Starr Labs has introduced two new USB instrument controllers: the Ztar Z6-SX ($2,995) for guitarists and the Travlar U-144 ($799). The Z6-SX incorporates the recent hardware and software advancements from Starr Labs R&D department. The special fingerboard is a fully programmable control surface that is configured like a guitar. It may be re-tuned and mapped in other configurations, which can be recalled from memory. Each of the 144 fret keys is individually programmable. Six programmable StringTriggers are provided for strumming and picking, and TriggerPads, a new thumb-operated Joystick, and ribbon and breath controllers are also available. The Z6-SX can include a wide range of programmable performance options, such as assignable faders, drum pads, NeckSensors, pedals, and a USB port.
The Travlar U-144, which can be used like a portable guitar or piano, measures 24-inches long by 5-inches wide, weighs 3 pounds, and can be USB-bus powered. The Travlar''s 144 Velocity sensitive trigger pads can be reconfigured at the touch of a button to play in many different formats. When tuned and played like a guitar, the 144 keys span 3 1/2 octaves. (Other practical tunings put up to 7 octaves on the Travlar''s neck.)
The Travlar offers a Triggering mode for the right hand, allowing the entire instrument to be played as a keyboard, without strumming. A special zone of keys is assigned at the high end of the fingerboard, frets 21 through 24 on all six strings. The Velocity-sensitive keys that are tapped in this zone will trigger notes fretted on the rest of the fingerboard. Press a button, and the fingerboard can be tapped like a keyboard with full 144-note polyphony. The speed of the instrument in this mode is limited by the speed of your synth modules.
In addition to the ability to fret and strum in standard guitar fashion, another mode allows an entire chord to be played from a single key, with families of chords assigned to the separate strings. With the addition of an optional Display-Programmer plug-in unit, a host of programmable features are added, including the ability to create and assign your own set of chords to the Travlar''s programmable key-array and operate an onboard MIDI recorder.
The Travlar includes external MIDI and USB ports, a ribbon controller, and a pressure sensitive thumbstrip at the edge of the fingerboard. The controller can be powered by six AA batteries, a DC adapter, or the USB port of your computer. For more information contact visit www.starrlabs.com.