UCD startup’s MIDI controller can bend notes like an electric guitar

By: October 7, 2020
best MIDI player for DJs

Joyst, a UCD spin-out firm, has unveiled a new style of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controller that lets DJs and musicians bend digital notes.

The Joyst JV-1 MIDI controller gives the user an array of gamer-style thumb joysticks. This allows more expressive possibilities for electronic musicians and DJs.

Notes are played by striking the joysticks. If one is rotated, this pitch bends that note up or down. Using joysticks in this way increases a musician’s ability to play with “subtle intonation and expressive flourishes”.

Philip_CEO_Joyst“Why can’t a MIDI controller let you bend notes like an electric guitar?” asks Philip Snell (left), CEO and co-founder, Joyst.

“Even on the earliest prototype, we could see the power of joysticks in this role. They allow the player to inject subtlety and fine intonation into their playing, with a tactile and responsive feel. The buttons and pads you find on traditional MIDI controllers are just too one-dimensional, sterile or overly digital. Joysticks restore what was lost, a full range of motion, a responsive springiness, organic bends, fresh sounds. Electronic music in full colour.”

Can I buy one?
Joyst has set a minimum funding target of €12,500 to be raised by the close of the Kickstarter campaign on November 5. Backers will be rewarded with various bonus tiers if the project is funded. Discounts are on offer for the earliest backers, who can secure a JV-1 for just €199, a significant deal on its RRP of €349.

You can support the startup’s Kickstarter campaign here.

How it all began
The JV-1 emerged from a Master of Engineering thesis project carried out by Philip Snell under the supervision of Dr Paul Cuffe at the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Joyst was co-founded by Philip and fellow UCD Master of Engineering graduates, William Langrell and Edward Byrne, along with Dr Cuffe, to commercialise the JV-1 MIDI controller.

Joyst was established with the support of NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at UCD and earlier this year Joyst completed the NovaUCD Student Enterprise Competition.

This intensive four-week mentoring programme is run by NovaUCD as a framework to support undergraduate and postgraduate students who want to work together to develop and grow startup companies. It helps the participating students in refining their ideas through a series of structured workshops, including taught content from industry experts, interactive workshops, regular pitching sessions and mentoring.

Joyst will also be taking part in this year’s UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme, run by NovaUCD, which commences later this month.

We are super excited about the JV-1 so we are asking people to back this project today to help us meet, and hopefully even exceed, our Kickstarter target and get the JV-1 into the hands of talented musicians around the world,” says William Langrell, COO and co-founder.

You can get in early and back Joyst’s Kickstarter campaign here.