Midifidler's Pro-Control Development Thread
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  1. #1
    DJTT Super Moderator midifidler's Avatar
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    Default Midifidler's Pro-Control Development Thread

    I have started this thread to document my progress in designing and building a system of custom controllers I intend to build.

    These controllers are intended purely for use with Traktor Pro and hence will have quite specific control structures & groupings.

    Ever since I started using Traktor Pro I have felt limited by the size & 2 deck design of the VCI.

    When I looked at what companies have on offer there was nothing that met all my requirements.

    The Xone 4D comes close, but costs close to 5K in the stores here and I have no need for all the analogue features it offers.

    The Stanton SC system also garnered my interest but the transport controls are still based on the traditional platter paradigm, which IMHO is now a waste of space.


    Hence I have decided to build my own controller which will,

    1) Have a layout dedicated to controlling Traktor Pro how I want to use it, and also make the most of the midi features PRO offers.

    2) Have a layout which is not cramped and provides plenty of space to work with

    3) Have a build quality equal to what you get with any high quality mixer like a RANE or the NUO range


    When I started to think about how I would layout the control groupings I quickly realised that a single enclosure was not an option

    Given the number of controls and the requirement for a spacious layout this system is going to cover a fair amount of bench space.

    So to start things of here is the concept for the first part of the system, this will contain the mixing & global controls and has the following features.

    4 Channels strips, each with

    - a 60 mm fader
    - 20 LED VU strip
    - 6 backlit indented pots
    - 5 backlit push buttons for Kills etc
    - A cross fader assign toggle switch
    - 3 x Back lit routing buttons to select Effects A, Effects B, and headphone monitor for each channel
    (Im still tossing up exchanging two pots on each channel for encoders with led feedback)

    A 50 mm cross fader with curve adjustment

    A library browser control section
    - I need to think more about how I want to implement this but I have started of with a scroll wheel with click, and the track load buttons around this.

    - A few spare backlit buttons for future proofing

    Standard monitor controls using two backlit pots

    A master BPM readout

    And finally I intend to incorporate a USB hub into this controller. This way the other parts of the system can all plug into the mixer freeing up USB ports on my laptop, and providing the perfect mounting point for those super handy USB Gooseneck lamps

    I will design this using the best possible Hub controller chip to guarantee reliable performance, and low latency.

    Due to the high current required by back lighting all the pots etc I will design it to be mains powered (which it has to be to provide enough power to devices connected to its hub) but it will have a switch on the back which disables the LEDs for the pots and enable it to be powered of the laptop.

    I have attached a screen capture of my concept sketch, I used software intended for designing PCBs so the colour’s are pretty funky. The box is 10" x 12" x 2"

    Once I have finalised the layout and interface requirements I will model all individual components in 3D and complete the mechanical element of the design in Solid works.

    Thoughts, suggestions, criticism …. Go!

    PS My philosophy for this element of the system is that the Mixing and Global controls have the least requirement for flexibility, the old system of faders and a row of EQ controls still holds in the digital world, and once you have a solid method for browsing tracks your sorted.

    So for those who will lament the lack of spare interface elements with ambigous layout (cough Bento cough) this first part of the system is not about getting wildly creative but about creating a controller for the bread & butter part of mixing that also provides a solid hub for the assortment of gear which makes every digital setup unique.

    Attachment 527

  2. #2
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    Nice layout, question about the LED bars, how would you get them to work with TPro?
    Controllerist: Think different | SoundCloud | MixCloud | Twitter |

  3. #3
    DJTT Super Moderator midifidler's Avatar
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    Tpro provides an midi output which will turn an LED on when the level on that channel reaches a threshold that you specify, so by setting a different threshold for each led in the strip you can achieve the level meter.

    I first did this with my midifighter but as the LEDs in the midi fighter are arranged in a grid it looked really cool but was not useful.

  4. #4
    DJTT Dominator JesC's Avatar
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    Oh, Kool, so its basically a midi out just for LED bar. Thats very dope,
    then this can also be done with the VCI-300?

    So no traditional jog wheels will be used in the setup, or is that something that is going to be a "Add On" in the future?

    Im not used to have a cross fader on the side, is this something that you have become a custom to?
    Controllerist: Think different | SoundCloud | MixCloud | Twitter |

  5. #5
    DJTT Super Moderator midifidler's Avatar
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    Thanks for asking me that!

    I had to look more closely at how that function works.

    I used Traktor 3.4 to do the level output mapping to my midifighter

    However in Pro they seem to have changed the way in which the level outputs work, now you cant use a series of individual LED outputs each with different 'on' thresholds.

    Now it will just send a 7 bit value to the output of your choice, there is no threshold setting.

    The midi controller itself will now have to translate that value to a certain sequence of LEDs.

    I assume the VCI-300 uses only 1 midi output for the whole LED bar graph as its a cleaner solution so it should work fine in Traktor Pro.

    As for the cross fader I have yet to use a mixer with this configuration, but I only ever use the cross fader as an off/on switch for cuts so it doesn't really matter where it is as long as I cant bump shit while using it.

    I plan on building a mock up to test this kinda thing out first though....
    Last edited by midifidler; 01-08-2009 at 11:15 PM.

  6. #6
    Tech Mentor 10us's Avatar
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    The leds in the led bar of the vci-300 have all seperate midinr so you need to map them one by one.
    Looks very nice so far, maybe you can add some (extra) fx control and cue buttons.

  7. #7
    DJTT Super Moderator midifidler's Avatar
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    Here is the final concept for this controller. Not that much has changed since the first sketch…
    I have made the enclosure 5 cm longer so that I can place the cross-fader in the bottom center without cramping up other controls. I have also reduced the knob spacing to 33 mm to allow an extra 8 mm clearance around the rotary encoders which I have now placed above the send controls. Each rotary encoder will have 16 led’s to indicate position.

    I have also moved the VU meters from besides the level faders up to the eq section. These are 20 segment green, orange, and red led bar graphs. I have included a AFL/PFL switch to allow independent post and pre fader visual monitoring of all four channels.

    I have now finalized the library navigation section, big thanks to FatLimey for helping me design that. This now consists of a dedicated browser mode button, four load a,b,c,d buttons, and a horizontal rotary encoder to allow scrolling through the track list.

    There are four advanced function keys which allow you to add the selected track to the current playlist, reorder a tracks position in a playlist, expand & collapse all directory structures/playlists, and return back to the current playlist.

    The shift key will change the scroll wheel to navigate the directory structure, and allow access to any secondary controls in the advanced section, ie snap etc.

    I am using the VCI buttons I have left over from my arcade button mod for the browsing section, they will have two led’s in each button which will be independently addressed allowing up to four shift states to be indicated by the backlight color of the buttons. This is important to avoid getting confused about which shift state the section is in.

    The LFO reset control is now located center right and I will use an arcade button for this provided I can find one which matches the overall aesthetic of the controller.

    I have drawn up most of the electronic schematics for this controller now, its getting pretty animal, it spreads over 5 A3 pages, and already uses over 370 components.

    Next step is to purchase all the components I plan on using and start modeling the controller in 3D.

  8. #8
    Tech Wizard Yeti's Avatar
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    Wow! Nice design. Thats going to be a beast of a controller.

  9. #9
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    Damn man, I can see why you only want to make 1 of these.

    /me crys

    Shall be a beast indeed! Can't wait to see it, the single arcade button cracks me up.

  10. #10
    Tech Convert B3rnie's Avatar
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    So, when we gonna see something new? can't wait to see...

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