UMIDI – Design Your Own Ultimate Customized MIDI Controller


Developers Bartosz Kowalski & Joseph Chehade have introduced umidi – a new MIDI controller that’s completely customizable.

Using a web-based interface, you can change the types of knobs, lights, switches and sliders on the controller, customize the colors and add designs. The components are high-end, and the case is CNC’d from a solid block of aluminum, which is then bead blasted and anodized. You can even customize the shapes and colors of the lighting around your controls.

“Our goal is not to compete with mass produced products,” developer Joseph Chehade told Synthtopia. “We designed the umidi with no compromises on quality, structure of materials and components. That’s why each controller is made from a single block of aluminum, less than 1 inch thick and uses only the best components.”

“Each controller is unique, and hand built/tested by us,” adds Chehade. 

Each umidi can have the up to 36 components, which include:

  • Knobs
  • Faders
  • Encoders
  • Jog Wheels
  • Aluminum Push Buttons
  • Drum Pads
  • Silicon Buttons

At the heart of umidi are 288 RGB LED’s, which can be controlled to do whatever you want. This allows for music-driven lighting, button effects, visualizing mixing, millions of colors and other lighting effects.

When you’ve created your ideal layout, you can get your custom controller built to order.

UMIDI is being developed as a Kickstarter project. Here’s the official intro video:

Here are some UMIDI examples:


  • Dimensions (length x width x height): 11.3 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches (286 x 248 x 24mm)
  • Weight: Less than 3lbs. (1.4kgs)
  • Compatible operating systems: Mac OS X, Windows & Linux (plug & play, no drivers necessary)
  • Software compatibility: Traktor, Live, Serato & any midi compliant software
  • Midi format: Hi-definition (14bit)
  • RGB color range: More than 16.7 million colors + brightness correction
  • Power: USB powered, no external power supply needed
  • Ports: Hi-retention USB B
  • Processor: 32bit ARM 120Mhz, low latency optimized

Custom umidi controllers are priced at US $895. See the project site for details. you can also start designing a custom controller at the umidi site.

22 thoughts on “UMIDI – Design Your Own Ultimate Customized MIDI Controller

  1. This product looks lame, you have all the choice in the world – except in price. (and after doing some research theres not much choice in component parts either) At the price this shit costs, it better come with an XY pad, some theremin capability and fucking lasers. Its not even velocity sensitive for fucks sake. This panders to people who buy flashy gear that LOOKS good to play with, come on guys – you can do better.

    1. Didn’t take long for someone to bitch about the price, did it? That’s missing the point entirely, though.

      There are already lots of cheap DJ controllers, and while they do what they do, they’re all made of plastic.

      That’s great when you’re starting out or if funds are tight, but do you want to use generic plastic stuff forever?

      I’d rather move up to something solidly built at some point, and this looks like a great option. I hope they can make it work.

      1. Tara your are saying generic DJ music is ok if your controller does not look so generic? Move on from Djing i say and make your own music.
        Why for Fugg’s sake did they not make it programmable? Why does it not have a DIN MIDI out? Those would have been justifications for the price asked. I’d rather useTouchOSC and iPad or my ugly old BCR2000, for this price, i would even consider Code or CntrlR by Livid.

        1. Are you saying that cheap one-size-fits-all plastic controllers are all you want?

          I’m sick of cheap plastic synths and mini keys and cheapy controllers. There’s a reason people like vintage gear and it’s because it’s not made to be disposable!

    2. Well, they will add Velocitive sensitive pad when they reach 50$ funding. What makes that price so high because the build quality, so will be more durable than plastic and stuff.

      1. For $900 this thing better do crazy sexual moves I dont know about. Its a controller. Price was the first gripe because thats the only thing wrong with the product.

  2. It’s a great concept, but it’s not what I expected when I read the headline. I was hoping it was a relaunch of the CHOMP project that was featured here a while ago. Remember that, the kid who designed a MIDI box for £30 or so that you could just plug anything into? It was a damn shame his kickstarter didn’t succeed.

  3. I see people defending this as being “solidly built”, but I can also see the knobs wobbling when turned and the faders rocking side-to-side, even in their promotional video. If I paid a thousand dollars for a midi controller, I’d expect to be able to do chin-ups off the knobs without them moving.

  4. well i think i start to need some “universal” midi controller that also can control synth on the fly / native, without computer.

    1. This won’t do that, at least without an iConnectMIDI4+ or Kenton USB MIDI Host or similar. For some reason, designers have decided that no one needs MIDI DIN.

      Your best bet would be a Behringer BCR2000, or an equivalent “knob box”. If USB MIDI is fine with you, and you want customizability, why not a Midifighter Pro? That covers the same ground for significantly less money, and already exists so you don’t have to deal with the inherent shadiness of Kickstarter. If you don’t need to customize your controller, and you don’t need hardware MIDI, but you do need DJ-centric controls, the Behringer CMD lineup are quite good and can be connected together in a modular fashion.

      This thing seems redundant, overpriced, and gimmicky. It does nothing that is not already done by something currently available, except cost one thousand dollars.

  5. But it’s custom built. 🙂 I guess a bespoke box made just for you is pretty cool, but still. Hey, I wonder if I can get it engraved with my name for an extra $20.

  6. Sorry but 900$ is way too much.
    With that price you can buy a push and a dedicated controller with sliders/faders.
    No way i’m going buy this. I’d rather learn making my own controller which would probably cost much cheaper

    1. $50 for an Arduino and $1 for each pot and arcade button from my local surplus shop. The MIDI library is already written and comes with an example script, so there is very little learning involved. It just might not look as pretty if your building skills aren’t too good.

  7. Similar price point to a respectable controller like Pioneer DDJ-SX. For people that budget is not really a concern I guess. A boxed-up MIDI controller is still a boxed-up MIDI controller, in whatever form and fashion. I am not certain how tight is its integration with mainstream DJ software. Hopefully DJTechTools will give us something else!

  8. I personally think it looks awesome. It’s great that you can “customize” it. But it certainly does not give you all the options that other cheaper midi controllers do, not to say an iPad, that still would be cheaper and would benefit you in many other ways. I think that if they want to compete with the mayor brands, they are already out of the game. It is a boutique controller, with a selling price of boutique controllers. For that price or maybe a little more, you can order a midi controller, really custom built with absolutely all you want in it from several websites. You can even make your own cheaper using only the components they offer. It may not look as good, but it will definitely be more suited to your needs.

    Having said that, I think the mayor brands, and many people are getting into the business now that being a DJ is being sold as pressing flashy buttons and knobs, and having nice visuals. The problem is that for people that really know the potential of a good customized midi controller, is really a small number, and not a real market opportunity for most. For this product to really be awesome, it would have to be not necessarily cheaper, but in fact have a lot more options like touch pads and strips to say the least.

    When I first started reading and watching the video, I got excited, not for me, but for my friends that are starting out. When I got to the end of the article and the video, I felt disappointed. It’s the same thing they can find anywhere, for more money, and nice LEDs. Basically, absolutely every other controller I know, would make a better buy than this. Unless, you already own and know a lot of other controllers and gear, in which place, for that kind of buck, you can make yourself another LED gimmick that would result in an even better show.

  9. $900 !!!! IDK man., I couldn’t see myself dropping that kind of money on this. It does look amazing and totally quality but I’m thinking more like $499.00. If it were $499.00 it would almost be an impulse buy just because it’s so nice looking and totally custom. I love the lighting.
    But, for that kind of money you could buy a Maschine Studio or a new computer.

    My suggestion for Nu MIDI: Price it around $500 and I guarantee it’ll be a hit!!
    But at $900, your doomed.

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