This past April while at NAB I got an interesting phone call from Chris Rose of Tangent Devices. “Where are you?” “I’m in the South Hall why?” “Come meet us outside, we want to show you something.” And just like that, I’m walking out the door to find them.
I found Chris along with Andy Knox and Andy proceeds to pull out the prototype of a brand new control surface. It’s obvious they have listened to all of the feedback from folks on what we wanted in a new control surface for color enhancement.
Personally I’ve said all along a combination of the Tangent Wave and the MC Color would make a great, reasonably priced control surface. By that I meant the extra controls of the Wave (knobs and buttons) with the smooth trackball / rings of the MC Color. Tangent has delivered and much much more.
You don’t like the plastic of the Wave? It’s gone, replaced with a very nice metal finish.
You like the feel and touch of the MC Color rings and trackball? It’s there.
You want gobs of knobs and buttons. The Element is modular, so you can literally design a control surface that is completely customized to your workflow, your desk, your applications.
You want a lightweight control surface that can travel with you to various jobs? Did I mention Andy had the prototype in a backpack?
Most of all, we want a solid, very professionally built control surface that responds well to the touch. Tangent has designed this entire new surface from the ground up. This is not simply the Wave knobs and buttons just ported over to the Element. Tangent went to colorists and editors who do a lot of color correction and asked, “What do you think?”
I loved the trackball / ring configuration but most of all, I liked that everything felt solid, not plastic. The surface feels good and quiet, not quite as loud as the Wave when you push the buttons and knobs. There will be OLED displays across the top, though the prototype I saw was not powered.
Tangent tells me the the pricing is not firmly set, but they are looking in the $3,000 – $3,500 range for a base four panel set that will get you a good solid control surface including:
One bank of 12 knobs
One bank of 12 buttons
One set of three trackballs, with ring contrast controls
One combination panel with a fourth trackball, transport controls, and another bank of 12 buttons
Now I have not had a chance to play with the final production model but Tangent has sent me images of the final product and I’m ready to play with it further once it’s shipping. The Element will be revealed at the IBC in Amsterdam. You will find them at stand 7.B16
If you’re headed to the show, be sure to stop by and check out the new surface. I’ll post a full review once I get a chance to play with the production model.