totoRaymond

MidiBox DAW Controller

14 posts in this topic

Hi!

First, let me introduce myself. I'm Thomas, sound engineer, I'm working mostly in audio post but have a small home studio where i record small bands.

It's been a long time since i started thinking about making a midibox NG, but other projects kept me busy (I built a few preamps for my home studio as well as other audio gears)

But now, i finally have time and hopefully make it a reality.

I will try to keep this thread updated with my progress and experiments.


So first, i'll expose what i'm aiming for:

 

My goal is to build myself a Midi controller that is basically a Mackie Control with a few more features to control Nuendo.

I really want it to be as ergonomic as possible, and today, no controller on the market would fit my needs completely. (maybe Nuage systems, but that's a bit expensive)

Midi-wise, i will use 3 ports as Mackie Control and one as a Generic midi. (feature that you can set as you wish in Nuendo)

I want:
    -25 faders: 24 using MAckie Control and MC expanders + one using Generic Midi to control selected channel in DAW
    
    -Each fader will have 4 buttons, an encoder with led ring and an oled display on top (just as any MCU)

    -transport buttons
    
    -various array of buttons with MC features as well as window management, automation features, some edit functions...

    -a Jog wheel

    -a surround panner

    -one bank of encoders to control selected channel EQ

    -another bank of encoders to control Selected channel Dynamics

    -Control-room commands.


I think that's it for wanted features. Now for things i will need:

As i understand i'll need:

    -2 STM32F4 Core module (1 main and 1 for MF_NG modules)

    -4 MF_NG modules

    -a bunch of DIO matrices for buttons and LEDs.

    -and probably an AINSER8 module.


I already own a STM32F4disco and i made my own version of the core module. I went through the tutorials, and i've been playing a bit with a beaboarded Din / Dout.


Joined is a block diagram of the way i think My different modules will fit together. Hopefully i got this right...


I still have alot to do / learn, but feeling really excited about it right now!

And i'd like to thank Thorsten and everybody involved in the midibox project for all they have accomplished. This is great!

Cheers,

Thomas

Block diagram.pdf

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Bienvenue totoRaymond
Sacré pseudo! ;)

I hope @Zam will not blame me for quoting him here again, but he already has a project that looks like yours, except that his is already well advanced, take a look at it,
 

Good luck anyway and have fun with your midibox stuff!

Best regards
Bruno

 

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Hi!

I'm aware of Zam's Project, but as I understand it, it's more of a way to automate existing analog desk.

I just need to control a DAW with MIDI events, not planning to get any analog signal involved.

But i want more than faders. In fact, being able to access selected channel EQ / Dyn / surround Pan is the most important thing to me. Or else, i would just buy of the shelf Controller like Qcon / MCU / Behringer...

But none of them offers me the ergonomics i want. Something very close to Avid Dcommand actually.

 

Cheers,

Thomas

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8 minutes ago, totoRaymond said:

I'm aware of Zam's Project, but as I understand it, it's more of a way to automate existing analog desk.

It's the same, I'm not sure but there's no audio signal passing thru his faders, there's surely VCA for that purpose, the part that you don't need. But you will need faders, motor control etc...

Best!

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Posted (edited)

Couple thoughts:

great idea, i think it's quite feasible and will be worth the effort. will take longer and depending on your needs also not be cheaper than a commercial solution.

all the buttons/pots/encoders in the world are no issue to connect obviously. i have some nice rotary encoders with fancy LED ringgs around them available if you want haha.

one of the biggest issue i see with my limited knowledge is the DAW implementation. Does Nuendo allow to control the CURRENTLY SELECTED eq/dyn with a fixed CC or NRPN adress? or how are you thinking to realize the dynamic mapping? also sending out matching dynamic data from your DAW for your OLEDs, not sure if mackie control protocol supplies all this conveniently?

oh also for that amount of OLEDs and input stuff you might need a couple more MCUs/core boards down the line i think?

i though about doing something somewhat similar for ableton at some point, couple dynamically mappable input knobs with parameter name OLEDs. its easy there, if you use max4life, which i guess nuendo lacks..

 

maybe an alternative idea would be to buy an off-the-shelf controller for the basic motor faders and just build something smaller for all your custom shortcuts etc?

Edited by weasel

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8 hours ago, weasel said:

oh also for that amount of OLEDs and input stuff you might need a couple more MCUs/core boards down the line i think?

MB_NG supports up to 64 OLEDs from just one core ;-)

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Antichambre said:

It's the same, I'm not sure but there's no audio signal passing thru his faders, there's surely VCA for that purpose, the part that you don't need. But you will need faders, motor control etc...

Best!

Oh allriight i'll look deeper into it then. thanks for the tip!

9 hours ago, weasel said:

Couple thoughts:

great idea, i think it's quite feasible and will be worth the effort. will take longer and depending on your needs also not be cheaper than a commercial solution.

all the buttons/pots/encoders in the world are no issue to connect obviously. i have some nice rotary encoders with fancy LED ringgs around them available if you want haha.

one of the biggest issue i see with my limited knowledge is the DAW implementation. Does Nuendo allow to control the CURRENTLY SELECTED eq/dyn with a fixed CC or NRPN adress? or how are you thinking to realize the dynamic mapping? also sending out matching dynamic data from your DAW for your OLEDs, not sure if mackie control protocol supplies all this conveniently?

oh also for that amount of OLEDs and input stuff you might need a couple more MCUs/core boards down the line i think?

i though about doing something somewhat similar for ableton at some point, couple dynamically mappable input knobs with parameter name OLEDs. its easy there, if you use max4life, which i guess nuendo lacks..

 

maybe an alternative idea would be to buy an off-the-shelf controller for the basic motor faders and just build something smaller for all your custom shortcuts etc?

DAW implementation is not really an issue, they have what they called "generic remote" which gives you the ability to control most of Nuendo functions with any CC, SysEx or any MIDI event. Including "selected channel" parameters.

Right now, i'm using this function with TouchOSC, but an iPad is not as good as a dedicated encoder / switch / joystick.

Mackie Control protocol at least gives you track name feedback, and I could derive other information from incoming MIDI events i guess.

 

As for buying, an off-the-shelf controller and add missing functions, i thought about it for sure, but it wouldn't be as ergonomic, which is a big concern to me. Plus, if i make my own solution, i would be able to scale it to my future needs, repair it, make it evolve with time. Which is not really possible with off-the-shelf solutions.

 

Next step will be to make the channel encoders boards, with channel switches daughter board.

         8 switchable encoders plus 4*8 switches = 56 Switches.

         8*11 LED Rings plus 4*8 Buttons LEDs = 120 LEDs

I figured i need 1 8*8 buttons matrix and 1 8*16 LED matrix. Is that correct? (maybe to 8*8 LED Matrices is better?)

 

Thanks everyone for your help!

Cheers,

 

Thomas

 

Edited by totoRaymond

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12 hours ago, Antichambre said:

I'm not sure but there's no audio signal passing thru his faders

I'm sure that audio pass through my fader :happy:

Best

Zam

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Posted (edited)

1 minute ago, Zam said:

I'm sure that audio pass through my fader :happy:

Best

Zam

really? then how do you get the position from the faders?

You use 'dual taper' fader, one for the audio and the other for AIN?
Best

Edited by Antichambre

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Just now, Antichambre said:

really? then how do you get the position from the faders?

By using highend dual track motor fader with one servo track (linear taper) and one audio log track :rolleyes:

Best

Zam

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Just now, Zam said:

By using highend dual track motor fader with one servo track (linear taper) and one audio log track :rolleyes:

Yes obviously :happy:
So @totoRaymond you will need single linear track moto-fader ;)

 

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Yeah, that's what i thought.

But anyway, moving faders will probably be the last step of my build.

First i'd like to get Switches, encoders and LEDs working.

Thanks again!

 

Thomas

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi! and sorry for double post...

 

I have a question :

Is it possible to get use the same DOUT Matrix for LED rings AND general purpose LEDs (like switch status)?

Say i have an 8*16 Matrix and only want 11 LEDs for my rings, I could make use of those 5 left columns...

After half a day searching it seems impossible, but i can't be sure...

If not possible, then i might change my plan a little bit. :rolleyes:

 

Thanks!

 

Thomas

Edited by totoRaymond

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I'd strongly recommend to not use "normal" LEDs. It's much easier to use WS2812 RGB LEDs. Only one single data-line needed instead of 11 (in your case). And routing LED-matrix on a PCB is cumbersome.... 

Apart from that I can not answer your question...

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