deadpoet

Add automation to an existing mixer

7 posts in this topic

D&R motorfader project:

I'm about to undertake a project that has been on my list for a long time: attempt to replace the audio faders in my mixing desk (a 32channel 1994 D&R Orion - schematics: http://www.d-r.nl/Downloads/Orion-Manual+Service.pdf) with motorized touch-sensitive ones.

I've been reading up on this and other sites and most people seem quite negative about such a project. I'm willing to invest in a test setup involving one (1) fader first and if succesful move on to 8 faders. In case of succes of that project I should be able to replace all 32 mono faders in my desk with motorised ones.

My electronics knowledge is not very good, meaning: I can solder (cables, seventhcircleaudio preamp kits, ... and moving into more diy auio projects) but I cannot read a circuit. I know what components are and have a (very) basic knowledge of them, but circuits are chinese for me.

Electronics-wise this shouldn't be too complicated I think: all I need/want is 4 times [a core module with necessary I/O and 8 mfaders]. No extra buttons, encoders, master section,....

Software-wise I think it's easiest to pretend to have 4 MCU's, make 32 dummy channels in my DAW and store automation on those channels. (or is there another way to *easily* store >127 step volume automation in as many DAWs as possible?)

Needed parts for 8 faders:

(http://www.mikes-elektronikseite.de/mshop_englisch/)

- 1x CORE_V3 module

- 1x PIC18F452 with bootloader

- 1x LC Display 16x2 with backlight

- 1x DINX4_V2

- 1x MF_V1.0 kit

- a PSU

- 8x ALPS RSA0N12M9 dual track motorfaders (http://www.familygate.eu/alps/PDF/RSA0N12M9_RSAON12M9_10K.pdf)

- 8x 47k resistors (for the touch sensors)

- midi in/out chassis part (for the core module)

- some ribbon cable

- I have a 2x2 USB midi interface but will be upgrading to a 8x8 one if the first module turns out to be a success.

Assembly:

- assemble Core & MF according to:

http://www.ucapps.de/mbhp_core.html

http://www.ucapps.de/mbhp_mf.html

http://www.ucapps.de/mbhp/mbhp_mf_interconnections.pdf

- touch sensors:

http://www.ucapps.de/mbhp/mbhp_din_touchsensors.pdf

- add one motor fader

- add PSU

- program the pic

- test

Questions:

- I haven't started looking at the software side of this project, but I'm a little scared of that... My programming skills are next to zero... Do I need a lot of tinkering around in the source code or is this some kind of easy/"use mostly default settings" project?

- do I NEED the lcd? Probably if the answer to the above question is 'yes, you need to program something the size of Windows7 and you'll be debuggin 20h/day for 3 months' :p

- reading up on PSU's now. I'm guessing it will be a better idea to get a separate psu for the motorfader system instead of tapping into the mixing desks' power??

- the 47k resistors for the touch sensitive side... excuse my newbieness but what kind of resistors should I get? metal, carbon, watts?? (at least I know there are different kinds of resistors ;-)

- 32 faders will use 4 MCU emu's in my software (currently Cubase, but I'd like this to be as open/futureproof as possible) - probably a question better asked in a different forum, but I'm guessing there is no real limit on how much MCU's you can use in most DAWs? (in case I would like to add another controller at some time - as I already have a real MCU + extension now)

More serious/profound questions:

- dimensions: my mixers' case luckily has some extra room underneath the channel modules, but the two big caps on the core and mf modules might be a tad too big. I'm guessing there is no harm in mounting them sideways? (as long as I protect other components and stay clear of those that generate heat)

- grounding and interference... the big Q that will make or break this project I think...

The alps has 9 connection points: A & B are for the motor (-> MF module), 1,2 & 3 are for the log fader (audio -> these go to the mixers' pcb), 1', 2' & 3' are for the lin fader (data -> core module) and a touch point (-> DIn module).

Would I need to connect the motor faders' chassis to the core module (as shown in the _mf_interconnections.pdf, light grey line) or will I be looking for trouble here (interference, grounding vs the console)??

Would I benefit from making some kind of box/shielding for the modules when I put them inside the console?

- Am I missing some obvious things?

....or am I completely delusional and shoul I be talked out of this project? I've searched this site, prodigy-pro, gearslutz.com and it seems no one has tried this thing before and people suggest it won't work because of interference. The documentation of the MF module mentions noise, especially when doing heavy automation..

Thank you for looking, reading and/or responding. I'm looking at mid-january to order the first parts and start assembling...

Herwig

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It'll probably be worth your while to read this thread:

:)

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- I haven't started looking at the software side of this project, but I'm a little scared of that... My programming skills are next to zero... Do I need a lot of tinkering around in the source code or is this some kind of easy/"use mostly default settings" project?

... no programming needed at all. Just use the MIDIBox LC and assign "virtual" mixer tracks in your DAW (... as you stated above)

- do I NEED the lcd? Probably if the answer to the above question is 'yes, you need to program something the size of Windows7 and you'll be debuggin 20h/day for 3 months' :p

... no LCD needed. If you run into trouble during building the modules, you still can buy one cheap from Ebay for debugging purposes.

- reading up on PSU's now. I'm guessing it will be a better idea to get a separate psu for the motorfader system instead of tapping into the mixing desks' power??

... yes, keep the MFs supply away from the analog mixer's one

- the 47k resistors for the touch sensitive side... excuse my newbieness but what kind of resistors should I get? metal, carbon, watts?? (at least I know there are different kinds of resistors ;-)

... regular carbon will do (I don't even know the "size", but don't worry bout the power...)

- 32 faders will use 4 MCU emu's in my software (currently Cubase, but I'd like this to be as open/futureproof as possible) - probably a question better asked in a different forum, but I'm guessing there is no real limit on how much MCU's you can use in most DAWs? (in case I would like to add another controller at some time - as I already have a real MCU + extension now)

... AFAIK all DAWs can handle at least 4. But there is a limit on some - Sequoia and Samplitude only can handle 4 at the time.

- dimensions: my mixers' case luckily has some extra room underneath the channel modules, but the two big caps on the core and mf modules might be a tad too big. I'm guessing there is no harm in mounting them sideways? (as long as I protect other components and stay clear of those that generate heat)

... no, no prob. There are even caps to mount horizontally. You have to check by yourself what fits best (it's only a matter of where the contacts are placed)

- grounding and interference... the big Q that will make or break this project I think...

The alps has 9 connection points: A & B are for the motor (-> MF module), 1,2 & 3 are for the log fader (audio -> these go to the mixers' pcb), 1', 2' & 3' are for the lin fader (data -> core module) and a touch point (-> DIn module).

Would I need to connect the motor faders' chassis to the core module (as shown in the _mf_interconnections.pdf, light grey line) or will I be looking for trouble here (interference, grounding vs the console)??

... I think I wouldn't connect it, since the cover is grounded by the chassis (frontplate)

Would I benefit from making some kind of box/shielding for the modules when I put them inside the console?

... hmmm... don't know - I'm no analog audio circuit freak :-)

....or am I completely delusional and shoul I be talked out of this project? I've searched this site, prodigy-pro, gearslutz.com and it seems no one has tried this thing before and people suggest it won't work because of interference. The documentation of the MF module mentions noise, especially when doing heavy automation..

No, no talking out of it. About the noise...? Just try it with one fader, as you stated and don't worry about gearslutz and prodigy - So much bullsh... spread there (...though not all).

Greets, Roger

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Thank you for the replies so far. Will read up a little on handling power, software and more details and I hope to start the actual journey in 7-14days.

Herwig

Edited by deadpoet

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Good luck, this sounds like a very cool project... sounds like your ideas are on the right track!

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Hi again,

Old topic, could have been considered dead but real life got in the way of this project ;-)

Just ordered all parts needed for an 8 channel conversion of my desk. Will post more in the following week

Oh yeah, one quick question for whomever is watching this topic: my desk currently has plastic faders caps.. I'm guessing I have to replace these with metal ones for the touch sensitivity to work?

Herwig

Edited by deadpoet

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Oh yeah, one quick question for whomever is watching this topic: my desk currently has plastic faders caps.. I'm guessing I have to replace these with metal ones for the touch sensitivity to work?

This is correct!

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