Though our lives are dominated by touchscreens, when it comes to music, there’s still a lot of magic in capacitive touch control. Don Buchla was one of the first to apply this technology to electronic music in the Buchla 112 module. The non-traditional sounds were controlled with a futuristic interface. This fantastic idea met many iterations in Buchla history: the Music Easel, 400, 700, Thunder, and 223 all employed touch technology.
Buchla USA is proud to present the third iteration of one of the most used touch interfaces: the 218e Lunar Excursion Module. The first design appeared in the 1973 release of the Buchla Music Easel and named for the spacecraft that delivered astronauts to the motherfucking moon. Providing the familiar piano key layout for this early mobile music machine, the additional controls and capabilities were an interface for exploring uncharted musical territory. With the new version 3, it’s been updated with a new foundation of stable, modern electronics and plenty of inputs and outputs to integrate with your Buchla, MIDI, and Eurorack gear.
The incredible sensitivity and accuracy of the redesigned touch bed means the lightest touch will produce triggers and control voltage for your setup. Tickle it like a baby, pet it like a cat, or strike it like a key - the adjustable sensor has the dynamic range and durability to handle your playing. The new texture not only improves the sensing, but provides a satisfying haptic experience.
As always, pressure is an expressive output, adding an extra dimension to the control. When used with MIDI, velocity is also available to map to your sounds. The configurable touchstrip adds a fantastic addition for pitch bend or as an additional modulator to patch into your system.
Automatic calibration ensures the sensors respond as you would expect, and a convenient reset button make sure it’s ready to play on the spot.
Parity With The Euro
Even if you don’t have any Buchla products, the LEM 218 v3 is designed to work with your Eurorack-compatible gear. Four 3.5mm jacks output 1v/octave pitch, 0-8 volts pressure, touchstrip voltage, and 5 volt gate outputs for use with Eurorack equipment.
Or, combine your Euro with your Buchla instruments. If NATO can do it, so can you. The sound design possibilities will blow your mind.
Not Half The Story
More than just MIDI compatible, the LEM 218 v3 gives you a unique interface to playing your existing MIDI gear and soft synths. Use with a computer on the USB-C connection, or go serial with the 3.5mm MIDI connections (adapters for 5-pin DIN included!). Each touch outputs note name, channel pressure, and velocity for every note, along with sustain controls from a pedal. Polyphonic MIDI mode lets you play chords. The touchstrip can act as a pitch bend control, or as a mod wheel for additional expressive control. Easily configured using the front panel controls, you can send notes and controls on any MIDI channel. Send the LEM some MIDI, and it gets converted to voltages and gates for eurorack and Buchla control.
The arpeggiator is capable of classic rhythmic note playing. But adding voltage controls can create unusual, interlocking rhythms that far exceed normal arpeggiators. Additional controls allow you to blend different patterns and randomness to easily change from the expected to the surprising.
The classic preset voltage knobs offer several possible ways to shift your sounds into new territory. Not only can the knobs be used for quick access to voltages for your patch, they can control arpeggiation modes and octave shifting. Buttons output pulses for additional control, and
Set It Up Your Way
Such a unique device will spark many ideas. With easy front panel configuration, you can quickly customize the velocity and pressure sensitivity, MIDI channel, knob behavior, and more. No cumbersome software setups, just simple settings with the keys and knobs, and you’re ready to play.
Check out some of the interesting ways to use the LEM 218 and quick tutorials on setting it up.
In The Box
● LEM 218
● 12V Grounded Power Supply*
● Grounding Strap
● 3.5mm to 5-pin DIN MIDI adapters
● Quick Start guide
* center positive, 2.5mm barrel, earth ground connected. For convenience, the provided 40W AC adapter is compatible with the Easel Command
Dimensions: 20” x 10” x 4” Weight: 6 lbs
Width (including sustain jack): 17.3” Depth: 7 3⁄8”
Height with knobs: 2 1⁄4”
Height of case: 1 1⁄2”
Width of case: 17” Weight: 3.9 lbs