latigid on

MIDIbox SEQ new frontpanel idea

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A query, perhaps for v4+: would it be possible to handle track selection (1-16, not in Groups), trigger layers and parameter layers with 3 encoders rather than button/menus? If I was to design a new SEQ CS (just an idea for the moment) the left-hand buttons could be swapped out, reducing the overall PCB height = cheaper. 

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The MIDIBOX Seq just keeps getting better and better  :-)

An idea to consider:  In Song mode, could a button (one with an LED indicator such as All or Fast) be made to "repeat the current song step indefinitely" while it's ON?  Then when it's turned OFF, the Song Step would finish and proceed to the next Song Step.

This would give you a little interactivity & flexibility during Songs.  A Song Step could play for an extended time for a solo or break.  Would be very useful during live performance.

thanks!   Andrew

 

Edited by oozitron

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51 minutes ago, oozitron said:

The MIDIBOX Seq just keeps getting better and better  :-)

An idea to consider:  In Song mode, could a button (one with an LED indicator such as All or Fast) be made to "repeat the current song step indefinitely" while it's ON?  Then when it's turned OFF, the Song Step would finish and proceed to the next Song Step.

This would give you a little interactivity & flexibility during Songs.  A Song Step could play for an extended time for a solo or break.  Would be very useful during live performance.

thanks!   Andrew

 

that's a great idea. would love this capability.

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that would make it like scenes in ableton. great idea!

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11 hours ago, latigid on said:

A query, perhaps for v4+: would it be possible to handle track selection (1-16, not in Groups), trigger layers and parameter layers with 3 encoders rather than button/menus? If I was to design a new SEQ CS (just an idea for the moment) the left-hand buttons could be swapped out, reducing the overall PCB height = cheaper. 

I'd love to do some design work around a new CS. Is there an archive of previous discussions? I presume a lot of talking was done to arrive at the current layout.

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18 minutes ago, mongrol said:

I'd love to do some design work around a new CS. Is there an archive of previous discussions? I presume a lot of talking was done to arrive at the current layout.

 

I think it was mainly a collaboration between Wilba and TK., heavily influenced from the v3.

Here's what I came up with on a Sunday afternoon:

large.rubber_seq.png.5fec75ef43c03a5e6eb

The CS would be spilt over a few PCBs in order to save costs. Note the four extra buttons where the encoder wheel is, they wouldn't need to be installed and the whole thing could be tighter. The smaller boards are identical too. 

I would wire each main board as an 8*4 matrix, using the spare 4 DOUTs for the beat LED and maybe three LEDs/one RGB LED (top left). This way the RGB hue could indicate the track group as in the current v4, or OFF/LED1/LED2/LED3 as groups A-D. Probably SMT with all registers on board. There could even be enough space to PCB mount the other panel hardware, i.e. built-in MIDI IO etc.

I kept the 19mm spacing for encoders, sadly the adafruit illuminated pads have 15mm spacing, so it looks a bit weird connected together. I think separating them out is a good compromise (hopefully stable enough). The whole thing could be <110mm = Eurorackable. Every button gets an LED, even if they're not used.

One issue is the lack of space between buttons makes panel labelling in the horizontal direction a bit hard. Need to check the resolution of Schaeffer's laser printing :). Or, the labels could be done vertically instead.

Interested to hear your ideas. :) And probably more importantly TK.'s.

 

 

Edited by latigid on

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Looks good. My desire would be to shrink the CS considerably (at least by a 3rd) and reduce the amount of buttons as well. However, button reduction would be a massive talkfest as it would require analysis and refactor of workflows which would impact a lot of code. Not being a modular guy I haven't considered Euro but I agree it would have to be a requirement. Rather than clutter the thread I'll go back into my cage and think for a while then write something up in design concepts.

Note: Sparkfun button pads have largers spacing and also come in 2x2 grids. The pcb pad footprint is also available.

Edited by mongrol

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6 hours ago, mongrol said:

Looks good. My desire would be to shrink the CS considerably (at least by a 3rd) and reduce the amount of buttons as well. However, button reduction would be a massive talkfest as it would require analysis and refactor of workflows which would impact a lot of code. Not being a modular guy I haven't considered Euro but I agree it would have to be a requirement. Rather than clutter the thread I'll go back into my cage and think for a while then write something up in design concepts.

Did you mean the horizontal should be 1/3 less? In my quick mock-up with boards pushed together, the total width is about  378mm (compared with 421.64mm for Wilba's). In reality the limiting factor are the LCDs (182mm each standard), so I don't think a 1/3rd reduction is possible.

Personally I don't think fewer buttons are a good idea :). But for some ideas you might check out the v3. Note in the HW config file it's easy to assign most functions to custom mappings, so even in a generic form you could leave out some of the functions. The coding question boils down to whether TK. will support splitting the matrix into 2*8*4 and adding subtle extra encoder/"group" handling. If yes, the PCB routing will be so much easier, also smaller boards are much more convenient to ship.

 

6 hours ago, mongrol said:

Note: Sparkfun button pads have largers spacing and also come in 2x2 grids. The pcb pad footprint is also available.

I did check these out, sadly the spacing is 25mm, which looks weird aligned with the buttons.. Also the cost is double the adafruit price.

Fun fact: if all buttons were there with LEDs, a new performance mode of a 16*3 BLM would be doable.

 

Let's keep talking, it's much more interesting than forum tumbleweeds. :)

 

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Ah yeah that is a bit smaller right enough. Maybe a bit more UI tweaking could rid us of the track buttons(or knobs) AND the datawheel as well chopping another 30mm off it. Of course, the display's still get in the way with that pcb surround. Hmm, I think my ideas warrant more of a major redesign and UI workflow more than current design optimisation. Still, with jelly cube buttons and led's your design would be a very nice modernisation.

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Oh, there goes a brain spark!

Why do we have 16 encoders? You only have two hands and the only time I ever turn two at the same time is when playing with ramps. A single encoder could satisfy 95% of the use cases. Or worst case, two encoders (one at each end or in middle).

Press and hold step (or perhaps toggle), turn datawheel to set value. There's an entire row away.

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I for one would prefer the full set of encoders, as to me they connect the knobs and displays together nicely. I'm sure the SEQ can use the concept of a "cursor" on the LCDs to invoke the datawheel, although you'd have to think how that works with the remaining UI. Vertical height is another point of consideration but at the moment I'm thinking panel mounted LCDs/OLEDs (slimmer) that overlap with PCBs, depending on what else needs to fit, mounting holes etc.

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I understand that the encoders provide a visual reference as to what you're adjusting but that can work with my method too. I didn't intend the datawheel to cursor over to the step to select. I meant this;

  1. Press top row button (jelly lights up)
  2. Use datawheel to adjust the value.
  3. Click datawheel to cancel out or deselect or press the jelly button again.

The light from the pad provides the visual reference, probably better than an encoder ever will (we could also colour every 4th pad with a different colour if not RGB. Also, swap the encoder row for pads. 16x4 BLM mode?

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Sure, it's clear that the buttons select the "cursor step" which is adjusted with the encoder. 

6 minutes ago, mongrol said:

16x4 BLM mode

Hey! I thought you wanted to save space ;). On second thought, BLMs are probably best for extensions. For a start, you kinda need two colours per step, which this matrix doesn't do.

The GP buttons (top row) are also used to control gates, so how do you differentiate between editing a position and turning the step on and off?

 

 

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23 hours ago, latigid on said:

A query, perhaps for v4+: would it be possible to handle track selection (1-16, not in Groups), trigger layers and parameter layers with 3 encoders rather than button/menus? If I was to design a new SEQ CS (just an idea for the moment) the left-hand buttons could be swapped out, reducing the overall PCB height = cheaper. 

Do you think the encoders are actually necessary? I find pressing the Parameter layer C button and then selecting the layer with the GP buttons more intuitive (not least cause you get the overview of all 16 layers). I would be fine with a "track select" button, too.

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34 minutes ago, u-link said:

Do you think the encoders are actually necessary? I find pressing the Parameter layer C button and then selecting the layer with the GP buttons more intuitive (not least cause you get the overview of all 16 layers). I would be fine with a "track select" button, too.

That's also a good possibility, my idea was that when turning the encoder the display is updated with the appropriate layer. Admittedly I'm guilty of under-utilising trigger and parameter layers, so I don't really have a feel for the work flows. EDIT: I see that there needs to be a distinction between selecting a layer to edit steps and accessing the "layer C" setup, although there's a separate GP menu for TRIGGER, and parameter layers are edited from EVENT.

Or, an encoder+switch for the best of both worlds. Click to choose one of track/trigger/parameter layer, turn to select (or use GP buttons), click to exit. 3 encs + 3 switches is 9 DINs though...

 

Edited by latigid on

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Encoders are important for fast parameter changes with a single hand.

Here an alternative idea for a FP layout:

mbseqv4newfp.thumb.png.a7a2caf925061c97f

However, a potential issue with the adafruit pads is the spacing between the pads: it doesn't allow to add labels

But labels are essential for intuitive usage!

Best Regards, Thorsten.

 

 

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19 minutes ago, TK. said:

However, a potential issue with the adafruit pads is the spacing between the pads: it doesn't allow to add labels

But labels are essential for intuitive usage!

I agree, plus I am not convinced about the durability and longevity of these pads / the contact system these use. I would prefer a solution with proper switches.

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Agreed with TK. on the one-handed edits.

The layout looks nicely symmetrical, but I think the centre will be a bit too cramped. Should tracks and groups have some sort of indication, or is it okay to just read the display? If the idea is given the go ahead, users could choose how to mount the extra encoders. Perhaps a little PCB is even unnecessary; the DINs could be fly-wired to panel mount encoders. 

Also agreed about proper labelling, and it's a crucial factor. A few points:

  • GPs might be labelled above the switches, the bottom row below -- would that look weird?
  • Due to the extra spacing required to match encoders, there's more room between columns of buttons. Some functions can be labelled vertically instead (if not too strange).
  • Some things are done with symbols already, we could consider more icons e.g. copy, paste etc.
  • For the BLM 16*16  used the recommended panel cutout. I think it would actually be okay to make the hole a few mm smaller = more room for labels.

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2 minutes ago, ilmenator said:

I am not convinced about the durability and longevity of these pads / the contact system these use. I would prefer a solution with proper switches.

Curious that you mention it, because my biggest complaint about the SEQ is that the TL1100 switches commonly used are pretty crappy and exhibit problems on mine. The BLM on the other hand is still going great after a year. 

Do you have a specific poor experience/anecdote to share? All of my PCBs with conductive pads use ENIG plating, which should last much longer than HASL. If there were contact problems, I don't think it would take more than a quick wipe to clean them.

In any case, it's not intended as a replacement to the Wilba board, just an alternative concept.

 

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Yes, all the TL1100 knockoffs are kind of crappy, and even the "original" E-Switch ones tend to go bad rather sooner than later.

Rubber contacts are used in a number of Roland keyboards (for the actual piano keys), and yes I've had quite a few problems with these. ENIG plating might be a solution to the problem, but on top I'd rather press on something that gives me a more defined haptic feedback, so I never bothered too much with pads. I understand people go for the sexy look of these illuminated pads, and that's probably justification enough :-).

 

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I know they make a "long life" version of TL1100, but you have to pay for it :). Switches are just damn expensive, especially for nice-feeling ones. The rubber buttons are nice to play and do have a bit of a "click" as well. Plus, they can light up when pressed.

I think the technology has improved since (vintage?) Roland keyboards. It's not a greasy graphitic substance but something that feels well integrated into the rubber. 

If you tell me the switches you're after (Marquardt I suppose ;)) I can see if it's doable to make a multi-format pad. 

Best,
Andy

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Iluminated button caps: DIY!
-> 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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2 minutes ago, latigid on said:

If you tell me the switches you're after (Marquardt I suppose ;)) I can see if it's doable to make a multi-format pad. 

I guess the main problem with multi-format is that you will have to accomodate the LEDs for your pads somewhere close to the center, which is where the Marquardts have one of two contact pins. I'd say don't bother, and if I ever feel so inclined I can always come up with a similar layout for "proper" switches (and then include multiple footprints as on the latest BLM 16x4 v2 version).

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9 minutes ago, TK. said:

Iluminated button caps: DIY!
-> 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Of course, I remember this one well :). Also a lot of horror stories about how difficult it is (not even including the conductive part)! A very important feature of the adafruit/sparkfun pads though is the little guide "nubs" that sit inside PCB holes and stop things wobbling too much.

 

 

4 minutes ago, ilmenator said:

I guess the main problem with multi-format is that you will have to accomodate the LEDs for your pads somewhere close to the center, which is where the Marquardts have one of two contact pins. I'd say don't bother, and if I ever feel so inclined I can always come up with a similar layout for "proper" switches (and then include multiple footprints as on the latest BLM 16x4 v2 version).

Okay, if the general idea is okay we can consider a rubbery one and a rigid one.

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