Interesting in theory, but doesn't work like I thought it would
Reviewed in the United States on 29 January 2021
This device seems to be pretty solid and looks attractive while on the desk. That's where the usefulness for me stopped. I'm giving it 3 stars because I think it's a solid device and could be useful for some, but I have personal issues with it and the advertising did not seem to match up with it's actual functionality.
Not touch sensitive:
Unfortunately it doesn't really perform as expected. Watching the videos talking about sliding and touching and reading descriptions, I thought the top of the device was going to be touch sensitive meaning I could slide my finger across it and send midi data to my computer. Unfortunately, the paddle must be physically moved. The paddle senses 4 degrees of motion: pushed down at the front, pressed down at the back, and pulled to each side.
Resolution of data not calibrated to degree of motion:
I loved the idea of having a midi controller that would "push back" so to speak. When controlling volume swells (or vibrato amount or whatever) I want to be able to put physical effort into increasing the parameter, then control the parameter coming back down by relaxing my muscles and controlling how fast the device returns to a resting state. This allows you to play the device similar to an actual instrument instead of having to manually return a slider or knob back to zero. However, the Touché will send it's maximum CC message (127) somewhere in the middle of it's axis of motion, well before the paddle bottoms out. Because there's there's no physical sensation to tell you "this is as loud as it goes" its difficult to perform anything realistically without having extended chunks where the expression data is maxed out. In practice, I ended up having to go back to the CC data after recording, reduce everything, then manually mouse in more gentle curves where the data flatlined. The device does allow you to dial in a sensitivity setting, however this was an issue even at the least sensitive. When the device is at it's most sensitive, the slightest touch will send a full blast. This is potentially useful if you're into finger drumming, but not what I was looking for .
The multiple degrees of motion were more of a hassle than useful:
This is likely a personal thing, but when each axis of motion is mapped to a different parameter, it's very difficult to use without accidentally sending some unintended data. Pressing the paddle down in the back will inevitably end up slightly jiggling the paddle left or right which sent midi data I ended up needing to delete later on. Some people may like the unpredictable sensitivity of this, but for my production methods, I found it to be more of a hassle.
There is no manual!!!:
This was really annoying. The device does not come with a manual nor was I able to find any printed document on the website. Instead, you have to watch a series of videos. While sometimes it's nice watching someone walk you through how to do things on youtube, I often want to be able to scan through a document to find the info I'm looking for and move on. In this setup, if you want to learn how to program custom midi messages, or figure out what the buttons do, you have to watch a guy unbox the thing first, plug it in, install software, advertise for all the plugins this thing is compatible with, etc. This is beyond infuriating.
The LIE programming environment is a pain in the ass if you use this with a standard DAW:
It took me awhile to figure this out, but if their standalone LIE software is open on your computer, the device sends different signals than it would if the app is closed. I'd program one axis of motion to send a midi signal, and then try to test it out in my DAW, but it wouldn't send the signal I had just programmed it to. Had there been a manual, this issue would have been easier to troubleshoot, but instead I had to watch a whole video series to get that one answer. I often like to change the functionality of my midi devices so I may use on axis to control expression, then change it so that same axis controls modulation and record another pass etc. With most apps, you can leave them open and reprogram your midi device on the fly, but with the touche, you need to open the app, go to the custom settings, set your setting, then close it every time you want to change something.
I found the presets for integrated 3rd party software cluttering:
The LIE interface is very much created to facilitate loading up prefab patches for 3rd party software, and there are seemingly hundreds of these. This is one of the things that they seem to proudly advertise, but I found it more annoying than anything else. I use custom settings on my midi devices almost exclusively, but I wasn't able to find a way to have the LIE software default to the custom midi screen. Instead it loads up with a bunch of 3rd party plugins and you have to go through a series of menus to get to the custom midi stuff EVERY TIME. I couldn't even figure out how to hide the mountain of plugin settings I'll never use because I don't own the software. It's just visual clutter that makes for an annoying user experience.
Suffice to say I'm returning this. I'm sure this device will be useful for the right target audience, but for me it was more of a novelty than a serious production tool.
4 people found this helpful