I’ve been bitten by the music production bug recently. The gear is so good these days, how could I fail to make something amazing? All I need is a $699 Roland TR-8S, a $1,349 Elektron Octatrack MKII, and maybe a $119 Arturia KeyStep, and then just a guitar and...
Well, now I’m poor.
For someone who has a setup they like but wants a novel way to tweak parameters with hand motions and maybe trigger a drum pad or two, the Wave wearable MIDI controller from Genki Instruments is an interesting option.
Wave’s built-in motion sensing gives you a few different control axes, which can be mapped to any property in your software setup you wish to tweak. There are three main motions: pan, tilt, and roll. Additionally, there are buttons on the ring which can be mapped to actions like play, stop, or record, and you can also tap your finger on any surface to, for instance, trigger a sample — a motion I’ve become well acquainted with. You can also pair multiple Waves, to give yourself a set of finger drums.
Unlike the Enhancia MIDI ring we covered back in January, which seemed primarily designed for keyboard players, Wave is fairly general purpose and appears to be a good bit bulkier. Enhancia is designed to pick up intentional movements, but not fire every time you press a key on your keyboard. Hopefully Wave will strike the right balance between being responsive to motion and not firing on every little motion. Of course, you can always just not hook up all the controls in your software.
If you want to play music without a computer or an iPad nearby, you’ll need a way to pull Wave’s Bluetooth connection into your MIDI chain, but Genki is also offering a Eurorack receiver called Wavefront, which allows you to bridge Wave’s output into a modular setup (those mad scientist synth setups covered in patch cables).
Wave is supposed to ship in December of this year and starts at $149 for Indiegogo backers. Also, there’s a Wavefront bundle for $199. It’s always a leap of faith to support a first-time project on Indiegogo, but the company did exhibit Wave at NAMM this year, and it clearly has some working prototypes floating around.