PICMIX - DIY midi DJ controller
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  1. #1
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    Default PICMIX - DIY midi DJ controller

    After years of mixing with vinyl and a DVS system for a while it is time to take a next step. A midi DJ controller. I looked at almost every possible controller there is on the market but I didn't really found what I was looking for. Too cramped or too much bells and whistles and so on. I mix mnml, deep and tech house and never use effects.
    I wanted a controller that has only the buttons and faders I want and what is there has to work great and accurate. As I don't like a sync button the pitch fader has to have a 10 bit resolution at least.

    The Vestax VCI-100 comes almost closest to what I wanted with the 1.4 firmware but since I do have electronic knowledge I decided to build it myself. I'm very familiar with PIC microcontrollers so I did't have to think long.

    A lot of thinking and prototyping was done first to see if it was do-able to do it myself. Everything went great so I started gathering parts to measure.
    After that I've drawn a front panel and sent it to Schaeffer. The result is just stunning:



    You see it has a very basic and simple layout. Everything is panel mounted, I want it to feel solid. I'm used to quality feel, this has to be it too.

    The mainboard runs of a PIC16f887, I do program it with a C compiler. Jog wheels will be driven on an optical encoder. Playback buttons are arcade buttons.

    The panel is almost completely mounted but I don't have a pic of that yet.

    So, more details and updates will follow. Next will be wiring everything up and test every component.

  2. #2
    DJTT Moderator bloke Karlos Santos's Avatar
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    Keep it coming. Looks good up to now.

  3. #3
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    Looking good. No crossfader though?

  4. #4
    Tech Guru tyfurious's Avatar
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    That's hawt looking.
    Traktor/Itch: Xone Dx - MidiFighter x1
    Ableton: Livid Code - iPad - KP3
    Tech: Macbook Pro 17", intel i7, 8gb RAM, 500gb HD 7200RPM

  5. #5
    Tech Guru DJDoubleYou's Avatar
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    aaaaaaha finaly! another DIY project!!!
    Geep on going!

    DN-X1600 | 2x X1 MKI | APC 20 | MC-505 | MF Pro & Spectra | Kontrol S4 MKI | XBoard 49

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the positive reactions. There will be no crossfader on this. I'm not used to use it and don't need it :-)

    Before I did al my mixing on a Rodec and I like the clean & basic look of it. I even measured the buttons and faders up so they would have the same spacing.

  7. #7
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    Snapped a pic before wiring. Next update will take a while cause wiring will take a while.


  8. #8
    Tech Wizard Destrukto's Avatar
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    Hey Skirmitt, if you don't mind me asking so, where did you get the encoders for the jogs, and what's their specs? RS won't sell me the ones I want unless I buy a pack of 10.

    BTW, I like what you did with the faceplate - nice clean sober layout and all screws countersunk. Pro!
    92/2D/X1/KRK/Traktor (Toshiba Satellite M50 / PSM51L)
    Progressive Psychedelic

  9. #9
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    I bought the encoders on eBay. They are from the brand Bourns and have 128 cpr. With software I can achieve 256 steps I think, have to test that out.
    What is the resolution of a VCI-100 btw ? And how much could the midi protocol handle ?

  10. #10
    Tech Wizard Destrukto's Avatar
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    I'm not sure. But as far I know NI added 14bit MIDI support to Traktor back in version Pro1.1 (assuming you'll be using Traktor).

    Also, it is possible to remove the detents on the Bourns encoders, which will give you a smoother wheel, but might also give you better resolution - often they are physically limited, because one “click” of an encoder may actually run through four events. But I never tried that for real, so don't hold me to it.

    I came up with another idea I think might better suit me. Actually I stole the idea from the Reloop Jockey. The bottom edge of the wheels are square-toothed, cutting through two infra-red LED beams, as to provide the control change in the binary square wave. It only means the actual 'encoder bit' of the jog is not connected to the wheel shaft, which makes for a much sturdier platform, and the encoder itself is not subject to wear 'n tear. But that might get too extravagant for your project. Might even abandon the idea myself in the end, as it would end up a pretty complicated process to position the LEDs precisely as they need to be.

    Not sure if all that makes sense. Anyway, just thought I'd chuck it in there.
    Last edited by Destrukto; 10-27-2011 at 08:55 AM.
    92/2D/X1/KRK/Traktor (Toshiba Satellite M50 / PSM51L)
    Progressive Psychedelic

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