Eigenlabs Eigenharp Tau
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Eigenlabs Eigenharp Tau

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Eigenharp Tau, Other MIDI Controller from Eigenlabs.


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Eigenlabs Eigenharp Tau tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Eigenlabs
  • Model: Eigenharp Tau
  • Category: Other MIDI Controllers
  • Added in our database on: 03/26/2012

The Eigenharp Tau is the newest addition to the Eigenharp portfolio, filling the gap between the ultra-portable Pico and the professional level Alpha.

Around the size of an electric guitar, ideal for gigging. At less than half the price of the Eigenharp Alpha, the Tau brings the enormous expressive potential of the Eigenharp to within the reach of any musician. The Tau has a minimalist contemporary aesthetic, available in black and silver finishes.

With 72 main keyboard keys, 12 percussion keys, a strip controller and optional breath pipe it can do almost everything that its big brother, the professional level Eigenharp Alpha, can do - it uses exactly the same software system. Its keys are amazingly sensitive, to within a micron, the wavelength of light. Like the Alpha and the Pico, it plays a limitless range of sounds.

The Tau requires a Mac or a Windows computer to run.

What's in the box?
  • Eigenharp Tau.
  • Eigenharp Tau case by Hiscox.
  • Product Activation card for website support and tutorial materials.
  • Eigenharp standard base station.
  • Eigenharp standard base station power cable.
  • 6m Tau to Base Station connecting cable.
  • 2m Base Station to computer USB 2.0 connecting cable.
  • Eigenlabs laptop/Base Station and cables carry bag.
  • Eigenlabs 8GB USB stick with latest install software (Macintosh) and getting started tutorials.
Hardware Specification

Keys

  • 84 playing keys in all, including;
  • 72 main keyboard keys.
  • 12 percussion keys.
  • 8 mode keys

Key Properties:

  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second, per key.
  • 10 bit (1024 values) resolution.
  • Sensitive to direct pressure and to lateral pressure in both directions.

1 Strip Controller:

  • Sampled at 2000 samples/second.
  • 10 bit (1024 values) resolution.

Headphone output:

  • 48 kHz sampling rate, 24-bit DAC Sigma-Delta.
  • Software programmable volume.
  • Mute, soft ramp and zero cross detection for volume adjustment.
  • SNR = 94 dB.
  • THD < 0.1% at 1 kHz, 30-Ohm load at -3 dBfs.
  • Up to 75 mW output on a 3.5 mm mini jack socket.

Tau Base Station:

  • USB 2 interface to host computer.
Instruments and soundfonts

You can load and play your own Soundfonts, Audio Unit Plugins and Midi instruments with the Eigenharp Tau. In addition, the Tau comes with its own native instruments (at present a software model of a Cello, Clarinet and a Synth engine). The Tau also ships with a collection of loop libraries and several acclaimed instruments from our partners:

  • 1500 AIFF format (timestretch and tempo change capable) varied Percussion and Drum loops.
  • Sampletekk 'Black Grand Steinway D, sampled at 20+ levels in a 6 Gigabyte set that includes three recordings from dry to highly ambient.
  • Sampletekk 'Tubed Rhodes', a multi sampled Rhodes Electric Piano.
  • Sampletekk Tubed 'Wurli' electric piano in a Gigabyte multi sample set.
  • Camel Audio's Eigenlabs Player version of "Alchemy" - The ultimate sample manipulation synthesizer
Weight and Dimensions

Tau:

  • Height 120cm (including breathpipe)
  • Height 116cm (excluding breathpipe)
  • Width 7.3cm
  • Depth 2.5cm
  • Weight 2.1kg

Laptop bag:

  • Length 35cm
  • Width 48cm
  • Depth 20cm
  • Weight 1.046kg

Base station:

  • Length 16.6cm
  • Width 17cm
  • Depth 5cm
  • Weight 1kg (excluding power supply and cables)
  • Weight 1.6kg (including power supply and cables)

Instrument Cable:

  • Length 6m
  • Weight 380grms
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Eigenlabs Eigenharp Tau user reviews

Average Score:5.0(5/5 based on 1 review)
 1 user review100 %
johnsnolan04/01/2012

johnsnolan's review"Where have you been all my life?"

Eigenlabs Eigenharp Tau
I have for many years played various instruments both physical and electronic - but this was the first instrument I ever came across that truly combined the best of both worlds into an accessible, expressive, playable form.

The sensitivity and the expression you can obtain from the Eigenharp keys makes it feel like a physical instrument. All the subtlety and happy mistakes of learning a physical instrument are available in the Eigenharp - yet you can detune those parameters to make it less sensitive, hence easier to play and sound good sooner.

This is unlike any instrument you've played before, so there is a steep learning curve. It is, however, a curve well worth climbing. Not just because you get more from your Eigenharp, but I found it helped me look at music and playing in a new and better light. I learned about more than just the Eigenharp when playing it - it helped manifest aspects of music I had never thought of or encountered whilst struggling with the physical aspects of other instruments.

Because the Eigenharp uses virtual synthesis with AUs/VSTs you can play pretty much anything you want and sound good. The sensitivity of the keys in 3-dimensions allows you to affect the parameters minutely so I find it particularly suited to modeled instruments like guitars, breath instruments and pianos. You can bring that human variation to the sound. Of course, the filtering and parameter control you can apply via these sensitive keys to true synthesizers produces interesting opportunities, too.

The Tau is priced at the point of a decent guitar or keyboard. I think you can get a lot more out of the Tau and so is better value for money - there is however the need to learn how to get this value, which takes time. Unlike learning with a cheap guitar before you upgrade, there is no cheap alternative to the Tau. The smaller/cheaper Pico (which I also own) helps introduce you to Eigenharps, configuring them and the basics of the keys, but IMHO its more a controller than an instrument like the Tau. Making music with the Pico requires more layering and looping, which is different in style to playing the Tau and Alpha (though the same techniques can apply). Its like learning the ukelele vs. the guitar. Helpful but not the same.

There is not much help out there to learn to play the Eigenharp. There's plenty of info and community support for the configuration and use, but not the playing. So I wrote a few apps which I've shared to improve this (see http://eigentab.net) but it remains a challenge for noobs.

But like most instruments, playing and discovering is the best way to learn - and the Eigenharp is a delight to play.

One of the best aspects of the Eigenharp is the community - which includes players and the staff of Eigenlabs. There is always someone willing to help. If you find a bug or have a suggestion response is rapid. There's even regular Google hangouts if you want to talk/play together...

Knowing what I know now? Yes. Absolutely. In fact, I thought of the Tau as an entry to the Alpha - but I'm not sure I would swap. I like the solidity, robustness and style of the Tau. I don't miss the extra keys and the software/capabilities are exactly the same. If you're thinking Eigenharp and the price of an Alpha gives you a nose-bleed : go Tau! You won't regret it.

PS. To classify it a "MIDI controller" is to misunderstand what you get with an Eigenharp - you really need a new category.
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