Nearfield Multimedia Marimba LuminaIn the past, Don Buchla created instruments that have performance capabilities beyond that of mainstream controllers. His latest creation, the Marimba Lumina, continues this trend. Its interface is familiar but strange, yet it offers a welcome challenge to the adventurous musician.
At first glance, the Marimba Lumina resembles a traditional 3 1/2-octave mallet controller. However, it transcends this conventional interface by using radio sensors in the bars, pads, and strips that sense tuned circuitry embedded in each of the four color-coded foam mallets. This radio-frequency antenna technology lets the Marimba Lumina track the mallets independently and gives the performer a wide range of control options.
You can program the Marimba Lumina to sustain a note when a mallet is held down on the bar. You can map the location where you strike the bar and the subsequent movement of the mallet to control any parameter. One preset lets you open and close a filter by sliding a mallet along a bar. However, you can program this gesture to send note messages from a user-defined tuning table. If you set the instrument's sensitivity to a high enough value, you can trigger notes merely by moving the mallets near the bars.
The Marimba Lumina comes with a built-in Yamaha DB51 XG synthesizer, so it's ready to play right out of the box.