Sound Force Controllers Offers Custom MIDI Controllers For Software Synths


Dutch designer Nicolas Toussaint let us know about his line of boutique MIDI controllers, sold under the name Sound Force Controllers.

“A couple of years ago,” explains Toussaint, “I started to build a dedicated controller for the TAL-U-NO-LX synth plugin (the excellent model of the Roland JUNO-60).”

“It all started a bit of out of necessity,” he notes, “as I couldn’t replicate the analog synth experience in the box. I missed the touch and the fun of fiddling with the knobs. And so was my first product born, the SoundForce SFC-60,” (pictured above).

SFC-60_RevB-side_2000Sound Force Controllers currently offers the SFC-60 – a custom MIDI controller for the TAL U-NO-LX plugin, an software model of the Roland JUNO-60.

The custom controller offers a hardware synth experience, with more than 35 controls, while letting you control TAL U-NO-LX in your DAW. And, as the SFC-60 is a class-compliant MIDI device, it can also be used with any other MIDI-mappable software instrument.

Here’s a video demo of the prototype for the SFC-60 in action:

The SFC-60 is available now for 265 Euros.

Toussaint is also developing a custom controller for the TAL Bassline 101 (Roland SH-101 model), demonstrated in the video below:

See the Sound Force site for more information.

41 thoughts on “Sound Force Controllers Offers Custom MIDI Controllers For Software Synths

  1. As 3D printing expands and the cost of custom hardware drops, I can imagine a future in which softsynths include something like this by default.

    1. Would be awesome, and some universal small computer thats abler to install the plugins you like, so you can klick it direct into the controller to become independent VA synth.

  2. A bit pricey for just a dedicated MIDI controller. Considering you can now buy desktop module for nearly the same price

    1. I know this not for everybody. Some people love it and the rest usually don’t see the point and find it too expensive.

      This product is hand made by myself in Europe. The assembly takes about 3 hours. It’s all made in boutique amount.

      The idea is to make some special that didn’t exist before for the few people that like the workflow.

    2. High-quality tactile parts like enclosures, pots, sliders, switches, buttons, knobs, connector jacks and displays are generally the most costly parts of a synth. Once a synth has been developed for mass production, it is relatively cheap to manufacture the circuit board with electronic components that makes it an actual synth.

      The sky’s the limit on the tactile parts however. As a result, a good quality controller can be worth substantially more than an average synth. Hand-building adds a lot to the cost as well.

      1. I was thinking this, the electronics cost nothing on a cheap desktop synth, the real cost is hardware controls and distribution. Other than R&D, the material cost of making a complex integrated circuit board with chip and a simple one is relatively the same.

  3. Arturia really need to get onboard with this idea, imagine these built for the JP8V and CS80V plugins, good god !

    1. I bought a used Novation X-Station for precisely this reason. It’s a MIDI controller but instead of the ubiquitous ‘banks of 8’ sliders/knobs/buttons, the thing is laid out like a… OMG… A Synthesizer! You know, like the thing you want to control: with an OSC section, Filter section, 2x ADSR, LFO… I don’t understand why there aren’t more keyboard MIDI Controllers like this (discontinued) one on the market.

      Mini review: pretty great. Easy to edit and most every parameter in every soft synth I use regularly has a logical physical control on the X-station. Non-subtractive synths can get a little squirrelly but for the most part it’s a pretty solid 1:1.

      Makers, make more like the X-station please! Skip the synth and the effects—just a controller (though the included VA isn’t that bad at all).

      1. I use an X-Station as well, for exactly this reason – its laid out like a synth. i just laugh and laugh every time i see a new controller come out with the same tired features, oh look, 8 rotary knobs… oh boy, 8 sliders, maybe some drum pads. these guys are still thinking in the days of the Oxygen 8. time to evolve a bit.

        i’d love something like this for my softsynths, however im not gonna hold my breath on the ones i use getting this treatment anytime soon 🙁

      2. That is why Novation still make the Remote series. Forty-eight eight and sixteen bit controllers infinitely programmable for all controlling needs. One may need to actually take the time to program in all the CRC and SYSEX commands as necessary, but perfection is not necessarily for the lazy. Also there is Automap. And those new seemingly god-like Akai controllers. Do not forget Mackie. And Behringer. Some people like boutique, some like universal. Everyone’s wishes appear to be covered now.

  4. 265 Euro’s … hmmm… ?
    It’s basically a $5~10 Arduino in a custom box & faceplate & buttons & pots (which could be rotary in the right application). Are the sliders high-quality ‘Alps’ type? Will the box / face be metallic or…?

    I know this is a prototype but at least for that price the faceplate livery colour should match the VST.

    Here’s some poor man alternatives –
    1. If already have an iPad or Android tablet;
    a) Use an iPad with one of the custome MIDI designer apps or TouchOSC.
    b) Use either iPad or Android tablet with a remote desktop app eg. SplashTop for remote control of PC/Mac.

    2. If have a PC with a touch OS (Windows 8.x+) – use the GUI on that.

    1. Please let me know where you can find an arduino with built-in USB controller for 5$ 😉
      The faders are Bourns pro audio.
      The white/red version is the final version not a prototype.

    2. Comments like this always ignore the significant time and skill that goes into designing a short run product. Yes, you can buy a microcontroller and associated components for $10. Yes, potentiometers and switches only cost a few dollars each. That doesn’t mean that the final price of the device should simply reflect the raw component costs.

      1. Yes!

        Just because you can make a crappy knockoff in your basement doesn’t mean nice versions shouldn’t exist,.

        Also, if your most useful comment is to rant about gear prices, maybe your time would be better spent getting a job….

      2. yeah no thought to the R&D time invested. when you’re a one man shop its not easy to crank this stuff out assembly-line style.

  5. Really am at a loss to see so many controllers for prices that are higher than you can buy a second hand, analogue or Digital synth. I bought a Mopho keyboard in Flight case for 400. A Novation KS rack for 150. I have seen Jp 8080’s going for 350, Korg z1’s in mint condition for 300.
    I hope that peopel buying these wise up a bit and buy hardware , it is cost effective and real!!!

  6. Looks nice and solid. Not for everybody but seems to be a good solution for people like me 😉 the price is the price and should be ok!

  7. Would make sense at 99 euros but not over 300, I can buy a real analog synth (budget one but still) for that!!

  8. I think its a great idea but the price is too much which is such as shame. I appreciate this is boutique but £200 odd for a controller is a lot really. If it were half the price I think it’d be a better deal. By the way, can you make one for the C64 Mssiah synth as that is really needed!!!

  9. Great controller.
    It would be nice to have a “generic one” but keeping the synth layout. Perhaps something a bit like the Roland System1 where you can (de)activate some “sections” when not needed. Exemple there are control for 3 OSC on the controller but you deactivate the 3rd one when controlling a 2 osc softsyth.

  10. As this is a midi-controller there’s only 127 steps per fade? There are no tech details on the product page…

  11. How do you set the MIDI chanel number?
    There’s a few knobs and buttons missing as on the TAL. Like arpeggiator hold, LFO trigger…

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