The RSON8 DJ Controller Raises The Question – Are Instrument Designers Too Attached To Their iPads?

Design site Yanko Design featured the RSON8 touchscreen DJ controller today.

RSON8 is a design concept, by Vibhas Jain, that uses a large touchscreen as a control surface:

The RSON8 is a touchscreen controller for aspiring DJ’s, talent required, although it does make mixing music a lot easier for noobs. The device has grooves where digital buttons appear allowing one to augment track(s) and levels.

The screen also uses next generation tactile feedback substrates so you can literally feel the sliders.

This is certainly an interesting design and stands out clearly from existing DJ controllers.

“Next generation tactile feedback substrates” aside, though, this looks a lot like a custom iPad, dedicated to DJing. As such, it combines the limitations of the iPad (limited tactile feedback, inability to build ‘motor memory’) with the limitations of existing DJ controllers (expensive, single purpose).

Video animatic for the RSON8 below.

Are music instrument designers getting too attached to the iPad idea?

Give the RSON8 a look and let us know what you think!

18 thoughts on “The RSON8 DJ Controller Raises The Question – Are Instrument Designers Too Attached To Their iPads?

  1. Explain “inability to build motor memory”… There are several iPad instruments that I use constantly that I am actually able to play with my eyes closed… I believe that takes “motor memory”… Am I wrong? Or am I able to find motor memory in the movement of my muscles outside of their relation to a physical interface (something a dancer does daily) when others cannot… Am I missing something here? I am not trying to be as snide as I might sound here… I am honestly just confused by that statement…

    1. Tilden – good question.

      Experienced DJs benefit from ‘motor memory’ when using complex DJ controllers with dozens or even hundreds of tactile controls. You can tweak the right knob, in bad light, because your brain and fingers know exactly where the control is.

      A basic version of this is possible with a tablet, but it’s not going to compare to what you can do with a hardware controller.

      You’re not limited to the controls of a hardware controller, though, so it’s not all ‘cons’.

  2. you can buy an ipad for that cost and have the benefit of other uses/apps too..

    just another excuse to make money from the touch revolution..

    1. “just another excuse to make money from the touch revolution”

      As the article notes, it’s a design concept.

  3. I could really care less about yet another DJ app. However the idea of haptics for a touch screen device is an interesting wrinkle, and could be a game changer for a touch interface (especially if it is configurable on a per-app basis.)

  4. So, they complain about “expensive, single-purpose” devices, but that’s exactly what this would be. Nothing more.

    Also, it’s not like these guys are the first to come up with a Haptic interface. Aside from the fact that Apple is looking into it (as well as every other tablet co.), the idea of a Haptic interface is very old. Even the Star Fleet Technical Manual featured it in their description of how the touch panels work on ST:TNG. Someday it’ll be normal to have an amazing Haptic display on every device.

    And what, I’d have to transfer all my music on yet ANOTHER device? Awesome.

  5. the ipad is a fad –before and during it’s rise there have always been better interfaces and applications —
    – like i said before if you think the ipad is this great thing then your probably under 30
    stop thinking $1 apps are analog and go eurorack

  6. Being a guitar player I of course I get the tactile benefit of strings as to which out of six I am playing on… But after that your “motor memory” is reliant more on the memory of finger spacing etc. their are fewer “tactile” cues then one would imagine… And when moving to a fretless instrument, there are fewer. I just do not believe that “motor memory” requires a physical interface at all… In fact one could argue that “tactile cues” are the motor memory equivalent to an “open book test”… If you have a tactile cue… What are you memorizing? 😉

  7. yawn….”combines the limitations of the ipad with the limitations of existing controllers”

    Perfect! Give me the worst of what is already out there and charge me lots of money for hardware I don’t need.

  8. The iPad… A touchscreen tablet with limited tactile cues has become my favored method of “playing” with sound… And no… I am actually well over 30… As its creator stated… “it’s a magical pane of glass that can be anything you want…” I have sold all my other MIDI controllers and use 2 iPads now for control and expressional sound generation (aside from my guitar… which sits more and more collecting dust)… I hear people rag on the viability as an instrument and it makes me laugh… DJ and Synth players ragging on the viability of a device as an “instrument”… Oh how the times have changed 😉

  9. Inability to build muscle memory? Please stick to talking about music, leave the incorrect assumptions alone. It doesn’t make you look smart, in fact it does the opposite.

    One can ‘build muscle memory’ doing anything – even air guitar.

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