Livid Instruments' latest release sees the first use of touch sensitive faders in their line of boutique midi controllers. An impressive 32 velocity sensitive drum pads that have one of the best responses we've felt in a while take up the lower half of this heavy duty piece of hardware.
The Livid Base is meant for full fledged music production and live performance, complete with a launchpad-esque clip triggering setup and amazing ease of use out of the box. Weighing in at about 3 lbs and measuring less than a foot wide, the build quality is immediately noticeable when picking up the controller for the first time.
Once you plug it in and turn on your DAW, you're immediately drawn in by the beautiful colour scheme that accompanies each key designation when in play mode. Simply hold down one of the side buttons and you have instant access to track selection controls including track arm, record, and solo. That's just where the fun begins.
CUT TO THE CHASE
The Good: 32 velocity sensitive pads on the Livid Base are some of the nicest we've felt. They aren't overly chunky and have very little movement when compared to APC style pads, and they control everything from clip launching to finger drumming to effortlessly creating chord progressions. Livid has perfected the built in key and scale template for users who might not have expert music knowledge yet.
The Bad: Touch sensitive faders skip between values a bit faster than rotary knobs, but make up for this by being able to send notes with velocity when you touch them, opening up more possibilities for sound creation and manipulation.
The Deal Breaker: Packing everything into one controller might be ambitious, but Livid makes it all possible with velocity sensitive pads and touch faders and buttons meant for immediate enjoyment in the studio or in a live performance.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Coming in at around 3 lbs and taking up no more than 11 inches in either direction, the Livid Base is clearly built to last. Heavy duty aluminum casing and hard rubber face makes for a durable controller, and with velocity sensitive pads on the harder side as well, you can give them a beating and not have to worry about them giving out! One of the most important durability aspects to this controller is the lack of moving parts on the surface so there's nothing to break while your travelling. Knobs and faders easily get bent but with touch sensitive faders and buttons, there's one less thing to worry about!
As soon as we plugged the controller into the computer and loaded up Ableton it was clear that this was meant for performance right out of the box. It might look like a blank slate of endless amounts of buttons and faders, but when you go through the array of templates and load up various key designations, you can really get a view of the LEDs and the correlation between colours and key. This provides any producer ample room for experimenting with chord progressions and creating intricate melodies, all while in key.
For DJs, this controller could be all you need. It comes stock with a great clip launching setup and if you hold down one of the right side buttons (shift) you'll pull up a second set of record, arm, and enable functions for every track. The touch sensitive faders control anything from track volume, to effect parameters and even note values with velocity. The top row of touch buttons gets us quick access to each track and when you press shift you can use them to change the key and root note of the performance mode.
With plans in motion for a full fledged sequencer to stand alone inside your favourite DAWs (and already one for Bitwig), we look forward to really making use of the controller as a 32 pad layout begs for a built in sequencer or sampling machine. For now we'll enjoy the key and scale feature that actually brings a bit of fun back into the studio, allowing for even the beginner producer to create some interesting chord progressions or bass lines.