The Lumatone Isomorphic Keyboard Is Designed For Microtonal Music & More

At the 2020 NAMM Show, Lumatone launched their namesake MIDI controller, the Lumatone.

The Lumatone features 275 illuminated, velocity-sensitive hexagonal keys. Each key has an individually programmable MIDI note and LED color, so you can use a variety of scale arrangements and MIDI mappings.

Keys can also be assigned as continuous controllers, allowing a single key to control anything you can imagine on analog or digital instruments. Lumatone comes with companion software (Mac/PC compatible) so you can make isomorphic maps for standard 12-note tunings, or microtonal maps that allow performance in 21-tet, 24-tet, 31-tet, and beyond.

Here’s an example of the Lumatone in action, Benton Roark performing a microtonal composition, Sundog:

Lumatone plans to produce a limited-run of 200 Lumatone controllers later this year via a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGO. See the project page for more information.

12 thoughts on “The Lumatone Isomorphic Keyboard Is Designed For Microtonal Music & More

  1. FWIW, this is the second time they have run an Indigogo campaign for this instrument. After the first campaign was successful following promotion here at Synthtopia in 2013 and a previous article in 2007 describing the prototypes, they collected the funds, but unfortunately did not manage to deliver a single instrument. It appears they’ve rebranded and reemerged with a new name. The version of the instrument shown with the color changing keys is what they promised backers the first time through.

    It’s unclear whether 2013 backers received refunds, or are going to receive copies of this new round in return for their previous backing. The backers have been quiet and none have discussed the issue publicly.

    1. Hi Rabid Bat – it is absolutely correct that our initial crowdfunding campaign was launched (and successful) in 2013. We’re the same team behind the original crowdfunding campaign, and while it’s taken longer than we wanted, we’ve kept our eyes and hearts on the vision and we’re finally getting ready to enter the production phase.

      We’ve been in touch with every single backer of our original campaign and the vast majority of them have opted to remain as backers, with only a couple exceptions who are being fully refunded. For our backer’s early belief in the project, they’re receiving their keyboards very first, and for half of its MSRP to boot!

      I appreciate you bringing this up. Rest assured we’re grateful for their initial belief in our project and we’re super excited to be able to finally get them their keyboards and move forward for .

    2. Rabid Bat – if you view the video, Matt discusses their previous crowdfunding campaign at about 2:50 in.

      Also FWIW, while you characterize our covering synth news as ‘promotion’, no one has ever paid us to post a news article on Synthtopia. We try to cover news that’s relevant to electronic musicians, we’ve been doing it for over 15 years and we think we do it as well as anyone.

      As part of that coverage, have reported on dozens of alternate MIDI controllers, because they are newsworthy to our readers.

      We also have covered dozens of crowdfunding campaigns that we think relate to electronic musicians. Anyone backing a crowdfunding campaign should be knowledgeable enough to know that backing projects is not like buying a piece of gear from a store – it’s taking a financial risk to help make a project happen. Projects generally provide some sort of financial incentive to make this risk more worthwhile.

      IndieGoGo is very straightforward about the risks involved in backing campaigns and has information on their site about it:

      If any backers of the Lumatone have concerns about previous campaigns that they feel have not been professionally addressed, per Matthew Angus’s comment, we welcome them to share their experiences here.

      Thanks for your feedback.

      1. I believe the term ‘promotion’ applies to any post featuring a new item. However, the term ‘paid promotion’ is not what was used here. Honestly, I don’t think anyone has said you got paid for any of these postings.

  2. I have an axis 49… and really felt a deeper connection to it compared to the piano style. I wonder how much this will cost/

  3. I’m an original backer and I attended NAMM last week with the Lumatone team. The thing that must be appreciated here is that this is a genuinely hard project, technically. Unlike a standard MIDI keyboard with 76 or 88 keys, here we have 275 keys, each with its own RGB LED. And they aren’t buttons, like the C-Thru Axis instruments used. They are lever-action keys, closely fitted together. They aren’t simple 2-contact mechanisms (or, as of last year, if you spring for a top-of-the-line stage piano, 3-contact) either. Each key on the Lumatone has its own Hall-effect sensor, which continuously senses key position. To my knowledge, the Haken Continuum was the only other instrument at NAMM this year that uses these sensors. Anyway, the Lumatone plays like a real instrument. One of the most frequent comments I heard from visitors at the booth was how nice the action is. I’m picky about actions myself, and despite knowing the specs, I hadn’t played a Lumatone until I arrived at the show. I was relieved to find it was everything I’d hoped. Action feel is a bit of a personal preference, of course. My point is just that this is a technically ambitious project and a labor of love for everyone involved. Yes, it’s taken a lot longer to deliver than I’d hoped. But I think it will have been worth the wait!

  4. Count me in, i’ve been on the lookout for a microtonal keyboard controller for a couple of years now and they were not available lately. The lights are a bonus for orientation..

  5. Interesting video. I would have liked to listen to a demonstration of the velocity sensitivity, given that the keyboard uses Hall-effect sensors. While I can get limited microtonal music from my Korg, this keyboard design seems to be really lovely. I presume that it can be set up for splits, etc.

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