I promise you, the day I first laid eyes on the Livid R Controller is tantamount to the day I first walked inside a candy store. It was that same feeling of excitement buzzing throughout my body that raised my dendrites. Love at first sight, you could definitely say. It was something about the Livid Controller R that caught my attention more than any other midi controller of its time. Back in 2012, Richie Hawtin partnered with Livid Instruments here in my hometown Austin, TX to create one of the most timeless pieces of music gear. Even to this day, this midi controller continues to blow my mind in every way possible even though I feel as though I’ve only used maybe about 40% of its total features and capabilities. The Livid Controller R is a hidden gem in the world of midi controllers.
I remember back in early 2017 when I was working at my old job, I was randomly browsing the net to see what the Livid Controller R was priced at. Sure enough, as most others lamented, the price tag was very hefty. I remember this being one of the biggest drawbacks in various reviews for the Livid Controller R as many believed it was too expensive despite all of its pluses. In fact, I oftentimes wondered if I’d ever be able to afford one myself. At $699 I just knew that I wasn’t going to be able to afford one anytime soon. I’d have to sell one of my organs or strip for cash to be able to cop one of these beasts. And then all of the sudden, this happened…
My Lucky Day:
It’s funny because a friend of mine knew how crazy I was about all sorts of hardware and the work I was willing to put in to save up to start a collection. One day he told me about a site called Reverb.com to check consistently to be on the lookout for any Livid Controller R’s that might be up for sale. I gave it a shot, and after a few days of searching, late at night, I came across a Livid Controller R priced at $299. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I remember losing my sh*t at the time and thought my mind was playing tricks on me. Immediately, with haste, I contacted the seller to get a quick synopsis on the condition of the gear and its functionality. The seller assured me that the Livid Controller R was in perfect working condition and was only used twice. He also mentioned that he bought it as an extension for his live setup with his band, but they collectively insisted on going down a different route with their live performance setup instead. “Say no more!” Right after he told me this, I whipped out my debit card and purchased the item as quickly as I could as there were already 30 other watchers. I ended up paying $336.44 total.
As soon as I received confirmation of the purchase, I remember feeling ecstatic about finally getting my hands on one of these things. At this very moment, I knew that I would soon be the proud owner of the Livid Controller R. Dreams really do come true! A full week went by and my new dream midi controller arrived at my doorstep.
When I first took it out of the box, I was amazed at how many buttons, rotary knobs, faders, and encoders it had. Of course, I had already seen dozens of pictures before seeing it in person. But when I first received it I felt a combination of amazement and was a little overwhelmed at the same time as I was wondering to myself, “what the actual F*CK am I going to do with all these parameters?” But I soon realized that that’s where the true fun lies with this work of art. That is the journey that you must embark on as you develop a relationship with this midi controller to embellish it and construct to your liking. Because after all, it is a weapon in your studio arsenal of musical tools.
Right out of the box, the Livid Controller comes with a full integration guide on getting the controller setup with the Ableton Live or Bitwig Studio DAW. It can also be used as a DJ controller for the NI Traktor PRO. I think the coolest feature about the Livid Controller R is the Livid Online Editor that can be used to customize just about anything on the controller board (seen below).
The Livid Online Editor gives you access to a plethora of settings that can be used to color code different knobs, sliders, and buttons using the RGB grid. It also enables you to change global settings, define CC midi values, encoder/rotary settings and speeds, midi inputs and more! Just a ton of functionality and customization so that you can squeeze all that you can out of this midi controller. You have the ability to go above and beyond its capabilities if you know what you’re doing!
Houston, We Have a Problem….
Well, not really a problem. But working with the Livid Controller R makes you feel like you’re working in NASA. Seriously, so many buttons and knobs at your disposal that can be tweaked so the limits reach far beyond the stars. Another task that I enjoy doing is linking the rotary knobs on the top of the controller to various parameters in the Synth1 VST such as the filter, attack, decay, sustain, release, tempo, oscillators, and many others. And then I save this as a template. This enables me to tweak any sound in real time as I explore loads of presets- or any VST instrument for that matter. This process of sound exploration and design usually takes me days to complete before I even start working on the track. It is the most enjoyable and self-fulfilling process when it comes to electronic music production in my opinion. Take a look @ Helmut Ebritsch of the duo “Klartraum” rock a live demo Techno performance on the Livid Controller R! (click the image below)
The Price of The Livid Controller R Today and Its Availability (Price Skyrocketed!):
If you were to go on Google right now and do a search for “Livid Controller R“, you will notice that all of the links you visit will show unavailability. Ultimately, this means that the product has sold out across the board. Now, what’s interesting is that even though it’s quite obvious that Livid Instruments has discontinued the production for the Livid Controller R, there really wasn’t any official update from the company itself as to why that decision was made. Not even from Richie Hawtin himself. So it kind of left a lot of aspiring buyers in a state of perplexity. I suppose that the decision more than likely came to that of a conclusion with the price being the main culprit. With that being said, now the item along with its sibling legacy line of products is considered a ‘limited edition’ midi controller due to it’s ceased and limited availability. As a result, one can assume that the going price for a Livid Controller R will skyrocket in time. My guess is, well over a thousand and maybe even more as time progresses- my guess is as good as yours. The proof of this is that here we are in October of 2018, and there is already a ‘white’ Livid Controller R priced at $1,500 on Reverb.com – the same exact website where I bought mine!
As you can already tell, this is my rare, beloved prized possession. I have developed a close affinity and relationship with this piece of music gear and it always tags along with me on my musical journey’s into sound. I would highly recommend this midi controller to literally any music producer no matter what genre to add in their arsenal of musical weapons of mass destruction. Like I had mentioned before, I have owned this for almost 2 years now, but I feel as though I have only used maybe 40% of its max capabilities. It is used in all of my productions and I will continue to use it in my future productions. The fact that this can be used as a production tool, but is geared more towards live performances, makes me excited to use it in a live performance environment for once. Especially considering the fact that I’d be one of the few artists who actually own one. *wink* Now how cool is that??!?!