Expressive E’s Touché is a hardware controller like no other.
The use of touch to control music has a history as long as that of music itself, giving musicians a physically intimate and essentially intuitive relationship with their instruments. Once synthesis arrived on the musical scene, note production and the modification of pitch and sound began to be mediated by relatively crude, mechanical means that often struggled to become an integral part of the musical process.
With the release of the Touché, French company Expressive E have brought to market a USB/MIDI/CV hardware controller whose raison d’être is to deliver an intuitive, touch-based approach to controlling the parameters not only of hardware synthesizers, but also of VST software instruments running within a DAW. Currently the Touché and its supporting Lié software (recently upgraded to v1.2) are limited to working under Mac OS (10.10 and above). A Windows 10 Lié beta is imminent, but no release date for the actual program has yet been set.
Physically, the Touché is an attractive and well-built unit whose black, soft-touch base measures a fairly substantial 24 x 10 x 2cm. Its smoothly tactile wooden control surface almost appears to hover above the base, but closer inspection reveals that it is attached by magnets to an underlying assembly that ‘floats’ on a pair of silicone cylinders, thereby allowing the control surface to be pushed downwards at any point along the length of its longitudinal axis. A second suspension, sitting within the first but...
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