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Thread: The Perfect MIDI Controller ? Help us design it !

  1. #21
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    My personal preference is to have a board that I can wire up my own controls too. When it comes to POTs and mainly knobs I like having some knobs be bigger than other knobs. Things you may touch rarely in a show would be a small knob but then things used all the time have a slightly bigger knob. Same goes for switches. Sometime you want a push button, sometimes you want a latching push button and sometimes you want a toggle switch. I would be more likely to purchase the PCB board with screw terminals than an off the shelf ready to go controller.

    My .02

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    The aim is to stay around the APC-40 normal pricing which is around 400 to 500 EURO MSRP.
    Wow - the APC-40 sells for a good bit less than that here in the US. But even so, it sounds like your price goal is reasonable. A bit on the high end, but still doable.

    You say the Beyond Interface, but the unit should also work similar on say LivePro and possible be adaptable for Phoenix Live or other types of software.
    My thoughts on that are thus: In my opinion, Beyond has more controls than either LivePro or Phoenix live. So if you design it for Beyond, it will be more than enough for just about any other software.

    In LivePro, for example, you have the main cue grid and all the typical position and rotation controls, but any custom effects you add to a frame are done through the cue workspace, so you don't need extra buttons for that. Where as in Beyond, there is a separate window at the bottom with several built-in effects that can be triggered. Most people with the APC-40 use the three rows of small buttons below the main matrix to trigger those effects, but you really need four rows to do them all.

    Would we want some kind of EMERGENCY button on it ? ( not quite te same as a black-out but close )
    YES! This is a very good idea. Something large and red and easy to hit.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    Would you all prefer a system with indeed buttons, faders, knobs, meters and whatnot.
    Or...
    Would you like to have an option to build your own button set and use a touch screen
    Please - no touch screens. I'd rather have the physical knobs, buttons, and sliders.

    Quote Originally Posted by colouredmirrorball View Post
    Hmmm... I prefer hardware instead of a touch screen, as you can use it without looking at it.
    Agreed 100%!

    An oscillator typically has three options: amplitude, frequency and phase offset. That's three parameters per oscillator. If what you are saying is correct, Pangolin is limited to three oscillators, so that means you need to control nine parameters for full control.
    It depends on which Pangolin abstract generator you're using, but they all don't work like that. The LD-2000 oscillators have speed (frequency), amplitude, and FM oscillation, in addition to various waveform options. LivePro works similar, but it's not quite identical. Beyond has several different ways to make abstracts, including a quick-and-dirty generator that has limited controls, and and advanced one that adds more controls than even the LD-2000 version. Also, by using the output of a saved abstract as an input waveform for one of the oscillators on a new abstract, you can effectively "stack" oscillators ad nauseam - until you end up with nothing but hash.

    Bottom line though - this midi controller probably wouldn't be the best for "on-the-fly" abstract creation like you would do with a P-4 analog console. My understanding is that Peter is designing this to be used primarily for controlling live beam and atmospheric shows.

    Quote Originally Posted by norty303 View Post
    Physical controls are a must have. Touch screens have their place but are easily beaten by tactile controls.
    Again - spot on!

    Proper click switches like on a Chamsys wing or Chamtech PM console, not rubber membrane.
    This isn't such a big issue for me, but it would be nice as long as it doesn't drive the price up too far.

    Full tri colour LEDs on EVERYTHING! This is one of the biggest failings of the current crop of controllers like APC.
    This can get expensive. And the APC-40 does have LEDs on nearly all the buttons. One thing I don't like about the APC though is how some buttons "latch" on one color, so you have to hit them 2 more times to turn them off. (This is especially frustrating when using the small buttons on the lower left to control effects in Beyond. You should be able to de-select the current effect by hitting the button again, but that doesn't always work.)

    Quote Originally Posted by dnar View Post
    Regarding OLED buttons - I looked at using these before, ends up way too expensive once the button count gets over about 4!
    I agree that OLED buttons would look awesome, but yeah, they are way too expensive. (Still, how cool would it be to see a tiny animation of the cues on each button?)

    Quote Originally Posted by SaltyRobot View Post
    When it comes to POTs and mainly knobs I like having some knobs be bigger than other knobs. Things you may touch rarely in a show would be a small knob but then things used all the time have a slightly bigger knob. Same goes for switches.
    This is a damned good idea! I second the motion...

    Adam

  3. #23
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    Regarding the emergency stop - This is a great idea - but only if it has a db9 or similar to make it hardware, not software. A keyswitch would be great!

    Keith

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave View Post
    Www.ucapps.de

    All that is needed and more!
    Very nice! Looks like Doepfer's gear but slightly more elaborate. I like that dual alphanumeric 40x2 LCD. Those can show a lot of info, are surprisingly hard to break, and easy to replace. Very user-serviceable compared to most stuff today.

  5. #25
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    (This is especially frustrating when using the small buttons on the lower left to control effects in Beyond. You should be able to de-select the current effect by hitting the button again, but that doesn't always work.)
    I wonder if thats something in the map setup. Certainly, I programmed my own template off the back of the original Beyond one, and I've never had a problem getting the FX to toggle using those buttons.

    You should be able to set the button and LED state in most cases although for some bizarre reason they made some buttons able to do some states but not others. You can achieve an aweful lot with Pangoscript however.
    http://www.facebook.com/SubsonicSystems
    http://www.frikkinlazors.co.uk

    You are using Bonetti's defense against me, ah?

    I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.

  6. #26
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    Hmmm... Thanks for the input Norty. Maybe I need to play around with the configuration some more then.

    Regarding Pango-script, yeah, one of these days I need to pick your brains about that. Got some ideas for several things that could be accomplished using that, but I haven't had time to do any experimenting at all with it yet.

    Adam

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB View Post
    The aim is to stay around the APC-40 normal pricing which is around 400 to 500 EURO MSRP.
    I'm not sure where you're buying them but that's very expensive. Thomann sell them in Europe for 345 Euro (286): http://www.thomann.de/gb/akai_apc_40.htm

  8. #28
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    He did state that the price he quoted was MSRP. Of course you'll pick them up cheaper than that.
    http://www.facebook.com/SubsonicSystems
    http://www.frikkinlazors.co.uk

    You are using Bonetti's defense against me, ah?

    I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.

  9. #29
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    Laser Warning Beautiful dreamers... ;)

    I may be dreaming, but my ideal controller would have a memory so you could "pre-load" groups of q's and transitions etc then trigger them all simultaneously by hitting one button...

    I've been thinking about this for a while now and am sure it must be possible using Beyond and Pangoscript... but haven't had time to play much recently...
    But if this was built into the control surface, maybe as a number of programmable 'macro' buttons, that would be awesomely useful! I'm sure everyone has sequences of buttons they just can't hit fast enough sometimes to match the change in the music... or just sequences they use A LOT that would be nice reduced to one button press?

    Also, while we're talking control, why not build it around a small form factor PC and make a dedicated Laser Desk, much like a lighting desk or digital sound desk?
    After all, the PC's spec doesn't need to be too immense to run most software well and by cutting all the unnecessary cack from the OS you make it much more stable... using a PC for show related stuff makes me nervous at the best of times... so I (probably not alone in this) tend to keep a "Laser Only" PC just for this purpose, with almost no other software installed and no internet connections to keep it as clean as I can... so the cost of my isolated PC could happily be moved to the budget for a controller and would also save me 5-10 minutes of set up time plugging in all the relevant cables, keyboard, mouse, MIDI gadgets, monitors etc etc etc... also, it'd look a lot less 'hobby jobbing' when I took lasers to a gig!

    Anyway, just floating that as an idea...

    But as others have said:- No touch screen thanks. Big buttons that 'click'. Space to write labels with a sharpie if needed. An XLR connection on the back for a 'littlelite' would be nice. Lots of pots, sliders and a big red "oh $#1t!" button. A joystick would be nice, but not essential.
    Also, why MIDI and not USB? Or will it be USB using MIDI and I'm just getting lost in the technical backwater?

    Anyways, I'm sure there's more for the "perfect" controller, but that's my wish list at the moment.
    As to price, if it had the macro memories, I'd happily pay a few 100's more than the average APC40 price.
    If it had all that and the built-in PC making it a fully dedicated "Laser desk"... well...

    If in doubt... Give it a clout?

  10. #30
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    MIDI all the way. USB just uses MIDI protocol for this task anyway. But it's like Bluetooth using serial. Sometimes MIDI in its old form is best, because of the optoisolated inputs. Also, three out of 5 lines are used, so the remaining two are available for secure emergency stop signals or whatever. Can't have any of those advantages on USB. DIN plugs can be a lot more durable than USB connectors too, unless you want to pay HIGH prices to Amphenol.

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