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Misa Digital Kitara hands-on preview

Ambidextrous, capacitive, programmable, open source, five simultaneous touch inputs. The Misa Digital Kitara has quite the laundry list of goodies to boast about, but we couldn't let it slide through CES without getting our fingers on it and exploring for ourselves. The first thing that strikes you about this guitar-shaped synthesizer is its weight distribution -- it's no heavier than a good electric guitar, but a lot more of that weight is contained within its neck -- and the second will inevitably be its lightning-quick response to touch. Misa tells us latency is less than 5 milliseconds and it felt like it.

There are two main modes of operation: a string mode, as seen above, and a ball mode allowing for even more adjustability. Both modes can then be further tweaked by choosing between the red and blue setting, with the former allowing for the performance of hammer-ons. Sliding your finger around the 8-inch touchscreen can do all sorts of wonderful things as well, such as altering pitch, tempo and volume, while those fearful of having no tactile feedback in string mode can apply a clear sheet over the screen that has tiny little ridges where the strings would usually reside. We say "usually," because you'll be able to configure the distance between the imaginary strings for yourself. The Kitara runs an open source Linux OS, which will be updatable via USB and is already compatible with Mac, PC and, naturally, Linux machines. It also has more than a hundred sound presets and we've been promised the option to customize them and create new ones by playing around with the algorithms in the future.

The black Kitara is made out of good old plastic (but it's made very well) and costs $849 whereas the silver one you see in the gallery below is constructed out of a single block of aluminum and will set buyers back $2,899. Pre-orders are going on now through Misa Digital's online store and shipping is set to start on April 3. Video follows below.

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