactile feedback, expression and emergent playability of a traditional instrument.
Check out our exclusive demo video from the show below, which includes an interesting little snippet on how the very first AlphaSphere prototype came to be thanks to a hacked musicroom keyboard, some expresso cups and a bit of musicial ingenuity!
Designed by Bristol based Nu Desine, the AlphaSphere was dreamed up to bring more lively, physical interactions to live mixing and the creation of electronic music. The team hopes to “encourage musicians to perform on the instrument rather than slouching over some buttons.”
Adam Place, founder of Nu Desine, explained the company’s concept behind the AlphaSphere: “Really it’s about bringing electronic production away from computers and back to an instrument that anyone can play.”
Using materials and technologies originally designed for use in the robotics sector, the device’s 48 programmable pressure pads allow players to control digital sounds and samples in an innovative and highly musical way.
From volume and pitch to warble and oscillation, the device’s functions are fully customisable with users able to connect the AlphaSphere up to MIDI and audio devices, sound modules and software to bring their own sounds and textures into play.
Although still a prototype, Nu Desine have also created an intuitive software package to allow users to tweak and edit the performance parameters and functions of their device.
The AlphaSphere can be used as a synthesizer, step sequencer, MIDI controller or whatever other digital music application its user can think up and create – its 48 pads permits the mapping of up to four octaves of instrumentation around the sphere.
In terms of live feedback, a speaker within the LED-lit sphere offers performers a physical and immediate experience of their playing, whilst plans are already underway to include coloured LEDs within the touch pads to aid users find their way around the device.