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In-depth Feature:  Kenton Control Freak Live
With the Control Freak Live Kenton have hit the spot...
Nick B writes: .

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First there was the Control Freak, an 8 fader, 8 button controller with impressive SYSEX features, then the Control Freak Studio Edition, a 16 fader version with various enhancements, now Kenton have released the Control Freak Live. I have no doubt that before you read this you’ll have checked out our review of the Kenton Control Freak Studio, (or at least I hope so!) as operationally the Control Freak Live is basically the same machine. The obvious difference is that instead of faders it sports 16 rotary controls, or knobs as we British are so fond of calling them. The unit also has 8 discrete buttons as opposed to 16 on Control Freak though 9-16 are accessible at the touch of a (shift) button. Oh, and of course it’s red.

The Control Freak Live is aimed at making the MIDI control capabilities of the Freak Studio available in a more compact unit, which I assume is easier to position in a live situation. Don’t let the name fool you though – the Freak Live is equally suited to studio use. I found it fitted nicely on the desktop, where its compactness was especially useful since this particular desktop is usually covered in all sorts of mess. I managed to slot it in between the pile of old SCSI devices now obsolete due to Firewire and my trusty Novation mini keyboard.

One immediate improvement to the Freak Live that springs to mind is the possibility that given overlay cards – templates with the relevant holes cut out to place over the 16 knobs – one could design a user interface for common applications, merely flipping over the relevant card for the job – just like the old days with analog synths before we had the luxury of non-volatile memory. I recently spoke to someone at Kenton who said they were considering manufacturing sets of cards - a jolly good idea methinks.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • Control Freak Live @
  • Control Freak Studio Review@Sonic
  • Control Freak Templates @ Kenton

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