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)
-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.