Fav synths and VIs for playing with MPE instruments


Yeah, the cheapo Hot Hand thing version for sure, but I think the Xbox is more expensive than the Hot Hand and can’t do much more than that for MIDI control.

The mi.mu gloves work different and use input from wrist orientation and finger bend - and can be used while playing instruments or, for maximum madness, with an MPE controller or a Quneo :wink:


The one thing I think about when someone has something like the Continuum, especially when Amon Tobin was showing it is, “lucky”.

I did see an advertisement for the Touché SE. Seems pretty sweet. If I were to go that route, which I love strings, I would possibly try this out. But the expression part is what makes them seem legit in a lot of cases.

Probably seen this thing.

The seaboard stuff is just so damn expensive. But I guess just getting the touch block would be similar in price. I can’t see myself getting a Seaboard though. Too rich for me and my music.


Yeah, that thing seems to be pretty cool, too! A bit expensive for the functionality though imho, if you compare it to the Seaboard block! If I understand it right it’s just one expressive “key” for about 400 bucks, compared to the Seaboard block module with 24 keys for <300 (at least in sales, I think, normal price on the site rn seems to be about 360). But it’s a different thing of course, seemingly more geared towards replacing the modulation and pitch-wheels than as a full controller?

Yeah, expresiveness is really good for everything from beats to strings, saxophones and flutes. Very nice also for lead and pad synths. It is just very different from going from pads that have some modulated LFO, sequencer or smaple-based movement to bringing all the “movement” or expression in directly with your fingers. Revolutionary.

Maybe check out the Seaboard Block - @ConfusedMuse has 2 of those, great controllers imho and much cheaper than the bigger alternatives!


The SE is $229


That’s not too bad!
But on the other side, for that money you can nearly get a QuNeo (without sale price) for around 270 I think with lots of options for x/y/z control, even though not full MPE integration. I think I would really recommend the Touche specifically for people that are already used to using a keyboard with a modwheel, since it is a very different experience imho if you have the expressiveness in the finger you are playing with or in your second hand.

Another cheap alternative to the Touche would be the Hot Hand imho, even cheaper and more flexible in terms of location since it’s just a ring, would even allow for polyphonically playing a controller while using it, but very different from traditional modwheels to use.


Another alternative for people used to playing on traditional keyboards would be TouchKeys or something similar to just tape on the keyboard keys. Pretty expensive and not sure if it works so well, but if you have a weighted keyboard you like to play, this might be the way to go.


I’m definitely a keyboardist at heart. I like to play ideas out and then go back in and do programming based off the ideas/keys played. So maybe I’ll do some research when I’m ready to grab something and finally get something.

I quickly saw the hot hand, it looks neat as well. Might be a great alternative.


Maybe try to find a store where they have that stuff and try it out? All that stuff is still not that common, though, we asked around where I live and didn’t find much a while ago. Also, let me know if I can check or try something out with the Hot Hand for you, I actually bought one of those things before I went full MPE.


Yea. Will do. We have a guitar center and then a few synth shops in Austin. Might be able to. I know I’d love learning the Touché and seaboard stuffs. Just have to see how how I’d get them into the stuff I already use or what they offer for instruments. That type of thing. I get the idea of the hot hand too. It’s similar to why Synaecide ( i think that was the guy, or anondyne was doing with kinect) or like that one antenna intrument thing I’ve seen someone use live. Was an instrument itself.


Make sure they have software that works well with MPE and the guy showing it knows a bit about it when you try it or you might get a very wrong impression!

Something like Bitwig + SWAM VSTis, Equator, Cypher or Falcon MPE patches would be perfect. If they show it in Ableton it will not work polyphonically as is.

Have fun testing out some expressive controllers! Imho this is the point were electronic music is melting back into traditional music ^^


I like the idea of playing in automation. I hate programming automation. So if these things were cheaper, people would definitely get them(as they’re cheaper now).


Just in case: If the available MPE instruments are not enough for your creative ideas regarding expressiveness, maybe you want to build your own instrument instead? The LinnStrument inventor and MPE guru Roger Linn will soon have a workshop on that:


Here’s a new one coming next month. No idea on pricing yet, but I’ll try and keep an eye out. The power here could be modulating the effects per-note with MPE.


Sounds interesting for sure! UA effects have nice modulation systems, even though it starts feeling like the Reason rack when the patches get more complex. Looking forward to the synth, but after watching them putting out BYOME and then TRIAD (basically the same with a frequency splitter) for high prices shortly after SpecOps (instead of upgrading that one to the ultimate effect), I am somewhat less big a fan of UA and expect the pricing to probably be on the higher end.

Also, I think it hasn’t been noted here that the free Surge supports MPE:



What type of gear do I need if I want to perform electronic music live?

Quote of the day (taken from Roger Linns newsletter):
" Over 2100 LinnStruments (both sizes total) have now been sold. I think people are slowing catching on the limitations of playing music with on/off switches (MIDI keyboards)."

Also interesting - or funny - how Linn divides musical history into “The era of expressive acoustic instruments (violin, saxophone, guitar, cellos, etc.)”, “The era of on/off switches (MIDI keyboards)”, with the tipping point around 1975, and “The era of expressive electronic instruments (LinnStrument, Roli Seaboard, Haken Continuum, +?)”, with the tipping point around 2025… ^^



Nice one! A bit on the expensive side if you just want an MPE controller, but maybe it’s a good hook to bring some oldschool analog hardware-type guys to the future :smiley:


Tbh, I’m considering it at the introductory price because I wouldn’t have to depend so heavily on software to play it, which is a nice bonus for me as there’s no great way to run my PC near my hardware right now (at least not for extended periods). Plus, I still need to watch demos, but it sounds like this reacts to how I’m trying to play keyboards right now anyways, so there’d be less of a learning curve than with a Seaboard.


That makes sense and it really looks and sounds good. I personally like the Seaboard surface, but I heard and read a lot of bad comments about it. And Osmose has the EaganMatrix thing from Haken.
Personally I still prefer the Linnstrument for the layout and the flexibility, but this new Osmose thing looks really good.