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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
Alternative Controllers
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Adam-V



Joined: Jan 29, 2007
Posts: 300
Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:01 am    Post subject: Alternative Controllers
Subject description: Keyboards are so passé you know!
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I was wondering what sort of alternative DIY controllers people have seen or maybe built themselves. I know there are ribbon controllers and touch keyboards but there have to be some other really cool ideas floating around out there.

Cheers,
Adam-V
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Mikmo



Joined: Dec 01, 2005
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Location: Copenhagen - Denmark

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you mean MID controllers, try to google "alternative MIDI controllers", and you will be souprised how many different things people have come up with. Wind controllers a host of different percussion / mallet controlers, even a hamster driven MIDI controller (its true)

IF you mean CV / gate then i think the selection is more limited, vind controllers, and as you mention yourself ribbon controlers, and some other touch based controllers.

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bugbrand



Joined: Nov 27, 2005
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Location: Bristol, UK
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I did a stylus keyboard module a few months back ---> you'd play this pretty differently compared with a standard keyboard..

Other things off the top of my head -- well, anything resistive::
Joysticks
Light Sensors
Humidity Sensors
Bend sensors
QTC pill pressure sensors


+ Hall effect sensors?
+ percussion from piezos

Also, layout / presentation / interface is always going to play a big role in how you use whatever design...

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para



Joined: Oct 16, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i remember reading a while back that someone had done a diy antenna to CV design but they never did post it. it has to be simple but i've never tried to work with antenna so that step is lost on me

there was a water controller - not really but someone tool a laser pen and had it pass through the top of a glass of water angled down at a solar panel and got some voltage out it. when tapping or moving the glass it would bend the light and give slight changes. some self perpetuating lava lamp style thing could be done easily i would think.

there is lots of stuff. i wish the “reactables” stuff was a little bit friendlier for diy. they won't publish the gui last i checked.
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If I had a blank stare controller, my synth would go nuts.
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snufkin



Joined: Apr 06, 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cv1_Bw_sBo Shocked

LIQUINTH ! Laughing


and on a more serious note i saw this the other day

http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/forums.html?topic=57201.0
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Adam-V



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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like your stylus keyboard module BugBrand. I remember building a stylophone as a kid.

I was thinking a percussive controller like a MalletKat would be rather cool but with gate and CV signals rather than MIDI.

Cheers,
Adam-V
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para



Joined: Oct 16, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

in that case you could take a look at Mikael's brakedrum. hands down the best looking diy drumpad i've ever seen. also a nice clean simple circuit. piezo's feeding amps that are triggering 555's setup as pulse stretcher ( that could be made to be variable to adjust the hold of each hit if you wanted a little extra control ) you could leave it with 4 separate outs or sum them with a mixer like he did too

http://www.mikmo.dk/cbbrakedrumdetails.html
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Adam-V



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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Awesome! Thanks.

I've found a page with links to all manner of alternative controllers (mostly MIDI) if anybody is interested.

Cheers,
Adam-V
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This thread reminds of a sort of alternate controller I dallied with about three years ago. I'm sure you've all seen those pressure sensors on the surplus sites (I think Mouser sells them too?). They look like a cone and they have three legs. Anyway, they have a piezo embedded in them and produce a very small voltage depending on how hard you blow (or suck) into/out of them. I dug up an ancient CD that has the one and only recording I made of the experiment. Artistically not much to sneeze at, but it gives an idea how much you can bend things around with one. In this sample, I believe I had the signal amped up quite a bit with an instrumentation amp. I mixed the output with the keyboard voltage and (IIRC) the voltage controlling the VCA, so the main notes are hit with the keyboard, and the bend/volume control is applied by me blowing into this thing.

FWIW, here it is - in the hands of someone talented with wind controllers (like Ian Fritz), it could probably be very effective.

Edit: Seems like I've seen plans (maybe on CAG?) for kind of the same thing, only using an electret microphone.


wind1.mp3
 Description:
Pitch bending with a Motorola pressure sensor

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 Filename:  wind1.mp3
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Adam-V



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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice one Scott.
Sounds a bit like an ocarina.

Cheers,
Adam-V
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Obscure Laurie Anderson reference: "I could be an ocarina salesman, going from door to door" Very Happy
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bugbrand



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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That'd be the Synblo
(on CAG --> Sundries --> E&MM Stuff)

Very similar design to using a piezo for drum trig.

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manatee



Joined: Feb 12, 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

check out rafael's gloves Very Happy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhMMYnoiSR8

pretty hard core. LDR+LED in each finger to a microcontroler.
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dave_b



Joined: Apr 01, 2007
Posts: 42
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Has anyone here ever attempted to duplicate what Roland does with their positional sensing drum pads? I've seen the patent on them before and I get the idea of how they work with a single piezo, but I've not seen a DIY version.

Everything available seems based on the 'rubber glued to plywood/aluminum' design.

Um... at this point I guess drum pads aren't really alternative though, correct?

Dave
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frijitz



Joined: May 04, 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 6:24 pm    Post subject: wc -- updated links Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here are up-to-date links to my wind controller pages:

http://home.comcast.net/~ijfritz/st_over.htm

http://home.comcast.net/~ijfritz/sos_over.htm

You can drill down to the schematics from both pages.

Ian
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Adam-V



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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Awesome stuff Ian.

Cheers,
Adam-V
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frijitz



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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2007 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Adam-V -- many thanks. This kind of work is the hardest there is, at least for me. You can't tell how a controller will work until you build it and practice on it for a while. Then you have to tear down and redo for the next iteration. The more control parameters you have, the harder it is, the more practice it takes, etc.
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