Tuna Knobs and the Future of Mobile DJ Apps

Touch devices in a DJ’s gear bag is starting to become more of a common practice with better designed applications and faster devices. More performers, like The Glitch Mob, James Zabiela, and Kill Paris, are starting to rely on using touch devices in their sets. Even so, a group of DJs from the Netherlands feel there is something missing that many DJs require in a controller. Tuna Knobs are the world’s first control knobs for your touch screen. Keep reading for more about how Tuna Knobs work, what they can do for the DJ, and the team behind the project.

What are these things?: Tuna Knobs are a stylus in the shape of a knob with a small axis in the middle. The hardware sticks to your device using a micro suction cup and translate a turning movement to a touch command. Tuna Knobs are currently supported by TouchOSC, Korg iMS-20, Korg iElectribe, and iDJ2GO applications.

How can the Tuna Knobs improve performances?: These knobs provide the precision and tactile element to a wide variety of music manipulation software. In conjunction with the applications above, a performance can now be given through custom software without the possibility of brush a finger too far or accidentally activating a button. Tuna Knobs provide the artist with the required mobility and versatility that many apps seemed to lack.

Who’s behind Tuna Knobs?: Tuna Knobs launched on July 7th, 2014 through a Kickstarter campaign led by Tweetonig, a Netherlands based company invested in engineering fun and challenging new products. Samuel Verburg is an intern with Tweetonig and the creator of Tuna Knobs. A DJ himself, Samuel was intrigued by the great iPad apps for making music but had ways of innovating the technology.

“ Playing around with apps like TouchOSC and Korg iElectribe I felt something was missing. I wanted more precise control. I wanted knobs.” – Samuel Verburg via Kickstarter

The Tuna Knobs Kickstarter has been funded by 352 backers totaling over $23,000 in funds with 28 days left to back the project. The knobs are currently only available through backing the Kickstarter ,for a minimum pledge of $12 (11 €) which will get you one Tuna Knob. There are various levels of pledging that include more Tuna Knobs and various other gifts. Tuna Knobs secured through pledges are set to ship in November of this year.

Tuna Knobs may be the hardware DJs having been looking for to really implement the iPad into a set. The big question is if knobs are enough to make software truly applicable to professionals or will they become a nice addition to a nifty app that only costs $5? What may be interesting is seeing the project go beyond knobs to faders and other hardware allowing a DJ to create their own versatile controller via the applications on their device.

What do you think about this new venture? Would you be more inclined to use touch based apps if you had a set of Tuna Knobs? Let us know below in the comments!

Learn more about the Tuna Knobs Kickstarter Campaign and pledge to get Tuna Knobs.

Looking for special knobs for your physical controller? Visit the DJTT Store to get your hands on the customizable, versatile Chroma Caps!

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Comments (16)
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  • Kilian

    I am going to buy them fur sure, its a great gadget to play on a little party and its not that bad if the Tablet/iPad dies.

  • forsure

    their advertising technique in the video should focus on the positive benefits
    and not resort to worse-case-scenario scare tactics:

    NOBODY wants a dozen nerds angrily staring at your balsa wood.

    • Dean Zulueta

      I actually did miss this. It seems reasonable that the company of the app comes out with the add ons. The obvious fact is they only will fit the for factor of the app but could be used in other apps, I’m assuming, if the mapping was built to scale. My questions would be, for both products, the overall responsiveness of the add on. This is something I personally would consider purchasing. I may not be ready to implement the iPad into my set but it still would be a cool gadget none the less.

    • Toontown

      I knew I had seen this before somewhere…

  • arianvp

    The concept is cool but i worry that the suction might not be strong enough when youre really crunching and flicking your FX. Would be horrible if the knob would just pop off during heavy use. But hey, im just speculating. Cant wait for a review.

    • Dean Zulueta

      That is a very true concern, especially with sunction cups. I’m assuming these guys have taken that concern into account and the reviews of the product when released will let us know how well they tackled it.

      Side note, this is something I worry about physical controllers as well. Many a time I have yanked off a knob due to my own excitement!

  • Scootmg

    Haha this is soooo the future… every one has always wanted modular controllers. Well there it is right under our nose… as touch screens get better and apps are programmed with these addons in mind… sky is the limit.

    As simple as it is… these guys are visionaries.

    • Unreallystic

      aye, I produce in reason and with all the knobs associated with the various built in synths, I’ve been wanting a way to make it more tactile. Using a touchscreen device seems to be the way to go.

  • killmedj

    Dope with a capitol D!!!!