News | Official information

 

06/08/03

It is now possible to pre-order the STC-1000 from the Mercurial Innovations Group website here.

There is a special if you pre-order the STC-1000, it is 225$ instead of 299$ which is quite a nice price for a programmable controller of this sort.

04/08/03

I visited the Tactex site lately and there is a new product that could replace the Surface One, it is called the STC-1000 and it is made by Mercurial Innovations Group. Build yourself a nice encoder box with ledrings here, buy an STC-1000 and you got a Surface One on steroids for less money !

Info on the new STC-1000 : PDF

11/07/03

Well... The fun is over. I contacted M-Audio a few weeks ago and the Surface One has been cancelled. Why ? According to M-Audio, because it was too long and too complicated, and because the controller market has evolved. Well, in my opinion the controller market isn't evolving at all. While I usually like M-Audio products, I can't say the Oxygen 8 is a nice controller. It's a big chunk of plastic. Same goes for Evolution products... You have the pro stuff like the new CS-32 by JL Cooper, but look at the price, and it's not programmable... I'm a bit tired of products rushed to the market only to make money quickly, without any consideration for quality. Products SHOULD take a long time to develop and SHOULD be complicated to make to acheive decent quality. M-Audio is becoming a consumer grade company and while a lot of people like that, I don't. I prefer to pay a bit more and have quality, rather than buy something that's going to break after 6 months... I'd like to make a suggestion for persons who want some quality controllers at a nice price. Visit http://www.ucapps.de This is a Do-It-Yourself midi controller which is very nice. It will cost you under 300 $ and you can build it like you want, it can be a big chunk of plastic with 8 knobs or a nice aluminium controller with motorized faders, encoders with ledrings, graphical LCD screen and touch sensors. The difference here is that you're the creator, it might be long and diffcult but you know in the end it's worth the effort. You don't need deep electronics knowledge, it's easy to learn. And it's also a big f**k you to all the companies who make products that break after 6 months. (I'm not targeting M-Audio here, most of their products are solid, it's a general attack).

I'd be glad if you could comment on this in the Forum, tell us your opinion.

Nathanaël Lécaudé

31/03/03

In a recent email, Adam Castillo, Director of Marketing at M-Audio told me these informations :

• S1 will be branded as an M-Audio product (since we no longer use the Midiman name)
(The pictures on this site and on the web still have the Midiman logo, I assume the units will have the M-Audio logo.)
• We expect the S1 will ship around late June/early July
• Animation companies are currently evaluating the S1 as a controller for animation software

These are great news ! The Surface One might arrive pretty soon...

27/03/03

Not much information is known at this time apart from the feature list posted on the various M-Audio sites.

I went to the M-World tour in 2002 in Montreal and got these informations :

• The suggested retail price is $US 799.
• The hardware for the unit is done and is final.
• M-Audio is currently working on the driver which still contains bugs, which explains the delay.
• The unit should ship with several sets of interchangable colored knobs (cool !).

I had the chance to play with the unit and I can say that it has a very nice feeling. The body of the Surface One is made of a brushed-type metal which seems very solid (and heavy). The rotary encoders are made of solild plastic and are quite pleasing to tweak. The tactex material is very responsive, I noticed the option to change the input method from relative to absolute which is quite nice.

This is the official information found on several websites :

Overview
Surface One is a virtual control surface that is completely user-configurable. The basic elements (or “objects”) that the user manipulates consist of virtual channels, buttons, and knobs. Any object on Surface One is programmable and can transmit any message communicable via MIDI (including volume changes, note on/off, alterations to any parameters, program changes, etc).

Surface One utilizes a fiber optic-based touch-sensitive material as its primary interface. This “smart fabric,” originally developed by the Canadian Space Agency and now licensed by Tactex, transmits the information it receives through touch so it may be converted into MIDI and sent out of Surface One to control MIDI-compatible devices.

The objects on Surface One that utilize the Tactex fabric are in reality virtual controllers, meaning they can exchange roles, locations, and functions. Surface One’s functionality is thus “context sensitive” in that it is redefined by the environment in which it is being used.

Because the fabric can read up/down, left/right, and pressure information at the same time, Surface One is capable of sending multiple messages simultaneously, each of which can be assigned to a different MIDI parameter.

The result is a powerful and unique tool that defies categorization.


Surface One may be used:

• As a virtual mixer to control sequencing software
• As a soft synth controller or sample player
• As a virtual controller for any MIDI instrument
• As a virtual Light Board controller
• To program hardware synthesizers
• In a performance setting as an instrument/controller
• As an input device for content creation programs
• As an input device for graphics and animation software

Functional features
• Buttons may transmit any info variation, from solo/mute in a sequencer environment to MIDI note info in a performance situation.
• Different types of motion, (touch, double tap, pressure) trigger different commands.
• Shift function that allows instant access to a second layer of objects.
• Resolution of objects can be user defined.
• Pressure applied to the top or bottom of a fader results in a “fade in” or “fade out” on that channel.
• Left hand may trigger note info while right hand controls parameter changes in real time.
• Objects and presets may be copied and pasted to new locations
• Flash memory permits upgrades

Hardware features
• Connects via USB or MIDI
• 2 in/2 out MIDI operation
• Eight virtual touch panels, user-definable
• Eight virtual buttons, user-definable
• Thumb Pad, user-definable as one to three regions
• 16 rotary encoders, user-definable
• Programmable via GUI/USB
• Functions as a standalone device without a computer

© 2003 - Studio Imaginaire - This site is not affiliated with M-Audio.