Thursday, January 2, 2014

Would you use this as a controller?

The AlphaSphere is a different approach to the MIDI/DAW Controller. It is designed by Adam Place founder of the company Nu Desine. The AlphaSphere comes in two styles; Nexus and Elite. They offer a unique way to trigger sounds/samples and play music with 48 pressure and velocity sensitive pads. When used with the included AlphaLive software the AlphaSphere can be used as a standalone instrument or as a controller for your DAW.


  • MIDI port to connect AlphaSphere to external MIDI compatible hardware
  • 2 x Assignable Dials
  • 3 x Assignable Buttons
  • Custom soft touch finish
  • Available in black


  • 48 tactile pressure and velocity* sensitive pads
  • Ergonomic and spherical modular design
  • Hexagonal lattice pad layout, allowing for alternative notational arrangements
  • Responsive LED lighting
  • USB 2.0 connectivity and bus powered
  • Fully compatible with any MIDI software
  • Dimensions: 26cm(W) x 26cm(D) x 32cm(H)
  • Weighs approximately 3kg

*8 smallest pads are pressure sensitive only.


  • Custom software allows the device to be programmed to a highly customised level
  • Use as the devices MIDI mapping editor
  • Use to trigger, loop, and manipulate audio samples
  • Use to record and manipulate MIDI and audio step sequences
  • Convert pad data to OSC (Open Sound Control) messages
  • Comes with a 1GB library of audio loops and hits compiled by professional sample library companies
  • Program pads individually or by custom groups
  • Store up to 20 ‘scenes’ of pad settings within a single project
  • Open-source under the GNU General Public Licence v2.
  • Runs on both Mac OS X (10.5 and above) and Windows (XP SP3 and above)
  • Supports Core Audio, ASIO, WASAPI and DirectSound


  • Map preset notational scales or layouts to the pads, or set notes to pads individually
  • Compatible with polyphonic aftertouch
  • Set the pressure of each pad to send polyphonic aftertouch, channel aftertouch, mod wheel, pitchbend, or a CC message
  • Supports multichannel MIDI, allowing multiple instruments to be played at the same time

Here's a video interview he did for Dubspot showing how he came up with the idea and how it can be utilized as a controller.

Here's a tutorial showing the AlphaSphere being used with Logic Pro X:

More tutorials featuring other DAWs can be found here.

The AlphaSphere Nexus can be purchased on their website  for £500/821.45 USD, the Nexus sells for £1000/1642.90 USD. U.S./Canada customers are urged to buy from from any of their North American dealers.