Since launching in 1999, Lippold Haken's Continuum Fingerboard has helped unlock the expressive creativity of musicians around the globe, most notably Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess. But a full-sized Continuum is priced way out of reach of many electronic music players, so Haken Audio has launched the ContinuuMini on Kickstarter.

A top drawer Continuum Fingerboard is huge, and it commands an equally huge price tag of US$5,290. For that kind of money, players can tap into eight octaves using up to 16 fingers anywhere on the bold red neoprene interface punctuated with black strips. It's built around the EaganMatrix polyphonic sound engine and can be used as a stand-alone instrument, integrated into a modular synth setup or cabled up to other hardware and used as a MIDI controller.

It has had legions of famous and non-famous users alike descending on Asheville, NC, since 2016 for the annual ContinuuCon conference to make music, attend workshops and listen to technologists and performers talk about the expressive controller. And now Haken Audio is looking to lower the cost of entry into the Continuum universe with a mini version.

The ContinuuMini runs the same sound engine as its bigger brothers, but has been designed with portability in mind. It has dimensions of just 53 x 6 x 2 cm (21 x 2.5 x 0.75 in) and tips the scales at 0.25 kg (9 oz) – compared to 135 x 19 x 7.5 cm and 10.2 kg of the full-size Continuum – has a two octave pitch range and is powered via USB.

The red playing surface up top can translate movement from one or two fingers into expressive sounds and players don't need to hook the instrument up to a computer to dive into the system menu, access presets or switch octaves – all operations are available on the device itself. And "due to its robust bidirectional implementation of MPE and MPE+, the ContinuuMini can control external synths or be played by external MIDI controllers."

The expected retail price of the Mini will be $899, but Kickstarter backers are being tempted with starting pledges of $599. If all goes to plan, shipping is expected to start in January 2019. The video below has more.

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