With the MAS-1 Gemini enters new terrain, challenging existing midi controllers such as the Ableton Push and the Novation Launchpad.

Unlike the above controllers, the MAS-1 isn’t a clip based button array solution. It intends to offer a more DJ-like workflow.

In the words of Gemini:

Traditional control solutions for software like Live have been primarily clip based button arrays, and we feel there’s an opportunity to not only showcase another aspect of this awesome software, but to also appeal directly to DJs that may want to experiment with programs like Live while maintaining a more DJ-centric workflow.  The MAS-1 allows users new to Live to maintain the feel of traditional DJing.

The MAS-1 combines the traditional feel of a 4 channel DJ mixer with control elements for devices and effects contained in Live.  It also offers an expanded BPM section to allow for smoother mixing into external sources.  The onboard 4 channel audio interface is loud and warm, and the hardware interface itself is designed to work well in dark environments, with high contrast highlights and backlit buttons.  Finally, the MAS-1 has a built-in stand, allowing it to be tilted towards the user in multiple positions to create the perfect viewing angle.

Clip and Scene control is accomplished via a small array of RGB buttons and knobs, or an external controller can be easily added.  Mixing is accomplished via 100mm faders for the smoothest possible response.  Each mixer channel has 3 sends for hands-on effects flexibility

So essentially the MAS-1 should make DJ’s that never used Ableton Live with a midi controller feel more at home.

Key Features

  • Unique performance stand angles the MAS-1 towards the user for better visibility
  • Built-in low latency high-performance 4 channel audio interface with balanced outputs
  • 4 channel mixer section, with full EQ and 100mm channel faders
  • 45mm crossfader for fast, DJ-style transitions
  • Full clip control, with scene and clip launching and RGB illumination
  • Color-coded knobs for easy identification of each function
  • Adjustable device control section allows for control of individual components
  • BPM control through bend buttons, tap BPM, or direct input via knob.
  • Encoders with LED rings for adaptive software feedback
  • Full looping control including in, out, and active buttons and loop length knob

First Impressions

I’ll be honest. I haven’t covered Ableton controllers much but when DJ gear manufacturers start bringing out gear for production software, it’s maybe time to get started. So It’s hard to say for me if I like it or not, I guess a bit more explanation at the Gemini booth will help to make up my mind about this piece of gear. The price is pretty reasonable and in line with other Ableton Push controllers: USD 299.