tuOMas

MB64 - DAW/mixer controller

31 posts in this topic

Hello everyone!

I've been thinking about building a midibox since I found this website last year, and finally decided it was time to get things going.

I went and ordered the midibox64-kit from Mike's and started soldering last week.

The layout that I have now consists of 12 faders, 52 pots, 32 switches and maybe leds. The box's main function will be to control the console/mixer in my DAW software. I make dub reggae influenced music, and the hands-on control that this box will give me, will make spontaneous live dub mixing possible for me. I will also use it to control soft synths and transport.

This is what I have:

Finished modules:

Core x1

AIN x2

DIN x1

DOUT x1

(one DIN, DOUT and LTC still in package)

2x16 LCD

This is what i need:

Faders x12

Pots x52

Switches x32

leds

frontpanel from Schaeffer

to build a wooden case

When it comes to parts, I'm a bit lost. While I'm not a total beginner in electronics, I've never done anything like this and would really appreciate some help.

Here are some parts I've been considering. I would really appreciate if someone could check them out and maybe give a comment.

Alps faders, these seem nice but are quite pricey. They will propably see alot of use tho, so maybe it's not a good idea to cheap out on the faders.

Mouser link

BI technologies potentiometers. Has anyone used these pots? How is the feel? I want to use panelmount pots, so if anyone can recommend good inexpensive panelmount pots that would be nice.

Mouser link

Switches. I found these and these. I've been looking for panel mount ones to make the assembly easier, but there doesn't seem to be much to choose from. Would these be ok?

Leds. I'm still not sure if I'm going to use them. It would be nice to have leds indicating muted and soloed tracks, but if I understand correctly the software/DAW

has to send a midi signal to the midibox for this to work. Is this hard to achieve? Does it need some extra software/code between the DAW and midibox?

I have attached a close-up(sorry about the bad quality) pic of one of the AIN-boards. Do the By-pass caps look like they are in the correct spot? I was a bit confused when the instructions said: "as close to the +5V power input of the 4051 as possible". So I soldered them in the same pin as the +5 of the 4051. Is that correct?

That's it for now. I'm really excited about this whole project and can't wait to order the rest of the parts. Big thanks to the whole community for making this possible!

Cheers!

-Tuomas

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Edited by tuOMas

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Hi. Bypass caps is supposed to be as close to the 5v input terminal of the ic as possible yeah. One pin on the 5v terminal on the ic and the other pin to ground.

And to solder it to the 5v terminal of the ic directly is ok. It's kinda hard to see for me since I don't know mikes board from before if it is correctly placed, but if u follow the simple instructions I wrote above it is ok.

But picture show u have no insulation on the cap legs... Bad. U must make sure there is no way that the caps legs can ever shift position and make a short in there. Mmm magic smoke.

So I suggest u put a piece of tape around the legs and glue them in position with epoxy or something. They will never move then.

Or u can desolder and add some shrink tubes around the legs. But it is easy to ruin the tubing when soldering close to it. Right amount of heat = shrink, too much heat = melting.

As for the feedback leds for solo / mute, yeah this can be done with mb platform, but if it can be done with mb64, I have no idea. Getting those MIDI signals from your daw should be easy enough, but if it require a logic control protocol emulation... I don't know. I'm sure a lot of other peops here answer u precise and quick on that question.

Good luck!

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Hi Technobreath!

Thanks for the clarification on the caps. And I'll be sure to insulate the legs someway, thanks for the heads-up.

Cheers,

-Tuomas

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Hello again,

It's been a while since my last post and things have not gone exactly as I planned. I went and ordered the rest of the components from mouser.com and digikey.com. I received all the parts, but soon noticed that the faders were not the ones I had ordered. They had mislabeled some faders at their warehouse and sent me the wrong ones.

After more than a month of corresponding with the techsupport of mouser.com, it turned out that they never had the part I needed. I had a slight problem with the pots and their knobs aswell. The knobs would not fit on the shaft of the pots, so i had to use small files to make the holes larger.

So, I'm still looking for the faders with these specs:

- 60mm travel

- 10kOhm linear resistance taper

- T-bar type lever for attaching the knobs

- panelmount/holes for screws

I have seen people using faders with similar specs but have not been able to find any, and I was hoping that someone here could help me out and point me in the right direction.

I'm way behind the schedule I planned when I started this, but still very motivated to go through with it. I just need the faders, so I can finish my frontpanel design and get back to working with this project.

Thanks everyone,

p.s. Is it possible to edit the title of the thread?

-Tuomas

Edited by tuOMas

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Just realized that reichelt ships internationally, and placed an order for alps stereo faders. I always thought since their site is in german, they would not ship to Finland. :unsure:

Feel a bit stupid now...should have looked a bit further into their site months ago...

I'll update when I receive the order.

-Tuomas

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They just changed their policy with international shipping a while back - so back when you checked national shipping might have been the only option ;-)

To edit the title of your thread simply edit the first post and use "Use Full Editor".

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Hi everyone!

Update since last time:

I received the faders and all is well under the sun. :)

I have finished all the modules and started to do some of the wiring.

I went ahead and powered up the core, and I get 5V in all the right spots!

I used an old AC/DC wall adaptor which outputs 12V DC and 500mA. Is the voltage too high? I only kept the core powered for a minute or two, and atleast in that time the regulator did not heat up. So i guess i can use this as a power supply?

I'm going for Schaeffer for my panel and one thing has been bothering me. If for example a potentiometer shaft is 8mm in diameter, is 8,1mm hole in the panel enough or should I go for 8,2mm? I have never tried to design anything like this before.

And what about the thickness? Is 2mm enough?

So, next up is connecting the LCD, right? What about the din and ain modules? should i connect them to the core first and try powering up without the pic? I don't have any enclosure yet, so perhaps I should wait until I can build the box for it. I'm just a bit worried about short-circuiting, if I dont have the modules attached to something.

Lot's of questions, but I just wan't to make sure I don't mess anything up. :)

Getting really excited now, can't wait to finish this project!

Thanks guys, I really appreciate the help!

-Tuomas

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You should not use more than 8,1mm for an 8mm hole. Any hole that is too big will leads to your parts sloshing around in the hole. A hole is easy to file bigger in case it's needed. I'm looking at the ON-ON-ON DPDT switches used instead of Lorlin rotary switches, they had slightly bigger shafts than other more normal SPST/DT or DPDT switches.

Also, use 3mm aluminium instead, depending on how wide your front panel is since it is a bit flexy in the middle. You can also use hex distances or internal bracing for support, but 2mm is thin, 2,5mm just there, and 3mm feels sturdy.

/J

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Hi Jojjelito.

Thanks for the help, I will go with 3mm thickness.

Here is the panel design if you are interested.

cheers,

-Tuomas

frontpanel.pdf

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DIY connectors, a push-button assembly, and my fathers old Weller from the 80's.

:)

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Hi guys,

I'm ready to order my frontplate, but there is still one thing I'm not sure about.

I'd like to have leds that show if a mute/solo button is pushed. I understand one way would be a midi message from the computer that turns on the led, but I'm not sure my DAW supports this.

So, would it be possible to have the led toggle on and off, everytime the button is pushed, without incoming midi message? Can the MB64 program do this or would I need to make some kind of a circuit for the leds & buttons?

I hope you understand what I mean. :)

I tried searching, but could not find an answer.

cheers,

-Tuomas

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Which DAW do you use ?

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Cakewalk Sonar 8 and Ableton live 8 lite.

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For Live, you could use the ControlSurface Scripts, either by emulating an existing ControlSurface (IIRC, the LaunchPad mainly communicates via MIDI-Notes) or creating your own.

Having the MB64 LEDs react to MIDI notes should be possible, I was thinking about that too for my Live controller, but never investigated it more deeply.

The key thing in my opinion to have a definite MIDI response from the DAW, especially when loading a set an "initialising" the controller.

An "easier" way would of course just to switch LEDs on/off following button presses, but this leads to trouble if the DAW and LEDs state differ on initialisation.

Edited by stuartm

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Hi Stuart.

I'll have to look into the ControlSurface Scripts, thanks.

Will both of these be an option, if I just go ahead and connect the leds to the dout module?

cheers,

-Tuomas

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Not sure if I got your question right ...

If it meant "can I connect the LEDs to the DOUT now and think about which way I do it later", then yes.

It will be mainly a software issue how you trigger the LEDs, DOUT connection will be needed anyway.

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That's exactly what I meant! You said it better than I. :)

Thanks for clearing that up. Now I can get back to work.

cheers,

-Tuomas

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Hey,

im curious how you managed that LED-Problem when pressing Mute/Solo in your DAW.

Did you find a solution yet?

Does anybody know if Cubase 5 sends a MIDI-Note when pressing Mute/Solo in the Mixer (in the Software)?

Regards,

dubmixmaster

Edited by dubmixmaster

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Hi guys,

Got my front- and rearpanels last week, and im almost ready with the frontpanel's assembly. One stupid question came up though:

When looking at this PDF - http://ucapps.de/mbhp/mbhp_dinx4_32buttons.pdf - I get the feeling that I can only connect 16 buttons in one "bundle". This seems weird, but in the pdf there is one groundline for every 16 buttons.

So, do I have to bundle the buttons in groups of 16 as shown in the PDF, or can the same groundline run thru all the 64 buttons?

Thanks!

-Tuomas

Edited by tuOMas

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It's off topic, but you put a picture of it : I have the same Weller ;) comes from my dad too!

For your question : you can use the same VS for every button I think without any trouble

Pilo

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Hi Pilo!

Haha! "Weller, from father to son." that could be the companys motto!

Thanks for the help, I'm guessing it's the same deal with leds? I started thinking about this after reading about the "starlike" wiring of the potentiometers. So, only the pots need this special treatment?

Thanks for the help really appreciate it!

-Tuomas

Hey,

im curious how you managed that LED-Problem when pressing Mute/Solo in your DAW.

Did you find a solution yet?

Does anybody know if Cubase 5 sends a MIDI-Note when pressing Mute/Solo in the Mixer (in the Software)?

Regards,

dubmixmaster

Hi Dubmixmaster,

I have not yet tried the midibox with any DAW software. But I will post my findings when I do. :)

I do not know about Cubase, I have only used the LE version and that was like 5 years ago.

Nice to see there are others who are into dub music. :)

-Tuomas

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Thanks for the help, I'm guessing it's the same deal with leds? I started thinking about this after reading about the "starlike" wiring of the potentiometers. So, only the pots need this special treatment?

That's why I say I think it should be working :) But maybe it's better to use the GND pin of each DIN connector.

I don't really know how this can be a problem (I guess as more current is drawn, the GND line will not be at the same value everywhere), for DIN it shouldn't really be a problem as you don't press too many switch together (and DIN input are just binary).

For DOUT it may be more critical, depending on how much led are light on at the same time?

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I was reading this: http://www.midibox.org/users/tor_arne/midibox64_walkthrough/potsbuttons.html

And on the bottom it says to bundle the buttons in the same way as the pots. I think I will go with the bundles. It's a bit more work, but I want to be sure everything works nicely.

That tutorial is like 10 years old, so maybe the soft/firmware has improved since?

hmmm...what would TK do? :)

Thanks!

-Tuomas

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What's up guys!

I received the panel couple of weeks ago, and after a quick inspection, began attaching components. I had been very anxious about everything fitting nicely, and was pleased to notice that only the hole for the LCD needed a little bit of sanding to fit the module. Otherwise I am very pleased with the panels. Great quality.

The week I've spent building a wooden case for the midibox. I got some old oak from my father, thats been drying since the 70's, and used that to build the case. I'm not fully satisfied with it, mainly bacause I had to finish it at home, where I dont have proper tools. But it turned out ok anyway. I just lacquered the box, and it's drying, but here are a few shots before staining and lacquer. There's also two bad shots showing the frontpanel assembly, or the point where I've gotten it.

Next up, is fitting the modules inside the box and finishing the wiring between the modules and the panel.

-Tuomas

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Wow, nice wood box!!

Can't wait to see the front panel :)

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