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Author Topic: creating your own midi hardware  (Read 18069 times)
Indica
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« on: October 19, 2007, 07:43:41 PM »

this is something i've been thinking about trying for years now. i'd like to create my own midi gear to control the software i use (cubase for now, abelton live later on for performance).

basically i thought about building a giant mixer for a controller. but first i think it would be easier to create a synth controller. i guess all of them would generally be a bunch of knobs that i would assign with the software. i don't think it would be too hard to create, but i have no background in building circuits, let alone programming chips.

for example sake i'll stick with describing a synth controller. this would have knobs for volume, filter frequency, filter resonance, pitch, pan as the basics. depending on the synth vst, more knobs will be added. let's say i'm using Rob Papen's Albino synth. extra knobs for this would be for the 4 LFOs, their frequency, etc. also there would be a knob for the mod amount for each vst. obviously my patches would have to be in a standard format, ie lfo1 as mod1, lfo2 as mod2, etc.

preferably i'd like to have a backlit  LED display for each knob to say what it controls as well as show the current value. something like this: http://img-asia.electrocomponents.com/largeimages/R455443-01.jpg although probably not as big. it would also be nice to have some memory so i can load up a patch on my hardware that corresponds to the VST patch (it would be even better if the knobs were motorized and could reset themselves to the starting position). but that's getting even deeper into this proj, i cant even figure out where to begin  ROFLMAO

my end goal is to create a midi controller for each popular vst i use, to be used for live performances.

i hope this made sense to someone, and maybe someone can chip in and offer me some tips here.

how's this for starting this new section off with a bang?  Applause
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perkiset
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 11:53:57 AM »

Actually Indica the receptor is a lot of what you are talking about... using VNC you're looking at a dedicated screen for controlling all of your plugins - that's why I went that way. It's funny you mention this this way - I've been looking for a live solution to the same for a long time.

My goal is to use a touch screen interface to my plugins - I originally wanted to control my analog stuff via MIDI with it, but now that I'm all digital I just envision a larger touch screen monitor that allows me access to everthing in my rig.

The problem came when I started thinking about calling up sequences from my Mac, changing stuff on the Receptor or the other remaining gear that I have... and I thought that I'd like to create a PHP based API (written in C++ then extended into PHP) so that I could have a WEB based interface on the touch screen for all my gear. Then it would be trivial to create different screens for accessing different items, and I could even create "custom rigs" for certain gigs - with big, hard-to-miss touch buttons for <whatever I need to do>. That's my personal, music rig Holy Grail. For example - a home page that moved into different sections like dedicated patches, whole song configurations, splits - or even just a screen for "Organ Control" where I could touch it to spool up or down my leslie emulator...

Perhaps there's things for you and I to discuss here about how we could accomplish such magicks, eh?

/p
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Indica
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 09:15:16 PM »

hm sounds interesting. however i don't think a giant touchscreen would give me enough control at my fingertips. that's one qualm i have with an all-digital studio. it's a real PITA to try to create patches and tweak stuff with a mouse, this is why i love my evolution midi controller and why i'd like to build even better midi gear.

receptor looks pretty nice. with this you can basically run all your VSTs on it and thus free up cpu resources? that's another bottleneck i run into - resources. i always end up with 20 VSTs running, 50 samples, not to mention fx. i can never bring myself to bounce stuff to wavs to free up resources. i always feel that doing so makes that lead/pad riff 'final', and i almost am never to the point of having things finalized if you know what i mean  ROFLMAO i've got tracks i've been working on for over a year and they're only 3 minutes long (and still sound like shite)


forgot if i shared any of the shit i love to listen to, if not here: http://play.saikosounds.com/m3u/04d/54.m3u time to party !! 
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perkiset
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 12:24:50 PM »

hm sounds interesting. however i don't think a giant touchscreen would give me enough control at my fingertips. that's one qualm i have with an all-digital studio. it's a real PITA to try to create patches and tweak stuff with a mouse, this is why i love my evolution midi controller and why i'd like to build even better midi gear.
I get it, but totally different fix - I use the front panel on my Roland RD-500 as well as my Trigger Finger controllers for patch tweaking - I totally get it when we're talking about sound programming. I'm referring more to a situation when I'm live, and all of a sudden "Africa" is called out and there's a *lot* that I need to get set up to play it... there's a specific Logic environment that comes up... specific sounds on my rig... this could be done with my controller, but imagine if I had a touch screen and I touched "complex songs" then "africa" I could be as responsive live as a guitar player. It's more about a sort of macro ability when I want a lot larger set of capabilities than my RD-500 can provide.


receptor looks pretty nice. with this you can basically run all your VSTs on it and thus free up cpu resources? that's another bottleneck i run into - resources. i always end up with 20 VSTs running, 50 samples, not to mention fx. i can never bring myself to bounce stuff to wavs to free up resources. i always feel that doing so makes that lead/pad riff 'final', and i almost am never to the point of having things finalized if you know what i mean  ROFLMAO i've got tracks i've been working on for over a year and they're only 3 minutes long (and still sound like shite)
Zactly - since it is a dedicated (and pretty durn high speed) processor and bus, I can load up a lot of pain on it and not suffer. I currently have Stylus RMX on the Mac and am probably going to purchase Virtual Guitar this month... everything else ie Komplete 4 (which is Reaktor, Absynth, Guitar Rig, Kontak 2, Battery 3, Akoustik Piano, Elektrik Piano, B4-II, FM-8, Pro-53, Vokator and the NI-Spektral Delay), Trilogy and OP-X are on the Receptor and they sound, edit and play GREAT. Komplete is a fantastic bang-for-buck kit because you've got about 80% of what you need for most recordings right out of the box. It's a huge PIA to install tho, so getting a Receptor with it already running is a big benefit.


forgot if i shared any of the shit i love to listen to, if not here: http://play.saikosounds.com/m3u/04d/54.m3u time to party !! 
Wow man, definite energy. You and my brother would get along great.  ROFLMAO
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ratthing
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2007, 07:11:49 PM »

You music geeks might like this: hxxp://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=4

More info here: hxxp://www.ladyada.net/make/x0xb0x/

A quote:
"The x0xb0x is not just another MIDI-controlled TB-303 clone. x0xb0x is a full reproduction of the original Roland synthesizer, with fully functional sequencer. The sequencer can be programmed just like the original 303 (ok its actually a little easier, we think) and can be used to control other synthesizers via any of its various output formats. 128 banks of track memory and 64 banks of pattern memory are stored in onboard EEPROM, no battery-backup is needed!"

=RT=
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perkiset
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007, 10:11:21 AM »

 ROFLMAO

Very cool man... that was a great link! It's pretty wild how the old analog and 80s-sounding boxes are making a comeback. the 303 was heavily used and still sounds great.

Thanks RT, that was really cool
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Indica
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2008, 04:10:56 AM »

any1 ever play with fruity loops?

yep, fl7 xxl. i love it for the simplicity of making loops. i just wish it had the feel of cubase, which i love for its work flow.

worked in fl last night actually 
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thedarkness
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2008, 06:11:04 PM »

and I thought that I'd like to create a PHP based API (written in C++ then extended into PHP)

I would be happy to help with coding since this is my speciality.

Cheers,
td
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perkiset
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2008, 06:52:19 PM »

Thanks TD -

Actually I'm thinking harder now on Objective C and Cocoa because that's the way the Mac does things... I've been looking at some of the frameworks and I think it's a doable. I just ordered 3 books from Amazon and am going to get my arms around it (as well as the iPhone SDK) and I'll post as I make any sort of progress at all.
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Indica
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2008, 09:51:14 PM »

cocoa you say? i've been reading up on it. along with mac. waiting for leopard to finish downloading then i'll try booting it on intel.

afterall, adware should not discriminate against macs! 
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perkiset
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2008, 10:29:43 PM »

 ROFLMAO

Remind me not to visit any of YOUR sites man...

Cocoa looks good, and Cocoa-Touch (the iPhone extension) looks really good. But I am a little daunted by the sheer volume of traps, APIs and frameworks I'll need to get my head around to feel any sort of mastery at all... so I'll probably just look after simple interface items and the MIDI framework to start.
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thedarkness
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2008, 02:06:50 AM »

Thanks TD -

Actually I'm thinking harder now on Objective C and Cocoa because that's the way the Mac does things... I've been looking at some of the frameworks and I think it's a doable. I just ordered 3 books from Amazon and am going to get my arms around it (as well as the iPhone SDK) and I'll post as I make any sort of progress at all.

Cool perk, I had a quick look at this and it turns out that there is an Objective C++ which is supported on a lot of these platforms including the iphone SDK and that you can basically incorporate "standard C++" into Objective C++ without too much trouble. If you start cutting code I'd be interested in seeing some of it.

Cheers,
td
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perkiset
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 07:56:13 AM »

I'm gonna do it... but also waiting for a book which is, unfortunately, not expected to be released until late next month at the earliest.

It looks to me like the syntax of Objective C is different than C++ - the sentence structure has a lot more [] and the syntactical ordering is different, much akin to the difference between saying the green door and la puerta verde.

I will definitely let you know - I am still grinding about on what I want to code - I'm not much on coding for coding's sake - I personally learn way better if I can frame an exercise and accomplish it.

Thanks and will do,
/p
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Indica
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2008, 12:13:36 AM »

any1 ever play with fruity loops?

http://rapidshare.com/files/101145303/Soup_of_Life.mp3.html if you want a taste 
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thedarkness
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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2008, 05:55:31 AM »

It looks to me like the syntax of Objective C is different than C++ - the sentence structure has a lot more [] and the syntactical ordering is different, much akin to the difference between saying the green door and la puerta verde.

No, a bridge exists allowing you to utilize c++ code in OC.

http://theocacao.com/document.page/473

Cheers,
td
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