A contemporary reimagining of Buchla’s Thunder musical instrument interface from 1989, the Buchla Thunder Overlay is an expressive and versatile Midi/MPE-based system offering control of synthesisers, samplers, drum machines, effects and DAWs.

Buchla Thunder Overlay The Thunder was regarded as a high-concept alternative to the piano keyboard, the original Buchla Thunder was inspired by Native American art. It was designed to feel comfortable under the hand, generated polyphonic Midi notes and CCs on multiple channels through the pressure and position of the user’s fingers on its 25 keys – but, with fewer than 100 built, it never found the popular adoption it arguably deserved.

Thirty years on, the Buchla Thunder Overlay capitalises on the Sensel Morph’s force sensitivity, and the power of the Midi Polyphonic Expression protocol (MPE), to replicate Don Buchla’s ergonomic performance surface as a controller for any MPE-compatible software, including such big-hitters as Xfer Records Serum, Madrona Labs Aalto, FXpansion Strobe2 and Cypher2, Steinberg HALion and Synapse Audio The Legend.

With its naturalistic layout and feel, The Buchla Thunder Overlay doesn’t require any training or particular playing technique – just plugging in or connecting via Bluetooth. Each of the 27 ‘keys’ transmits a different note and responds to pressure and movement in every direction for MPE synths, enabling per-finger modulation of multiple simultaneous parameters. MPE compatibility is by no means a requirement, though, as the Buchla Thunder Overlay outputs regular Midi CCs, too. It also works with modular setups, using compatible USB Midi-to-CV converters.

The Buchla Thunder Overlay also introduces a new preset system to the Morph, with nine instantly switchable mappings stored in memory _ movomg from controlling a synth to operating the faders of a DAW mixer or changing all note assignments is achieved by the touch of a button. The SenselApp, meanwhile, makes programming MPE and Midi mappings – not to mention computer keyboard commands, mouse movements and HID data for gaming – simple. Particularly well-suited to complex, evolving synth patches and multisampled acoustic instruments, it is an inspiring and affordable entry point into the rapidly expanding world of MPE, and a deep, powerful general Midi controller for any music software.

The Buchla Thunder Overlay is s available now, priced US$59 or bundled with the Sensel Morph for US$269.

More: https://sensel.com

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