This New Augmented Reality Synthesizer Looks Dope


Music is, typically, an auditory experience, but audio equipment company Behringer added a pretty impressive looking augmented reality display to a new synthesizer, DeepMind 12.

With an asking price of just under $1,000, the DeepMind 12 is pretty affordable for a decent synth, as far as these things go, making the novelty of a futuristic augmented reality interface a sweet bonus. The synth uses Microsoft’s Hololens technology to project three-dimensional controls, charts, and visualizations above the keyboard.

The visualizations, which require glasses to see, include virtual markers on certain keys, a way to manipulate the synth’s envelope and oscillators by moving your hand, menus, and a little cube that you move around to change the music.

“I guess like anything it’s a bit hard to get used to at first,” said one person who tried the DeepMind 12 at Sheffield’s Synthfest, explaining how he needed to get a knack for exactly how far out to extend his hand into the virtual space. “Once you got the hang of it,” he continued, “it runs so smoothly.”

The tech isn’t perfect — some of the augmented reality controls seem like more trouble than they’re worth — but the visualizations are promising, and another early tester imagined a day where the interface could become an integral part of music making and visual showmanship. “I can see, even though it’s slightly early days, how it could be expanded into something really big,” he remarked.

DeepMind 12 should be available for purchase by the end of 2016.