Zam

MIDIbox 89MotioN. Fader automation

9 posts in this topic

Hi all

This is the MIOS based 89MotioN system release and support tread

The first PCB batch is now available.
It consist of 17 pcb to build a 8 fader pack automated motor fader system as follow:

-1x 89InouT, 4 layer 80*260mm pcb, which handle 64 D i/o and 8 A i/o, connection to 8 89MotoR board, connection to core(or line receiver), and optional D i/o chain connector, and power supply distribution.
-8x 89MotoR, 2 layer 34*116mm pcb, which handle analog PID motor driver, touch detection, one optional isolated digital output (optocoupler), one optional digital input (button), 6 D i/o through connector from 89InouT to 89 RemotE
-8x 89RemotE, 2 layer 14*148mm pcb, which support up to 6 omron B3W-9 series illuminated tact switch.
-all pcb HASL lead free

Price is (out of stock) (+shipping/packing, +fees if applicable).
12 pcb set available from this first manufacturing

what you get:

-the 17 PCB described above
-BOM
-schematic
-PCB mechanical drawing
-Basic notes for build and calibration

What you need for basic build:

-all component at the BOM (most ref already fitted for RS and reichelt) 300/400euros
-one STM32F4 core running latest MB_NG, configured to emulate Mackie Control. There is universal MCU template available, as my NG/NR config for DigitalPerformer i’ll be happy to share. (request 1 core for each 8 fader pack)
-decent PSU, 3 rail total, +5V, +/-15(+/-12 work too). at least 2A per rail, be careful most low cost bipolar supply have poor negative amperage capabilities, sense input is recommended for the +5 rail (I use industrial euro rack Vero trivolt PK120, 500€)
-8 motor fader (tested ALPS RSA0N 8V and TKD MF914 10V my current choices) 15 to 100€/pce
-A console, a box or a front panel that fit the system (I can provide basic template .fpd file for fader and button cutout) 0€ if it’s a retrofit installation that need no metalwork to 1000€+ in a custom modular setup like mine…
-For integration in analog chain you need a +10dB post fader buffer (for unity gain @ fader -10dB attenuation position), to my knowledge all descent console have it so you are fine, in situation of outboard analog mixing/summing you have to think about it.
-line transmiter/receiver in case you need/want the core, PSU, SCS and or LCD in a separate/dedicated case or 19inch rack

Important notes:

This is a 2+ years R&D at hardware side for me, not to mention what TK have done since lot of years, as improvement and new options recently done at NG code which this system won’t work so well without.
The goal since beginning is to build a high end automated fader system, dedicated to analog chain/mixing desk requiring low noise and low EMI environment, which is a challenge with digital data lines and motor close to low level analog audio signal.
Saying all this I consider this build an « advanced » one, it involves 20 SMD ic at the main I/O board, I won’t do a step by step build tread, so ppl have to know how to read a schematic/BOM and understand what’s going on with all those component. It’s a long built we are close to 1000 component to solder in total… mistake can be exponential with so many part, no special skill, but methods and organization at all stages.
My expectations for this first run is to have few fader pack builded around, in a reasonable time range, to have useful feedback and various experience to share.
Also, it’s not a cheep build, consider 2-3k depending of hardware integration, motor fader choices, frontpanel + optional 19in or case if you want/need psu and core far from faders (like me, it request optional line driver)
I have great result in my use case, 8 fader(for now) loaded in a discret 32 channel Studer 289 from 1977, however, I can’t guaranty the same result (in term of audio integrity) in another desk, if trouble occurs with digital data line or motor radiation, it could be dependent of specific console design/layout at both mechanical and electronic side. So I can’t say « I will solve your problem » but of course I will try to help.
For ppl that just want a DAW controller (no analog audio path in the fader) there is possible cost saving, cheaper fader (like ALPS RSA0N11), lowering fader speed and increase current limiter at motor to use cheaper PSU.
For ppl that want motor fader to automated a VCA based system, there is different option to handle this with the system, let’s have a talk if you are interested

WARNING !
there is some limitation:
-at the moment the system don’t support HUI protocol for fader data, It won’t work as is in Protools !!!
Be sure your DAW allow MCU protocol, or have a look at some midi translator software, I made a quick test, and was able to convert pitch bend fader data to HUI raw midi data on the fly, I don’t and won’t push further at this topic for the moment, so I have no measurement or data to share regarding hypothetic extra latency
.

-Work in progress regarding HUI protocol, now the system handle it natively for all data type, I have a working midibox_ng 1.036 build, it involve a special handling of NRPN data at mbng_event.c (standard NRPN won't work but none are involved in HUI), as some trick at .NGC configuration file. I don't have a Protools licence but will perform test soon with someone that have one.
-Another point is about MCU protocole, be aware that some functions are not bidirectional, and some are not « real time » bidirectional.
Automation mode don’t return note or CC but only sysex text to print the mode at LCD, it’s still a challenge for now to update automation status LED from DAW
All data except fader pitch bend are updates/returned to the system only once per sec, which mean the visual feedback (LED) is not ultra fast.
Also as audio is picked-up pre fader at DAW, solo and mute can be complicated to handle depending of your DAW, here those functions are 100% handled onboard with optocoupled remote analog mute and special mute/solo conditional script. Mute automation is done via a separated midi track

What I won’t do:

-publicly release the schematic, at least for this firs run, and certainly for the few next.
-release the layout/ pcb fabrication files.
-organize any component and part bulk order /group buy for this first batch.

What I hope to do next:

-Be able to test TKD LMH5 series (I’m sure it will work fine with the driver, it’s the same 8V mabushi motor as ALPS), it’s an alternative quality between the MF914 and the ALPS RSA0N, which have an interesting mechanical build, to say it quick, motor driver PCB should be directly soldered to the fader terminal, vertical mount, which can be a nice option for future and mechanical integration option.
So if someone plane to use those, just drop me a message to discuss about one or two spare fader for test at my side.
-Test (me or someone else) a fader with coreless motor
-Design a 89TransporT unit for the system, which should be a D i/o extension with button and led, maybe one rotary encoder, to have extended function and DAW transport interface in the same design.
-Build a vst/AU plug-in if I can… or if someone have the skill and motivation for this, to have direct connection with the fader, without third party MCU driver.
-Go further with RTPmidi, high speed, which combined with plugin should allow the system to have way more than 32 fader in a single channel.
-all other things that will com up in mind by the time…

Quick technical data:

-2000 steps, which equal to 0.05mm for 100mm fader. Theoretically 2048 (11bit), but some dead band are involved depending of calibration and fader curve mapping
-100ms for full travel
-Repositioning accuracy better than 0.01dB (at static event)
-fader tracking is 0.1dB for 2/3 of the fader (upper side) if dedicated interpolation map is used for each fader (it’s some time to measure and write in the config file…) otherwise one global interpolation map for all fader give you at worst the fader attenuation accuracy given by the manufacturer. In short, the system is more precise than any manufacturer taper print you will find.

I hope future builder will have fun with this great tool, which to my knowledge is the first analog fader automation available for DIYer

If interested just PM me

Best
Zam

 

the development thread http://midibox.org/forums/topic/19166-fader-automation/

Edited by Zam
avaiable quantities update / HUI-Protools handling

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Hi

Here is how it look just before final assembly :happy:

89MotioN_V2_part1.thumb.JPG.779a872f9425

89MotioN_V2_part2.thumb.JPG.1e4649996422

Best

Zam

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I remember there still being the math log option on the MF914, but now it looks like it is only available as a linear fader. They now have the MF9101 series which has audio log. Is the TKD audio taper actually math log? How were they classifying audio taper? 

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For those building a system with more than 8 faders: you need 1 STM32F4 core for each set of 8.

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4 hours ago, studioilalo said:

I remember there still being the math log option on the MF914, but now it looks like it is only available as a linear fader. They now have the MF9101 series which has audio log. Is the TKD audio taper actually math log? How were they classifying audio taper? 

Hi Gato

Welcome here :)

Ho ! I just check, you'r right they discontinued the dual track MF914 !

I don't know the MF9101 it's a new product, datasheet only offer math log taper (as the curve say). Maybe they offer audio log on request ? Looking at pictures tells me the track, material/dimension/pinout is exactly the same as MF914, change seems at mechanical side only.

Have a look at LMH5 series, there is audio log or math log as standard options. You will see the difference between the two taper curve.

3 hours ago, studioilalo said:

For those building a system with more than 8 faders: you need 1 STM32F4 core for each set of 8.

Yes that's right ! (I just update the first post)

I'm currently working at optimisation of .NGC/.NGR configuration, for mutli core (16 or more fader) handling in a Master/Slave setup. Like Solo an Mute status between system, as optional button functions at slave core but seen by DAW as main MCU unit (not XT). For the moment I run 16 fader with only one connection to computer (USB), computer see two MCU unit.

 

Best

Zam

Edited by Zam

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So, the first motor fader for testing is on its way!

I decided to start with a stereo fader. For those interested in stereo faders, the fader is a P&G D460626 (10k fader). The motor is 12v.

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Hey

That's great ! definitely waiting the feedback on this.

Can you pleas send me the full data sheet if you have it ?

Best

Zam

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Hi !

Best

Zam

1 person likes this

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Hi all

Updated first post about HUI protocol for Protools ready

So far so good :rolleyes:

I'll update soon

Best

Zam

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