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A customizable MPE MIDI controller in your tender synths and analog gear

The unique Erae Touch was one of many extra fascinating MPE controllers to return out in the previous couple of years. Nevertheless it’s been available on the market for lower than three years. So it was one thing of a shock when Embodme confirmed as much as NAMM 2024 with Erae II, the subsequent iteration of its customizable controller with vital upgrades and one surprising new characteristic.

Now, it is essential to notice that the model of the Erae II I used to be capable of take a look at out was very early prototype. There have been a number of bugs, the development positively had some tough edges. However the firm has loads of time to iron these out. The Kickstarter marketing campaign opens on February 15 with an anticipate ship date someday in June.

The Embodme Erae II at NAMM 2024.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

However the imaginative and prescient is already clear. The primary floor is essentially the identical, a singular easy expanse with RGB lights beneath it. These are used for instance numerous layouts that may be personalized. It may be a typical keyboard, a grid, faders, a step sequencer, et cetera. The design is unquestionably extra refined, even at this early stage. It additionally acknowledges that whereas the customizability of the controller was a giant draw, it maybe relied an excessive amount of on the desktop app and the taking part in floor for dealing with settings.

The up to date model has various buttons throughout the highest for shortly swapping layouts, controlling the brand new MIDI looper and accessing different settings. There’s additionally a small, however excessive decision display tucked within the prime righthand nook subsequent to a jog wheel. The viewing angles on the display had been strong and it is a lot sharp, however its measurement may pose some challenges. I am not going to evaluate it by this very early model of the firmware, however I needed to squint fairly laborious to make out the tiny textual content laying out all of the MIDI assignments.

The controller itself was very responsive, although. The brand new sensors (16,000 of them to be particular) had been capable of observe my glides and delicate shifts in strain with unbelievable accuracy. The corporate claims the taking part in floor has sub-millimeter accuracy. Clearly there isn’t any manner I may actually put that to the take a look at on the present ground however, suffice it to say, it was correct.

Close up of the screen and jog wheen on the Embodme Erae II at NAMM 2024.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

I can already inform that the Erae requires fairly a little bit of nuance, although, to get actually expressive outcomes from the aftertouch. The floor does not have a number of give, so tiny modifications in strain can lead to large modifications to the sound.

One of many shocking issues is that the Erae II could have swappable skins, form of just like the Sensel Morph (RIP) or the Joué Play, but additionally, not. The unit I performed had a silicone cowl like the unique that the corporate says is supposed for individuals who wish to play the Erae II with drum stick. It’ll will ship with a white material one although, which was particularly meant to enhance the texture and responsiveness for these taking part in with their fingers.

Altering the skins is slightly concerned, nevertheless. As a result of Embodme sees the Erae not merely as a device for the studio, however as a stay efficiency system it wished to verify the covers could be safe and standup to abuse. So that you truly must unscrew the body to pop on a brand new pores and skin. And for the reason that show on the Erae is already customizable, it isn’t bothering to have skins with explicit layouts, simply totally different supplies.

Close up of the shortcut buttons on the Embodme Erae II at NAMM 2024.

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Embodme additionally added a ton of recent connectivity choices. The unique merely had a USB-C port and a TRS MIDI out. However the Erae II could have two MIDI out ports, a MIDI in jack, two USB ports, with the power to be both a bunch or a tool, and 24 configurable analog outs that may ship gate, set off and CV to exterior gear.

Clearly it is method to early to know for positive how effectively the Erae II will standup to actual world use. Nevertheless it’s acquired a promising characteristic set and an intriguing design. If you wish to be among the many first to get your palms on one you’ll again it on Kickstarter beginning February 15 with early chicken costs of $549 or $649, relying on how early you hop on. When it reaches retail later within the yr, nevertheless, it is going to be going for $799.

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