I've been looking at the soundplane for a while but I'm kind of turned off by the fact it appears to offer no physical feedback to the user (, as opposed to the squishy Haken Continuum). I know the surface supposedly bends slightly to touch, but that's not very descriptive and is quite hard to imagine.
Are there any analogies that could be made to real life objects about the touch feel? If there is not much force feedback, do you find this affects playing much at all- is it still a pleasurable experience over lengthy play sessions, or do you get the sort of fingernail-pressing-into-thumb fatigue like on old laptops with the mini-nub mouse thing like I imagine?
hard to describe a feeling ... but here goes :)
if you quickly 'strike'* the surface then I don't think you really 'feel' the initial surface give, but as you then then apply a pressure, you do feel it 'give' and provide resistance , this means you can grade the pressure quite easily. (its controllable the amount of force to pressure in software)
saying you cannot feel the 'strike' give is not a criticism, its really not necessary, as your initial velocity is already determine by you before contact... so there is no need for a feedback element.
if however, you slowly touch the surface, then you basically move straight to the second phase (pressure), so you can feel the give immediately. (this way you can play a slow attack pad type sound)
Roli have coined this idea of 5 expressions which I think works reasonably well
- Strike - traditionally called velocity, initial force
Pressure (Z) / Glide (X) / Slide (Y)
Lift - traditionally 'release velocity', how fast you release a key
amount of give... its a few millimeters... more like pressing a surface that gives but is rigid, like a plastic lid i suppose.
BUT you have to remember, its a musical instrument, so the feedback obviously is given by sound, the feel is highly correlated.
so, when the soundplane is unplugged, you might think.. "oh that doesn't give much feedback" but when you connect it to a sound source, the feel takes on a different dimension, the sound means you can feel the give more (odd i know, but its completely unlike playing say on an iPad)
then of course it also depends how/what you play...
I tend to think i play in two styles...
tapping - this is quite fun, almost like finger tapping. quick strikes, it kind of bounces.
deliberate touch - i.e. slow approach/softer, far feel the pressure from the start.
(of course you can also kind of combine this i.e. quick strike then play the pressure)
fatigue, I play with it for hours, and never feel fatigued, the tapping would probably get tiring if you did it for a long time ... but i think the give perhaps helps reduce the impact ...if you have a medical complaint perhaps not advisable (e.g. Rheumatism)
compared to Continuum (I've tried one, there is a post here somewhere on my comparison), yeah completely different... not better or worst, just different, I prefer the slide on the soundplane, but the Continuums dynamics is incredible (actually quite difficult to control initial velocity... but thats probably something you get used to)
sorry, lots of words, but probably inevitable when trying to describe how something feels.
summary: you can feel the give and combined with sound source its plenty of feedback, both physically and 'emotionally'
Passion reflects ;-)
Thanks Technobear, the plastic lid comparison is very easy to imagine. I'm guessing it's not necessary to press very hard to get a sound out then. The main problem I'm thinking of is pressing very hard and then sliding your finger, which tends to create an unpleasant squashed-finger drag feeling. But then most people seem to use it more like a keyboard with not much lateral finger movement.
I wonder if you could mount a pair of internal speakers below the plane with a low pass filter at about 30hz and get more haptic feedback through that, kinda like how the new yamaha keyboards purportedly do.
The main problem I'm thinking of is pressing very hard and then sliding your finger, which tends to create an unpleasant squashed-finger drag feeling
no your not pressing that hard (its configurable too), so thats not an issue... in fact, if anything its slightly more pleasant than the continuum where you are sunk into the surface. (not that that is bad either) , as you say this is probably down to the fact you are not pressing that hard, and the surface is easy to slide on.
(I can understand the concern though, as Ive head some reports that the linnstruments rubber surface is a bit 'sticky' for some... Ive not tried myself, so don't know if this is true or not, or if its personal preference)
hmm, wouldn't that cause vibration, which might interfere ( or create noise) with the soundplane surface? I'm sure Randy could provide details.
frankly though, I don't think its necessary, the give on the surface + audio feedback is already sufficient for me to feel 'in touch' with the surface.
(I suspect Id actually get fed up of a buzzing under my fingers before too long too :) )
its tricky, the best way, is to some how get to try one hands on... ideally, we could get in a room and try all the controllers side by side, and see which one works for us, as really they are all different, rather than better/worst.
where are you based?