Vitalic’s Custom KOCMOC Controller With Built-In Ableton

Custom gear in a heavily saturated world of gear is rare – but French producer and live performer Vitalic has a unique controller with Ableton built-in. Watch the custom unit in action from a show in Paris, then keep reading to learn more about the features and design.

Vitalic’s KOCMOC In Action

Vitalic has a pretty incredible live show. It’s a paired-down studio setup, with Ableton Live at the core and a few pieces of outboard gear. If you haven’t seen him in action, tap into this fun set live streamed from Paris on Monday night by Cercle:

Vitalic Official live @ Grand Marché Stalingrad – La Rotonde

Vitalic Official live @ Grand Marché Stalingrad – La Rotonde

Thanks to: Mr. After Party, Trax Magazine, TSUGI, Radio FG, Techno Moves, Techno Perfect, Track? ID., TECH-MINIMAL SOUND, We Are Pulse, Techno Perfect.

Posted by Cercle on Monday, November 20, 2017

Gear used:

More Shots + Feature Set of KOCMOC

The controller has a screen in the center of it – which from many shots in the livestream, appears to be running Ableton Live in Session mode. This looks like a pretty nice way to remove your laptop from the stage, but wouldn’t it make more sense to increase the resolution some on this screen to make it easier to see what’s going on?

Yup, that’s Ableton all right.

To the right of the KOCMOC is an Apple Magic Trackpad. This is a good indication (but not a guarantee) that the brains of the unit is a Mac (perhaps a Mac Mini or headless laptop):

Note the grey square below Vitalic’s right elbow – that’s an Apple Magic Trackpad!

On either side of the KOCMOC appear to be power, ethernet, MIDI and audio connections. We’re not entirely sure of the I/O capacities of the device – but the audio connections do seem to be limited. Perhaps there’s an external soundcard in the mix that’s being used with the line mixer on the left side.

Another view from above:

After watching the set embedded above, it looks like Vitalic uses the knobs on either side of the screen as filters and device control knobs. The pads underneath are clip launchers (and maybe also mapped to step sequencers, but it’s unclear). The faders along the bottom of the screen are (fairly obviously) for each channel in Ableton.

Who Built It?

This unit has all the tell-tale signs of being a Livid Instruments design – the buttons used are very similar to other Livid controllers like the cntrl:r they designed with Richie Hawtin:

Know of more unique custom controllers that artists are using? Share a video of them in action in the comments and we’ll feature them if they rock!


ableton liveCustomcustom dj gearcustom gearcustom midi controllerskocmocparisvitalic
Comments (12)
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  • Kenny

    Livid sells a full range of individual DIY controller components. Knobs, faders, midi control boards, etc. It’s quite possible that the Livid parts were used even though it wasn’t built by Livid.

  • ??? ????

    The mixer is Midas Venice F-16, it has an integrated firewire soundcard…

  • Alberto Mateos

    Come on guys, those buttons can be purchased at every electronic components store…. that doesn’t mean that controller has been built by Livid


    in Cyrillic “KOCMOC” its “cosmos”, and it sounds the same

  • Max

    The Soundcard is clearly a motu ultralite built into the bottom of it, hence the green display.
    I dont see why one would built a laptop, soundcard and controller into one bulky box tho…

  • William Gibson

    That thing is Livid ALL DAY…..

  • Martín Axel Llorca

    Looks nice!, i always liked “standalone” controllers or controllers with embedded software, the perfect spot between controller+computer and analog gear.
    Depending on a computer, carring it arround, the space it takes on the desk and also all the problems with OS updates and drivers are things that always put me down, but i love all the opportunities you have with controllers.