John Price, Director of UK music specialists Kenton Electronics, has announced the launch of the Killamix Mini, their latest compact USB Controller that offers, effectively, 81 endless controllers, 81 buttons and a joystick.
Kenton was formed 20 years ago and it has built up an impressive range of products and a customer list that includes Aphex Twin, Coldplay, The Human League, Muse, The Darkness, Underworld and Shania Twain.
Helping with the design and development of the ‘Killamix Mini’ is Martin Delaney, a performer, VJ, producer, remixer, teacher and writer. He outlined his requirements for a USB controller that was small, simple to use, rugged and portable.
Martin explains “The design came to me when I was VJing at the Spitz in London. I like to travel light when I’m doing visuals. I take a laptop, a cable and a USB MIDI controller. I was using the smallest controller I could, but it still wasn’t small enough – I just wanted a few knobs and buttons, and it was plastic. Another small control device was on the market, but it was too cluttered. I wasn’t going to be satisfied until I had portability, simplicity AND strength. It also had to be USB-powered – no mains plugs required. Another requirement was that the controller should be of the same or lesser width as the laptop casing, so it could be placed neatly in front of the laptop.
“Furthermore, my experiences of working on darkened stages and in clubs lead to another requirement: it had to have lights! The continuous knobs with their LEDs give me great visual feedback, even on a darkened stage.
“The Killamix Mini meets all my requirements and John Price has done a fantastic job of squeezing all the requirements into such a small box, its all-metal construction means that I can throw it into a backpack and I know it will still be in one piece when I arrive at the venue.
“The push-button feature on each knob enables the Killamix Mini to send on 9 different MIDI channels, effectively giving it 9×9 knobs, 9×9 buttons, and 9 joysticks. The joystick allows dynamic real-time control over audio effects or pitch shifting. It springs back to the central position afterwards.
“The buttons give control over any mappable MIDI command and use them to activate effects: for transport control, track selection, mute/solo, whatever you need.
“The Killamix Mini works great with any software that supports MIDI learn. A few examples: Ableton Live, Arkaos VJ, Logic etc.”
Kenton Electronics was formed in 1986 by UK Musician John Price. “I was a professional keyboard player with a background in electronics and a keen interest in computing. I owned an Oberheim OBX synth, which I very much wanted to get MIDIed. Unfortunately the only interface on offer was expensive and had limited performance, so I decided to design and make my own.
A number of customers asked Kenton to make a MIDI to CV converter, as a result in April 1992 the PRO-2 was born. When it was replaced by the PRO-2000 in 1997 we had sold over 2000 units.
The manufacture of the Killamix Mini has been a challenge, not only to fit everything inside such a small unit but particularly the extensive development work making the device USB capable. Those who saw the original prototypes at the Sounds Expo Show were generous in their praise. We are very proud to be launching this exciting product in our 20th anniversary year.”