• ‘V’ for versatile VMeter touchstrip controller

    There have been a few experiments with touch strip controllers that offer LED feedback over the years, including the Stribe from Curious Inventor and the Novation Twitch.

    The most recent such controller to emerge is the VMeter, a very small, yet very versatile little toy that has the added expressiveness of pressures sensors. This controller also offers the advantage of instantly jumping to new values as well as having them change gradually as with sliders or knobs.

    “The new software has several different options for output, which can all be configured to different MIDI controller numbers and note outs where appropriate.” said Scott Driscoll, one of the VMeter developers, ” This includes touch position, pressure, contact on/off, pitch wheel and note out. And most can be turned on at the same time, giving you control over several parameters with a single touch.”

    Another interesting feature of the VMeter is the ability link multiple devices into one MIDI Controller.

    “In our first version, we had custom software that bridged between the VMeter USB connection and the operating system MIDI,” Driscoll said, “This let us off-load some of the processing onto the computer, but was horribly inconvenient for performance.  The new version is simply a native USB MIDI device, and is plug-and-play compatible with just about any OS and software because of that”

    According to Driscoll, the VMeter is the result of wanting to help make electronic music performance more visually appealing.

    “I just got back from a show where the performer was doing the usual head bobbing behind a laptop,” Driscoll said, “While I loved the music, I hate not being able to connect anything I’m hearing with what I’m seeing.  It’s just not the same as watching a guitar player or drummer.  With the VMeter, my hope would be that you could better see what the performer is doing to the software.” This is actually one of the defining ideas behind controllerism itself.

    The versatility of the VMeter might just make it the ultimate tool in a controllerist’s arsenal, kind of like a Swiss Army Knife for sound control.