Livid Instruments DS1 Deep Dive | NAMM 2014

Electronic Music school Dubspot wanted the perfect controller to put in front of its students — something resembling a console mixer MIDI controller that was simple, straightforward, and easily worked with any DAW and other software. However, they found that what they really wanted was the 15-year-old, long-discontinued Evolution UC-33, and that nothing else like that was really available. So the school asked Austin, Texas controller company Livid Instruments if they would build what they wanted.

The DS1’s inspiration?

Livid took on the task, and the result is the DS1 — still in the prototype stage — which first and foremost will occupy every student’s station at Dubspot starting this spring. The controller will later be available to the public, but we have to respect how Dubspot will go about it. Dave Cross of Dubspot told us that basically they will not put forth any effort to convince people that they need the DS1:

“Anyone who wants this will already know they want it.”

The DS1’s priorities were simplicity, compatibility and stability, and it’s not trying to match anything else out there for fancy features. Livid does plan to have around 15 preset memories, but for the most part, what you see is what you get: MIDI mixer channels! Cross added that they may be throwing in a bag of multi-colored knob caps to give people the option to color-code their channels strips.

The DS1 is set to be on the desk of every Dubspot student in mid-April, with a public launch still unscheduled. Livid estimated the price would be likely close to $400.

DS1dubspotlivid insturmentsnamm 2014uc-33
Comments (17)
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  • Patrick Ijsselstein

    they stole my concept!

  • Nerd

    To bad there are no led rings with endless encoders like the code vs 2 … My quest goes on …

  • Softcore

    The fact that most of the times, you will be mixing more than 8 channels (+1 master channel) means you will most of the times be needing a way to move in banks of 8s. Unfortunately this also means that you need to have a way to “recall” the new values of the parameters mapped – usually achieved with motorized faders and LED rings. Don’t get me wrong, Livid makes quality stuff, but I ‘ve been searching years on the market for a cheaper alternative to Mackie Control Universal Pro and unfortunately DS1 isnt the one. Now go check out Behringer’s x-touch controller series and see what Im talking about.
    Im sure there will be criticism regarding Behringer’s build quality – but Im just referring to functionality – NOT build quality.

    • orge

      Agree that, to me, it would make a lot more sense with LED encoders. Assuming this wasn’t purely a cost decision, I would be curious to hear why dubspot didn’t opt for these in their design?

    • James

      I try over and over again to try to understand why anyone makes 8 channel mixers at all. I haven’t succeeded.

  • Robert

    While this is beautiful and the perfect compliment to a launchpad, $400 is simply just a lot of money for a Midi Controller like this, though you are probably paying a lot for the build quality and unique features.

    Things like the expression pedal input are awesome, but they won’t appeal to the average MIDI controller head unfortunately. With the APC 40 or Novation Zero going for $249, with albeit, 1/4 and 1/2 the knobs respectively, it’s definitely a segmented customer market they’re going for.

    If they add a soundcard though, someone hit me up.

    • Robert

      Also note that at Dubspot, each student desk has an AKAI MPK 25 and an APC 40, so it seems they will be replacing the APC 40s with this, getting their students used to the DS1, which would naturally make the students want to buy it after putting some hours on it and getting used to the nice feel, and thus, making a smart win-win situation for both DubSpot and Livid.

  • Guben Hinden

    pretty nice and pretty overpriced.

    • antifm

      TAG! Youre it. Im in your boat on this one

  • Mark

    Amazing how so many logical setups for controllers simply are n’t considered. I was looking for this when was considering DJ’ing with ableton.
    There are so many more setups that ‘ll work so much better in the digital age then 4 channels + 2 jogs.
    Nice one dubspot!

  • CoolButDarn

    This is just a revamped – Behringer BCR2000. Which if the price point is anywhere near $400, I’d be surprised many people would even buy it.

    • Vader Trackerz

      bcr have crapy plastic and look like a toy when you really use it (got an old bcr and bfr who don’t work at all after 1 year)…. livid make quality things (got 2 livid controller, if a man attack me, i can’t fight with my controllers and then play with them XD )

    • Softcore

      Not even! No motorized faders – no LED rings…no feedback when re-mapping.

  • Aken

    Very nice looking tool. It would perfectly fit into my setup. Can’t wait ^^

  • Sketch

    This looks ideal for controlling effects when DJing with Ableton, and other than an APC, I really haven’t seen many solutions for that. Much prefer this to Livid’s recent Live controller. Going on my RGAS list

    • Patrick Ijsselstein

      how about this then?