Posts with «midi controller» label

Less Rock, More Roll: A MIDI Barrel Piano

Strolling around a park, pedestrian zone, or tourist area in any bigger city is rarely complete without encountering the sound of a barrel organ — the perfect instrument if arm stamina and steady rotation speed are your kind of musical skills. Its less-encountered cousin, and predecessor of self-playing pianos, is the barrel piano, which follows the same playing principle: a hand-operated crank rotates a barrel, and either pins located on that barrel, or punched paper rolls encode the strings it should pluck in order to play its programmed song. [gabbapeople] thought optocouplers would be the perfect alternative here, and built a MIDI barrel piano with them.

Keeping the classic, hand-operated wheel-cranking, a 3D-printed gear mechanism rolls a paper sheet over a plexiglas fixture, but instead of having holes punched into it, [gabbapeople]’s piano has simple markings printed on them. Those markings are read by a set of Octoliner modules mounted next to each other, connected to an Arduino. The Octoliner itself has eight pairs of IR LEDs and phototransistors arranged in a row, and is normally used to build line-following robots, so reading note markings is certainly a clever alternative use for it.

Each LED/transistor pair represents a dedicated note, and to prevent false positives from neighboring lines, [gabbapeople] 3D printed little collars to isolate each of the pairs. Once the signals are read by the Arduino, they’re turned into MIDI messages to send via USB to a computer running any type of software synthesizer. And if your hands do get tired, you can also crank it with a power drill, as shown in the video after the break, along with a few playback demonstrations.

It’s always fun to see a modern twist added to old-school instruments, especially the ones that aren’t your typical MIDI controllers, like a harp, a full-scale church organ, or of course the magnificently named hurdy-gurdy. And for more of [gabbapeople]’s work, check out his split-flip weather display.

theMIDInator is a marvelous MIDI controller

While you may know on some level that an Arduino can help you make music, you probably haven’t seen as good an implementation as this MIDI controller by Switch & Lever. 

The device features a numeric pad for note input, which can also be used as a drum pad, and a variety of knobs and even a joystick for modifying the beats. Controls are housed inside a beautiful laser-cut, glued, and finished wooden enclosure.

An Arduino Mega (with its 54 digital IO and 16 analog pins) is used to accommodate the inputs, and data is passed on to a digital audio workstation, or DAW, to produce actual sound. 

Code and circuit diagrams are available here if you want to build one, though your setup can be customized however you like!

DIY MIDI Looper Controller Looks Fantastic!

Due to pedalboard size, complicated guitar pedals sometimes reduce the number of buttons to the bare minimum. Many of these pedals are capable of being controlled with an external MIDI controller, however, and necessity being the mother of invention and all, this is a great opportunity to build something and learn some new skills at the same time. In need of a MIDI controller, Reddit user [Earthwin] built an Arduino powered one to control his Boss DD500 Looper pedal and the result is great looking.

Five 16×2 LCD screens, one for each button, show the functionality that that button currently has. They are attached (through some neat wiring) to a custom-built PCB which holds the Arduino that controls everything. The screens are mounted to an acrylic backplate which holds the screens in place while the laser-cut acrylic covers are mounted to the same plate through the chassis. The chassis is a standard Hammond aluminum box that was sanded down, primed and then filler was used to make the corners nice and smooth. Flat-top LEDs and custom 3D printed washers finish off the project.

[Earthwin] admits that this build might be overkill for the looper that he’s using, but he had fun building the controller and learning to use an Arduino. He’s already well on his way to building another, using the lessons learned in this build. If you want to build your own MIDI controller, this article should help you out. And then you’re ready to build your controller into a guitar if you want to.

[Via Reddit]

Traktorino is an open-source DIY MIDI controller for DJs

A keyboard and mouse is a great user interface system for general computing tasks, but in other situations custom knobs, sliders, and lights would certainly be more fun. If you enjoy making digital music, then you should check out this low-cost, Arduino-based MIDI controller by Nerd Musician.

The Traktorino gives you access to a plethora of knobs and sliders, as well as LEDs for custom feedback in a laser-cut package. Internally, the device acts as an Arduino Uno shield, and is designed to control Traktor DJ software by default. It also supports other MIDI programs, and perhaps could even be adapted to work with other applications as well.

The Traktorino is a MIDI class compliant device, designed for controlling Traktor. It has several features and custom made mappings, so you can take the most of the software. However, it can do much more than that. The Traktorino can control any software that accepts MIDI, like Ableton Live, Serato, FL Studio, Logic, etc.

More information and build files can be found here and on GitHub. You can see it in action in the video below!

Turn an old mixer into a MIDI input fader with Arduino

Using an Arduino as an HID, Evan Kale turned a “gently used” analog mixer into a computer interface.

Older audio equipment may not have the interfaces that you need to make totally electronic music, but they can be very well-built, so are perhaps worth salvaging. In the video below, Kale salvages potentiometers from an old mixer, then hooks them up to a Pro Micro. This allows the Arduino to take these 12 inputs, and output them as a USB MIDI signal.

Along the way, Kale points out a few very important hacking tricks, including that the library may have a printer ready for you to use, and that analog slider pots many times are logarithmic (or close to it) and need to be calibrated. Also, around 5:25 he introduces viewers to analog multiplexers which can give you eight analog inputs at the cost of three digital and one analog pin.

You can check out more of Kale’s Arduino-based hacks on his YouTube channel here!

Stage Bench is an Arduino-based live controller table

Manuel Lukas, a student at the University of Applied Science Mainz, and Sascha Lukas, a student at Cologne University of Music, together make up the German pop band Wyoming. As part of an interdisciplinary project, the duo decided to combine their love for both design and music into one live MIDI controller that’s bigger than commonly available commercial devices, but due to its size, more comprehensible for the audience.

The result? A DJ table, dubbed “Stage Bench,” that doubles as an instrument.

Stage Bench is based on an Arduino Uno which interacts with two matrices, a 128-LED matrix and a 128-button matrix, via a pair of shields. The connection to the computer is managed by serial communication and corresponds with a self-programmed patch in Max/MSP, which also sends MIDI data to any preferred DAW to play instruments or samplers.

Check out Stage Bench in Wyoming’s music video below!

Building a sweet plastic MIDI controller

With parts from a bathroom organizer and arcade buttons, Alex “GlacialGeyser” made his own MIDI machine.

MIDI controllers can be great instruments to supplement your musical skills. As seen in the video below, Alex’s project is no exception, and he’s able to produce some really beautiful music using it and a keyboard. Physically, he created this out of plastic parts from a bathroom organizer and a cutting board that he cut using mostly handheld power tools. An Arduino Mega serves as the brains of the operation along with two 75mm 10k faders, two 10k knobs, pitch bend and modulation wheels, and a couple of LEDs.

The build is finished off with a splattered paint effect and nearly a whole can of clear coat. Programming the device was a challenge, but it seems Alex gained some useful knowledge for next time!

You can find more about GlacialGeyser’s MIDI controller on his Imgur writeup.

LEDs and MIDIs: Check Out the STEAM-Inspired Music of Holograph

"It's not only a musical project, but a union between different arts and sciences, where the sound meets design, electronics, and computer science"

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BINARY IO is an Arduino-powered, four-button MIDI controller

Developed as part of a semester project, BINARY IO is a nifty little MIDI controller capable of counting from one to 15 using only four buttons. The device, which uses binary code as an input mechanism, is powered by an Arduino Uno and Max/MSP.

With a little practice, BINARY IO becomes quite intuitive and fun to play. As demonstrated by its creators Benjamin Weber and Jeremy Ondrey, users can piece together new music with sounds ranging from the piano to the xylophone to the drums.

A Custom Control Surface for Audio/Video Editing

Control surfaces (input devices with sliders, encoders, buttons, etc) are often used in audio and video editing, where they provide an easy way to control editing software. Unfortunately even small control surfaces are fairly expensive. To avoid shelling out for a commercial control surface, [Victor] developed his own custom control surface that sends standard MIDI commands which can be interpreted by nearly any DAW software.

[Victor]‘s control surface includes several buttons, a display, and a rotary encoder. His firmware sends MIDI commands whenever a button is pressed or the rotary encoder is turned. [Victor] plans on adding menu functionality to the currently unused LCD display which will allow the user to change the scrubbing speed and other various settings.

One advantage of making your own control surface is that you can customize it to your own needs. [Victor] has posted a model of his 3d-printed enclosure and his source code on the project page so you can easily modify his design with any button configuration you might want.

Filed under: digital audio hacks