Super-cheap DIY midi controller... questions
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  1. #1
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    Default Super-cheap DIY midi controller... questions

    Hi all,

    So I was considering buying an Akai LPD8, purely so I could use the pads for triggering stuff in Traktor. However, even though it is a bargain at 45 I it has occured to me that I should be able to build something myself even cheaper - especially as I already have a suitable box and some buttons lying around.

    So, my question is what is the simplest/cheapest way to build the guts of this thing going to be? Bearing in mind I want to spend a good bit less than 45.
    I have had a good look through what people have built on this forum (some amazing projects out there!) but most of them are built on midi kits that cost more than my budget, so I'm looking for more basic options.

    At the moment I have two ideas:

    1) Canibalise an existing controller. E.g., looks like I could pick up a Korg Nanokey second hand for under 30 on eBay and rip that apart.

    2) Find out how to build the simplest midi circuit possible and build it myself from scratch.

    Option 1 seems like the safe option and would surely work, however option 2 is much more of a challenge and could product cheaper results... Anyone got any advice for me or links to information that could help me out with option 2?

    Thanks,
    P

  2. #2
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    P.S. I want this to be a USB based thing of course

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    search for midibox
    that's the cheapest thing I think

  4. #4
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    Thanks.
    I had checked out the midibox website, but it all seems a bit too in-depth and after quite a bit of reading I was none the wiser.
    If anyone has a link to a step by step guide on how to implement a very simple midibox solution that would be great...

  5. #5
    Tech Wizard
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  6. #6
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    perhaps that helps too:
    http://noofny.blogspot.com/

  7. #7

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    if the aim is to only have buttons, the cheapest thing is to strip down a pc keyboard.


    You can have almost as many buttons as you want and, it is USB, and very cheap and simple

  8. #8
    Tech Mentor kaleaf's Avatar
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    If your thinking of a large controller with more than a few analogs when it comes down to it its not that much cheaper to build your own controller if its cheaper at all. The amount of time building one can be months alone in research. Mose of us building our own already have controllers and are looking for something custom.

    That said if your doing something small. Check out a post here about using a xbox controller by B.C.Ninja

    http://www.djtechtools.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7027

    Im not trying to discourage at all.


    some options are


    midibox (like the others said midibox is by far the choice with the most options in what you can do but its quite the project)

    hale umc 32 http://www.halemicro.com/Products/Products.html

    u-hid http://www.u-hid.com/ (not midi)
    Last edited by kaleaf; 11-07-2009 at 06:30 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the input guys. At this point I have reached the conclusion that I should be making a HID device rather than a midi one as it is definitely both easier and cheaper. Wasn't sure what device to build it from but now I'm pretty sure I'll use a gamepad...
    Cheers, P

  10. #10

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    Game pad is definately cheap, midibox is a fantastic platform but unless you know what you're doing it will cost a heap, i'm working on both principles at the moment so I would recommend the gamepad for starters then if you want more I could sort you out with a midibox platform as I'm etching my own boards and can source the components for wholesale prices.

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