The Bastl Instruments Collective, as they like to be known, has been teasing a controller for the LXR drum machine for about 18 months. Named for the 60 knobs that cover the front panel we’re never quite sure if they’ve settled on “60Knobs” or “SixtyKnobs”. It plugs directly into the LXR via MIDI and gives you instant control over almost every parameter.
60Knobs – one drum machine
Why they have focused all this attention on the LXR drum machine is a little unclear, other than the fact they believe it to be “incredibly powerful”. Their aim was to unleash the power in the box by giving you tactile control over everything it could map itself to. The LXR is a drum synthesizer with 6 different instruments, each with over 30 parameters to tweak. It has 7 sequencer tracks and 128 steps and is rather low on knobby control. Although you can get to all the parameters and modulation options via the menu it’s not ideal for live performance or jamming.
Well, you no longer have to worry about that – the 60Knobs is the expander every LXR user needs.
But it’s not a one trick pony. It can also happily act as a controller for any MIDI device. It can kick out CC, NRPN and some special love for the Yamaha DX7 via sysex. You can store 5 presets for controlling and switching between different devices.
Luckily it comes with a software editor that gives you complete editing control over every knob and their assignments.
And the best thing is that it only comes in a kit. So if you ever wanted to learn how to solder pots onto a PCB then you’ll have 60 to practice on in one project. You’ll be an expert by the end. The DIY kit costs €129 plus €29 for your choice of enclosure. Either a regular “flat” enclosure or the LXR version which matches the dimensions of the drum machine.
I’m not entirely sure why they’ve put the emphasis on what is for me a quite obscure drum machine, rather than pushing the MIDI controller angle. But they obviously have a love for it and it definitely fulfils the brief of bringing out the power of the LXR. Bastl do their own thing for their own reasons and that’s what makes them awesome.
More information on the website.