MATRIXSYNTH: Interactive Light Dimension Beam 1990's Black SN 293

Dave Smith Instruments
EBAY: US | UK | AU

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Interactive Light Dimension Beam 1990's Black SN 293


via this auction

Here's an interesting bit of controller history not featured on the site before now.

"Before Roland acquired the technology and re-branded it "D-Beam", Interactive Light released the far more advanced Dimension Beam. Completely programmable and can be setup up to send any midi controller messages you desire within the beam field on an X/Y access. It comes with the original power supply, manual and a bracket to connect the unit to a mic stand. The unit is in excellent condition and perfect working order. There is some minor scuffing on the bottom of the unit. This unit has MIDI in/out as well as various foot controller connections. Serial #293.

The Dimension Beam is a small, stand-alone unit, with a screw-in connection on the rear for mounting. An accessory pack includes a solid base-plate that lifts the unit about 30cm from the ground, and another adapter is available to mount the system directly onto a mic stand, but in practice any basic camera tripod will suffice. From the top panel, the unit generates an invisible light-field -- the 'Beam' -- and any movement that occurs within this field triggers a MIDI output which can then be sent to a sequencer or keyboard.

A wide range of messages can be programmed, including controller information, as well as standard note data. MIDI settings are accessed via four directional buttons on the front panel, and viewed in a single-line LCD. The buttons, together with an additional foot-pedal, also determine the shape of the Beam, and switch through the range of patches and presets. A Mode LED indicates the current state of the unit; an infra-red sensor and transmitter take care of the physical interface, calculating current movement and positional data. MIDI In and Out/Thru sockets are on the side of the unit, and power is supplied via an external adapter. Usefully, the MIDI input automatically merges any incoming data and streams it to the Out/Thru socket, so it's possible to connect the device in line with your existing master keyboard, without the need for an extra MIDI sequencer input.

'The Dimension Beam triggers individual notes a great deal faster than is possible when you're playing a keyboard or MIDI guitar, and some crazy effects can be generated as a result.'

The Dimension Beam is supplied with six basic preset patches, each of which may be edited and saved back to one of six further user-defined memories. Each patch can be set to produce either continuous controller information, or scales of MIDI notes, or a combination of both in which a note is triggered as soon as any initial movement occurs, and further movement produces the control change. A separate MIDI channel and program number can also be defined for each memory, with the program sent as soon as a new patch is selected.

Scale mode streams out note data, and can be configured to default to a wide range of preset scales, ranging from simple chromatic and major through to more obscure settings such as Neapolitan minor and Mixolydian. Selecting a scale appropriate to a given song makes soloing using the Dimension Beam a great deal easier, as the output notes are limited to those that work in harmony with the current key. Controller mode works best when the unit is connected directly in line with a master keyboard, and the beam is used to modify sounds played directly from it. Chords can be played on the keyboard, and the resulting MIDI data pitch-bent or faded according to hand or body movement within the beam.

Adding a foot-pedal further enhances the live capability of the unit, with two different 'Freeze' modes available, as well as a movement-based memory restore. Clicking the pedal freezes the current MIDI note until the pedal is clicked again, or until the beam is manipulated at the same position again. Clicking the pedal from the main menu divides the beam into 12 different sections, each representing a memory preset; moving through the beam then steps through the presets until you select one by clicking the pedal again."

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