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Livid Launches Elements, A Modular Controller System

Livid today announced the release of their new modular controllers, allowing performers with advanced MIDI control needs to slide in custom modules into a Eurorack-style enclosure.  While we’d seen a hint of this release at NAMM, the final details of the system, including price, weren’t released until today. Read on for the full press release and pricing information.


Manufacturer:
Livid Instruments
Cost:
$950 for the dual rack bundle (above, left), $650 for the single rack bundle (above, right), and ~$100 for most of the standalone modules.
Release Date: Available Now
What We Like: A wonderful range of customizability, arcade buttons
What’s Missing: DJ-booth friendly form factor, more diverse and aesthetically-pleasing modules

The new Livid Elements system is inspired by analog synthesizer rack design, allowing users to insert and remove whatever modules make the most sense for their particular setup. Naturally, many younger users won’t have a spare case lying around that these modules would fit into, so Livid is also selling the cases in bundles and as standalone empty units. The cases have MIDI I/O, USB, and an optional power plug.

Assembling the racks don’t require any solder or advanced electrical engineering skills-  Livid claims that the Elements system is plug-and-play, and setting up the units are simple with the configuration utility – we’ll only know for sure once we’ve had a chance to try it out ourselves.

One of the most interesting things about this project to the DJ community is that Livid is opening up the development process for modules to artists, companies, and designers – meaning that they’re building an open system that others can actually take advantage of and build their own control surfaces for. Promotional video (only vaguely cheesy!) and press release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Livid Instruments Announces Elements, a Modular MIDI Controller

June 19th, 2012, Austin, TX – Livid Instruments announced today Elements, their new modular controller platform. Elements is based on the popular eurorack modular format and provides endless possibilities for creating your own MIDI controller. Finally: DJs, VJs, and musicians can create their own controllers without any soldering, engineering, or complicated assembly required.

“We’ve been dreaming up a modular controller since the very first days of Livid”, states Travis Redding, Livid’s Director of Hardware. Redding, who is responsible for the design of Elements has been working over two years on the layout, configuration, and module integration of this system. Redding explains “We knew we didn’t want a proprietary modular product. We wanted to create a simple, open system that can be used by anyone wanting to assemble their own controller, and make it easy for others to make controller modules. Our vision was that this should be larger than just a Livid product, an easily adoptable format for the growing modular movement”.

Inspired by analog modular synths, Element modules come in many different configurations and layouts so you can easily remix the modules to create your own MIDI controller. Each module connects to the Elements Brain for easy plug-and-play configuration and setup. Modules are housed in Eurorack cases and result in a plug-and-play MIDI controller. The Elements configuration software makes it simple to configure your very own system. The standardized modular format allows for an incredible amount of flexibility and expansion, and Livid is has a variety of cases and modules available from their online store.

With a USB port, MIDI in and out jacks, and an optional 5v power supply, Elements is a massively flexible controller solution. Whether performing with Ableton Live, mixing visuals with Cell DNA, DJing with Traktor, or controlling your favorite analog gear, Elements provides a wide range of control possibilities.

In addition to their own Elements modules, Livid has created a Hardware Development Kit (HDK) for other companies, artists, and designers looking to create and share their own modules. The Elements system allows buttons, rotary potentiometers, faders, pressure sensitive pads, accelerometers, LEDs, encoders, sensors, and other analog devices to be connected through Livid and third-party modules.

For more information visit lividinstruments.com/hardware_elements.php

What would you build into your dream module in this system? Let us know in the comments.  


  • No module with a crossfader?

  • Anonymous

    cute toy. i wonder what the brain alone would cost?? DIY a custom mixing desk lol

  • It could be worth the money but there are missing some things
    – A module with 4 faders, and a crossfader (add a 4×4 potentiometers module and you have a dj mixer)
    – A module with a x/y touchpad and 4 buttons (the buttons mapped to changing x/y pad layer)
    – All modules with 
    rotary potentiometers should have an option on the website (like DJTT have with coloring your midifighter) to replace individual potentiometers with encoders. This is mainly for Ableton Live devices!
    – A module with joysticks
    – A module with 2×2 mpc pads- All buttons should have at least 3 leds (like the launchpad) for the Ableton user.
    – an Ableton Live effect module: 8 encoders, on/off, next/previous device, next/previous track, a save button, a button to change to the second layer and a button to map layer 1 or 2 to the selected device
    What also misses (only for people who do not want, or do not need to buy the livid racks) is a module with a usb port and midi in + out. There should be a big browsing encoder and minimal 4 buttons

    i’m working my ideas out in powerpoint (sorry, i don’t have better :D) and i will post it here in a few days:
    https://sites.google.com/site/arackaudio/livid-elements-ideas 

  • Loudist

    Just the idea of the Hardware Dev Kit has given me a hard-on. I’ve already designed about 60 modules. Livid are going to overwhelmed…

  • RockingClub

    Missing a module with more than one row of (4) endless encoders…

  • 11kyle Mac

    It’s a good idea in my opinion, Livid has the right idea. Maybe once there is more variety in the modules I’ll consider it. I’ve always like the whole idea of modular setups like this, like modular synths etc. so good idea Livid!

  • Deecodameeko

    all I can say is YES!

  • Brian Bagshaw

    For that price, DIY is still king

  • Woody Aki

    What, no crossfade? 🙁

  • Anonymous

    Good idea. However, is it me, or does the “polish” in the engineering look like it is lacking in many ways? I mean, elongated holes in a faceplate are an engineering no-no. The gaps between buttons and faceplate are terribly uneven and ugly. The “mother board” sits slanted at the bottom (at least in the video). Sorry Livid, but you need to get more Steve Jobs like.;)

    scamo

  • Tarek

    I guess Bill Gates will sale his os for this 70 look computer #wtf

  • rk1

    For 950,  I can get 2 launchpads, 2 Kontrol x1, 1 Kontrol k1, usb hub, and probably still have room for something else.  Furturistic and funkier lights.

    • Djmarcdarwin

       I agree but most laptops only have 3 USB ports (4 if you are lucky). USB hubs are messy to use…

  • Campark43

    Seriously, touchscreen control module. Unless u guys r going for the 1980’s geek look which seems to sadly b popular these days.

  • Campark43

    How about a couple joysticks and u can play mortal combat.

  • Andrew Andreasen

    I agree with the journalist – I’m disappointed with the variety of modules advertised. Love the idea of modular MIDI setup, but the lack of variety leaves much wanting (MPC pads especially). Hell, Behringer has a better conglomerate of modular MIDI controllers coming, out in my opinion. 

    • I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if Livid develops a greater variety of modules in the months to come.  I’m sure they will if demand is high enough.  They should have some sort of suggestion box type deal (e-mail account or something) where we can suggest what we’d like to see in new modules.

  • yeah i saw this a few days ago,i thought it was interesting but i am very displeased with the design and quality,if dj tech tools teamed up with livid and recreated this product with amazing features than i would absolutely buy it.

    • Rbx

       At the end of the video they did say that there is a hardware development kit (HDK) for third party companies to build onto the system, perhaps that means a DJTT series in the rack sometime in the future…

  • JUST TAKE MY MONEY NOW LIVID!!!!

  • Feroxz

    I want a X/Y Touchpad module!

    Great concept!

  • reminixe

    Can you buy without the racks?  if not, that is a complete dealbreaker.

    • awkwerd

      It’s stated in the video and in the aritcle that you can buy just the modules. “~$100 for most of the standalone modules” and you can the use them in your own racks. But I’m pretty sure they are just rack mounts, not small useable modules.

      • reminixe

        i didnt watch the video, but the text said they sold cases in bundles or by themselves, not the modules themselves.  haha, i guess i shoulda realized what they meant 😛

  • Rutger Willems

    for me it would be equal to 1,5 midifighter 😛