The Record-Breaking MIDI Controller – The Artiphon Instrument 1


At the 2015 Summer NAMM Show, we talked with Artiphon founder & CEO Mike Butera about his new MIDI instrument, the Instrument 1.

The Instrument 1 is a MIDI controller that can be played in many ways – like a guitar, a violin, a cello, a drum controller and more. The developers raised over a million dollars, a Kickstarter record for musical instruments, to produce the Instrument 1.

Here’s an update on the Instrument 1 from Butera:

Artiphon expects the Instrument 1 to be available in 2016. You can follow their project development via their Kickstarter site and

21 thoughts on “The Record-Breaking MIDI Controller – The Artiphon Instrument 1

  1. It’s a MIDI over USB controller. In my opinion a MIDI controller should have at least one MIDI connector. More and more such stuff is coming out. If they would add real MIDI I would buy it. I want to switch on my station and jam. With this bad working USB sh*t I am not very motivated to start a computer, load software, make configurations etc..

    A MIDI connector is not so expensive and the devices would be more usable.

    1. I understand your reluctance. I’m using my PC less and less for music. In my case it’s because I can do more in a far easier way on my iPad. Multiple synths, Cubase, Guitar recording, keyboard – all on my iPad. My PC is a monster liquid cooled machine that I might scale down at some point to create a much more compact machine. Still won’t be portable though. I hate laptops.

      1. I respect where that comes from, because its partly why I became totally wrapped up in Logic. I wanted it all in one place, as opposed to being tangled up in MIDI cables. iPads are not for me so far because I need a surface large enough to run Logic comfortably and at least 8 gb of RAM, if not a bit more. Desktops have the power to run the cream, such as Omnisphere. Pads aren’t anywhere near that and may never be. The companies want to sell you several platforms, so it seems unlikely that iPads will ever be serious workhorses and desktop power will never be portable. (I say Never advisedly, because Never has a way of appearing 6 months later.)

        1. Buy a Surface Pro 3, it’s one of if not the best tablet out there. It has more than enough horsepower to do all of those things. I have an Ipad Mini that I use as a sound source along with all of my VSTs within Studio One 3. I run it all on my SP3 when I’m away from my desktop.

    2. Name a hardware midi synth that supports polyphonic pitch bends and poly after touch.

      This thing is designed for portability and for modern synth capabilities, and there are very few hardware synths that can keep up with the capabilities of advanced midi controllers.

      1. How large of a list would you like?

        Just for starters among current brands/models:

        Roland Integra 7
        Yamaha MOXF and Motif XF series (and previous Motif models and their rackmount variations)
        Novation UltraNova and MiniNova

          1. Polyphonic pitch-bend support is also known as MIDI guitar mode. It is present in many early MIDI synths including the Roland D-50 and Prophet VS, and is a great and useful basic feature of MIDI. With the Linnstrument and similar instruments including the Artiphon, the feature is making a comeback. It’s supported by a number of the plugins in Logic X, Cubase 8, as well as most of U-he’s plugins. Hardware support is lagging compared to 25 years ago when it was a common feature.

      2. That’s simple, the LinnStrument.

        It’s the most inviting and intuitive controller I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning.

  2. This looks like the ideal controller for microtonal Ne “non standard” turnings for a variety of world music. Perhaps that flexibility is why it was so successful in kickstarted.

  3. It’s the first time I heard about this instrument, and it looks like a great addition to the traditional type of controllers, and it does not cost you and a leg.
    I hope that a larger brother of the instrument 1 will be taken into consideration.

  4. this thing is weird … its still a bit too much like traditional instruments to really interest me tho

  5. My first impression is that it is kind of an entry-level instrument, geared toward beginners. It doesn’t seem like an especially revolutionary concept, and not super-expressive, but will probably be quite fun for a person to use as their controller for Garageband sounds.

  6. It really depends on how much time a person is willing to devote to developing a playing technique. Its a MIDI controller, so you’ll have to put in extra effort if you want to emulate acoustic instruments well. If you are all about synths, its uniqueness takes a small hit because its a crowded field. There’s a definite line between the novelty of excessive ease and becoming adept enough at an alternate approach to really turn heads. OTOH, he made it quite clear that the Artiphon can be played fluidly, so its not just some garage-beta pipe dream. The demo set up the specs and showed off some quality playing so you know what the real-time side really offers. If you are a boutique-instrument type, you know who you are and (probably) what most of the risks are. I hope the Artiphon persists because I love my Xkey for its poly-pressure. Anything that brings a new dimension to your actual playing deserves some respect, especially when its not half-arsed.

  7. What do you guys think about this compared to the Linnstrument? Been saving up for a Linnstrument for a while, and this is quite cheaper. Yet it seems much more geared towards novice electronic musicians. Also the vibrato he was performing seemed much less responsive than the sensors on the Linnstrument (though maybe that’s because the “frets” are longer than the Linnstrument’s sensors).

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