Customize a Modular MIDI Controller: Special Waves Mine & Mine S on Kickstarter

The Special Waves Mine and Mine S are customizable, original and updatable modular MIDI controllers built for the needs of producers, DJs and musicians.
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First conceptualized four years ago, the Mine customizable modular MIDI controller is now on Kickstarter, where interested tweakers can pre-order a large variety of configurations until February 24. There are some Early-Bird prices still available until February 7, and product deliveries are planned for November 2017.

The new European brand behind the Mine and half-size Mine S controllers, Special Waves, plans on being a source of inspiration for producers, DJs and musicians to customize their own original and updatable controllers for their specific needs.

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To do so, the Mine and Mine S cases accommodate modules made of single electronic interfaces that can be user-installed on an 8x8 grid (Mine) or a 4x8 grid (Mine S). At any point, you can rearrange the modules relatively simply, and orient them vertically (as with a channel fader) or horizontally (as with a crossfader).

Special Waves has five available module types so far:
• Pad - velocity and pressure sensitive with RGB backlighting.
• 2 Buttons - 2-pad module, both with RGB backlighting.
• Encoder - endless rotary encoder with pushbutton switch and LED ring indicator.
• Pot - rotary potentiometer with center detent.
• Slider: 60mm linear fader.

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The company has other modules in development as well, such as a trackpad, LED display, jog wheels and others.

An included Controller Editor software program will automatically recognize the position, orientation and type of modules that are plugged into the case, and you can assign the modules certain values like encoder acceleration and LED ring mode.

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Special Waves has also partnered with Ableton Live Pack-, Max for Live device- and controller script-producers extraordinaire, Isotonik Studios, for them to create a free basic-function Ableton Live script that will come with any Mine or Mine S purchase.

The Mine controller will fit up to 64 modules and has two connectors for expanding with other Mine controllers, which together could be used as one larger interface. The Mine S fits up to 32 modules and has one connector for expansion. Both cases have USB for power and computer connection, as well as 12V DC power supply connector for extra power. They are both available in black or wood-like finishes.

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It’s easy to see the enormous appeal that the Special Waves Mine and Mine S have for MIDI controller enthusiasts; who wouldn’t want to configure their own dream controllers in a way that requires no wiring or soldering and can be rearranged at will? However, even if a large-ish company like Novation were offering this, it would necessarily have to cost more than a product like the 64-pad Launchpad Pro ($299 street). So especially for a new bootstrapped company that’s working at low volumes as least for now, the Mine and Mine S will not come for what’s reasonably known as “cheap.”

However, you get what you pay for: ostensibly the perfect controller for you. Special Waves has also broken down its pricing to a large swath of module package options in order to keep the prices at least somewhat in check. Perhaps after November when it fulfills its initial Kickstarter orders, it will move to a true á la carte model where you only buy exactly the modules you want.

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The Mine and Mine S prices break down roughly as follows. Again, some of the Early Bird deals are running out, and all of them expire after February 7.

• Early Bird Mine S with basic module pack: 215 euros/$231
• Mine S with several module pack options: 250-420 euros/$269-452
• Early Bird Mine with basic module pack: 420 euros/$452
• Mine with several module pack options: 460-845 euros/$495-908
• Mine + Mine S controllers with several module pack options: 920-1095 euros/$989-1177

The two-controller Mine + Mine S packages seem to be the best deal overall for what you get, and it’s what you really want anyway, right? Perhaps you’re expecting a tax return this year?

Mine - Modular Controller from Specialwaves on Vimeo.

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