We’ve seen loads of Nintendo Switch concepts that explore the console’s modular design and motion tracking abilities, from Labo kits to even this absurd Joy-Con that turns the Switch into an augmented reality gaming device, but this is a pleasant first. Designed by Sydney-based Alquemy, who clearly feels the Nintendo Switch is capable of being more than a gaming machine, this unique set of modular controllers turns the Nintendo Switch into a one-of-a-kind electronic music production and deejaying station. Modeled on the Akai Pro MPC (a popular MIDI controller), these modules snap to the sides of the Switch’s screen, turning it into a deejay set. You’ve got buttons, knobs, keys, everything you need to control playback, and obviously a touchscreen surface that gives you complete control over the entire experience. Before I sing more praise for this concept, it’s worth noting that this Nintendo Switch Akai Pro MPC crossover is just that… a concept. However, if there’s someone at Akai reading this, you may want to just build out a prototype, even if it’s just for kicks! I’m sure there’s a small intersection between the gaming and the electronic music-making community that will ABSOLUTELY love this!
With two modules that snap onto the left and right side of the Switch’s screen, this music-making rig is quite literally a fascinating build. It’s a zero-compromise kit, with all the controls and ports you could possibly think of, while still being incredibly portable. The Nintendo Switch supports SD cards, which is perfect for storing music, files, stems, loops, and other effects on board, while the ‘MPC Switch’ modules let you map out all your controls on the keys and knobs so you’re ready to start mixing off the bat. All you then do is run the Akai app on the Switch and you’re all set!
What I find really remarkable about Alquemy’s concept is how incredibly detailed it is to the point where it begins making sense. Sure, it’s easy to look at the Nintendo Switch as a purely gaming-specific console, but what is it if not a tablet that’s connected to the internet with its own dedicated app store? The only thing stopping the Switch from also being a music-making device is just one thing – perception. And probably resources, but mainly perception.
The MPC Switch modules come with backlit keys for easy control in low-light settings. Speakers built into the sides of the modules help pump out music at volumes higher than the Switch is capable of, although you do have a whole bunch of ports on the back of the modules to hook up other accessories, plug-ins, racks, synths, and other instruments. You’ve got two MIDI in and MIDI out ports, a set of RC ports, and even two sets of quarter-inch audio ports for connecting speakers, headphones, guitars, etc.
The Switch has everything else you could possibly need. WiFi connectivity for cloud-based applications, Bluetooth for connecting to other peripherals, a USB-C for power or even hooking to your laptop, and a 3.5mm port for headphones because what deejay doesn’t wear headphones?!