My first impression getting the MFT out of the package and booting it up is that it’s a quality piece of kit. It’s built like a brick house. The rubber case and side buttons feel amazing, the lights are nice and flush with the surface and there’s absolutely no give to the encoders. The right angle USB cord included was also a very thoughtful touch.
11 LEDs per encoder is an interesting choice as you can’t divide 3 or 4 into 10. (That is the values that fall directly on an LED are awkward) BUT it’s really helpful to have the mode where the value is antialiased.
Another VERY positive trait is that there’s no extra junky model buttons in the margin of top surface. With grid style controllers this is useful if you want to expand. I could absolutely see buying 3 more to have a 16x4 grid. Most companies seem to want pack “extras” onto the surface totally killing the grid.
Software wise, I’m finding the MFT to be passable but subpar for a power user such as myself. The helper software is fairly cumbersome (hand clicking 16 encoders to edit them all!? C’mon!) Also the options for the encoders are fairly limited. For instance you can set the push buttons to zero the encoder values but no other value (like 64 for bipolar parameters)
My real complaint so far is the MIDI input Implementation. One would expect a box with a super blank and flexible design to have a midi implementation amenable to a little hacking to create alternative applications. Like, if you’re not going to make the prepackaged options super flexible, then at least give a programmer the ability to take over the LEDs and receive raw data.
Unfortunately the apparent path to this was for DJTT to open source the (poorly documented) firmware which relies on a paid Windows only IDE.
So in the end if you’re looking of 16 knobs to really just be 16 knobs (with 4 banks) this is a superb unit.
On the other hand if you see it as something like a take on the monome which prides itself on being wide open to an array of applications and strategies, it may not be the solution you’d hoped for. It definitely leaves out anyone like a MaxMSP user.
One last issue: it’s not quite as responsive as you’d hope. This looks like it’s partly software but also seems to be using quite a few shift registers internally? It definitely isn’t laggy and ****** feeling like a novation piece of gear. It feels responsive but doesn’t quite have that immediacy you hope for ina control surface. There’s probably some flexibility in the firmware since these are endless encoders posing as rotary encoders. Speaking of which, a decent addition might be tactile feed back since there’s no detents or boundaries to the knob.
Overall I’d give it 7/10. It’s what it looks like: 16 knobs. It’s not waiting for you to come a long and define it. The software definitely makes me think of DJ gear which really likes to be application specific whereas the hardware looks and feels more apple-y in that it’s a purposely open and as minimalist as necessary while still being open to creative use cases