faq (frequently asked questions)


Forum & FAQ: this page will feature faq's as well as topics on how the faderboard can be developed in the future.

Q: So how did you come up with the idea?
A: I don't mind being open source about it (granted it's alright with everybody), long story short, I was experimenting heavily with dynamic tones as opposed to step programming, and one day I came up with an idea (inside a plane) to combine a multi-track recorder and a dj mixer to play a melodic tune. I recorded the C note on track 1, D note on 2, E on 3, and so forth, voila, there was a fader / piano containing the C major keys. That was the revelation. Then I studied basic key relationships and figured out how all notes can be interrelated rather than having all laid out in front of you in a piano. In a nutshell, the faderboard is a DJ-oriented dream machine that performs the above functions, plus fader drumming and midi. Some live footage of this early format using a MTR and a mixer is well-documented in the Stocktown DVD out of Sweden / Denmark. So kids, do try this at home and see what it feels like without messing up the upfaders too much.

(above: roland vs-1680, vestax pmc06)

Q: What can you do on it / Where do you use it?
A: It can be used in any environment, from studios to stages to families. Basically, ten people would use it twenty different ways. It can play a beat, melody, sample or ambience / noise. The faderboard resembles a lot of (sections of) instruments, such as tone wheel generators, draw bar systems, etc that inspired it in the first place. Lookswise, it can resemble a midi controller or lighting console. It's not the technology that's new, it's more in the application. Plus, it's a new experience to be a lot more dexterous than pressing down buttons and clicking a mouse. From demonstrating I see that the younger they come, the more open to the possibilities.

Q: Can you sequence on it?
A: It's a great idea but for the moment, no. The faderboard is designed mainly as an instrument and a controller, so the original model does not come with a built-in sequencer. However, you can create loops by using the bpm function in the drum mode, sample your self playing and play it back (samples are looped automatically), or use internal delays. Also, you can always loop or sequence outside of the faderboard. check the setup page.

Q: Is the MIDI output velocity sensitive?
A: Another great idea and a faq from Djs, but unfortunately, no. I agree that the faderboard should be capable of functions like the Akai MPD16 USB MIDI Pad. I will look into the possibilities for firmware via the smartmedia card, and if not another upgradable idea for later versions.

Q: What kind of faders are on there, and can you swap faders?
A: The faders are a new type manufactured in Japan especially made for the faderboard, not the PCV's. They don't have the same smoothness and weight as the PCV's, but they certainly do the job. All the faders are soldered onto a motherboard, so the upfaders will are not replacable. Some qualified people might be able to replace the x-fader.

Q: What's the retail and where is it available?
A: Although the faderboard was available worldwide in the beginning, right now the only distribution is in Japan (2007). You'd have to check your local dealer or online sources for availability and prices.

Q: Why is it red and are there going to be new colors?
A: I don't know why it's red. I hope that there are going to be new colors. The purple one you see in the picture was just a prototype (and the colored faders are from other mixers). There have been a couple of gold and silver plated ones made for Vestax prizes, and a limited edition white / orange version for the new line, but none have been made commercially so far.

Q: how did you hook it up / Is the idea protected / how can I do that?
A: The faderboard idea was formally presented to vestax while I was in Japan, and the chief engineer was open-minded enough to embark on the project. It's patent pending, so technically the faderboard itself 's "protected". However, it's important to note that the original intent of a patent is to show the world what you've made so other people can study it and make improvements on it, not the way it's usually manipulated, to prevent others from making the same thing (or charge a fortune). If you look at history of instruments, you really need a healthy flow of ideas. You always get people who use things in ways never intended (like, sc, scratching?) For all inventors out there, it's critical to have your ideas nice and concrete, write or draw it out in a presentable and protected format, and have some working module to show the idea live.

Q: What's in store for the faderboard?
A: We'd have to wait and see because the first models are just coming out, but I hope the project keeps expanding so we can create new modes of musical expression. Look out for info on version 2 in the near future. I'm also working on an idea for a new instrument as well.

Q: Who's using the faderboard? Who knows about it?
A: Besides local folk in the Bay Area including Hip Hop Slam, DJ Pone, Oakland Faders, Crown City Rockers, Amp Live of Zion I, Shock G, etc I have personally demonstrated to or played with DJs that include: Qbert, Shortkut, Mix Master Mike, Yoga Frog, Kid Koala, Shadow, Z-Trip, Del, NuMark, J-Live, Vadim, etc, etc. One DJ that I've seen using it at live shows is DJ Abilities (with Eyedea). Also, DJ Sid Wilson from Slipknot is known for playing the faderboard like a guitar onstage, until his hands bleed (wow). As mentioned before, I believe it will take time for the young generation to get into it, just as scratching took years for its pioneers to put in the labor of love until it really took off.

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