JazzMutant Dexter (Bonus)

JazzMutant Dexter is a multitouch graphical control surface for hands-on mixing and controlling plug-in effects.
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This online bonus material supplements the JazzMutant Dexter review in the January 2008 issue of Electronic Musician.

Dexter Installation and Setup

Installing the hardware and ancillary software is quick and painless, and the process is clearly described in a printed 12-page Quickstart manual. (The full 29-page manual, which is in PDF format, is adequate if a bit brief.) You start by installing dedicated plug-ins for each host and, in the case of Logic Pro, a MIDI converter application called JazzDaemon. A standard installer on the accompanying CD lets you choose which items to install.

Next, you connect the hardware to your computer with the provided crossover Ethernet cable or to a local area network (LAN) via a hub or switch. Unless you want to share Dexter with other computers or your computer''s Ethernet jack is in use, direct connection is the way to go. You then press a button on the control surface and select the desired IP address (usually Automatic Using DHCP) and MIDI ports (only required for use with JazzDaemon). The final step is to add the unit to your host sequencer''s recognized control surfaces and, perhaps, make a few preference settings. It took me less than ten minutes to get Dexter working with Logic Pro 7 and Cubase 4 on my Power Mac G5 running Mac OS X 10.4.8.

By default, the unit will lock itself to the first application it recognizes. On a network running several compatible hosts, that may not be what you want, in which case you can manually lock it to any sequencer you choose. The GUI is virtually identical for all hosts, and you can leaf through its pages without any host present. Unfortunately, even with JazzDaemon on the Mac, you cannot use it as a generic, one-way MIDI control surface because most of its buttons and faders either don''t function or reset automatically when there is no feedback from a host.