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OT: Building a foot midi controller for Live Looping...

edited July 12 in Off-topic

Hi fellas!

I'm in the middle of building a new custom midi foot controller for GTL duties and I thought it could be useful to share the experience so maybe anyone could get some helpful info or inspiration...

As background I will link this old topic:
https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/19514/ot-the-build-your-own-midi-controller-topic/p1

and I will say this build doesn't require coding, just menu diving... but soldering is a must I suppose...

It's based on OpenDeck platform (that first pic) due the Dev made the amazing movement to port the firmware into Arduino/teensy platform and make it Open Source. <3

Link on this for the brave...
https://github.com/paradajz/OpenDeck

So after the required flashing process (I will go deeply on this in the future if anyone is truly interested in it) you get a class compliant midi device ready to be configured by web based editor.

https://paradajz.github.io/OpenDeck/#/ (use Chrome on desktop to use it, but you will need an operative board to see the editor working)

Some screenshots...


You can figure it...

So I get an Arduino Mega ready for attach sensors/actuators and also I have some garbage gear collecting dust which needed some love...

I have an old modified Roland FC100 mk2 which sent midi PC so I needed MidiFlow to translate those weird messages into something useful... I ended cranking it and that was the reason to pursuit OpenDeck approach (after broke some nanopad and other old stuff hard to solder etc etc...)

Remember kids, try to work less and you will end working twice. Be smarter and hire ask for help to someone... don't be silly shy... like me. :trollface:

...

After that lovely introduction into crazy amazing world of nerd technology... it arrives your moment!

I'm deciding which workflow I will implement on those 11 foot switch pedals (maybe I can add extra 3?) but also I'm wondering about tabletop companion controller for mixing/glitching purposes since Arduino boards are cheap...

I'm going to use GTL but it could be useful for those who use AUM/loopy sets @espiegel123 @Janosax @CracklePot @Tronlady ...

So Why don't dream about it/them?

As framework we can set around Arduino Mega specs for OpenDeck. These are different for each board (uno, leonardo, teensy...) but I found Mega is the most balanced from price/specs... maybe too much for the foot controller project but It lets me tinker with other sensors/actuators so I can share the experience and learn BTW...

Arduino Mega OpenDeck features resumee
16 analog inputs (Potentiometers, FSR, LDR...)
32 digital inputs (buttons, encoders/2, midi din input...)
48 digital outputs (single color ledsx16, RGB ledsx5, midi din output...)
LCD (two options with similar characteristics... IDK which useful info shows but at less of 2 euros in alixpress I think it could be cool to put one in each controller...)

I also downloaded an old vector pack from DJTT old contest where people designed "next midi fighter controller" where MF twister became winner... it could be useful to draw ideas based on the specification and also as layout discussion.
I'm not sure about how many people will be enrolled in this topic (the last has some initial movement but get buried soon...) but almost I will try. I will love to share and get some engagement but I know we live in crazy world times...

Link to the vector pack.
https://s3.amazonaws.com/MF_Support_Docs/Midi+Fighter+X+Design+Assets.zip

Link to the contest to maybe take some inspiration... or not?
https://djtechtools.com/2013/05/03/midi-fighter-x-design-contest-winners/

Next it's up to you... Share thoughts and feelings, workflow needs based on 11 foot switches or new proposal (and I will try to help you about building enclosure and wiring details but don't forget to check my other post about basic building knowledge), etc...

Cheers!

«1

Comments

  • I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    I currently use my RP20 via MIDI CC# for 6 instances of enso:

    6 bottom footswitches for the trigger button in Enso.

  • Nice foot controller! Thanks for joining @BroCoast

  • @BroCoast said:
    I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    I currently use my RP20 via MIDI CC# for 6 instances of enso:

    6 bottom footswitches for the trigger button in Enso.

    Hey, does this send midi CCs from all of the 12 switches? If so can you choose between momentary and toggle or is it all set? I'm currently using modded softstep 1 but always open to new (better) ideas.

    @thedubbylabby interesting stuff. The building/soldering stuff doesn't scare me but my brain shuts when it comes to coding. Would I need to learn a programming language? Do you have a programming background?

    Arduino boards may be cheap but you also need all the other bits plus time which I might find but might be at the expense of making music ;)

    I guess it is a question of how desperate one is vs all of the currently available options. After having moded my softstep I feel it is possibly the best solution for me at this point. There are some multi-row boards with proper switches that require tap dancing skills. With my version of softstep I find that having the first row flat I can access the second row without lifting my hill hence maintaining stance stability. Each to their own i guess.

    I'm tempted though ;)

  • edited July 12

    @supadom said:
    Hey, does this send midi CCs from all of the 12 switches? If so can you choose between momentary and toggle or is it all set? I'm currently using modded softstep 1 but always open to new (better) ideas.

    Yeah all switches but only toggle. You can send a program change at the same time as a CC# which can be useful. eg. use a footswitch to trigger a loop with one sound, go to something radically different for the next loop.

  • @supadom said:

    @BroCoast said:
    I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    I currently use my RP20 via MIDI CC# for 6 instances of enso:

    6 bottom footswitches for the trigger button in Enso.

    Hey, does this send midi CCs from all of the 12 switches? If so can you choose between momentary and toggle or is it all set? I'm currently using modded softstep 1 but always open to new (better) ideas.

    @thedubbylabby interesting stuff. The building/soldering stuff doesn't scare me but my brain shuts when it comes to coding. Would I need to learn a programming language? Do you have a programming background?

    Arduino boards may be cheap but you also need all the other bits plus time which I might find but might be at the expense of making music ;)

    I guess it is a question of how desperate one is vs all of the currently available options. After having moded my softstep I feel it is possibly the best solution for me at this point. There are some multi-row boards with proper switches that require tap dancing skills. With my version of softstep I find that having the first row flat I can access the second row without lifting my hill hence maintaining stance stability. Each to their own i guess.

    I'm tempted though ;)

    The point to use OpenDeck platform is to avoid coding. If you read my original post about diy controllers you will find how much I try to avoid coding...
    The hard part about OpenDeck is the flashing process which I also avoided explain until someone truly needs it to follow my steps... but I also expected answers like @BroCoast and yours with other foot controllers so we can share workflows related to these aside the looper app used.
    About other bits are you talking sensors? Yes it will require some but I have proper garbage used gear and arcade buttons, vestax spare parts, cannibalized leds so and so... and even someone couldn't get these cheap I can even send some to him/her if necessary... :wink:

    What about tabletop companion? Or adapted to instrument controller? I'm also planning to use the setup hands free most of the time but I love to tinker solutions...

  • @TheDubbyLabby I'm really glad you've picked OpenDeck for this. :)

    I'm the OpenDeck developer so if anyone has a question regarding the firmware or the boards please ask.

    Regarding the flashing of boards: I don't think it's that hard, there'a guide here: https://github.com/paradajz/OpenDeck/wiki/Flashing-the-OpenDeck-firmware

    Plus you can always buy official board already flashed on Tindie.

  • @paradajz said:
    @TheDubbyLabby I'm really glad you've picked OpenDeck for this. :)

    I'm the OpenDeck developer so if anyone has a question regarding the firmware or the boards please ask.

    Regarding the flashing of boards: I don't think it's that hard, there'a guide here: https://github.com/paradajz/OpenDeck/wiki/Flashing-the-OpenDeck-firmware

    Plus you can always buy official board already flashed on Tindie.

    Hi Igor!
    Glad to see you! I loved OpenDeck from the first moment... I'm going to try make more projects based on it.

    About flashing... doing it as the tutorial explains for mac brung me into dead road since using another arduino as programmer and all the terminal involved in the process isn't easy for regular humans... I gone to a fablab and a friend help me with Atmel Studio which made the whole process less than 10' but he has also the official arduino programmer so I still not figured was wrong in my setup... just scripts got infinite loop and no write on the target etc...

    I expend two hours soldering adaptors for arduino to test the board. I tried to use a shield from rfrobot but it had somekind of conflict advertising "error handshake" so I considered even try to build a dedicated shield for mega with fritzing/kicad... but then I remember the sparkfun one for uno/leonardo so I need to buy a leonardo, try to do the flashing by myself with windows machine (yay) and test that shield to see what happens...

    About buying boards, maybe your actual one is too much for me but could it be possible you are considering make a le version? Even a micro one could be useful to integrate them into microphone as remote control for vocalists/wind players... just sayin... :wink:

    I love your work and its open nature so much! <3

  • Thanks very much for posting this!
    16 analog inputs in OpenDeck, that's something!
    I love such projects :smiley:

    If anyone is looking for a cheap, straightforward and flexible pedal-to-Bluetooth conversion for triggering on-screen gestures by foot switches, consider connecting a cheapo BT Game Controller or NumPad to your foot switch board.
    Just a bit of soldering wires to tiny SMD connectors required.
    (See my thread: https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/31245/how-to-remotely-control-any-ios-app)
    I have used an old Ibanez IFC60 for that purpose and to control any app, no matter if it supports MIDI control or not.
    Before buying a BlueTooth device, you might want to make sure that it will connect without entering any code.

  • edited July 12

    @rs2000 said:
    Thanks very much for posting this!
    16 analog inputs in OpenDeck, that's something!
    I love such projects :smiley:

    If anyone is looking for a cheap, straightforward and flexible pedal-to-Bluetooth conversion for triggering on-screen gestures by foot switches, consider connecting a cheapo BT Game Controller or NumPad to your foot switch board.
    Just a bit of soldering wires to tiny SMD connectors required.
    (See my thread: https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/31245/how-to-remotely-control-any-ios-app)
    I have used an old Ibanez IFC60 for that purpose and to control any app, no matter if it supports MIDI control or not.
    Before buying a BlueTooth device, you might want to make sure that it will connect without entering any code.

    SMD soldering is beyond my skills (and patience). The nanopad has those for usb and its cheapo construction drove me nuts and get me involved into flashing arduinos (another crazy idea...).
    I will look into that topic since I had similar idea years ago (not bluetooth) but moved into midi kits for my usual midi din must have in each controller. I remember that topic (and I hope it's still alive)... the interesting thing you made me figure is GTL supports key bindings too!!! So had achieve the cheapest way to develop a foot controller for GTL even without the control by touch/recipe workaround... mmmmmm! I will keep working with OpenDeck due I love it so much and I want to build something and be proud of it but for my looping workshops finding a cheap numpad and doing straight forward hardware hacking into it could be easy for newbies... Thanks a lot @rs2000 <3

    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

  • @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @rs2000 said:
    Thanks very much for posting this!
    16 analog inputs in OpenDeck, that's something!
    I love such projects :smiley:

    If anyone is looking for a cheap, straightforward and flexible pedal-to-Bluetooth conversion for triggering on-screen gestures by foot switches, consider connecting a cheapo BT Game Controller or NumPad to your foot switch board.
    Just a bit of soldering wires to tiny SMD connectors required.
    (See my thread: https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/31245/how-to-remotely-control-any-ios-app)
    I have used an old Ibanez IFC60 for that purpose and to control any app, no matter if it supports MIDI control or not.
    Before buying a BlueTooth device, you might want to make sure that it will connect without entering any code.

    SMD soldering is beyond my skills (and patience). The nanopad has those for usb and its cheapo construction drove me nuts and get me involved into flashing arduinos (another crazy idea...).
    I will look into that topic since I had similar idea years ago (not bluetooth) but moved into midi kits for my usual midi din must have in each controller. I remember that topic (and I hope it's still alive)... the interesting thing you made me figure is GTL supports key bindings too!!! So had achieve the cheapest way to develop a foot controller for GTL even without the control by touch/recipe workaround... mmmmmm! I will keep working with OpenDeck due I love it so much and I want to build something and be proud of it but for my looping workshops finding a cheap numpad and doing straight forward hardware hacking into it could be easy for newbies... Thanks a lot @rs2000 <3

    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

    I'm happy you like it!
    BTW, I'm currently comparing different pressure sensors, hoping to build a much more affordable breath controller soon. That's where OpenDeck would come in handy.

  • @TheDubbyLabby said:
    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

    Yeah - did you flashed both MCUs as described in Wiki? Hard to say what's wrong without taking a detailed look at your flashing process.

  • @paradajz said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:
    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

    Yeah - did you flashed both MCUs as described in Wiki? Hard to say what's wrong without taking a detailed look at your flashing process.

    Yeah both with Atmel studio even keeping the proper flags in the attributes... it pops up as opendeck etc etc... maybe using it through usb hub could be problematic? I will try to plug it directly to mac/iPad...

  • @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @supadom said:

    @BroCoast said:
    I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    I currently use my RP20 via MIDI CC# for 6 instances of enso:

    6 bottom footswitches for the trigger button in Enso.

    Hey, does this send midi CCs from all of the 12 switches? If so can you choose between momentary and toggle or is it all set? I'm currently using modded softstep 1 but always open to new (better) ideas.

    @thedubbylabby interesting stuff. The building/soldering stuff doesn't scare me but my brain shuts when it comes to coding. Would I need to learn a programming language? Do you have a programming background?

    Arduino boards may be cheap but you also need all the other bits plus time which I might find but might be at the expense of making music ;)

    I guess it is a question of how desperate one is vs all of the currently available options. After having moded my softstep I feel it is possibly the best solution for me at this point. There are some multi-row boards with proper switches that require tap dancing skills. With my version of softstep I find that having the first row flat I can access the second row without lifting my hill hence maintaining stance stability. Each to their own i guess.

    I'm tempted though ;)

    The point to use OpenDeck platform is to avoid coding. If you read my original post about diy controllers you will find how much I try to avoid coding...
    The hard part about OpenDeck is the flashing process which I also avoided explain until someone truly needs it to follow my steps... but I also expected answers like @BroCoast and yours with other foot controllers so we can share workflows related to these aside the looper app used.
    About other bits are you talking sensors? Yes it will require some but I have proper garbage used gear and arcade buttons, vestax spare parts, cannibalized leds so and so... and even someone couldn't get these cheap I can even send some to him/her if necessary... :wink:

    What about tabletop companion? Or adapted to instrument controller? I'm also planning to use the setup hands free most of the time but I love to tinker solutions...

    Sorry, I've only skimmed through your write up and missed that coding bit. Would this be bus powered? The one thing I love about softstep is that it doesn't need batteries at power adapter, just works off USB.

  • @supadom It's powered via USB, no external power supply is needed. It also work standalone without PC using USB charger.

  • edited July 13

    @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @paradajz said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:
    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

    Yeah - did you flashed both MCUs as described in Wiki? Hard to say what's wrong without taking a detailed look at your flashing process.

    Yeah both with Atmel studio even keeping the proper flags in the attributes... it pops up as opendeck etc etc... maybe using it through usb hub could be problematic? I will try to plug it directly to mac/iPad...

    Tried directly and Handshake error persist... it should be related to wrong flash process probably... mmmm I will notify my friend and try to setup Atmel Studio at Win10 machine to debug...

    but also this makes me wonder to just buy a dirty fcb1010 and forgot about the whole project. I expend too much time on this (building things) and coding/reflashing is discouraging af... I need to build faster or just forget and buy things* to make music soon... there was to much time wasted my last years... *even it goes towards my usual nature of recycling old gear instead consider it just _trash_ :sad:

    Edited to keep clean the post for future generations :smiley:

  • Again, you're being very sparse on details so I'm afraid I can't help you here without you providing me with more details. I need to take a look at your entire process. Also, Atmel Studio isn't required - there's a script in repo which does everything.

  • @paradajz said:
    Again, you're being very sparse on details so I'm afraid I can't help you here without you providing me with more details. I need to take a look at your entire process. Also, Atmel Studio isn't required - there's a script in repo which does everything.

    Sorry! I will send you a PM with the details to keep the topic clean ;)

  • @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @paradajz said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:
    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

    Yeah - did you flashed both MCUs as described in Wiki? Hard to say what's wrong without taking a detailed look at your flashing process.

    Yeah both with Atmel studio even keeping the proper flags in the attributes... it pops up as opendeck etc etc... maybe using it through usb hub could be problematic? I will try to plug it directly to mac/iPad...

    Tried directly and Handshake error persist... it should be related to wrong flash process probably... mmmm I will notify my friend and try to setup Atmel Studio at Win10 machine to debug...

    but also this makes me wonder to just buy a dirty fcb1010 and forgot about the whole project. I expend too much time on this (building things) and coding/reflashing is discouraging af... I need to build faster or just forget and buy things* to make music soon... there was to much time wasted my last years... *even it goes towards my usual nature of recycling old gear instead consider it just _trash_ :sad:

    Edited to keep clean the post for future generations :smiley:

    Haha, it all depends whether this all about the 'making things', the 'controlling things' or therapy... Or all of the above.

  • @supadom said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @paradajz said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:
    @paradajz I tried again with my own adaptors but I still get the Error handshake and strange behaviour in buttons (the only I could tried) being slow response and freezing the arduino/configurator themselves... Could it be related to wrong flashing?

    Thanks a lot!

    Yeah - did you flashed both MCUs as described in Wiki? Hard to say what's wrong without taking a detailed look at your flashing process.

    Yeah both with Atmel studio even keeping the proper flags in the attributes... it pops up as opendeck etc etc... maybe using it through usb hub could be problematic? I will try to plug it directly to mac/iPad...

    Tried directly and Handshake error persist... it should be related to wrong flash process probably... mmmm I will notify my friend and try to setup Atmel Studio at Win10 machine to debug...

    but also this makes me wonder to just buy a dirty fcb1010 and forgot about the whole project. I expend too much time on this (building things) and coding/reflashing is discouraging af... I need to build faster or just forget and buy things* to make music soon... there was to much time wasted my last years... *even it goes towards my usual nature of recycling old gear instead consider it just _trash_ :sad:

    Edited to keep clean the post for future generations :smiley:

    Haha, it all depends whether this all about the 'making things', the 'controlling things' or therapy... Or all of the above.

    In my situation is a mix between making music on budget and building things that doesn't exists (on budget). Thanks for bringing some mood I need it.

  • Do you mean mood or mud? I'm good with both ;)

  • @supadom said:
    Do you mean mood or mud? I'm good with both ;)

    Mood as good humor. Mud is okey for me too but that's another history... :wink:

  • @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @supadom said:
    Do you mean mood or mud? I'm good with both ;)

    Mood as good humor. Mud is okey for me too but that's another history... :wink:

    Cool. I think you meant good mood. Either way it's a great way to keep the bad spirits at bay. ;)

  • @supadom said:

    @TheDubbyLabby said:

    @supadom said:
    Do you mean mood or mud? I'm good with both ;)

    Mood as good humor. Mud is okey for me too but that's another history... :wink:

    Cool. I think you meant good mood. Either way it's a great way to keep the bad spirits at bay. ;)

    Yes I wasn't sure about mood without good being just good? :lol:

    Anyways, thanks!

  • Mood is just like food. Unless you know what it is (sweet /savoury) you might be in for a surprise like eating ice cream for breakfast (not necessarily a bad thing). :)

  • @supadom said:
    Mood is just like food. Unless you know what it is (sweet /savoury) you might be in for a surprise like eating ice cream for breakfast (not necessarily a bad thing). :)

    It was sweet surprise ice cream mood savoury, thanks!
    :wink:

  • Got the ball rolling today

  • @supadom said:
    Got the ball rolling today

    Awesome! Keep posting whatever you want, mate!

  • So the plan is to cannibalise my old korg nanokontrol, and solder the switches to it. Tricky soldering to really small board points but I think the trickiest bit will be to fit nanokontrol board into the casing.

  • Yeah these are PITA... but I trust on you!
    if not I will share another project based on teensy maybe could help you without too much coding...

  • Ok, all motherboard connections soldered and working... Phew

    Will solder the switches tomorrow. My brain is smoking!

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