As some background, my process is usually boils down to:
Singing and playing guitar until I come up with basis for a song. Then I move to the keyboard and beginning layering on sounds and melodies and building the track using the above as the initial referrence. This was done using an 88 key hammer action midi keyboard that I loved.
However I have moved and had a child and also discovered sound design through synthesis and MPE controllers. So I needed to downsize and have something that can sit on my desk with me not taking up any extra room.
So I got the Erae Touch but it had terrible ghost notes problems, (I read a long thread on this forum and many others and tried everything but they persisted across the whole device.) This experience put me off the controller as a whole and I have returned it and am now looking at an alternative.
There’s is so much, but im looking to get something that I can rely on, so Striso, and Linnstrument 128 stand out, are there any less bank breaking or other alternatives (regardless of cost) I should consider.
Sorry if this is a common topic but I just think this is the best place to get this advice after stumbling on thie forum nearly every day in my research. (and my attempts to make the erae work)
So thanks for everything you have already done for me and hopefully some advice will guide me into a great MPE future.
The MPE instruments play very differently. Osmose is closest to a keyboard, Linnstrument has some similarity to guitar, others are different but can also be good in their own.
You would probably come up with different music, depending on which instrument you compose (by jamming).
Perhaps you could enthuse your family members that a(n e-)piano that can be used by everybody would be more than worth the place it occupies? (Bizet had a neat solution for this - he had his piano inside his table BIZET’S COMPOSING TABLE PIANO - THE COBBE COLLECTION More modest variant: Music studio table piano keyboard table with drawer on Carousell )
That’s a bummer about the Erae Touch as I’ve been eyeing it.
As a fellow guitarist I will say I absolutely love my Linnstrument 128. Bought one used a few years back. Whereas my Seaboard Block feels expressive but somewhat limited to certain playing styles, I never feel constrained by the Linnstrument. And as a guitar player it’s great to have all my chord voicings translate directly.
Another option might be a used Sensel Morph for probably half of a Linnstrument. Someone made an isomorphic Linnstrument-like layout and I just printed it out on regular paper and taped it on top. Sensitivity is amazing and like a mini Linnstrument minus the more tactile feel and having a sustain pedal input.
Also the Joue has a guitar layout for it. The size makes it a bit cramped for playing chords, but otherwise the playability is really nice.
I also own or have owned Artiphon Instrument1, Jammy, Lightpad Block, Fishman Triple Play, and several other standard piano style controllers.
Erae Touch alternative? I’d be wondering about Soundplane, Linnstrument, Exquis, Continuum, Lumatone, Striso, depending on size/budget. Linnstrument is probably the closest though…?
After I suppose too much expectation from Embodme to answer the touch problems, and with there total lack of support, I have decided to sell mine and concentrate on what really work wonderfully : my Sensel Morph and my Striso.
They are two opposite solutions, and I was hoping that the Erae Touch could sort of be an intermediate choice, and I am sure it could be if the developpers have work seriously on it.
What I need more is the touch sensitivity and its reliability, and both Morph and Striso do it.
I had a Linnstrument, and it was indeed a very good compromise, but I prefer either the perfectly continuous surface of the Morph or the tactile sensation and response of the Striso buttons…
So Yeah I think after some research my choices are between:
Sensel Touch Used:
UK Based so would have to import and not getting the hardware support and guarentee after my experience with the Erae is unerving, but the upside if its playability and sensitivity.
Looks amazing in terms of playability, more octaves than the sensel. like the idea of it being more tactile. also has 4 octave range which I imagine the sensel cant do. Unique layout could improve my compositions.
Seems to be the most consistently highly regarded, and Roger Linn is amazing. I emailed him last night to ask if there was anyone in my area who might be willing to give me an in person demo to try it out and he has reached out to two people on my behalf already. But yeah the price means I would want to have hands on before taking the plunge.
This is fun to research.
(PS: Lumatone looks amazing but too big, Exquis also cool but untested as not shipping yet… others mentioned not quite right for similar reasons)
depends what you want really…
I think the Linnstrument is perhaps the all-around winner at its price point, and ‘workhorse’, and has a ‘conventional’ isomorphic layout (compared to striso)
Striso is excellent, if you want something more portable and with an internal sound engine - the layout is excellent, very inspiring (and quite unique).
not quite as configurable as the Linnstrument, and does not have continuous pitch slide.
from there… upwards in price, Id say Osmose and Continuum (its quite price jump, but worth it)
as for others…
Id not go for Sensel now given its discontinued… unless you are very sure it’s what you want, and you can get a bargain somewhere. even then, I found its a pretty small playing surface…
most of the others, tend to suffer similar issues/drawbacks to the ET, so Id avoid.
btw: Im not including Eigenharps here as they are not produced anymore, hard to find, and so probably a bit ‘niche’ for most… but they are pretty awesome, esp tau/alpha
Haven’t heard anything from Eigenlabs for a long time, so the conclusion sounds likely - but was there an official statement at some point that no further Eigenharps will be created? (Some years ago John meant that he might do another Alpha run when enough interested people would raise their hands - and were Taus or Picos ever out of sale? (no clue))
Honestly, I don’t know….
But people have mentioned issues with online shop, and no word from eigenlabs generally, I think effectively it’s ‘over’ … unless we hear otherwise.
However, I do think you might be able to get repairs if necessary ( though again not 100% on that) ,
and source code is open sourced …
So we are things are kind of ok.
But I’m not sure I’d recommend to anyone unless that were very clear of situation, and were very sure on the eigenharp was something they really need!
( and that even includes if you see a bargain)
It’s kind of odd situation, the eigenharp are awesome , with no doubt - but pretty niche too, if you are not already invested.
Price, size, availability timescale or other details may make it not qualify for you, but broadly speaking the Ableton Push 3 should be on the list of devices to think about these days.
continuous pitch slide is not a massive sellign point. I think I really want to try the Linnstrument to get a feel for it, but honestly the striso is rising in estimation the more I look at it.
Size wise / price and playability it is top of the rankings for me. I think Linnstrument has edge in robustness, flexibility and octave range. So yeah its a tough choice between the two.
I already posted about the Soundplane on Reverb.
These are very rare. I think @thetechnobear has one…? I was wondering if this might be more like a continuous-surface Linnstrument. Not cheap though, especially if you’re outside the UK.
yes, I had a Soundplane for many years ( 5+ ?) , and I really enjoyed it.
however, I’d say its a little more ‘niche’ than the Linnstrument.
Its main advantage is its fully continuous, and has a really nice feel to it, but has a slower (initial) response.
this means it has a kind of particular use-case… if you want something thats subtle, and flowing, its great…so its kind of ‘stylised’ , something like painting with watercolours and you’ll struggle with it, if you fight this… ( * )
whereas, as mentioned above, I think the Linnstrument is great all-arounder.
as I say, I really liked it, and only really sold it due to opportunity, and feeling like something a bit different… and so when someone asked, I thought Id let them enjoy it (esp. given its so rare/difficult to obtain)
( * ) its nature is part of its physical design, the use of wood, and its soft rubber matting underneath, and the it implements its detection.
Striso sounds interesting for sure! They use a grid variant of the Wicki Hayden layout, which would be a good alternative for pretty much any grid based controller, if continuous bends are not a priority. Surprisingly not many grid controllers support this out of the box, but remapping this in scriptable DAWs like GigPerformer is possible. E.g. for the Linnstrument “flipcoder” wrote a ready to use Python script that works DAW independent, relying on virtual midi cables: GitHub - flipcoder/midimech: 🎼 Isomorphic musical layout engine for LinnStrument and Launchpad X, with DAW/Synthesia visualizer )
…yes, that one’s been on the watch list for a while…! I love Didie’s duet version, which recalls the original box design, but the Striso board is also cool. Need both really.
I recently had to decide what to take as well, was eying on a Linnstrument or striso. Went for the striso because its half the price and it looked really nice to me. Having a lot of fun with it and dont regret buying it, really love how it reacts and also the legato button. I never had the chance to try a Linnstrument so i cant say much about it.
…likewise, Linnstrument looks interesting but they hold a fairly high price. I’ve got my name down for an Exquis from the Kickstarter so I’ll be interested how that turns out. I like my Dualo from the same company so I’m optimistic.
Do you know when they start shipping the exquise?
They haven’t announced a date.
"Following the change of casing for the Pure version and therefore the Deluxe version, the rheological study (study of the deformation of materials under constraints) is in progress, and during the month of May we are launching the manufacture of the moulds.
It is still too early to announce a delivery date, but it is certain that the trajectory adjustments in the designs of the Pure and Deluxe versions have caused us to fall behind. We are doing everything we can to ensure that Exquis arrives as soon as possible!"
…reminds me, I’ve been waiting for my Wond II for about six years now…! (I don’t think they’ll take as long as that.)
Can I ask how your composition or music making has been affected by the Striso?
I think I am leaning Striso because it might make me come up with different melodies than the Linnstrument.
The Linnstrument being laid out like a guitar might be an offputting for factor for me (one of the only ones as I am willing to pay the price for what is clearly worth the value), as I already compose so much with my guitar.
Or would you Linnstrument owners say that the its so different in terms of playability it will still have a big difference to the lines and sequences I come up with compares to my guitar?
Right now im thinking my choice will be made on what broadens my compositional range…