Unknown Devices Topo T16, new expressive MIDI controller with touch strip

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Unknown Devices Topo T16 is a new expressive MIDI controller with 16 fully customizable pressure-sensitive keys and touch strip.

The market for expressive MIDI controllers has grown steadily over the past few years. And it’s still growing. In addition to keyboard controllers with innovative new technologies (Roli, Expressive E Osmose…), we are also seeing more new ideas in the MIDI controller sphere: Aodyo Loom, Embodme Erae, and many more.

The latest expressive controller addition comes from Unknown Devices, a company that is known in the Eurorack world for its sawari and raiju modules. The Topo

Unknown Devices Topo T16

Unknown Devices Topo T16

Topo T16 is a new compact, versatile, expressive MIDI controller with 16 pressure-sensitive magnetic-sensing keys and a touch strip. These can be customized entirely via a web-MIDI-based editor. Interestingly, however, it doesn’t offer a display for visual data feedback.

It hosts three play modes, all fully customizable via the web configurator. The docked touch strip has its functions for each mode.

First, you have keyboard mode, which turns the Topo T16 MIDI controller into a “keyboard.” It converts your finger movements to velocity and poly aftertouch MIDI messages. Plus, you can set the root note and scale for it.

Then, joystick mode flips the surface into an XY controller. Here, the keys control a virtual cursor on an XY plane, sending MIDI CC messages. With pressure, you can control the XY values. Check the linked video for a hands-on demo.

The third and last mode is the fader mode, which transforms your Topo T16 into a 4-channel control surface. Each column of keys, then, acts as an individual fader. To change values, you press a button, and they move down. Nice!

Unknown Devices Topo T16

Further, you can store your favorite setups in four independent banks, which is great for recalling them at any time. According to the Unknown Devices, the keys are highly customizable. This goes from the layout to the response curves.

On the connection side, it has a USB-C port for power and MIDI data. Besides this, you get a MIDI TRS output with support for both A and B modes. Experimental OSC support is also supported. It’s 3D printed and has 180gr, so it’s a very lightweight MIDI controller.

First Impression

At first glance, it looks like a fun MIDI controller with intriguing features. 

Unknown Devices Topo T16 is available now for pre-order for 159€ + VAT. The first batch will ship on June 3rd, 2024.

More information here: Unknown Devices

Audio & MIDI News


  1. Question – was this “review” written by ChatGPT, or just someone for whom English is a second language?

    • Question: Are we on a literature website or is it about synths and music tech? 😉 English is my fourth language, and I don’t need ChatGPT. If I would use ChatGPT, the text would sound like a marketing text with only the lovelist words, etc. Mabye I can write it in my other three languages, maybe you will understand than better 😉

      To make your happy, I corrected it a bit. Of courese, without ChatGPT 😉 Cheers

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