Crystall Ball MIDI Controller


Here are a couple of sneak preview videos for the Naonext Crystall Ball – a MIDI controller designed to be an “innovative solution for interactive creations and stage performances.”

Crystall Ball Teaser by Yeahr7ght

Crystall Ball teaser by Yeahr7ght

Crystall Ball Demo


  • 5 optical sensors measuring the distance in real time between 5 and 35 centimeters
  • 24 gaming keys backlit white and blue
  • 8 control buttons blue backlit
  • 1 USB port
  • Port 1 MIDI in / 1 MIDI Out to connect the Crystal Ball a MIDI device (drum machine, sampler, etc.)
  • 6.35 Stereo Jack 1 port for adding a footswitch or external sensors
  • 7.5 V supply – 1A
  • Sphere: ultra resistant polycarbonate
  • Hull keyboard: metal alloy
  • Fixed on a microphone stand

See the Crystall Ball site for more details.

19 thoughts on “Crystall Ball MIDI Controller

  1. I hate to be negative about new toys, but when you put out a press release claiming to present a ‘innovative solution for stage performance’ then this thing is just laughable. So you have small novation styled mpc grid and a d-beam, allowing for very limited controllability of any given set of parameters. Sure it’s a cool little tool, but nothing innovative about ‘çombining’ tech thats been around for decades. It’s a 500 dollar toy that you can make yourself.

    1. I am not sure “innovative solution” was to mean “technological innovation”. The innovation comes more from the way you use it.
      The D-beam was a good idea, but the fact that you can only use 1 sensor turned it into a gadget. I was looking forward to using several D-beams at once, that must be quite fun and intuitive

  2. I find the fact it offers traditional MIDI DIN in and out intriguing for my own uses.

    The Novation stuff is fine if you are running a usb to laptop style interface, but for us hardware heads, this might be a great new tool…I look forward to finding out more.

  3. “It’s a 500 dollar toy that you can make yourself”…
    Obviously you didn’t try that so-called “toy” or you do have a master in ingeenering, but not every one does.
    I had the chance to try it, and this is much more than just a mpc grid + d-beamS.
    You can control every parameter quite easily and quickly, it’s very easy to compose your music layer after layer.
    Even more, it’s the more usefull device I’ve tried for sound design, playing with the sensors gives the impression you model the sound with your hands. Plus, how many effects (and how quickly) can you control using rotary potentiometers ? With the cristall ball, you can control up to 4 effects per sensor (at the same time or you can implement one after an other) and with both hands, you can manipulate the 5 sensors at the same time.

    1. You dont have to be an engineer to build your own midi device with all the DIY resource in both hard and software 😉 When i think about it; you can buy 5 Leap Motions for the money

      1. Leap motion is nothing but a 3D mouse, does not really fit to play music (but really great to pilot flying drones !).
        5 leap motion could be a solution , but I am not sure you will be able to manage 5 leap motion on the same computer, if you succeed you will however need a pad besides.

        And what is the point (I mean other than having a controller that nobody else will have) to spend hours and hours to build your own controler which finally will cost 80% of the price of a manufactured controller (because experiencing often means a few losses) and will not have the same finishing (and probably less functions) ?

        Anyway, I would love to see the controllers you have ever built (if you already have).
        Any links to one of your work ? 🙂

      2. Five Leap motions would be pointless because you wouldn’t have enough hands to use them. Each leap motion can track 10 fingers in 3-D space. So unless you’ve got 50 fingers, one is going to do it.

    2. Ever had 4 x/y pads close enough to use a thumb on one and the index finger on the one above it?


  4. “Look ma no hands!!!”
    Yeah, this is a little thick on “push play” performance… But I guess someone could make it seem intresting.

  5. All of that wiggling, quick-cutting and seriously vanilla techno made it fall with a thud for me. The specs look good, but the pretentious demo did nothing to impress me. If you don’t have a game plan for making your new toy come across as more than a Nintendo controller, maybe you should work on something that shows it off as a real tool. From just this information, it smells like a horde of NY performance art blather.

    1. Even better, I checked the website and it’s not New York-style pretense at all, it’s French! Lol

      I’m (sort of) kidding, I actually think this looks kinda cool. I’d definitely want to see some more practical, hands-on type videos … as much as I was wowed by the slick production values of this one, I still have lots of unanswered questions.

      To me this thing looks … dare I say … Fun! And I understand that many fellow synthtopia readers have some big issues with “fun,” perhaps they’ve been burned by fun in the past and are still getting over the pain. They ain’t having any of that Joie de vivre shit, fuck that!

      1. The big thing here is that it incorporates continuous controls, in addition to the usual on/off switches.

        I’d like to see a demo that really shows that off.

  6. How long can people listen to a back beat going through a LP and still feel ‘wowed’, about anything? The pretension is incredible. What a horrible demo. If you’re gonna put all yer eggs in the ‘style’ basket, at the very least don’t showcase it with style that’s 10 years or more out of date. Anyway, I don’t see how this will help expand music making or make for watching some spoiled dude groove out by himself on stage behind a damn laptop anymore tolerable. Maybe if you’re 20 years old you’d still be able to stomach some moron wannabe DJ ‘performing’ with one of these…

  7. I was doing stuff with two d-beams and Ableton that would blow your mind, so I am definitely interested in this product. I found the older D-beams to be way better as you could adjust for a much further height then the more recent ones. I think this product is a sleeper … at first glance a toy .. but as soon as a few creatives put it through its paces with Ableton .. they will be blowing doors of with this thing.

  8. I have several Gear that uses similar techniques: D-Beam Controller, Alesis Air Synth/FX etc. – It’s simply not possible to play this stuff accurate. It might be good for FX, Filter Sweeps an stuff like that, but if you want to Play notes: Forget about it.

Leave a Reply