With Gear This Sexy, Who Needs Advertising?


The Snyderphonics Manta is a new illuminated touch-sensitive interface for controlling music or video that combines alien sexiness with open-ended flexibility.

Each sensor in the Manta’s hexagonal array can tell exactly how much surface area your finger is covering, and this data can be routed to any audio or video parameter you choose.

For instance, you could assign each sensor to a note in a musical scale, and route the surface-area data from each sensor to control the volume of that particular note. Play a chord, and you can control the volume of the different notes of the chord independently with your fingers. Alternatively, you could set each sensor to correspond to a video file, and fade between videos dynamically with your fingers.

According to 2secondfuse’s Vlad Spears:

The build quality is exceptional. The Manta is in the same league as Monome: hand created, all parts sourced and made in the United States, ROHS compliant, solid like a century tree.

400mA of power is drawn over USB, which provides both juice and i/o. A svelte 0.873cm (11/32″) thickness and feather weight means it’s easy to take everywhere you will take your laptop. It even comes with a swanky neoprene case.

If you’ve used the Manta, leave a comment with your thoughts.

The Snyderphonics Manta retails for $675. More details below.


The Manta also outputs centroid data to turn the Manta into a large X-Y multitouch surface, for applications that don’t require discrimination between discrete sensors. For instance, you could have the Y axis be pitch, the X axis be timbre, and the size of the point of contact (determined by whether you have your finger or your whole hand on the surface) be the volume of the note, and have a very hands-on performance synthesizer.

The Manta also features LED backlighting on each sensor, and all of these LEDs are controllable from the host computer. In addition to giving additional feedback when a sensor is pressed (the default setting), this allows you use the sensors as displays for information the computer is using, like the current stage of a step sequencer. All 48 hexagonal sensors and the four circular function butters have LED backlighting, and each of the two touch sliders has an 8-LED indicator strip. All of these 68 LEDs are controllable from the computer.


  • 48 touch sensors in a 6 X 8 hexagonal array – each sensor can independently send both continuous control data and note-on/off events with velocity sensitivity simultaneously
  • 2 assignable touch sliders
  • 4 assignable touch-sensing function buttons with LED feedback – can be either momentary or latching
  • USB device, showing up as a HID (Human Interface Device) to the operating system, and therefore will operate on Mac OS X, Windows (XP or Vista) and Linux without special drivers
  • USB bus-powered – no additional power supply is needed. Peak current requirement is around 400mA, so if it’s powered by a hub, the hub will need to be plugged in
  • 68 user-controllable LEDs
  • sturdy handmade wooden casing
  • slim profile, 9.75″ X 11.6″ X 11/32″ with no protruding knobs, buttons or sliders – fits in most laptop cases even with a laptop
  • comes with a protective padded sleeve case
  • low latency operation – around 5 ms
  • completely made in the USA – including PCB fabrication, assembly, and woodworking
  • electronics made to ROHS specifications (lead-free and without hazardous substances)

The Manta is easy to use as an input for software like Max/MSP or Supercollider, and a free program is provided with the Manta that allows any sensor to be routed to any MIDInote or continuous controller for interfacing with standard software like Abelton Live, Kontakt, Reason, Logic, or Digital Performer.

2 thoughts on “With Gear This Sexy, Who Needs Advertising?

  1. Definitely – and controllers like the monome have paved the way for mainstream hardware like the APC40.

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