It is a solid build that makes good use of ergonomic space and quality components. Basically it is small rubber box that features a 4 row matrix of 16 encoders (or knobs) They also work as switches too. As with most controllers these days it features a software editor. In my opinion this is a crucial area where developers either pass or fail. I am glad to report that this editor is not only simple to use but also sports a familiar photoshop like interface that I rather enjoy having on screen. Basically, it makes it a breeze to customize your Twisters colors and behavior.
A few highlights for me were the flexibility of the available settings for the knobs. For instance, You can choose to have one knob control two different parameters on your daw by simply clicking on the encoder For example one click and you are controlling the wet/dry of your effect, another click and you are controlling the feedback of that fx. You can even have one knob send out two different commands according to the position of the knob without having to switch. So, from 6 o'clock to 12 on your encoder one message will be send. From 12 to 6 O'clock another message will be sent (Im talking about the position of the knob not the actual time here). My favorite is the setting where the knob resets the parameter when you click on it. So, if for example you are sending to a reverb wet/dry then you can click and that encoder and it automatically resets to zero. Cool!
Working with Djtechtools tools has also been a Joy. Just visiting their online store you are greeted by friendly sales and support chat staff. I would usually frown upon this kind of approach. But i had an actual need to speak with someone at the time. I had one such encounter with a tech support guru. His name is Mattias. Not only was he helpful and answered my questions but I later discovered that through a vibrant online forum and support system he creates awesome scripts that extend the capabilities of Twister and many other devices featured at the DJTT site.
There is a sequencer that actually uses the clock inside the Twister and a custom designed Ableton Drum Rack! Mad Zach also created his own clip launch script. I understand that there is more coming including scripts created by my colleague Lenny Kyser.
So, let’s talk about the Ableton Script. Since that is the one I use for my purposes. Twister features 4 layers (or banks) of control, you have a mixer on the first bank. Device control on the second (with transport controls on the bottom row), a clip launch matrix on the third level and the third layer is available for your own custom mappings.
The 16 encoders feel sturdy. I have long been a fan of their "Chroma Caps" and I am glad to report they are used here. Instead of the usual awkward plastic buttons that other manufacturers use these knobs are made from a nice easy to grip rubber material that inspires confidence with every turn. The same encoders also double as sturdy switches.
You have 4 banks that are accessible two ways. One is through small recessed side buttons. Unfortunately I find them a bit weird to work with.
I guess they would just take some getting used to. I want to add to that the fact that Twister also sports an accelerometer based midi controller option. That means you can lift it from your desk and control a few things with its up down xy movement (It has been brought to my attention that I wrote this in error. Indeed Twister does not have an accelerometer function. However the Midi Fighter 3D does have this fumctionality) I am sorry for any confusion.
I myself prefer to maintain the controller in a modular style side by side configuration on my workstation.
Which leads me to the second way to access the four banks is through Midi control. basically, Twister receives certain midi notes through a predefined midi channel and voila! You have bank change!
Initially I spoke with Mattias in depth about this matter. He even created four ableton clips for this purpose. That worked! But whenever I launched the clips then of course Ableton’s transport would play. I might not want that! All I want to do is change the banks on the Twister without pressing play!
I decided that I wanted more flexibility. So, i called upon my brave Max 4 Live crew to develop a solution.
And thus, Bang my Twister was born. Developed by Aaron Levitz (The designer behind my Spy Guitar Visualizer) It is a simple device that sends those bank change messages to Twister. Its four buttons accept input from your first four number keys on your qwerty (without having to keymap them!). They are also midi mappable. This of course gives you two ways to change banks (three if you use the side buttons too).
Just as a side note, the Midifighter 3D features 4 buttons on top that can actually be used to change banks on twister too! If you prefer.
Here are the links:
Midi Fighter Twister
Bang my Twister (Max for live device)
Midi Fighter 3D