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Livid with excitement

Livid with excitement

Midi controller come in all shapes and sizes, but this must be the bluest of the lot.

Yes it's a Midi controller with a seductive blue glow like Tron, but that's not the only thing that makes the OHM controller from Livid Instruments stand out from the crowd. Its been designed specifically for VJs by the Livid team, who are all hard working professional VJs and visual artists, who decided to take matters into their own hands to create their ideal performance tool.

The OHM has a massive bank of 36 pads in the centre which are perfect for triggering clips, and is the only controller to have so many pads for this purpose, and are back-lit for maximum visibility in dark clubs. Underneath is a DJ style crossfader with a large wooden handle flanked by a pair of function buttons. On the left and right hand sides are a bank of four channel faders and function buttons, for tweaking effects and keying Alpha/Chroma levels.

With these kinds of features, it's easy to see how useful the OHM controller will pair music software such as Ableton Live for DJ sets, where the bank buttons are perfect for launching clips, and mixer channels can be commanded by the fader groups.

It's not often that we see wooden panels on Midi controllers, its usually vintage synths that get this kind of special treatment. It does give a special touch to the looks, but for those who don't care for the natural finish, there's an all metal 19" rack mount version at no extra cost.

For the time being it's only available by mail order directly from the Livid website, and comes with a copy of their fully featured VJ application, Union. For those who haven't come across this before, Union an all-in-one live VJ software mixing studio with hundreds of effects, live video inputs, and complete Midi integration.

Now in Version 2.5 it's all about real-time video manipulation, where the visual results can be projected out onto screen or saved to disk for later use. One look at the graphic interface and its easy to see why the OHM controller is what it is. Users can select from the bank of 36 clips and launch them in real-time with full Midi control over effect parameters. It can mix in a live video feed, and output the whole thing as full screen to a second monitor using Composite, S-video, VGA, or DVI. There are eight layers visible which match the channel faders, plus two sources labeled A and B for DJ style scratching and mixing.

Tight BPM integration over Midi keeps things locked between audio and visuals, and Union has a built in sequencer to create longer compositions along a time line, or to cascade clips in sequence from the banks. Union and OHM look like a tight match for VJs, so expect a review in these pages soon.


Price – OHM Midi Controller £400 (introductory price includes fee copy of Union VJ software), Union VJ software £150 when sold separately


Released: Out now