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HYPE A fully customisable and

8.0 7.0 8.0



extendable controller built using high quality components that are a tweaker’s dream come true.

GRIPE The lack of soundcard and high

get Angry, get LiviD L

Don’t The new CNTRL:R hardware controller from Livid is out to drive us wild

ivid have been around for a while now, carving out a niche in the market with their less-is-more approach to hardware controllers. Stylish as well as functional, they’ve the added bonus of being highly customisable. The latest controller to be unleashed on the world of DJing and electronic music from

Livid is the CNTRL:R which has seen them team up with techno kingpin Richie Hawtin for the design and development of the unit, along with some of the other artists from his M-nus label. In keeping with Livid’s usual design ethos, the CNTRL:R has lots of knobs, buttons and faders, but no labels on the controls or the inputs and outputs on the rear of the unit. The result is a controller that looks very slick, professional and clean. The all-metal construction of the CNTRL:R adds to the professional finish, without adding too much weight, and the balance between portability and ruggedness has been pulled off with aplomb by Livid.

COMPACT The unit manages to cram an awful lot of buttons, faders and encoders into a compact area without making the control surface cluttered or cramped. The faders and rotary encoder knobs all have a lovely action, they have the exact right stiffness, and feel like they will last a long time. The buttons are split into two sections. In the middle of the controller, there are 16 buttons adjourned by a selection of four faders. Below this are another 32 buttons that run along the bottom of the control surface; these are smaller in size than the 16 that dominate the mid section. The spacing and shape of the buttons work together to give a fantastic performance interface, without the worry of fingers slipping when things are getting frantic in the DJ booth. The only possible gripe anyone could have with the style of the buttons is the fact that they are rubberised with a long throw, which means they don’t have quite the same precise and quick action seen on other controllers, but this is a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things. Every single knob and button found on the CNTRL:R has a lovely multicolour LED backlight that can also be fully customised using Livid’s controller editor, to get the absolute best control and feedback between the CNTRL:R’s hardware and software. DJs and performers at the cutting edge will love the amount of control they have over the way they use the CNTRL:R as a standalone unit, and there’s the possibility

PRICE $699


price tag mean that this controller is not going to be for everyone.

The CNTRL:R is a refreshing change from the one-size- fits-all approach most manufacturers take, and is likely to find a cult following among those who are willing to take the time to get the most from this controller.


of further expanding the unit using Livid’s Builder Series BYOB circuit-boards to create completely custom add-on controller units with foot controllers, sensors, accelerometers and buttons to name just a few of the options. This is sure to gain the CNTRL:R a lot of attention, especially from artists who like to get hands-on with the designing of their set-ups.

DEEP INTEGRATION The CNTRL:R looks like an obvious fit with Ableton and the control scripts that can be downloaded from Livid’s website provide a very slick and deep integration with Ableton Live without needing to customise anything. Traktor users are not left out either, and the CNTRL:R does not disappoint when put in control of Traktor. However, when the CNTRL:R is used together with Max For Live, the real potential of this controller is fully revealed, and it’s a match made in heaven for hardcore tweakers.

The CNTRL:R is undoubtedly a well-built and nicely designed bit of kit that will find favor with the more techy DJs and musicians. This is a fantastic fit for anyone who is looking for a controller that they can extend with their own customised add- ons. However, the price will be a sticking point for those who are just looking for a controller that they can plug in to their computer and start playing with. It is likely that the CNTRL:R will become a massive hit with the tech-savvy electronic music makers who love to modify their electronics. This is why we love the CNTRL:R so much — rather than make something that tries to please everyone, Livid have made something that will delight hardcore enthusiasts and open up opportunities for performance and production in a way that nothing else can. 071

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