Synthplex 2020 (and a call for assistance)

Hello everyone.

I will be attending Synthplex 2020 in Burbank on March 27-29 of this year, presenting a seminar or two and hosting a booth for my Internet radio station At the booth, one attraction will be a “petting zoo” of alternative controllers hooked up to simple audio stations where people can try them out.

Here’s the list of controllers that I’d like to display. The first part of the list are the ones I’ll be travelling with to Synthplex, that I own and will be showing all through the convention:

Roger Linn Design LinnStrument
Novation Launchpad X
CME Xkey Air
Sensel Morph
Irijule TheoryBoard
Keith McMillen Instruments K-Board Pro 4
Keith McMillen Instruments K-Board
Keith McMillen Instruments 12 Step
ROLI Lightpad Block M (possibly, mine is currently with a friend)

Then there are the devices that I do not own but would still like to feature:

ROLI Seaboard Block or Seaboard RISE (and Lightpad M if I can’t bring mine)
Eigenlabs Eigenharp (could be an Alpha, Tau, or Pico)
Haken Continuum and ContinuuMini
Madrona Labs Soundplane
Snyderphonics Manta

I can’t afford to buy these just for the show…

So my question is: is there anyone who owns one or more of these devices who is planning to attend Synthplex anyway, preferably in the LA area, who could bring one by my booth for a demo sometime during the weekend?

Or, is there anyone who would be interested in doing this in exchange for a free one-day pass to the convention?

Or or, for the less expensive devices, is there anyone who would loan me one for about a week and ship it to me? I am familiar with the ROLI gear, for example.

I would really appreciate any help I can get. Michael Lehmann Boddicker, the founder of Synthplex and a wonderful fellow, was very excited at the prospect of trying these alternative controllers, many of which he’d only ever seen in pictures and wasn’t sure about the existence or abundance of. When I commented that I’d like to have an Eigenharp on hand, he looked at me in naked shock and asked if I thought there actually WAS one in that part of the United States. I assured him that I thought there was likely more than one… and I’d love to be able to back that up with one in the booth, if only for an hour. :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. Please direct message me to discuss this if you think this is something feasible.

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I can help with some of your list. And probably a few items that aren’t on there.

Did not realize SynthPlex was coming up so soon. Haven’t heard anything through the usual channels, such as their Facebook page…

Michael is indeed a lovely man, whom I hope to god does not remember me. But that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, I’m headed out to a max thing right now. Private message me.

They’re live streaming the max thing. Follow along!

Sounds like a great idea.

There’s a few Eigenharps in the States, eg @gbevin and @david - but don’t think they are close to you.

Soundplane is probably harder to source ( given only 90 made) , though I guess more stayed in the USA, probably your best bet is to ping @randy at Madrona Labs , and also post on the Madrona Labs forum.

There are a few Soundplanes in greater LA — Mike please shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to help figure something out.


Mine is one of them.

(I probably should have been more specific about that particular detail)

Soundplane isn’t plug-and-play MIDI, obviously, so that’s probably the item you’ll need the most time to set up a demo around.

That being said, maybe @thetechnobear can help us get a head start with that remotely? (I have an Organelle and a PiSound available, and axoloti. I know MEC runs on at least two of those, but have never configured it / am not sure what our best option is for a dead simple “intuitive at first touch” unsupervised demo)

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Ah , cool @greaterthanzero!

I’ve got the soundplane working with pisound and organelle-m ( * )

Could run a pd patch on them, or output mpe on them. though.

However, given timescale and number of other instruments involved, probably important to keep it simple. so I’d probably just go with a laptop and Aalto :wink:

( * ) not organelle-1, has a usb chip or kernel issue

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Gotcha. Mine’s the Organelle-1. So, that’s less helpful.

@mrspiral, I don’t know what you’re planning to plug these controllers into, but hopefully you have a plan for that one?

(I’m okay with leaving some of my controllers unattended for strangers to paw at, but my laptop is another story. That won’t be happening.)

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Thanks for the help so far, guys. Crazy day today but hope to start messaging you tonight and tomorrow.

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Hey, so, fun story:

Someone broke into our house a few days ago. Smashed a window, rummaged through all the drawers, and took… almost nothing.

They left behind a fortune in computers, a/v gear, and of course all the instruments and MIDI controllers.

It’s extraordinarily lucky that any part of my collection is still available for this. It could have been real bad.


Ugh, could have turned out worse, people creeping around in the house still sounds - irritating…

Storing a list of serial numbers of instruments is probably a good idea. Selling a stolen Linnstrument or Eigenharp would be like offering a stolen car with the license plate still attached - not so clever. And removing the numbers at least cries “stolen” to the adept.
That is a definite advantage with accoustic grand pianos - pickpockets tend to take these last :slight_smile:

I saw that on your list and thought, oh, what’s that? so I Googled it.

Oh, it’s that thing sitting right here next to me that I bought last year.

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Thank you all for the input and suggestions! I am back on the job again after a brief time away, and will get to all of your direct messages and start firming up my list right away.

Please note that everything on the first list, I will be bringing with me. I am lining up everything else, or trying to…

That’s not a fun story at all. Just glad no one was hurt.

I hope to have a set of “listening stations” with a simple computer/sound source and interface, with the ability to hot swap controllers in and out fairly quickly. I will provide iPads or iPhones with interfaces and appropriate easy-to-use soundware… remember the idea is to demo the surfaces, not the software, so it will probably be one consistent app as much as possible (like Equator or Seaboard 5D, for example).

I am not even going to TRY to set up stuff for gear I don’t have, and will rely on people coming in with loaners to do that as well. You will NOT be asked to leave your gear in the booth; I recommend scheduling a specific date(s) and time(s) when we can tell folks you’ll be there, and bringing in the gear and then leaving with it…

I don’t think there was any threat of that. They chose our house because no one was around (no cars out front), and they got out the moment they found anything they could pawn; about $700 worth of jewelry, that they will probably get $50 for. It’s significant that this all fit in their pocket – they were on foot, or a bicycle. If they had a truck, the house would have been emptied.

All of which is to say “stupid kids”. (I don’t think they were armed, or aggressive.)

Like I said, that’s going to be trickier for the Soundplane than probably any other controller. I believe it registers as a class compliant audio device?

Whatever it is, we install software to interpret its significantly-faster-and-more-precise-than-midi signals. The software then outputs MPE or OSC, in various configurations. Using one consistent app as much as possible is pretty much gonna mean bypassing that altogether.

(Mark’s MEC software can transform the PiSound into a simple MPE bridge, and we can just run a cable from that to your setup, but I’m not sure how to get this running, let alone headlessly. Which brings us back to asking @thetechnobear for help, and being glad that this is over a month away.)

I have a ROLI Seaboard 49 and live in LA and I’d be interested in seeing what was up at the conference and would be happy to bring it by. I also have an Expressive Touche if that is of interest.

While it sounds like you are more interested in demoing the controllers across standard instruments… I have some pretty cool instruments setup to work with MPE, including a few Spitfire sample libraries that might be of interest. Anyway, I’m not here that frequently so reach out via text or email if you will need my assist: or 646-259-3297.

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I believe it registers as a class compliant audio device?

No, we thought of that, but nixed it so as not to confuse the user or make bad, loud noises. Likewise the idea of being a kind of high-speed camera, because latency on what the OS considers video data is unfortunately too great. Instead we communicate using the USB protocol directly to send buffers of pressure data. So the Soundplane app is required to translate these data frames into MIDI or OSC.

I think we are covered for ROLI stuff, thanks, but perhaps the Touche will be worthwhile. I will be in touch.

Many thanks to Aaron for his offer of help. Thanks to him and a couple of others, I am now set up to show all devices except the two really important ones: the Haken Continuum and the Eigenharp. If anyone in the area plans to come to Synthplex (or would like a one-day pass) and would be willing to do a demo for an hour at a prearranged time, please contact me. You will NOT have to leave your gear in the booth or have it unattended; just bring it, demo it, maybe let people try it, and take it home.


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So, hmm.

I don’t imagine we’re looking to postpone or cancel SynthPlex, but maybe touching the same surfaces as everyone else does isn’t a great idea.

Two thoughts:

  1. we should stock up on hand sanitizer and make that available.

  2. will an overabundance of recently applied hand sanitizer damage our controllers?

(Not backing out. Just considering precautions)