Buchla, famous for doing things in their own, inimitable style, have now made the third iteration of that classic Music Easel keyboard design available as the LEM218v3.
Ah, the age-old East Coast vs West Coast synthesis debates still rages on to this day. Just check out Marc Doty’s excellent series of videos! But one of Buchla’s more compelling designs was the wonderful Buchla Music Easel and its hugely expressive touch sensitive keyboard. It’s a design paradigm that has been mimicked by many. Moog themselves implemented it most recently in their Animoog Z instrument for iOS and macOS. Arturia did something similar with the brilliant MicroFreak, albeit in a somewhat less expressive way.
LEM218v3 – Named After The Apollo Lunar Module
Now you too can have the delight of the Buchla capacitive keyboard at your fingertips with the LEM218v3 Touch Activated Voltage Source! That’s quite a mouthful so we’ll just call it the LEM218 from here on in. Sporting the classic red and blue design that instantly evokes memories of the Music Easel, the LEM218v3 is capable of connecting to your gear in a myriad ways. USB-C might seem almost sacrilegious to the faithful. Regardless, you can now use this with your computer or mobile device. I wonder how well this might integrate with Arturia’s software version of the Music Easel?
The Perfect Eurorack Controller
However, it is this correspondents opinion that the LEM218v3 will find its largest market in the world of Eurorack. Four 3.5mm jacks output 1v/octave pitch, 0-8 volts pressure, touchstrip voltage, and gate outputs for use with your favourite Eurorack modules. And it works brilliantly well with your existing Buchla gear right out of the box. The keyboard outputs note name, channel pressure, and velocity for every note, along with sustain controls from a pedal.
The Swiss Army Knife for Modular?
Polyphonic MIDI mode lets you play chords. The touchstrip can act as a pitch bend control, or as a mod wheel for additional expressive control. Easily configured using the front panel controls, you can send notes and controls on any MIDI channel. It will also work as a kind of interface for your MIDI gear. Connect it up to the LEM218v3 and it will spit out CV and gates to control your modular.
If you’ve been looking for Buchla style control with your setup without the sometime large price tag, this could be for you. That said, the LEM218v3 still weighs in at a slightly eye watering $1,299 USD. For that money, you are getting much more than just a keyboard controller. And you’re getting the classic Buchla quality and reputation. What price for that?
- Buchla LEM218v3 Controller: Buchla
- Buchla LEM218v3: Buchla