Is The Behringer DeepMind 12’s Augmented Reality Support More Than A Gimmick?

Behringer today shared this promo for their augmented reality interface for the DeepMind 12 synthesizer.

‘Augmented reality’ is the idea of using computers to display 3D visualizations, in real time, over the world around you. Behringer’s system displays visualizations of things like the synth’s envelopes and the patch bay, which you can directly manipulate. It also can overlay information over the keyboard itself.

The DeepMind 12 augmented reality interface is implemented with Microsoft Hololens, along with a Windows 10 computer and a Leap Motion to sense your hand position.  The Hololens goggles let you see the environment around you, overlaid with visualizations.

While Behringer’s augmented reality experiments are interesting from a technical standpoint, it’s hard to imagine many synthesists choosing to spend $4-5,000 for a new way to visualize the settings of a $1,000 synthesizer. When it comes to live performance, augmented reality also introduces new barriers to audiences being able to see and understand what electronic musicians are doing.

What do you think of Behringer’s experiments with augmented reality synth control? Do you think there’s a future for augmented reality technology in your studio or stage rig?

24 thoughts on “Is The Behringer DeepMind 12’s Augmented Reality Support More Than A Gimmick?

  1. I don’t think I would care for augmented reality to use in performance but rather as a fun way to interact with my studio, but this lends itself to the future of non tangible assets, including instruments. Playing an instrument is amusing but that’s more or less old school thinking when you are playing infront of a few hundred people. I don’t think wearing a helmet and interacting with something others can’t see is any less amusing. Daft punk does it and nobody can even see over they’re control board up on a stage. It could be a Lego set for all I know. But if you want to think more abstractly, what if your actions performed on these types of Aug reality assisted devices were taken completely into a artistically represented rhelm. Instead of projecting a video of you performing on some gear, what of the video screen showed a poler bear tweaking some mystical music machine in a chill neon ice cave. That could be possible if the AR tracked your hand movements. Further more you could just show a projection of a mascot of yourself as a bear performing while you sit back stage, like the man behind the curtain reaching in the air and pulling things that don’t exist in your world, but do in the world of the video or projection shown. Those “knobs and levers” the mascot pulls could just be a filter mapped to a position you put your hands on on some gear like a deep mind 12. A new era is coming…a time when we don’t actually touch anything, we pay subscriptions for everything, and own nothing, and where all that vaporware we get disappointed I. Because it doesn’t exist will actually be usable and tweakable in vr. I’m not sure if I like it, but it seems to be going that way. The people as behringer are going to try their hand at this very experimental product that most hardware companies would rather avoid or pretend it won’t exist.

  2. If it was some sort of touch sensitive hologram where you didn’t need a VR headset, I feel like a lot more people would buy into it. How does the audience know what you’re doing if you’re wearing a headset? Does the VR show the keys/display as well?

  3. Kraftwerk perform by simply standing behind things like a pulpit or lectern, with snazzy CGI behing them.

    Jean-Michel Jarre performs using his hands with laser lights !

  4. The Hololens is not a consumer product at this point it is only available to developers and enterprise customers. The price point of the consumer version is unknown as well as availability. Behringer is obviously a developer and showing off what can be done with it. The current price to developers has no relationship to future price of the consumer version.

  5. Very cool.
    One day (probably not that far off with the speed of tech advance) the audience will be issued VR as readily as they are issued 3D glasses today and this will be a form of performance art.

  6. AR could be cool if it produces milkdrop style visual feedback that would make it feel playing a synth totally mental experience.
    From what it is right now with DM12 its pretty retarded.

  7. Like so many new ideas it’s hard for many of us to imagine a use case and therefore easy for us to say, “rubbish, toy, gimmick” etc.. I’ve pretty much stopped being a naysayer when I see a proof of concept as I tend to end up with egg on my face. I remember first seeing the iPad and saying, “Is that it? Just a big iPod? Windows tablets have failed so this will too.” I’m on my third iPad now and you’d have to tear it from my cold dead hands.

    So yeah, video looks fun. I find arm-ache a problem with using my Leap Motion (which is the hand tracking tech in this video) but since the headset is AR you can see your keyboard and put your hands onto the physical controls easily. If this was purely VR you wouldn’t have that “connection” with your keyboard.

    As for the audience, there’s no reason why they can’t get a stream of what the player is seeing, since that’s what the PC is doing anyway.

  8. Of course it is – the whole AR *field* is one giant gimmick right now. The funniest part is watching literally every “VR WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING GUIZE” article from the ’90s repeat in the tech press…

  9. I like the idea of being surrounded by my DAW and arrange my virtual instruments and effects in the room together with the real ones.

    Also this will ease repatching modular synths with the help of overlays.

  10. What was being said in the 60’s about synths? No doubt “gimmick” was a popular term used to write-off synths before they took off (and, really, even after). We’re still so crazy early into the realm of AR/VR, there’s no way to tell what this is going to be in 10 or 20+ years. It has to start somewhere — and I can’t wait for the day where I can patch a massive modular synth by just slipping on a pair of AR glasses.

  11. I was thinking of getting a Deepmind 12 to get further back to my 80’s roots, this whole VR thing kinda defeats that for me and just pushes me further into future technology, not that thsts a bad thing at all, but being an older guy whose been doing this 40 years now I’ve come to regret selling all my analog synths in tbe late 80’s, and these modern analog synths kinda has been a reneissance for me. Again getting a DM12 and then running it through VR goggles would just be self defeating my purpose for getting it in the first place to be able to have a hands on tactile knob and slider tweaking experience.

  12. In time the price of the holo lens will become more affordable. Just look at the prices of HD television sets as compared to when they first were introduced. I would never pay 4-5k for a hololens but in 3-5 more years I just might. The technology has great potential but it’s still in the infancy stage.

  13. Whining in a blog or in an article that new Technology device is very expensive is ridiculous. Pens or – sorry keyboard & tablets should be taken away from these kind of writers. These things come down in price.

    Relax. Again, These things come down in price.

    Next time do not write these kind of articles.

    Some may find it useful and they can afford it. If these early buyers do not exist, there is no smartphone or any tech will be successful.

  14. I was they would have put some money into finding a way to put a hi-res touch screen in there while keeping it at $1000.

  15. The video makes it look interesting by overlaying the visuals so we can see them without a headset. You’d need to set up something like this on screen for your live sets, which would add more costs. And then the audience would expect you to use it all the time when in reality I’m sure you only need if for parts of performances or for sound design which is done in studio.

    So it’s an utter waste of time and money unless you happen to have the gear already. And think a vr headset is a fun thing to wear with your headphones when trying to create music.

  16. can i hook up a leap motion to the deepmind presently? even without the VR this could have some purpose with just the LM.

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