Where to start when making a custom midi controller???
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  1. #1
    Tech Mentor michaeldunne109's Avatar
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    Default Where to start when making a custom midi controller???

    Hi folks,
    Just wondering would anybody be able to point me in the right direction (threads, forums, tutorials ect) in making my own midi controller just for fun.

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Theres a huge number of pages in the net... just search for it. I don't understand why so many people are not able to do something on their own...

    If you would research on DJTT it would be enough for the beginning.

  3. #3
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    http://www.instructables.com/id/USB-...m-old-Gamepad/
    http://www.ucapps.de/
    http://www.midibox.org/users/tor_arn...ugh/index.html

    It all depends on what you want to apply it to, and which route you decide to take.

    Personally i'd go with an old USB gamepad method, cheap and cheerful.

  4. #4
    Tech Wizard
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    Coming from someone who does this for fun (and from a Computer Engineer that studies this), it's pretty cheap to get a micro-controller like an Arduino (or a starter kit from Sparkfun also, a tutorial) and just implement the MIDI protocol yourself. You'll have to learn C, but you can make really powerful controllers for pretty cheap (a pot costs around $1, buttons are less). I'm currently making my own MIDI control box (I'll post something when I get something a little cleaner to show) that I plan on using with Ableton, mainly, in addition to Traktor (but I have a different controller in mind for Traktor). Basically, designing all the software myself, I'm aware of it's limitations and I know how to get the full power from it at the same time. Also, I can easily add in a like touchscreen (ds touchscreen cost me like $10) and have x-y control without losing a sweat. Or a gyroscope on a glove and pretend I'm playing a theremin. Or a screen so I can have visual reminders of what each scene is and what's being sent. Or a bunch of blinking LEDs because I accidentally ordered 200 when I needed like 60 and need to do something with them.

    The cost so far? The Arduino was $30 (but you can break it out into just the $5 controller for a final product and some change for crystals and what not), and I have 16 pots and 8 nice buttons so far ($16+$15+$20 for decorative stuff like nice knobs and a sweet old cigar box). I had a PCB made at my school, but otherwise a punchboard from radioshack and some wire are all you need for assembly. The starter kit and the Arduino website can take you through learning the code (even if you never programmed before).

    It's probably overkill and too much of an upfront investment for you, though (since you can just buy an MF or two at that point). I just like preaching programming and physical computing hacking. It's an addictive hobby, to be frank.

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard
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    Didn't I just post like a 5 paragraph dissertation as a response to this? what the heck happened to it when I clicked submit!? Ugh, whatever. Look into physical computing from scratch, it's fun.
    I recommend an Arduino because it's cheap. Here's links.
    http://arduino.cc/
    http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Midi
    http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/pro...ducts_id=10173
    It's easy to learn, and it's fun to do stuff like build a little wireless display that shows RSS items, or an led that blinks when you have new emails. Or a proximity sensor that tells you when someone's coming and can execute a script to minimize firefox because you're on inappropriate websites at work. You know, just everyday stuff.

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