Livid Release Builder V2

We’ve been a fan of Livid’s for a while at OD, catching up with them at shows when we can (check our YouTube channel for an interview with CEO Jay) and we really liked their Block controller last year, and their gradual growth from small boutique to genuine player in the controller market is admirable. Their Builder was a way of helping to spread their boutiquey ethos, and the announcement of Builder V2 brings perhaps the most simple and capable way to create your own controller we’ve seen into the market. Continue Reading

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NAMM 2012: Livid Instruments Interview and CNTRL:R Walkthrough

We’ve been fans of Livid for a while, we reviewed Block last year and were quite taken with its aesthetic – and its usefulness, of course. Livid have some modular controls in development that we got to take a quick look at, and I’ll write about them soon, but the star of their stand at this year’s NAMM show was the CNTRL-R, which has been designed in conjunction with Techno legend Richie Hawtin. I think Livid are going for the CNTRL-R live performance crowd with CNTRL-R, but we really think that it’s got a future in the studio too, as workflows become more fluid and less stuck in the mud.

We had a chat with Jay, Livid’s CEO, about how they make their controllers, and the process by which they try to make instruments rather than MIDI controllers that don’t have much of a vision. There’s a bunch of interesting stuff in here! We also got to watch Gabe take us through some of the workflow with CNTRL-R and Ableton Live along with the custom Max 4 Live patch that powers the step sequencer control. Enjoy!

OhmRBG

Livid Instruments announce OhmRGB

In what might be a show stopping answer to critics of Livid’s Ohm64, the beautiful controller that doesn’t quite match the functionality of its mass produced competitors, Livid have just announced the OhmRGB – with seven colours available on every pad.

Livid have just announced the OhmRGB – with seven colours available on every pad

Multi colour LEDs aside the controller looks just like an Ohm64, with the addition of expansion jacks first seen in the new Block controller (check our review of that controller here). Priced at $749 with the first units due to roll out of Livid on the 25th of July, we’re looking forward to getting one in the studio to let you know whether the LEDs really make the difference. Until then you can check out the video from Livid below…

Livid Block

Review: Livid Block with Expansion Ports

Livid make handsome controllers. Block is the mid sized of the three in their current stable, but Livid have produced many more than just three models. With a production process focused on refinement Block, like its brothers Ohm64 and Code, has received tweaks and updates over its lifecycle to bring it to where it is today. We’ve got the newest version, which features a DIY expansion adapter on top of all its existing features – let’s see how it does in the lab…


REQUIREMENTS:

Mac, Windows or Linux operating system – standards compliant USB MIDI.

PROS:

  • Good looking
  • Well built
  • Expansion ports
CONS:

  • Single colour LEDs
  • Comparatively pricey
Price at review: $399USD 

Block looks and feels great, it’s easy to set up and it’s got that ’boutique’ feel. At the same time it lacks some of the polished features that some of the big boys have and it can’t match them on price, but its expansion ports edge it into worthy competition.

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The first thing you’ll notice when you receive Block is that it travels light. Frugal packaging earns Livid environmental brownie points, and the spartan approach carries through to the lack of any ‘bumph’ – all documentation and software is online, so there’s not even a CD in the box. We’re not totally sure how we feel about that… on one hand it ensures that there’s no confusion when it comes to getting the latest versions of the software, on the other it does feel a little bit too much like scrimping.

Pull it out of the box and looks wise Block is difficult to fault.

Pull it out of the box and looks wise Block is difficult to fault.

A 64 button matrix in a sleek, formed aluminium chassis with bevelled edges and wood end panels, all of Block’s buttons glow ice blue. If you’ve the readies, you can even customise Block with red, white, or green lighting, a black or white chassis finish, and a selection of exotic woods for the side panels. It’s obvious that there’s been a lot of love poured into the hand crafted design of Block, and that’s something that transfers its way into your studio environment.

It’s not just all looks, though; Block feels good in your hands.

the buttons have nice bouncy feel to them

The faders have studio style caps on them, which makes them better suited to tweaking than live play, but they’re very smooth and have standard 4mm stems for you to connect a different cap should you prefer. The slits are smoothed off nicely, although we’d have liked to see them rounded off even more. The knobs are smooth, and the buttons have nice bouncy feel to them that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever played with any number of Monome inspired controllers before. As well as the matrix, there are also some extra buttons which are useful for transport and other controls.

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Livid Block

Livid’s Blocks Now With Expansion Jacks

Livid, the organisation that makes a series of boutique controllers, software, and the DIY springboard the Builder, recently announced its latest refinement of its Block controller.

Two 1/4″ jacks are joined by a pin header connection which adds capacity for a further eight controls

The block controller itself features a 64 button matrix, eight pots, two sliders, and a few function buttons; it’s a controller that works best when allowed to concentrate on its ‘thing’, and so pairing it with something else is often a desirable solution.

 

The newly included expansion board provides a solution to that issue, though, whilst simultaneously appeasing many an electronic musician’s tinkering instinct.

Two 1/4″ jacks, for pedals or other analogue controls are joined by a pin header connection which adds capacity for a further eight controls into the mix.

We really like the idea of a ‘semi DIY’ controller, which allows you to bolster a central premise with your own specific workflow enhancers – more from us when we fool around with one soon, until which you can head over to Livid’s site for more

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