From drumpads and keytars to gloves and tambourines, MIDI controllers come in all shapes and sizes. If you prefer yours with the styling of an alien aircraft straight out of a retro sci-fi flick, you might want to check out the Oval, a digital version of those steel handpans that have risen in popularity during the last decade.
Like any MIDI controller, you can connect to any MIDI system and use it to play any of the available sounds. Except, you know, you do it while tapping on a UFO-like contraption that sits on your lap. Instead of tapping on buttons, it uses multi-sensing pads with pressure-sensitive sensors for control, allowing you to play different sounds using taps and gestures.
The Oval comes with both a USB port and Bluetooth, so you can hook it up to a computer, phone, or tablet in both wired and wireless setups. There’s also a MIDI connector for using it with other instruments, as well as a slot for plugging into effects boxes. It comes with eight of those pressure-sensitive pads (seven in the perimeter, one in the middle), each one with RGBW backlighting to add an extra visual element to your playing. A single charge of the rechargeable battery should keep it powered for up to eight hours of continuous playing.
It measures 16.5 x 5.12 inches (diameter x height), so it’s big, making it ideal for use at home or in a studio, although the unique look does make you want to take it out for actual performances. Fortunately, they’re also offering a matching wooden case that you can carry like a backpack for easy portability.
Now available for preorder, the Oval is priced at $690.