the19thbear

Midibox NG as synth controller

16 posts in this topic

So im thinking about a project..

I find it ver hard to find out what i really need inorder to do this. I cant really get my head around all thi midibox stuff:)

I might be getting a hardware synth in the future that sends and recieves midi CC. The problem is that the synth only as some encoders and not pots/switches for alle paramaters. I would like to have that. So im thinking about making a midi controller for it.

Basically i want to make sure i have a complete blueprint before i buy anything. What i want to do is this:

1:
Make a midi controller brain for up to 64 pots. These pots (not endless encoders) will be converted to midi CC and sent to the synthesizer.
That (as far as i understand things) can only be done via multiplexing. And that can be achieved via the ainser64 board. Right? And what core do i need?

2:Recieve
midi CC from the synth. If certain midi CCs meet a certain
criteria=light up an LED.

Example:
Lets say there is a push button on the diy controller called "LFO routed to VCA" (or whatever). Beneath that, there should be a LED. It should light up if i press that button and if the function is activated by a preset. So:
If a preset is restored where the "LFO routed to VCA" function is activated, the LED beneath the button on the diy controller should light up. It should also light up and the function should be activated if i press it manually.

Here comes the tricky part. I know about midi, soldering/following diagrams and schematics and reparing old analog synths. I *dont* know a single thing about coding. I *dont* know really anything about digital stuff.

How do i actually program the darn thing? Is there any wsiwg editor or is it all done via coding?

Is this a huge undertaking and is it a project for me? (my limited brain regarding coding etc, taken in account).

Thanks!!!

Edited by the19thbear

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I guess Midibox NG is the right direction to look into for your purpose.  You don't need to program, ' only'  to make a configuration file, once the firmware is installed on the processor core. You will have to know the midi implementation of your future sent very well though. 

The best place to start is the user manual of Midibox NG  http://www.ucapps.de/midibox_ng_manual_fs.html  That will give you a starting point how to link up leds and buttons and encoders (why pots??)  with midi commands. 

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Thanks a lot! I just hate encoders:) Thats the only reason. What core should i use for this project?

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I believe the NG only runs on the 32bit cores, the only one that makes sense now is the STM32F4 based Core. The STM32F4Discovery module is  not made but there is a suitable replacement availible AFAIK. Search the forum there is a thread about it.

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yes use a STM32F4 core if you can still lay your hands on a discovery board. Even if you hate encoders, they will make your project easier as you will only need DIN and DOUT modules. These will also support buttons & leds .  Or if you really hate encoders, use the AINSER64 :grin:. A standard control surface with general purpose buttons and a 2x20 LCD is also very practical. iirc Ilmenator has a pcb for that..

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Just now, arumblack said:

this is compatible is it not?

 

http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=mKNKSX85ZJejxc9JOGT45A%3d%3d

 

I must have ordered the last 4 STM32F4Discovery boards from mouser a month ago. I also ordered 2 from digikey (actually ordered from digikey first but was backordered). they do show up on ebay but the prices I saw seemed high (~$30)

Yes this one should work theoreticaly but I believe nobody try for now.

I receive one last week I put in a RS order, unfortunately my Windows computer die, and I can't flash it and install bootloader.

I have to ask a friend, hope for the next week, then I can confirm to everyone if this disco V2 is ok.

Best

Zam

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Compatibility info here: 

and here

IIRC 407 are good 411 are bad.

Edited by EsotericLabs

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You can order :  STM32F407G-DISC from mouser. This is the new part number.

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Thanks. I'll use MIOS studio2 to configure the knobs right? And what if i have some weird parameters that arent selectable in the MIOS studio software? (Like poly aftertouch). Do you type those in manually or?

Thanks:) And sorry for my ultimate noobness!

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You can make a config file in any editor.  Milos studio has a basic one built in. Then upload it to the SD card.

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So basically i want to make something like this:

prodyssey.jpg

I Already have the actual dsp box that hosts the actual synth. Just no buttons/sliders. What i want is the control surface (this particular thing in the picture is a Creamware Prodessey ASB VA synth). I am using a Plugiator which hosts this synth and others, but without all the buttons/sliders. Its just the code, nothing else. The creamware product is code+control surface. I have no control surface.

So i want to make one.

I dont need the lower part of the synth, since that is the fx section and i dont really plan on using it. Since the plugiator hosts a couple of different synths, i would like to be able to change the midi configuration of my diy control surface= change what knobs send what midi CC. So that, if i want, i could use the same surface for different synths.

I wont be using sliders, just normal pots and i want the unit to take up much less space, but still have the features of the actual unit. An important aspec of this, that i havent really found out enough about yet is the buttons/leds.

As you can see there are multiple buttons for selecting modulation routing etc. When you load a patch the buttons light up/turn off according to what is active and whats not active.

If i make a diy surface/midi controller, this type of visual feedback (button LEDS) is very important to me.

Is it possible to store information on the midibox? I think that would just make things easier for me. When i change a preset on the midibox, it will send out midi CC to all the different variables on the plugiator, and midibox will also light up/turn off different LEDS.( I, of course, also just want to be able to turn the buttons on/off by using my hands, and the LEDS should turn on/off).

Or doesnt i matter? Some of the parameters on the synth arent normal midi cc, but Poly aftertouch messages etc. Weird stuff:)

What i want to make sure is:

1: Can i send poly aftertouch etc (and other weird midi stuff) from the midibox?

2:Can i store midi values (presets) on it? Or is it just as easy to just let the actual plugiator manage the presets?

3:Can the LED on/off be done? (that ties into question nr2 a bit).

4:What boards do i need? From what i can gather, I would need this:

-STM32F407G-DISC board

-Ainser64

-Maybe a tiny screen with a general button, to do preset recall/save/midi scene change.

5: Can I change "scenes". Lets say i want to control a different synth that has different midi mapping. I want to be able to change "midi CC patches" so that a knob that send out midi CC X, before, now sends out midi CC Y.

6: How much of this is a "new" thing to do? I know *no* programming, but i normally figure computer stuff out pretty fast. I would like a copy/paste solution. Take code that other poeple have made, and the insert it into my own project (i guess code would be mostly used with the preset manager, switching midi configuration, right?)

7: THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!:)

 

Edited by the19thbear

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Thanks again:) I looked through the manual its a great starting point. But I still cant seem to find out if it is possible to save presets on the board?

Thanks

Edited by the19thbear

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I think it is possible -  look up snapshots in the manual (in the standard control surface section). But I don't have working experience with them.

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