Deadmau5’s Booth: A Glimpse At Live Production With A Giant Touchscreen

Controllers come in all shapes and sizes, yet producers will still tinker with the device to create a custom workflow. iPads and other tablets make nice alternatives because an artist can build a custom controller within the app, however, the amount of space is always an issue. Then there are artists who take tablets to the next level and use a giant touch screen, for example the Microsoft Perceptive Pixel screen, to create enormous, tactile controllers. A prominent example is Deadmau5 who can be seen creating a custom controller using a 55’’ touch-screen, below.

Giant Tablet, Multiple Possibilities

The tablet shown in the above video is Microsoft’s Perspective Pixel device. At 55’’, this is one of the biggest touch displays running as a functional touch device. Deadmau5 purchased the device in order to be implemented into his future tours and performances. This device runs Windows 8.1 just like any other Microsoft tablet would and a producer or DJ could run any compatible app to create a custom MIDI controller, such as Touch OSC.

Here’s his just-posted Instagram view of a 1st person view from his onstage booth:

Everyone has seen a producer “play” a set through a pair of CDJs. Tablets and especially ones of this magnitude can be used as either a custom controller or platform to play a song using clips and live production, taking the whole set out of a traditional festival DJ feeling and into a true live performance vibe.

Future Trend in Music Performances?

This way of performing may not be any less complex than working with synthesizers, turntables, mixers, and sound machines, but it does seem a lot more engaging. A system like the one Deadmau5 demonstrates will keep a performer much busier during the entire set. That being said, this system isn’t cheap and I wouldn’t recommend it for the average DJ. However, if this were to become a more accepted form of performing, we may see a lot more producer creating a more hands-on experience. Giant touch screens are offering what the tablet offers as a medium for DJing only on a much better and bigger scale.

What are your thoughts on Deadmau5’s giant tablet? Can you see your favorite artist using this in their set?

deadmau5deadmau5 boothgiant touchscreenmicrosoft perspective pixelOSCtablettouchscreen
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  • ???????????DJ?????????????????????????? | soundrope

    […] ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Virus TI????????Kontrol X1????2011????????Microsoft Perspective Pixel????????????????????????Perspective Pixel??????????????????????????DJ Techtools?????????????? […]

  • ???DJ??????????????????????? | soundrope

    […] Joel Zimmerman?Deadmau5????????????????????DJ?????????????Top100DJ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Virus TI????????Kontrol X1 (???2011????)??? ???Microsoft Perspective Pixel???????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? […]

  • Scoox

    My set-up is 2 x Launchpads with custom Traktor mappings (including several pages), and an iPad with Lemur. When space and portability are not an issue I occasionally throw in a Behringer BCR2000. The Launchpad S is great: inexpensive, small, robust, and pretty. It is also scalable: I can connect any number of Launhcpads and select different banks on each to make more parameters available simultaneously. A lot controllers are too big to be portable and use knobs to control parameters that in practice are better suited to buttons.

  • trent

    Its the future if you get paid a minimum of $10K per set. I don’t see it as a viable option for regular DJ’s YET, but when the prices come down this would be incredible. Touch screens are everywhere now anyway, and DJ’s have been faking so much (ie pretending to turn knobs and nothing happens) that it would be a welcome change.

  • What Your Favorite DJs Are Using To Control Their Live Performances | Vibin FM News

    […] Unafraid of the unknown, Joel has always been on the cutting edge of the performance gear and even back in 2011 he was doubling the industry standard of production value. Now let’s flash back to 2014 and take a look at his newest piece, the Microsoft Perspective Pixel. Watch the clip and if you’re intrigued, read more here. […]

  • What Unique Gear Do Touring DJs/Producers Use? | DJ TechTools

    […] Joel Zimmerman quite often argues that he’s nothing like the rest of the entrants in the top 100 in that his sets often diverge from traditional “DJing” entirely. We don’t disagree – his setup constantly seems under flux. The photo above shows the length to which he’s willing to take “live production” – with a full set of modular synthesizers, a mixing desk, a Virus TI synthesizer, and a Kontrol X1 (but this was all the way back in 2011). Recently we’ve seen him using something a bit more odd – a new Microsoft Perspective Pixel device. Watch a quick clip of it in action below, or read more here. […]

  • AX11

    50″ – wow. That’s going to be one huge ‘Play’ button…

  • 1000 Cutts

    lovin that little clip, not DeadMau5 biggest fan from a music perspective but liking his setups..

  • x

    dont forget to draw the sync buttons

  • Samuel Agius

    I prefer playing with old school vinyl’s and not with this new shit,

    • Alan Smithson

      How do you know? Have you tried it?

  • rob

    what is the software?!?! touch osc or lemur or something custom or mods thereof?

    • Alan Smithson

      Our software is available now, Emulator PRO 1.5 is a complete multitouch MIDI controller.

      • Peter

        duh. Get over it.

    • davepermen

      in deadmau5′ case, it’s most likely custom made. it’s win8 based, could be some touch osc style build. and remotes ableton live afaik.

  • SkyJET

    It’s all about entertainment.

  • Buts

    IIRC, Deadmau5 doesn’t do a lot of live remixing? As far as I know, the audio part of his shows is relatively invariable. What the tablet does is controlling the visual effects and some sound effects such as filters, which is shown in the video posted on Instagram.

  • Toontown


    • Alan Smithson

      Thanks for your opinion on this…we agree!

  • efrazable

    Not to be “that guy” but he posted this 10 months ago.

    • Dean Zulueta

      Yes he did. We thought it might be a good point to make now with all the touch related news the past couple of months.

  • Kelsey B

    I like the idea, but I would still go with physical controls. With physical controls at least I know where I am and what I am doing without looking. I normally have my controller infront of the the dance floor with my laptop off to the side so it’s slightly out the way, means I don’t have to look at it for most of my set!

    • Dean Zulueta

      Now if the controller was also your computer, would that change things? With Deadmau5’s set-up, everything is done with that controller essentially. Where he placed the controller was very strategic because he is elevated and when he looks down he sees the crowd too. I definitely understand though why physical controllers are a preference though.

  • Brian K / X the Owl

    No tactile feedback is a dealbreaker for me. We don’t need more generations of DJs staring at laptops/screens/tablets throughout their entire set.

    • davepermen

      in his case, you don’t know where he looks, anyways. and his controls are typically huge so he doesn’t have to look towards them to still see them. it’s not the first time he uses giant Touchscreens to do stuff.

    • Alan Smithson

      Brian, I thought the same, but really you get any “feedback” from your knobs now…Its not like they have motors in them (except turntables obviously). People said that you needed buttons on cell phones. Where is Blackberry now?

      • Brian K / X the Owl

        I don’t necessarily mean active feedback, but the feedback you get from the sense of touch from actual physical controls. I can use my “traditional” mixer without having to look at it, depending on what i’m doing of course. This leaves my eyes free to look at a CDJ, read the crowd, flag someone down for a beer, find the next track, etc etc etc. And I have to worry much less about screwing up turning a knob than a touchscreen monitor accurately picking up the movement of my finger.

    • Mr P

      I don’t understand the reference to this?

      • UnArmoored

        oh sorry…. was testing out some ‘imbed’ features

  • Vader Trackerz

    completly useless for me i think, just a toy…….

    • Toontown

      This is what people said about DJ controllers. Not trying to be snarky, just stating a fact.

      • Vader Trackerz

        what the point to have a so much big screen with enormous control???? seriously…… it’s a toy, and i like all the controllers and all kind of mix but this…. it’s useless

        • Vader Trackerz

          and i don’t know why you talk to me about dj controllers?? i’m talking about this screen, that’s all

          • Toontown

            I’m simply trying to give you a little bit of perspective. Many people said when controllers came out that they were just little toys and nobody will take them seriously. This turned out to be a huge fallacy. You never know–large touchscreens could be the next thing that displaces controllers.

          • Vader Trackerz

            i understand what you say but the problem for me with this kind of controllers that they don’t give so much than the physics controllers even if they are modular, and i can’t imagine turn a knob without touching it 😉
            but maybe it’s the future (not for me, mawzer controllers was the future or livid elements are future for me 😉 )

          • Vader Trackerz

            yes, i have an ipad too, i have try a lot of things to control my hardware, but sorry, nothing will remplace my bunch of livids instruments controller, my xone 4d as principal mixer, and all the little things i have in live (1 midifighter 3d, 1 custom midifighter made for me by a friend with 64 arcade buttons, a launchcontrol)

            i like knob and fader, and i have no sensation when i touch a screen; i need to look where are my fingers cause i have no sensation, with my hardware, i can look away and fell the knobs/fader/buttons, i know what i do and i can do nice tricks 🙂

            and honnestly, when you use your entire hand just for a volume fader, i use only 2 fingers dude 😉

          • davepermen

            @vadertrackerz:disqus there are the artists that Change instruments per track (walk off stage, grab next one). this is similar: Change your whole Setup per track (or in the middle of a track) just like switching an app on your phone. for those who create their own Music (as deadmau5 does, obviously), VERY powerful.

          • Vader Trackerz

            ok ok, but sorry, i create my music too and i play drum&bass live about 2 or 3 hours and i don’t need to change my set up.
            honnestly when you use real instruments such as guitar or keyboard i can understand but with our powerfull daw, you can easyly do what you want, without changing set up. maybe for the show and the crowd but when i saw the crowd going mad when skryllex “play” his tracks, i think the crowd don’t understand anything on the construction of a track or the way you can play it live most of the times. nah really it’s a toy for golden boy dj this product, you’ll never convice me 🙂

          • davepermen

            “you’ll never convince me”.. hey, look, Sounds like a nice way to discuss about it 😀 i’m a musician and a developer, and i totally see the Point of it. maybe open your mind a Little?

        • davepermen

          it’s adaptive to the current track, and can Change to be exactly what’s needed at that Point. he’s shown to use it that way before. less, bigger controls, but the ones needed atm. definitely not useless.

        • Alan Smithson

          Well, it is a little different when the crowd can see what you are doing… We invented this 4 years ago!

  • Sketch

    I’ve been imagining a future involving this style of performing for a while and it seems to me this is where the future of DJing and performance is going. I like it though, I’m intrigued to see where it goes and it’s good to see Microsoft in the foreground for a change.
    Also, I want one. 😀

      • Sandeep

        Time machine 🙂

      • Dean Zulueta

        I remember this! How are things going over there at SmithsonMartin?

  • pjweber

    Most importantly, during the play set does not fill the screen blue screen of ‘death’ from Microsoft!