March 9, 2013

Can Your Keyboard Do This?

Many smaller portable synthesizers like the MicroKorg and the MiniBrute come with two small jog wheels on the left side of the keyboard.  To an onlooker, these controls must seem curiously placed, and it might be hard to guess what they actually control.  My first guess when I saw these was that they somehow amplified the sound of the note, like the pedal on a piano – but I was wrong.  They actually control pitch and modulation.  Pitch is probably the easiest to understand, coming from a DJ’s perspective.  The pitch wheel can take a note that is played, and knock it up or down a half step to make it sharp or flat, easy.

The only problem with this wheel is that it requires another hand to activate it.  DJs understand this to be a problem as well.  There isn’t much you can do when you have one wheel permanently attached to the left side of the keyboard.  The Endeavour EVO solves this problem by allowing the keys themselves to detect capacitance.  Sliding the fingers up and down the keys performs the same action as moving the pitch wheel up and down.  It’s a clever and clean combination of two functions.