Have you been eyeballing some really expensive, possibly out-of-your-league gear? Ever wondered if you could actually afford a Lemur, what it would be like to use it? Try to imagine whats possible but be careful… this animal eyes you back!
Touch the Lemur
The Jazzmutant Lemur is multi-touch device that allows the user to create customized interactive interfaces through a program called JazzEditor to control MIDI and OSC compatible software and hardware. Once your interface is created or edited, it is stored on the Lemur’s on-board memory and is then plug and play capable via CAT5 cable. The Lemur is slightly different than most MIDI interfaces in that several Lemurs can be connected to a LAN, and can natively control any software connected to that LAN without special programs. A small program called JazzDaemon is required to convert the Lemurs high end OSC signals into MIDI messages, but lemur will work natively if your software is OSC compatible.
The Lemur interface is designed using all of the objects that are available on standard mixers/controllers, minus mechanized platters or jog wheels, and a few that are new to the DJ controller realm. An example of one is the multi ball object. It has up to 10 balls that can be manipulated by the user and can be influenced by physics. The friction, speed, and gravity (called attraction) of your touch can all affect the path or position of each ball. Each balls x and y position can be mapped to a MIDI or OSC message, as well as other variables like decay and sustain, whether or not it has hit a wall, or if hasn’t been touched in a while.
Here’s one of the better videos showing off the functionality of the Lemur (this is not me, but will try to get some Lemurized Traktor Pro up soon)
The Lemur is an amazing little animal but it does have a few small things that need work. If you would like to personally see exactly what the interface possibilities are, head over to Jazzmutant and download the JazzEditor in the downloads section. When designing your interface, if you want to see how it would act with touches, hold down “e” and use the mouse to click your creation.
The cute and cuddly Lemur (Pros)
Great build quality
The case is built very solid and the screen is also very rugged, but the unit itself is very light. Having said this, this is not the controller to literally pound out a performance, so be gentle. There was a slight bubble in the plastic that covers the glass screen on the one that I received, but after some digging on the forums, I found that the plastic cover is required to stay put, and the bubble is a normal occurrence and should go away over time, with a few users being the exception. The Lemur comes with dual power cords, for US and EU standards, a CAT5 cable, and an install disk with everything needed to get you up and running.
Very easily installed
Lemurs don’t connect via USB or Firewire, they use your Ethernet to pass information, which is much faster. You can connect it directly to your computer or router via CAT5 or higher quality cable, or you can connect over your LAN and control any program on up to 8 LAN connected computers.
Control, Control, Control
You can create an interface and have it control anything that accepts MIDI or OSC, including DJ/VJ software, Max/MSP/PD, etc. The Lemur has 8 output targets, which can each send OSC and MIDI messages to a different program, or sets of programs depending on how your software is set up. Each target has 16 Midi channels with all standard MIDI messages, so you’re total number of bi-directional control messages just on the MIDI side is over 16,000. And if the standard bi-directional controls aren’t enough, you can define custom MIDI and OSC messages, similar to what can be achieved with any midi translator, based on any other objects condition that can be scripted into JazzEditor.
Although I have yet to test the Lemur with Ableton Live, imagine the APC 40 with the actual clip names showing up on the trigger matrix. Complete controls for anything you need basically, and as soon as OSC control is implemented in Traktor Pro, Live, and other DJ programs, you will have even more control. As a studio tool, the Lemur would be irreplaceable.
If you don’t like your layout, change it!
With a few mouse clicks and some imagination you can create an interface that looks exactly how you want using JazzEditor. The interface can include objects such as Faders, Knobs, Multifaders, Pad banks, Switch banks, Monitor windows, Buttons, and Text boxes just to name a few. Each object has its own attributes that can be permanently set or controlled by other objects, such as physics attributes like attraction, friction, speed, or other attributes such as transparency, color, size, labels, etc. Controlling one object with another object on the Lemur can lead to very complicated and precise controls over any parameter, however, most require scripting to ensure your objects behave exactly as you intend them to.
Very sensitive, unless you tell it not to be
The Lemur can distinguish over 10 different touch actions at a time, and track each movement separately. So, instead of having to use the thumb and index fingers on a single rotary knob, you can make your knobs into faders and play them like a piano, one for each finger. The sensitivity can be adjusted globally via filtering in the global setup options, or with each object via the attraction and friction variables. Also see Very sensitive under Cons.
The firmware is updated simply by running an updater on the computer that the lemur is attached to. No need for a complex firmware upgrade kits. These upgrades have been a free download from Jazzmutant’s Users area, and I would imagine that it will remain the same with future updates. The latest firmware added a slew of features that almost doubled the capability of the Lemur, and more of the small bugs seem to get hammered out with each update.
“Don’t touch the animals” Lemur (Cons)
Unless you are Daft Punk and are rocking 4 of these beasts, have “made” it as a DJ already, or have a fairly decent amount in the “splurge on yourself” funds, this controller is not for you. It used to cost $2999, but after a large sale at Jazzmutant a few months ago the price at most sites dropped to $1999. Not as bad as some of the higher end traditional setups, but is still steeper than most of the items reviewed on DJTT.
The Lemurs screen is not small, but it’s not large either. If you have huge hands, you will have to adjust the objects on your interface to your finger size, and could have problems with the smaller more complex interfaces, or memory usage.
This is not the piece of gear for those who down a 6 pack before performing. Whether or not that is a good practice aside, the Lemur is very unforgiving if your interface is unforgiving. You touch it, it does, no questions, no “do-overs”. If you meant to adjust an EQ and touch a little too close to the kill switch, you will get the kill and then it’s game over. You can’t feel for a knob or slider as with a traditional setup. Practice and being extremely familiar with your layout is required with a Lemur, however, you can label all your functions in the editor, so actually learning your layout is quicker than it seems. Plus, since most of the time you would build your own interface from scratch or modify a currently existing interface, you spend more time with the interface, hence learning the layout.
The knob objects are not re-sizable and are semi-difficult to control. I have made use of the multi-sliders and sliders to replace most things that would normally be controlled by a knob, and have found that it makes them way more responsive that they would be using a traditional knob anyway, so little or no loss.
Unless you already know a decent amount about scripting, the initial programming of your Lemur interface can be quite daunting. I, unfortunately, am not a programmer, but have learned a huge amount about scripting since needing it. In order to get the Lemur to do really interesting tricks, you have to use the internal scripting capabilities, or use Max/MSP, PureData, or a MIDI translator you are comfortable using to manipulate the MIDI or OSC messages into more complex functions. While it’s not terribly hard to learn, it is time consuming and requires a very logic oriented mindset. A large amount of scripting functions are found on the Jazzmutant Forums, but most will need to be adapted to your specific application.
The instruction manual for the Lemur is good, but not great. It will get you up and running, and show you how to get a starter interface going, but after that, you’re on your own or searching for solutions on the forums, which I discuss later.
The Lemur has an internal memory. It is limited to 2048kb. Although there is a lot that can be accomplished even with this small amount of memory, my interface for Traktor Pro is going to take up 75% or more of the available memory. It has been suggested that the new firmware might find a way to communicate a “Live Mode” interface from the computer instead of having the interfaces stored internally, however there is no official word yet on a solution. With the abundance of cheap memory, it came as quite a surprise that they hadn’t increased the memory at least a little bit.
Lemur Forums < DJTT Forums
The Jazzmutant forums have a near ghost town activity level. It doesn’t really surprise me however given the price of their products and the relatively small customer base. So, while searching them for snippets of code to use in your interface, if you fail to find something that works, you better anticipate a longer than expected wait time to get a helpful answer, or simply hack it out yourself.
Your Personal Lemur
If your searching for the ultimate in tweak-able interfaces then the Lemur is a lovable option. After only 2 weeks with my Lemur and learning scripting, I am closer to my perfect setup than I could ever achieve with another traditional controller. Call me a non-traditional control freak, but for any other control freaks out there, it may be worth the jump. The benefits of this machine far outweigh the minor bugs and small changes that have been suggested. Even though this little furry animal had completely devoured my DJ wallet, it was completely worth the wait, and the price!
What layout is being used in the first lemur picture?
Am from sao paulo brazil.. And basically i purchased a jazzmutant lemur a week ago. Today i got also the dual boot dexter wich is a touchcreen mixer, eq etc etc that i use to control cubase 5 for making tracks. Its fantastic. Basically everywhere i travel, ic an take my jazzmutant leur swich to dexter, a audio interface and my macbook pro and i have a full blown studio anywhere. Its fantastic.
To dj before i had the lemur i used to use a akai mpc 1000 for samples and live playing. Two Allen heath 1d and a computer with traktor pro. Now i am incorporating a korg mini kaos pad, ableton and who knows in the future add wii controllers or iphone to the set up. Basically the most improtant part is the sound. But you are secure you have a good sound, you have a good mixing style and stuff just add gear… Dont be a dammm jukebox… WE HAVE TO BE ENTRETAINERS. Look at good rock concerts or even great jazz players form the 60s and 70s, after 1 hour show the guys are tired, sweeting. They improve they talk to the crowd etc etc. We have to do that behind the dj booth. I like to have a lot of equip cause i think you gotta mov ein the booth do diferent stuff etc etc. You have people who can make theit two turntables light up in fire.. Look at qbert and those kids… Fantastic. Ian is great on the VCI. If you dont have the technic to actually be a samurai on one piece of gear i think it helps to do a bit on piece the other part ona nother pieace etc etc. BUT USE EVERYTHING, its not decoration.
EX DEADMAU5 uses jazzmutant, allen heath 4d, efx 1000, monome or maschine.
EX GUI BORATTO uses jazzmutant, apc40, monome.
EX BROOMBECK uses acess virus synth, jazzmutant, apc 40 and korg mini kaos pad
EX KING ROC uses akai mpc 1000, jazzmutant, korg kaos pad, boss delay pedal and some other stuff…
well all in all we should do our best. not only look at the computer and let the computer dj not us… WE have to be a performer…
we are inventing the future of djing… ITS UP TO US
+1 for the knobs/fader camp. Call me a nipple fetishist but I need the tactile feedback.
The Lemur needs to get away from the faders/knobs paradigm & more into x/y pads or something completely new that cannot be achieved with faders/knobs.(The first Borato Youtube: Easier to do this with a fader…)
I saw someone using it in Montreal at the Pre-Mutek Party & was not impressed by his skills at all.(stay nice.) I mean if you’re going to use a $2000 touch screen why are u looking at your computer screen all the time. BTW looking at the screen makes for a really boring ‘performance’, try looking at the crowd every once in a while.
At this point the Lemur seems like geekware. Too expensive to have a broad base & evolve (unlike the vci-100).
Maybe the solution of a knob/fader controler with a small customizable touchscreen is the way to go. Maybe I should just duct tape an Iphone to my VCI 100. LOL
[quote comment=”19120″][quote comment=”19116″]I mean, ok the Lemur layout really looks awesome and it’s cool to see this kind of new technologic. But to me a DJ needs real knobs and faders.[/quote]
I think a DJ needs a mixture of tools, a touchscreen is just one of the tools in that makes up our arsonal. Its not a single tool alone that makes a setup, its the sum of the parts 🙂 If you have enough money to fork out for a lumur i am sure you have enough money to fork out for another controller thats going to give you the haptic feedback where you really need it.[/quote]
Welcome to TOOLTABLISM aka Free Creative Humans Perfomancing.
All are tools for creative people.
Here are a few clips of the Brazilian DJ Gui Boratto using the Lemur along with the M-Audio Evolution Uc33e controller and a Monome controller in Ableton Live.
[quote comment=””]Allen and Heath 4d still seems to more for the money[/quote]
I wouldn’t say more for the money, but on par for the money with the regular mixer capability and soundcard built in. Tons can be done on each, but each has it’s place, basically Tactile Feedback vs. Visual Feedback and the limitations of each.
Allen and Heath 4d still seems to more for the money
Thanks for using my video. As far as mixing is concerned, I use Ableton Live exclusively with my Lemur. I do own Traktor Pro, but, I also do live remixing a la DJ Enferno. THe Lemur works out great for my use. The video was filmed the 3rd day I had my lemur. Very user friendly. There isn’t much scripting going on and most of the templates I used are from other users, just modified. The forums have great info but are usually lurked by users. I have found that the more serious users are very sharing with their templates. In my opinion, the Lemur is a empty palette for DJ and musicians and VJs to make their dream interface. I could use a real Akai MPC but I prefer to use a template made on my lemur. We are talking about control. Lemur has that.
an another solution for multitouchscreen is to use Sensomusic Usine with some tablet pc like HP tz2x
Can you really pull clip names from ableton into this?[/quote]
Sure can. You can basically script anything if you have the knowhow and patience. You can also sequence sliders, faders, and play pong on it if you want LOL. It’s a truely amazing piece of gear. Can’t wait to see what they come out with next.
i really, really want one. I wouldn’t use it for mixing though – i’d need knobs and faders for that part, but for triggering effects, clips etc then it’s a definite yes. Production – step sequencing and using some of the advanced features in Reaktor too.
Can you really pull clip names from ableton into this?
[quote post=”1384″]Endless rotaries however lack the haptic feedback of a traditional knob that have a priceless afirmitive clunk for the on and off positions that make the last message along the knob very useful for stuff like freeze effects[/quote]
Agreed but with a ring of led lights it sure helps a great deal.
[quote comment=””]Endless rotaries however lack the haptic feedback of a traditional knob that have a priceless afirmitive clunk for the on and off positions that make the last message along the knob very useful for stuff like freeze effects. It doesnt require you to look at your controller to check something is off on – its all about the right controls in the right situations. Picking the right controller for the right situation is critical to being able to really jam away uninhibited by the gear :)[/quote]
This would be truly dope if wasn’t completely touch screen. Physical decks, pitch bend, cross fader, and knobs would be dope. The touch screen would be extra, not the only thing.
Endless rotaries however lack the haptic feedback of a traditional knob that have a priceless afirmitive clunk for the on and off positions that make the last message along the knob very useful for stuff like freeze effects. It doesnt require you to look at your controller to check something is off on – its all about the right controls in the right situations. Picking the right controller for the right situation is critical to being able to really jam away uninhibited by the gear 🙂
I am just giving the iTM DJ app a second chance and I am strting to like it. The main advantage I see in the touch interfaces is not only being able to rearrange things (not possible really with iTM DJ), but in being able to get feedback from the app, especially when things are double assigned. Though I guess for knobs the solution is already there without touch, my simply making the knobs endless and having an indicator around them.
[quote comment=”19116″]I mean, ok the Lemur layout really looks awesome and it’s cool to see this kind of new technologic. But to me a DJ needs real knobs and faders.[/quote]
I think a DJ needs a mixture of tools, a touchscreen is just one of the tools in that makes up our arsonal. Its not a single tool alone that makes a setup, its the sum of the parts 🙂 If you have enough money to fork out for a lumur i am sure you have enough money to fork out for another controller thats going to give you the haptic feedback where you really need it.
I mean, ok the Lemur layout really looks awesome and it’s cool to see this kind of new technologic. But to me a DJ needs real knobs and faders.
I really like the layout that looks awesome !
Great work on your article too, I wish i could play with one of these things, but this artcile is the next best thing :p