I wanted to share my experience using the Erae Touch.
First, I have to say I find the bloody device just brilliant. I really consider myself an amateur musician and my knowledge of DAWs and the whole ecosystem is really not that extensive.
Somehow in March 2022 I found and got interested in MPE. After a couple of months of research I made a choice and landed an order with Embodme. Honestly, i still think its best all around (price, size, quality) compared to other devices with similar abilities, but i'm sure others will catch up (if not already). Just to give others a perspective, I waited my shipment for 6 months. To be fair the website did mention delays and the whole world was/is messed up coz of covid. During that time I was in regular contact a couple of times with Embodme and I just had to be patient.
Device finally came in early September. Neat package, everything feels firm and made with high quality materials. I could, right there and then, justify the cost just by holding the device.
But making and recording music with it, now that is absolute godsend for me.
I'd like to share with all of you my recordings, some 4 collections and 5th on the way. On these recordings, most of the sounds(like 90%) are performed with Erae. Basically if it's not an electric guitar or some of my clunky piano sections, you are hearing Erae. I hope it can give you some insights into the expressiveness and versatility of this device.
If you like my sound by some chance, you can also find it on Spotify, Tidal, YT etc.
Using this device to its full potential in DAW such as Ableton takes some time and tricks, especially in combination with external plugins and whatnot. I guess it comes with territory. Like I said, I'm pretty new to all this. The device is extremely configurable (if you are reading this, you already suspect that
I was always gravitating to a specific sound of natural and real instruments. Ofc I tried to get Erae to emulate them as best I could. The percussive side of Erae, playing it like drums, with hands and stick, was amazing and easy from the start, anything you could trigger with any midi would work great with a configurable tablet such as Erae (eg, Studio Drummer from Native Instruments sound sublime to me).
But playing other sustained instruments (Violin, Saxophone, Double Bass etc) was a different story. I already had an amazing VST library (Ircam solo instruments by UVI) and with Erae, it really works great, expression works with those recorded sounds of real instruments. However, when it comes to sliding and portamento and glissando, I just could not get those libraries to work. I could tell it's not the device issue because when I use other VST instruments where the sound is synthesized, portamento would work as expected. After further research, sadly it was clear that it's due to the nature of recorded samples in those libraries. It was just not possible (or not needed before devices like Erae) to blend sounds in that way. The best I could get was pitch bend, velocity and vibrato which really gives edge over standard keyboard. By now, I’ve already come to peace that I will not be able to use Erae as I intended.
It must be my lucky star or whatever, and I might be wrong, but it seems that only in recent years another great and amazing milestone has been reached. A physical modeling of real instruments has appeared and live synthesis and emulation of real instruments is beginning to be possible. No more need for 100GB samples of piano. There are a couple of options out there now for piano and other orchestral instruments. Many argue that it still sounds “fake”, and they probably are correct but I wholeheartedly invite you to listen and explore the market for yourself. It’s getting there for sure. My guess is that many are using this technology now in production and elsewhere. My choice was VST SWAM instruments. Selection of saxophones and double bass (to me) sounds as realistic as real deal. I can spend many hours just improvising on the saxophone. Now, finally, I could use all the possibilities of Erae with natural sounding instruments without limitations. Now portamento also works. To have the whole orchestra (and much much more) under your fingertips and with this kind of expression and control under one device, It's pure voodoo if you ask me.
Lastly, piano sound. While it's possible to play piano instruments with Erae I find myself still plugging in the keyboard for those sections. To me, the feel of keys is just better.
It really saddens me to see a lack of support on the forum and lack of software patches and new features. The device is capable of much more. I sincerely hope that Embodme will find strength to turn this around. Maybe the option would be to open source the software. Maybe it could get some traction. Or at least option to use community vs official software.
Would not sell my unit unless I needed food
(Not affiliated with Embodme nor anyone mentioned here)
Glad to answer any questions.
I've been using my Erae Touch 100% with drum vsts, mostly ROLI Studio Drums (which is MPE though I've found the MPE side of the ROLI Studio Drums/Erae Touch combo is difficult to use with drum sticks propped up) which works pretty well, but I'd definitely be interested in hearing what other drum software pairs nicely with the Erae Touch. Has anyone found any other MPE drum software?
SWAM is definitely a good choice to go with MPE hardware. I tend to use their trumpets, cello, and sometimes violin and saxophones. ROLI Studio Player (usually Equator 2 though Strobe 2 and Cypher 2 are also great) for organ mostly, Arturia Pigments 4 is also useful to me. Surge XT is also great, and free.
For the most part, I've been playing MIDI sounds with ROLI Seaboard Blocks, other than the drum sounds as I mentioned with my Erae Touch and piano sounds with just a standard 88 key midi keyboard and normal guitar and bass sounds. I'll probably end up using the guitars at least for MPE stringed sounds once Jam Origin's MIDI Guitar 3 software is released since its supposedly going to be MPE also. I think my next software purchase is probably going to be Modartt Pianoteq 8 because I'm interested in their pianos (mostly their rock piano) and nylon guitar.
Here's links to my latest album That Real Retro Feel if anyone feels like checking it out! (I've been told it's pretty avant-garde currently, maybe even outsider music)
Youtube: (includes video of my drumming on my Erae Touch): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqh5yX0HP3fQux9LXJzXpV685i0zRRP0P