The Nu Desine AlphaSphere

At the 2013 NAMM Show, we talked with Adam Place and Felix Godden of Nu Desine, creators of the AlphaSphere musical instrument and controller.

The AlphaSphere offers a fresh take on the music controller, supporting standard MIDI messages, but going beyond the typical controller with an unconventional design, pressure-sensitive pads and full polyphonic aftertouch.


  • 48 pressure sensitive pads
  • Tap to trigger, or apply pressure to manipulate sound
  • Responsive LED lighting
  • USB connectivity
  • Multichannel, Polyphonic Aftertouch MIDI
  • Trigger, loop, and manipulate audio files
  • Audio/MIDI sequencer feature
  • OSC compatible

The AlphaSphere is available for pre-order and is priced at £1000. See the AlphaSphere site for details.

26 thoughts on “The Nu Desine AlphaSphere

    1. Impractical if you want to be in a cover band.

      If you want to get creative, though, this could be very cool.

      This sort of layout reminds me of the way steel drum notes are arranged, or hang drum.

    2. I can see an interesting niche developing for stuff like this in the higher-end studios where there’s a lot of downtime and you might get an “oh cool, let’s mess around with that” moment. It should really be able to operate as a standalone though. The design (which is very nice) just screams to be carried around! Put some sampling and dsp function inside it, a battery, and a small speaker and you’ll have something very nice.

  1. So they want us to fork out an extra $1000 to add lights and the ability to roll off your desk to a standard pad controller? If this thing was wireless and sturdy enough to play basketball with, it would still have the least bang-for-buck of any midi controller I’ve ever seen.

    1. In case you weren’t paying attention – it’s on a stand, so it’s not going to roll anywhere.

      And name a couple of MIDI controllers under $1000 that have polyphonic after touch!

    1. Too bad about your body not being at all symmetrical!

      Seriously, though, this has symmetry and your body does, too. A standard piano keyboard doesn’t.

      For a bunch of electronic musicians, it seems like a pretty conservative bunch around here!

  2. elite he says , well i guess you gotta believe in your product. this kinda reminds me of that “karlax” thingy a little . guess you never know unless you try ill give em that much.i think its ugly too. funniest comments ever are on that”karlax” page . if you want a laugh i suggest typing it in the search and going there. even if you dont wanna laugh check it out. i was in tears, you guys are great

  3. He said dubstep! It must be cool/awesome. Seriously though, it’s cool that it’s different, but how useful is it? Seems like something a couple guys dreamed up after one too many bong rips.

  4. can it be used standalone, or do you need a computer.

    for £1000, I’d really want to be able to just program the pads on my computer and then use the “orb” standalone.

    would look cool centre stage though.

  5. This just seems a bit pointless to me-
    what would be the benefits of performing a reach-around maneuver on a flashing pad ball thing just to get to me claves?

    Sorry -i do feel bad slating someone’s hard work, but it just doesn’t grab me in the way i’m expected to grab it… if you know what i mean..

    also it looks as though it’s centre orientation is all wrong. If it’s all about playability and expression, surely it should be angled ergonomically towards the player?


  6. Don’t feel bad about hating, just call them like you see them. Those two need to hear what the market will have to say. If you’re gonna fail, fail fast!

  7. My feeling on alternative controllers is this: unless you are a performance artist, any midi controller or electronic instrument should make expression easier, and this doesn’t seem that it would do that. Most of us who tinkered with music have started on traditional instruments and then moved to electronics. That is why stepping away from the classic designs of instruments such as keyboards, guitars, wood winds or drums should make them more accessible, not less. And yes, I’m sure I could look really cool up on stage stroking this magic color change ball, but I want something that give me increased control. At that price point, there are a few options that would require less programming and offer more expressive capabilities. The beautiful thing about things like kaoss products, the yamaha tenori on, or many of the ipad controllers and synths is that they make music making easier. This looks like it would make it more complicated, albeit pretty.

  8. And speaking of the hang drum, why isn’t someone making an electronic version of that? Changeable scales, multiple pads, the capacity to rest it on your lap? That would be a controller that I would like to have. Maybe I should look into designing one.

  9. He said you can do a dub step type wobble!! ****ing great! I think althugh it looks great and is wacky it would be a nightmare to use! Push looks better

  10. Charge $1000 for a bunch of pads (oh ok, with polyphonic after touch) just because they are in ball? I´d prefer stick with a maschine or a mpc or even a trigger-finger-like controller. Thats way better to trigger pads. But if you have that money to waste, thats fine for you

    I only can see daft punk, bjork or deadmau5 using this stuff. Maybe thats why the manufacturer are asking too much money

    Midi Clothes, ball bearing sequencer, audiocubes, alphasphere, etc etc dude! Its 2013. Stop this hipster thing and start to make controllers that prevents seratoface please. Thats why Push are getting a lot of attention

    1. I like that all of a sudden there is CREATIVITY and CHOICE in MIDI controllers.

      Traditional keyboard designs haven’t changed much in hundreds of years and are really only optimal for playing keyboard music.

      And while grid controllers are relatively new, most of them are optimized for turning loops off and on.

      You know what’s really a ‘hipster thing’? Turning loops off and on with a LaunchPad and acting like it’s interesting. Actually, it’s just turning loops off and on and bouncing your head.

      1. ok, sorry for my previous comment. it reflects a bit of my frustation to not see something similar to Push to use in other DAWs. Maybe on the next NAMM

        The focus of my criticism is about controllers depending a lot of the computer screen. it is ridiculous with the amount of technology nowadays. Nothing against creativity, choice and inovation.

        1. Too much computer, not enough playing!

          The Panorama is an example of an ‘intelligent’ controller, with displays that update so you can focus on the controller, instead of the computer.

          We need more controllers like that, and support from more DAWs.

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