At ANR we love highlighting controllers that offer new expressive options (see our recent Best Controllers and Innovations of 2016 list), and this one fits right in. Last year at NAMM, Expressive E announced Touché, a new controller with a sensitive and tactile approach. The French company took some time to refine its offer, and at this year’s NAMM unveiled some interesting updates:
Touché is now ready for pre-order. This new controller, a sort of expression pedal on steroids for your hands, gives you a unique tactile approach to both software and hardware synthesizers, shaping and controlling their sound with a simple pressure of your hands.
Touché controls your synthesizers with four independent shiftings: Two vertical and two lateral shiftings. The four shiftings are extremely precise, reactive and sensitive. This opens up a wide variety of genuine instrumental gestures: progressive slides, subtle vibratos, percussive taps, hand-made LFOs…
Each of the four shiftings can be independently mapped to one or several parameters of your synthesizers. To help you with this, Touché ships with Lié, its companion software.
Lié is a powerful software with a simple design. You can launch it inside DAWs supporting VST or AU plug-in formats. When you launch Lié, you can immediately start playing with the factory presets, or build your own sound from scratch.
The Browser shows you the list of the factory presets, as well as those you’ve saved yourself. The Slot Center is an easy-to-use slot-based interface, with 8 assignable slots.
Each of the 8 slots allows you to map a parameter from your synthesizer to one of the four shiftings of Touché.
You can then adjust your sensitivity with min/max values and sensitivity curves.
The scope displays the pressure you’re applying on Touché. You will find these three parts in either software or hardware connection scenarios, with slight differences:
Playing With Software
To control software synthesizers, Lié works as a host of virtual instruments with VST or AU format. Once hosted, you can access the virtual instrument’s interface directly from Lié, and quickly map parameters with Lié’s Speed Mapping features.
You can then save your configuration in a software preset that will appear in the browser.
Playing With Hardware
Hardware synthesizers are controlled with Touché’s built-in CV and MIDI ports. Lié lets you configure what Touché sends through its CV and MIDI ports.
When working with MIDI, you can select the CC numbers of your synthesizers that you want to control, and assign them to one of the four shiftings of Touché. To make this workflow even easier, Lié ships with INIT presets for a selection of hardware synthesizers, replacing the CC numbers with the actual names of the parameters instead.
When working with CV, Lié lets you choose the voltages that Touché sends for each CV port individually, on a -10/+10 Volts range.
Hardware configurations can then be saved in a hardware preset that will appear in the browser. You can even flash these presets into Touché’s internal memory, and play with your hardware synth without any computer.
Here’s a tutorial video to learn the first steps with Touché and Lié.
Touché Meets UVI Falcon To fully exploit the instrumental potential of Touché, Expressive E made a partnership with UVI.
Expressive E used the powerful sound engine from Falcon (recently featured in our Sonic Joy awards in the Best VST of 2016 category – see also our UVI Falcon review) to design over 100 exceptional presets.
They offer a wide array of sounds, from aggressive leads to pads, and a rich variety of playstyles. These sounds will ship standard with every Touché, ready to be used within UVI’s player UVI Workstation.
Here’s a video showing Touché in action with some of these presets:
Pricing And Availability
Touché is available for pre-order on Expressive E’s new website at a price of $399/€399. We’ll hopefully be able to get hold of a test unit and report back.