latigid on

MIDIbox SEQ new frontpanel idea

301 posts in this topic

3 minutes ago, Hawkeye said:

Also, it is good, that people can continue using the old frontpanels

This is what immediately struck me - the selection button row didn't really look like added buttons to me. I guess the really new feature is that duo LEDs are required for these buttons?

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I also can't tell, if the duo LEDs are 100% required. On the first glance, this panel looks like a "thoughtful evolution", not a "drastic revolution", i like that a lot, because it seems, that users with the old panel won't be stuck without SEQ software upgrades (even if some functions will be missing).

Many greets!
Peter

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That's exactly the intention: the work flow will be a bit different (hopefully more ergonomic), but I don't plan to add a new function which won't be accessible with the old frontpanel.

Duo-LEDs won't be required, but if available, different colours will allow to show a bit more information.
E.g. Step View: loop range could be highlighted.
Track/Layers/Instruments: second LED could show muted parts
Bookmarks: second LED could show already allocated bookmarks
Mute will show muted and soloed tracks (*)

(*) a track solo function is currently not available - if I add this feature, it will rely on a second colour, otherwise the handling will be too confusing if a certain track doesn't play and you don't know, if it's because of a mute, or because other track(s) is/are soloed.

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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It's definitely the intention to have duo LEDs for both the "soft" and "selection" buttons. The remainder are MEC illuminated ones, so every button can have an LED. Matias switches have a lifetime of 50million cycles, MEC are 10 million. This version will also have a nice case that I'm working on with Adrian. 

 

Open questions: switch on the 5V line, yay or nay? How many MIDI outs?

 

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Great stuff. I really like the "orthagonal" way of selecting tracks. Goes one more step towards removing the "group" of 4 that just fries my head so much.

Why are TrgL and PrmL's treated separately. Surely they are all just layers and no matter how you carve it up, you can only have so many of them.

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Yeah I know what they do. I'm wondering why they aren't treated the same from the UI point of view. You could remove the Trg and Prm layer buttons and have just a "layer button". Since you can't have more than 16 layers then they'll fit in the selection buttons. You could have trgs on the left 8 buttons and prm's on teh right. Or use duo LED's and have trg's one colour and prm's the other.

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Will this new layout fit into the old aluminium cases, or should I still plan on obtaining a current SEQ V4 CS PCB?

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6 hours ago, mongrol said:

Yeah I know what they do. I'm wondering why they aren't treated the same from the UI point of view. You could remove the Trg and Prm layer buttons and have just a "layer button". Since you can't have more than 16 layers then they'll fit in the selection buttons. You could have trgs on the left 8 buttons and prm's on teh right. Or use duo LED's and have trg's one colour and prm's the other.

I get what you mean, but I still think separate buttons are better. Also it doesn't add cost or complexity to the UI, rather your idea would mean having to guess the function instead of glancing at what button around the wheel was lit (the 16 "selection" buttons have no labels as they're multi-use). The other point to consider is that Trig and Para each have two functions, one to edit what's actually in use and the other to select values/toggle triggers on or off.

 

20 minutes ago, lis0r said:

Will this new layout fit into the old aluminium cases, or should I still plan on obtaining a current SEQ V4 CS PCB?

What are the internal dimensions of the Heidenreich case? Maybe it will fit but first the PCB sets have to be designed. You'd have to order your own front panel/rear panel, and it'll likely be cheaper buying a full case from Adrian rather than a one-off panel set from Schaeffer. I also can't guarantee the availability dates, so if you're in a rush it might be quicker just to complete the Wilba model.

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We've up to 16 parameter layers + up to 8 trigger layers, therefore dedicated views are required

Best Regards, Thorsten.

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Any updates on this?

I've MIDIbox SEQ fever lately after watching Stuart Mitchell's old demonstration videos on Vimeo. 

I've realised that it would be the perfect solution and become the brain of my studio. 

This new control surface looks like a huge improvement.

Now that Adrian and JulianF have potential options for cases there shouldn't be much to stand in the way.

 

What if the menu encoder and arc of buttons was in the centre between the 2 LCDs, would it "disconnect" the the 2 rows of buttons a bit too much do you think?

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Getting there :-)

mar.thumb.png.3291cebfcf0f08af87e0b39cf1

 

The modular PCBs are basically done; the top row would be underneath the OLEDs. I was looking at a through hole microSD card on the front, but I'm changing the Core so it will move to the back and turn into the common 3M full sized one. Have to figure out a different solution for the beat LED, which TK. insisted on :-). It might be that the Line Driver can be squashed a bit, but there should be plenty of room for everything, even AOUT/DOUT boards with a breakout on DB-25 (or 3.5mm/1/4" sockets) instead if you wanted.

Because the PCBs are modular, you could move the jogwheel into the centre. TK. would say that this disconnects the displays, especially when there's information that flows onto the second OLED. But if you prefer a bit more symmetry then why not? :-)

 

For sure, I'm a DAW-less guy, so this is gonna be the heart of my setup too.

 

Best,
Andy

 

 

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Nice work Andy! Where does the Alps Jog/Shuttle go for those of us who like to use one of those for scrubbing and MMC controller action? Can't lose either way, since the normal jog surrounded by switches seems like a nifty interface element, just wondering.

Cheers,

Johan

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Hi Johan,

Thanks!

As part of the design process the jogwheel is now just a normal encoder (with a push switch). The rationale for leaving the jog/shuttle off:

  • availability isn't great, though could come directly from ALPS 
  • size is pretty massive
  • additional software handling is required to scan the absolute position encoder and the spring-loaded sides
    • as this would likely fall to TK., it's extra coding effort that he wouldn't find useful himself, he's a really busy guy!
  • currently there aren't any applicable parameters to match functions on the SEQ
    • I suggested a progressively accelerated increment/decrement, but there wasn't much buzz around the idea

Hopefully the normal DK-38 with a push button, along with acceleratable GP encoders is okay (c.f. Machinedrum/elektron stuff). If someone wants to make a PCB for the jog/shuttle and code in the extras, then it's totally doable with modular PCBs!

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Remember I was looking for the perfect MIDI looper a while back?

Well turns out that JAM mode was the ultimate solution which I didnt really know existed then!

This new video from Andrew Scheidler is just the confirmation I needed that JAM mose is as simple as i wanted,

just to keep the SEQ hype going....

 

 

 

Edited by Smithy

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Yep, I've tried jam mode too and liked it quite a lot! It's my hope that the 16 selection buttons can be used in a mode to jump to different sections of a song for freeform restyling.

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Yeah, the Jam mode blew me away when I finally started playing with it!  

I do have a question about it though:  sometimes when I press the CLEAR button it instantly clears the entire Track, but other times it seems to just erase notes that are played while the button is held (so if I only held down the CLEAR button during steps 2~9, any notes on steps 1 and 10~16 would not be erased)

Why is that?  Is there something that chooses which way it works, or am I confused...?

Oozitron (aka Andrew Scheidler)

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This is a change in the latest firmware (4.092). From the changelog:

Quote

"new behaviour of CLEAR button in recording mode: it clears only the selected step (instead of the entire pattern). During live recording it will clear the "played" steps while the button is pressed."

EDIT: Though now that I tried it, punching in quarter notes, then starting the sequencer and switching recording mode on, I managed only to clear the whole track, instead of only "played" steps. So I don't really know how it works.

It might also be that "(instead of the entire pattern)" should be "(instead of the entire track)" (in the changelog entry).

Edited by jjonas

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A suggestion for these new panels:  Could you add holes for 2.54mm headers to the encoder, button and led pads so that builders could choose to pin out to panel-mounted controls and indicators instead of using the recommended buttons?  This would give builders a lot of options, but would still be way less hassle and way easier to troubleshoot/assemble/etc. than wiring up a frontpanel straight to DIO/DIN/DOUT modules.

I've recently found these super cheap 16mm illuminated panel mount buttons on aliexpress - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/ON-OFF-illuminated-round-Latching-Push-Switch-4pin-1A-250V-3A-125VAC-Green-50PCS/514238730.html (Oops - linked to latching buttons - they also make momentaries in the same style.)

They're $0.60USD each.  Pretty affordable.  I ordered some, and they're pretty nice actually, and come in quite a few colors.  I was considering building a new SEQ with these buttons panel mounted and wired to DIO modules, but thinking about the rats nest of wires that would be required is a bit scary.  If this new PCB allowed pinning out the controls to headers, that would make a project like the one I'm thinking of very doable.

Edited by borfo

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Or, alternately I guess, it would be pretty easy to make a second variety of frontpanel PCB that just does the same multiplexing, but pins out all the frontpanel LEDs, buttons and encoders instead of providing pads for PCB mount controls...  That would make these PCBs very small and affordable.

...that's kind of what a DIO module is, I suppose.  But a pinned out PCB that was multiplexed, marked and designed to be used with the same MBSEQ_HW.V4 file as the commonly used frontpanel PCB would be handy.

 

Edit:  I just found this great pinning diagram of wilba's panel that maps it to a DIO Matrix and a DINx4 (http://www.ucapps.de/midibox_seq/mbseq_v4_dio_wilba_layout.pdf), which goes a long way towards what I'm suggesting here...  A little PCB that piggybacks on the headers on the DIO_MATRIX, holds the diodes, and pins out and labels the button and led matrix coordinates would be really handy though.  Maybe I'll design one...  Hm.

Edited by borfo

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borfo, The buttons you list say they are locking/latching buttons. I do not think they will work right for a seq build. They lock/latch on when you press them and switch off on a second press. All the button types I have seen used in Seq4 builds are momentary contact buttons that are only on when pressed or if you hold them down. They would make a great lighted power button though.

I was considering buttons like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/182283287201?_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649&var=484821440994&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT for a seq build like you mention. I was thinking of ways to shrink the seq front panel to be able to fit it into a c64 case and still have all the buttons and lights. lighted buttons would allow for that. A dual color or a rgb would be even be nicer as than I could color code things.

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@borfo 
I've already ordered the boards a few weeks ago, so this is a bit moot. But I've had some thoughts throughout the day. 

IMO, there's not much point in breaking out the matrix further for individual button wiring. Like you say you could design something to work with or replace a DIOMATRIX, but you'll still find work needs to be done on the switch side. Instead you might find it's easier to use DIN/DOUT modules instead and forget the matrices.

One of the goals of this design was to use high-quality switches. The Matias ones are rated for 50M key presses; I don't think you could say the same for the Chinese ones. The latter are only single colour, so the improved features wouldn't be implementable. It's a huge pain to find illuminated switches at reasonable cost, and I've put a lot of time into finding a solution. Matias switches cost 0.25 USD or less, you do need a custom keycap but their price will depend on the quantity. Should be around $1 each for switch + cap = $32 per SEQ. IMO that's not a bad price and the HW should be commensurate with the amazing software TK. provides.

@gerald.wert
Personally I wouldn't trust those switches, and you'll find even bi-colour switches are very hard to source let alone RGB. You might fit some kind of SEQ in a C64 case, just keep in mind the LCDs need around 360-70mm, and you probably want some kind of datawheel.

 

 

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3 hours ago, gerald.wert said:

borfo, The buttons you list say they are locking/latching buttons.

Oops...  They make both momentary and latching versions.  I bought momentaries - I just wasn't paying attention when I searched for that link.

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1 hour ago, latigid on said:

@borfo 
IMO, there's not much point in breaking out the matrix further for individual button wiring. Like you say you could design something to work with or replace a DIOMATRIX, but you'll still find work needs to be done on the switch side. Instead you might find it's easier to use DIN/DOUT modules instead and forget the matrices.

One of the goals of this design was to use high-quality switches. The Matias ones are rated for 50M key presses; I don't think you could say the same for the Chinese ones. The latter are only single colour, so the improved features wouldn't be implementable. It's a huge pain to find illuminated switches at reasonable cost, and I've put a lot of time into finding a solution. Matias switches cost 0.25 USD or less, you do need a custom keycap but their price will depend on the quantity. Should be around $1 each for switch + cap = $32 per SEQ. IMO that's not a bad price and the HW should be commensurate with the amazing software TK. provides.

You're probably right re: just using DIO and DIN's...

I figure with the panel mount switches, I'll just buy a bunch of extras and it'll be pretty easy to replace them if they fail.  And I figured I'd use LEDs in addition to the buttons instead of bicolor leds.  But $1 per switch on your design is a good price.  I was expecting a price along the lines of those marquardt switches that people were using for a while.  I've had good luck with the cheap chinese stuff, but at $1/switch, I may just build your board - at least for the button part.

I didn't realize you were at the board-ordering stage already - I haven't been here for a while, still catching up on new developments.  When do you expect to have boards to sell?

Edited by borfo

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I agree the matias switches are great quality. I have sourced a few samples of the above switches and a few others looking for something decent and like you said I have not found anything unless I am going to spend well over $3 a switch led and cap once you figure every thing in. Hope I did not side track the discussion too much. I have been watching this project and am interested in it when you are ready to go live with it.

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