Super Quick Review: Samson Conspiracy

As you all know, Resolume stacks layers vertically. To us, it always felt a bit weird to control those layers with a midi controller that puts its faders horizontally. So we got this little guy in the office because we liked the vertical fader layout, and wanted to see if it was a good match for Resolume.



The good news is that the Samson Conspiracy is a regular USB midi controller, so it pops right up in Resolume and works out of the box. Even the XY pad can be assigned to do fun Kaosspad type of stuff.

The rotaries are the same faux endless controls that most midi controllers have these days. They send out regular 0...127 midi cc data, but can be spun endlessly. They don't respond to midi feedback though. This sucks when using layer focus mapping to map the same rotary to different controls. For instance, you could map it to the active clip speed. When you then switch between clips, the control won't update to the speed value of the current clip in Resolume. So when turning the knob, the speed value will jump to whatever value is set to.

A great thing is that the rotaries are velocity sensitive. When you turn them quickly, you can cover the whole range of 0 to 127 in one turn. But when you turn slowly, the sensitivity increases, and you can very precisely adjust the values with increments of 1. Pretty nifty.



After doing a couple of mixes with it, I get why most controllers put their faders horizontally. This may be a personal thing, but my mixing style is mostly fading layers in and out rhythmically, while occasionally triggering effects with the pad. I quickly found myself turning the controller 90 degrees to get the faders horizontal again. Somehow, it feels more natural to my hands that way.

Even then, theres is a set of rotaries between faders and pads, very close to the end of the fader. This is both annoying when fading all the way up, as well as when switching from fader to pad and back. Also, most of my show compositions are built up of 8 layers of content, composited together with alpha channels to create the particular look I need for that stage. 4 faders is just not enough control for me.

All in all it's a great controller, but not my style. I guess we'll just have to make Resolume with a horizontal layer layout instead :)

http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/usb-midi/controllers/conspiracy/

Posted by Joris on Friday October 7, 2016 at 12:45 Tags: conspiracy * midi * review * samson
Comment from NEWP_Official:

For a $70 average midi controller it is way worth it! I have 4 of these Samson Conspiracies in my set up acting as 4 discrete layer controllers with identical mappings for ease of use. Each Layer controlled by a Samson has it's own Group to enable Pre and Post opacity fader FAX all controlled from the Samson. Centrally located between all 4 of these controllers is a Novation Launch Control XL for Color Mixing control over all 4 layers. RGB add subtract, red and blue color pass filters, saturate/desaturate, hue rotate and opacity per channel consisting of two columns of the launch control. Just to squeeze into my flight case I ended up using a Novation Launch Control mini for a 5th layer dedicated for artist graphics and logos such as DJ logos.

All in all due to the size of the Conspiracies, I am very happy with them. I would rate them a 7/10 as they are very versatile with lots of control variations, inexpensive, reliable and easy to fix. I've had one LED light go out on me in one of the pads and opening her up to give it a cleaning brought it back to life. I can use almost the entirety of the controller with a single hand leaving my other hand to work with another layer.

The editing software does not work so if you want to change any MIDI commands you need to make use of the jog wheel encoder and the LCD screen on the unit. Not a huge issue imo. The colors of the lights look good except there is only red and green on the buttons and res green and blue on the pads, yet no ability to mix the opacity of any of these LEDs.

MIDI feedback is also non existent. Lights will trigger in midi out by the lights on your pad will not trigger on midi in. Not the biggest issue in the world and is a trade-off I'm willing to make for the rest of the package.

Considering all aspects of the Samson, it makes for a great, versatile controller providing many options with a few tradeoffs to be expected from a purchase so inexpensive. You get what you pay for in this world after all!

Comment from cosmowe:

Joris ;) wrong thread! .... But nice review...will give it a try!


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