Orbit Multi-Person DJ Controller


DJ Tech Tools and Red Bull Music Academy have introduced the Orbit, a collaborative DJ controller, designed for Richie Hawtin’s Enter party this summer in Ibiza.

The Orbit controller, below, features 12 independent touch wheels on a large circular table. The touch wheels let people control one channel in an evolving “dj mix” in Ableton Live.


Here’s a video demo for the Orbit:

The goals for the project isn’t to replace traditional DJ controllers, but to:

  • Connect people through music, sort of an ‘electronic drum circle’; and
  • Open the door to creativity with a music installation that’s fun for the users but also creates the soundtrack for a nightclub.

The  Orbit is basically a giant MIDI controller, with 12 jog wheels, 6 USB interfaces, and visual feedback provided via over 1000 LEDs.

The jog wheels send high-resolution position data to Ableton Live, and display that position through the ring of LEDs around each wheel. When touched, the wheel “reveals” that part and the LEDs immediately in front of the wheel pulse in time with the rhythm of that part.

Orbit is running an extended blend of over a dozen “songs” in Ableton Live. Instead of stereo MP3s, each song is made up of 12 individual parts taken from stems that various artists provided for this installation, including Dubfire, DJ Tennis, Plastikman, Chris Liebing and others.

See the DJTT site for more info.

16 thoughts on “Orbit Multi-Person DJ Controller

  1. Are you sure that isn’t a typo? “Red Bull Cleavage Academy” seems slightly more appropriate from the lead photo. Anyway…. cue the echoing cries of “technology has taken the place of talent.”

    I fear that there is an army of extremely talented 10 year-old accordian and zither players practicing away in their parents’ basements, waiting a few years until the time is right and they can cause a radical shift in the music scene with melodic genres like “squeeze & twang.”

    Once melodic accordian tunage takes hold, thousands of electronic musicians whose musical understanding never developed beyond the notion of a “wicked drop” and who couldn’t be bothered to learn complicated things like chords will be out of work, their grid controllers silenced forever.

  2. “Anyone of any skill level can play and express themselves”. Uh, yeah, anyone who’s level of self expression is limited to turning one knob on a pre-canned gizmo. I can see how this would be really cool for non-musicians to just walk up to and fiddle with for a couple minutes. But the “oh wow it’s from outer space” marketing needs to stop.

  3. Everything








    Beards : CHECK


    LED’s : CHECK

    Ableton Live : CHECK

    DJ’s : CHECK


    Ball Turd

  4. sooo, each person can turn a track up or down. expressive.
    giant waste of money.
    lets throw some cleave in to justify it.

  5. Audio catastrophe. The only thing I like about this controller is the cleavage add-on. Remember this is how the Star Wars prequels were made (crowd sourced creativity, not cleavage).

  6. Looks cool. Great potential in many ways. Don’t care about the club aspect of it, that looks lame. But could be very useful with music therapy with disabled children. Looks like lots of fun.

  7. I wonder if any of you haters every invented something, improved an existing system or even thought about anything which could shape the future of music.
    It’s so easy to hide behind the mask of anonymity in the internet and write stupid, negative comments.
    If the world would only exist of people like you, we would still be drumming on tree trunks.

    Open your mind and don’t be scared of new things. I think it’s great to have another new tool(or if you want toy) to let people be musically creative.

    Why are you guys actually following this blog?

    1. “…improved an existing system or even thought about anything which could shape the future of music.”

      And this does that how, exactly?

    2. People are responding to the tone and content of this promo video. It’s a simple interactive music table designed to be used by drunk people in a club, but they’re presenting it as a brilliant invention.

      To make things worse, some of the pseudo-technical statements are absolute gobbledygook: “Using jog wheels, using the principals of gravity, depending on how fast or what direction they spin these wheels, they produce music.”

  8. Obviously there’s very little in the way of actual musical expression given that its designed to be drunken-fool-resistant however it might open up ideas on how to be more collaborative through Ableton on a bigger scale and thats a good thing.

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