Posted by admin on 2009 Jun 5

Livid’s Ohm64 vs. Akai APC 40

In the spirit of our controversial monome 64 vs. Akai APC64 blog post i have written a quick comparison of the newly released Livid’s Ohm64 vs. Akai APC 40 as an Ableton Live Controller.

Akai APC 40
-Cheap! ($399 with free shipping from some vendors in the USA)
-Available in most music stores. No need to wait for months to get a new unit.
-programmable (only using Ableton MAX $$)
-Offers instant Ableton live integration
-hardware and software support from Akai

-Can only be used with Ableton.
-MIDI only controller, no OSC
-No MIDI in / out jacks
-Fixed MIDI mappings. Need to purchase Ableton Max to program the unit.
-Build quality could be low (i am sure it is built in China)
-Closed architecture. Cannot be easily hacked.
-Cheesy plastic case. (the whole thing is basically plastic, just the bottom “chassis” is metal)

Livid’s Ohm64
-Made in the USA
-Parts of the unit are open source, so it can be expanded and programmed using programs like Max / MSP / Reaktor
-includes MIDI mapping editor software
-features MIDI in and out and USB ports
-Not limited to Ableton Live use
-Can be used as a MIDI instrument.
-Free Cell DNA video software included
-More controller buttons (64) than APC40 (40)
-Better DJ-styled physical layout than the APC 40

-More Expensive than the APC 40 ($599)
-Not available yet. (Shipping June 15th 2009) Can only be purchased directly from manufacturer
-OSC support could be vaporware
-Firmware is NOT open source (as stated by Peter Nyboer)
-Body made of wood (this could be a plus for those who love furniture, but i prefer my instruments made of cold, hard metal.)

Here you can watch a few of videos showing the Livid’s Ohm64 in action with Ableton Live. Very impressive.

I think that for the money, this unit is a better competitor as an Ableton Controller to the Akai APC40 than the monome, since it offers more physical interface options.
I hope that Livid opens their firmware to the community so the instrument can be expanded by users and programmers making it a viable alternative to the APC40.


Post a Comment

2 Responses to “Livid’s Ohm64 vs. Akai APC 40”

  1. Peter Kirn says:

    Some details here:
    The APC40 can indeed be used with other software. You just can’t remap MIDI assignments, some of the integration you can do with Live isn’t possible, and since it has no MIDI I/O, you can’t use hardware.

    On availability, I think you’ll find the APC40 is not any more available than the Ohm64 right now. It seems largely sold out. That counts as a tie to me.

    The APC itself is not programmable. It just responds to MIDI. You don’t necessarily have to use Max to do that. I think you’re referring to the mentioned Max for Live integration — but that’s all on the Max side. You could use another tool, and likewise you could use a different controller.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for your comments Peter.
    The APC 40 is still available from a few dealers on Ebay, right now, some going for the “normal” $399 price.
    Sam Ash has the APC 40 in stock, as far as i can tell.

    Anyway, i will wait for more on-depth reviews of both units before making a purchase decision.
    On paper, the Ohm 64 looks like the winner to me, despite the price difference.
    I just wish they’d open source the drivers.

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