Claire

Mixing control surface project

44 posts in this topic

Hi there -- first post so here goes (deep breath)

I am looking for advice on the best encoder ring project to start my mixing control surface build with?

I decided to build a mixing console control surface as a winter project. I have a lot of time on my hands and I decided I would like 16 motorised faders arranged as a channel strip with 3 x illuminated pushbuttons (usually set up in the DAW as trigger sample/mute/trigger effect) and 4 x encoders (pan functions/eq/effect send volume/effect return volume) 1 OLED (visual feedback/scribble strip). I do a lot of dub mixing with field recordings and bounce between Logic and Ableton but am thinking of leaving Apple and going Linux with Reaper... a DAW I have been using more these past few months. I used to have a SSL Nucleus but to be honest it was a lot of money and it had a lot of features I never used and was rather expensive and big. I am hoping to make something compact and less expensive. The Avid S3 springs to mind.

Encoder wise I was looking at the different boards and @Fairlightiii boards seem compact but I don't know what happened to the project. It seems to have gone quiet? @novski are also nice but there is a lot of space needed above and below the board. @fantommxr is just a single board but I could buy an eagle licence upgrade to build a bigger board (than is allowed with freemium).

 

Ideally it woul dbe great to make a custom board minimizing the rats nest of wire that happens with such things!

I was going to build each section at a time. Get it working then move on. I have had too many grand projects get swamped by buying too much.

So what is the status of encoder boards? Are there eagle files out there I can use or are there any people selling the fairlightiii boards? Whose boards do you recommend?

Anyway Hi!

 

Edited by Claire

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AFAIK you told about almost all LED-rings boards that exists. You should ask @Phatline as i remember he has extra stock about led rings boards.About motorfaders i guess you've seen about MB-MF-NG.
Illuminated Encoders from @latigid on might interest you too. Did you seen the MB-Programma also?
For later interest here is a on-going project (prototyping stage) i work on : http://wiki.midibox.org/doku.php?id=mb-modulbox-ng.
Bests,

JK

Edit : Also about DAW you should try Renoise, Interface sounds hardcore at first sight but after less than an hour of tutorial you can make the same than ableton and even better =)

Edited by Psykhaze
DAW advice
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Yes I am new to MidiBox (but not new to builds, DIY Mutable Intruments) Eurorack builds and Monome and so on and I have been reading the bewildering selection of choices which are now getting clearer in my head. The newer replacement to MB-MF-NG http://www.ucapps.de/mbhp_mf_ng.html board looks interesting assuming I can chain two together for 16.
 
The choices are absolutlely bewildering but after a few weeks of reading I seem to get the idea, a bit. I can see a lot of mix and matching but with care it does not seem too daunting.

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Cool to see you are not frightened ! This is the most important !
If you take the necessary time to read,understand,ask questions and not give up you can do almost anything =)

I was talking about the MotorFader module you mention and yes you can chain 2 of them to have your 16 tracks . Buy link : http://midiboxshop.bigcartel.com/product/mf_ng-module-board
My advice would be to buy first a STM32F4 core board  http://midiboxshop.bigcartel.com/product/core-stm32f4-board and then try to link 1 or 2 MotorFaders modules to play with.
But motorfaders are expensive,be warned .

You can also start with DIN / DOUT modules ( http://midiboxshop.bigcartel.com/product/din-module-board / http://midiboxshop.bigcartel.com/product/dout-module-board ) to play with illuminated buttons. Would be cheaper .

If you want to mess up with PCB design i advice you to go with KiCAD, even if few (none?) designs are available this format. Infos here: http://wiki.midibox.org/doku.php?id=kicad

If any questions feel free to ask
Bests,
JK

Edit : @Zam has much knowledge about the field of motorfaders. Maybe he is the most skilled to answer questions related to this.

Edited by Psykhaze
Advicing skilled member :p
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Fortunately I have a selection of candidate motorfaders from a desk that was extensively damaged (and was the impetus for this build after I decided the SSL Nucleus was not for me). I desoldered them and tested them and continuity works fine... (look like 10% or better P&G OEMs but with standard pinouts). Got to love a salvage project.

I made a few eurorack builds with Eagle and once you can navigate the system it all seems ok but kicad is also ok. I had a fantasy of doing this build all on one 2mm HASL board for slimness and weight but then moto faders kinda nix slim. So I think I might have to go with bolting everything to a front panel approach as most people seem happy to do but ribbon cable buildup happens hard and fast with midibox. I will use Schaeffer/.fpd files as I know their work well.

I'll order a STM32F4 core board (kits seem sold out) and a STM32F401VCT6U MCU (gone down considerably since I last looked) and will slowly extend outward adding what I need and want. I do like the idea of 16 x oled scribble strips and LED metering next to the fader is delicious. Step by step.

Edited by Claire
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Yea i like the idea of motorfaders salvaged . Good job ! I just hope there will not be too much compatibility problem , but you will learn by hacking/trying too . And as i use to say there is no problems,only solutions =)
Also good to see you are happy to learn , that kind of people becoming rare out there these times :)
Enjoy each step after each other and build the project of your dream ! If any help needed you will find good advices from peoples out there on the forum also!
Bests,
JK

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2 hours ago, Claire said:

I'll order a STM32F4 core board (kits seem sold out) and a STM32F401VCT6U MCU

Hi

Welcome here

401 won't work...

you need the 407

man ref :STM32F407G-DISC1

Best

Zam

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@Zam good catch! Amended order

xClaire

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Thanks for the precision @Zam i did not even noticed and forgot to tell about the discovery board =) Sharp eye !
Also the thing with SmashTV is to keep patience,he always end in sending you the stuff but sometimes restocking from his side might take a while, that is not an easy thing to supply a community.

But he almost provides kits or at least boards for all mentionned modules if you wait a bit . Or you might have fun following UCapps schematics and remake PCBs for your own entertainement (starting with DIN / DOUT modules could be an idea before the motorfader module) BOM are detailed on the wiki with corresponding mouser refs as a start. I advice anyway to begin with smashTV kits.

Hope to not overwhelm you,
Bests,
JK

Edited by Psykhaze

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I think the overwhelming part is done for now. 

By using @novski's parts and a few other parts from others I think I can easily snap together a pretty good control surface without too much hardware fuss (I think we have all been swamped by a rats nest of solder breaks and snapped wire and I am trying not to do that especially if this surface will go into live situations!). The only bit I might have to draw up is a board for going between the  MF_NG (joining together J2, J14, M1-M8 and J3-J10) and his neat little fader-mounted connection PCBs which saves messy soldering and the possibility of a wire break -- unless anyone has already invented one? I don't like reinventing wheels.

 

Edited by Claire

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Nice to see you find your way :) You ask for (stackable) breakouts to avoid wiring from what i get?

Edited by Psykhaze

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well more a "break-in" for the  MB-MF-NG to bring the disparate connections together for 8 instances of something like this:

https://vlrlab.com/fader/8-faderboard.html

but yes, assuming I can get the board to align a small board to stack on the  MB-MF-NG is what I had in mind and remove the chance for snapped soldered wires...

,

faderboard.jpg

Edited by Claire

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Here we go. I will start to ask lots of questions now.

I have ordered the STM32F407G-DISC1 and the three PCBs from SmashTV. Its nice to be having a big yet modular build again.

I will want to get my DIN/DOUT sorted soon. I gues the best thing to do is think about what I want in addition to the channel strips -- and where it goes and then decide on layouts.

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So I start with a shopping list, It may not be attainable but this is what I would like. The bits of the SSL Nucleus I liked without the sound card and with just the mixer parts in a classic jog wheel and transport division. The allocations may change so I would like two lots of OLEDs the lower 16 for the channel name -- the upper 16 x for encoder feedback and so on.

Encoders would be RGB with LED segment rings

Buttons would be LED Lit and can be Arm/Mute/Solo/Bank or used as triggers for multiple events in the DAW (I think this is possible with scripting).

I thought about adding an extra dual LCD (a la Nucleus) for live channel interactions and Logic parameters but to be honest this is busy enough.

The window in the middle is for a PunchLight USB track and SMPTE timer that I have and would like to use.

The buttons could be lit in colours so they can also mimic Ableton Push type triggers but to be honest I fancy making the Button Grid after this and keep as a purist DAW console design.

I assume 30mm spacings between fader, tight but doable. Buttons are 11mm holes with 20mm transport buttons but it can change at this point the layout is what I like and can work with. Jog wheel needs to be bigger.

Its smaller than a Nucleus so Quark... either that or its for my favourite Ferengi

Layout

 

 

biggertext.png

Edited by Claire

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Layout link leads to blank page for me . Also leave a PM to @Antichambre about your project, he might have surprise for you regarding OLED and LED rings ;)
Bests,

Jerome

Edited by Psykhaze
link corrected

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Yeah I just altered the text to be more legible. Thanks will message.

Thanks for the support. Incidentally I assume its ok to write Powered By MidiBox -- wave the flag and all that.

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I guess you are not violating any license by being proud of making a midibox =) Moreover it gives credits to its origins, to me me a good thing !

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Hi Claire.

Something like that?


Best regards

 

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Hehe here is the surprise! 
Just Wow . Even better in vid . Awesome work @Antichambre.
Bests,
Jerome

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like like like like

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what a ring resultion, man :cheers:

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just noticed these are 32 segment RGB?
Impressive. Do you have any more details or are you going to be a big tease and leave us wanting more details?
 

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Looks very nice indeed! Can you share more details about the PCB, the LEDs you're using and connections to the Core? Is it running on the SRIO chain or a dedicated port?

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wiki in construction...

31 minutes ago, Claire said:

just noticed these are 32 segment RGB?

Yes it's 31 segments for the 270° open ring to get one in the middle-top, the extra one is for an index at the middle-bottom.
 

34 minutes ago, latigid on said:

Is it running on the SRIO chain or a dedicated port?

Can run on a LPC17, i did it but its RAM is too small for an app like the SEQ and this module, so I designed it for the STM32F4.
I used J10A and J10B for the full module(OLED/RING/ENCODER) and wrote a specific software module.
I left free all other connectors for others peripherals.

 

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I am actually salivating

 

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