We first saw the Intech Studio Grid system back in April. It seems to be a popular idea, to have a MIDI controller that you can adapt and customise, but perhaps the ROLI Blocks is the closest thing I’ve seen to actually get to market. Grid is about to make its debut on the Indiegogo crowdfunding website and they are going to give it a go.
Probably the best approach to modular controllers is to have smaller controllers that function on their own which can be connected to others to expand the experience. And that’s what Intech Studio have done. It does have immediate similarities to the ROLI Blocks but this is all about a hardware experience – no futuristic materials, Grid is all knobs, faders and buttons.
Currently, there are three modules. One with 16 buttons, another with 16 knobs and another with 4 buttons, 4 faders and 4 knobs. They are all laid out in a 4×4 grid (hence the name I guess) are nicely compact and surprisingly thin. They can snap together on all four sides and appear to start working immediately as you can see in this video.
You start with one module connected via USB to your computer. Then the position of the modules relative to the first module determines the specific configuration applied to the controller. So you can rearrange your modules, mid-set, and the configuration of what’s being controlled changes. Details on the software editor and how it all does what it appears to do are yet to be released.
The three starting modules are great choices. You can easily see how you would use them and arrange them for controlling all sorts of stuff. But they want to do more and part of the crowd-funding is the hope to source further development cash. One module they’ve got cooking already is the ANA4 which they say provides a bridge between analog and modular synthesizers and your computer – that could get very interesting.
This is looking great. If they can get the pricing right then they could be onto a winner. The Indiegogo campaign launches on the 14th November.