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 Forum index » How-tos » Micro Tuning
NAMM news: C-Thru announces 98 key array keyboard for $500
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xjscott



Joined: Apr 25, 2007
Posts: 190
Location: Appalachia

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: NAMM news: C-Thru announces 98 key array keyboard for $500 Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's a video of Jacqueline from C-Thru showing the instrument. It's get the exact same keys and velocity sensitivity of the larger instrument, but lacking the LCD, the modulation controllers, the user interface, and about a third of the keys, all for $1200 less:

http://www.soundonsound.com/news?NewsID=10184

Not in production yet, only a prototype. As you can see in the video, the longest diagonal is 13 keys, which is relevant to your mappings and the ranges possible.

It has two 7 key high by 7 key wide units, 49 keys, hence the 49, which is repeated for 98 keys total.

It's big brother the Axis-64 has three 9 key high by 7 key high units, for 63 keys, plus a bonus key for 64 keys per unit, 192 keys total, and long diagonals of 16 notes.

My own preliminary analysis is that the big brother the Axis 64 with 192 keys is pushing the minimal size for a useful generalized array instrument. So if you're looking at getting one of these for microtonality, I would advice the $1700 model is probably what you really want. This $500 size is a great value but could be frustrating as it doesn't have quite enough keys when you start thinking of out all the various mappings you would want to use for microtonality.

$500 for a custom built hand built instrument this size with 98 velocity sensitive keys is an incredible accomplishment given the level of detail and craftsmanship in their keyboards. They must have a really talented engineer to get the price point down to that level.

Assuming of course that this model is also built in England, as the bigger Axis-64 model is. The $1700 model's price is very reasonable considering what you are buying, and how, and in what quantities they are made. It's not a keyboard produced in quantities of a million with laborers paid $2-5 a day, but is instead hand made by skilled artists. I only bring this all up because I sometimes hear people grousing that custom hand made unique instruments should cost the same as standardized mass produced ones made in enormous factories. I also hear comments about how artisans who are charging essentially for their labor and materials are ripping people off or being unreasonable, etc. Well, that's a pet peeve of mine and belongs in another thread really, just wanted to head it off in case anyone reads this and thinks "$1700 for a keyboard, why I can get a keyboard at WalMart for $79!" Yes, that's true, you can, but it's not the same thing.

In any case, C-Thru continues to be the only purveyor of generalizable array instruments with velocity sensitivity which are actually in production and which are also within the budget of many musicians and composers.

Other choices for sale: Starr Labs has two models of hand made array instruments that are larger and have more keys, but are more expensive. H-pi has several models that are made with very particular looking arrays of push button switches, but they are not velocity sensitive and seem to be constrained in hardware to the use of a particular scale mapping.
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pristak



Joined: Nov 17, 2006
Posts: 37
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Disappointing that now that it is out there is no direct midi control. It was said to be a midi controller, but it only has a USB out. On looking again at the video that is clear, but that was not so clear to me prior to the actual release.

I guess I'm only interested in the larger version. And I doubt I'll ever get one at that price. I don't get that much money together very often.
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AndyHal



Joined: Feb 17, 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Greenwich

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Too expensive for something that is more or less a prototype; for that price they should add at least:

- MIDI out
- pitch bend
- aftertouch
- selectable MIDI channel

Not sure if it supports velocity either.
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xjscott



Joined: Apr 25, 2007
Posts: 190
Location: Appalachia

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

AndyHal wrote:
Too expensive for something that is more or less a prototype; for that price they should add at least:

- MIDI out
- pitch bend
- aftertouch
- selectable MIDI channel

Not sure if it supports velocity either.


It is velocity sensitive, it does send MIDI, and it is being manufactured in the USA.

I have to disagree that it is too expensive since it is the least expensive array controller ever sold.

It's true that in the year old video above they showed the prototype, but it wasn't for sale. The shipping version is of course not a prototype, but a manufactured electronics device.

I now have the larger 192 key Axis-64 myself. It is a brilliantly conceived musical instrument. Having worked with it for the last 7 months, I would be sorely disadvantaged if I did not have it as a resource. In addition, I can not imagine that any microtonalist would not substantially benefit from having a velocity sensitive array keyboard such as those offered by C-Thru and Opal.

They are now taking orders for the 98 key Axis-49 and shipping it. Initial price is a special until March 21st - $470 for US delivery with free shipping included: http://www.c-thru-music.com/cgi/?page=49-intro-offer

This is really an incredible offer for an amazing instrument.
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GovernorSilver



Joined: Apr 26, 2004
Posts: 1334
Location: Washington DC Metro
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was initially concerned about lack of aftertouch and pitch bend wheels as well, but if I guess it wouldn't be so bad if mated with a controller that sends the missing signals.
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