Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

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NS4W
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Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by NS4W » Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:59 am

I'm looking into converting a mechanical keyboard to a midi controller or building a keyboard from scratch, Does anyone of you have any good experiences with this? QMK does support MIDI, but I'm looking for a good tutorial on how to setup. :help:

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by fg » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:28 am

how much keys ? do you need

the first step is to dismantle a keyboard, and keep only the electronic card, plug it into a computer, then open text software, make the connections with a wire on the keyboard card in order to find the corresponding letter. and remember

then you can use an arduino to convert letter to midi notes

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:13 am

you can do this in software. you can do this with a microcontroller adapter board. there is no need to cut into a perfectly good keyboard. PS/2 serial into a teensy will yield a USB midi controller.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by Flounderguts » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:33 am

Most keyboards are USB, ffs. All you need to do is map keypress states into MIDI cc and notes.

I like computer keyboard keys. I used Cherry MX keys for my x0xb0x...since I'm not a fan of clicky metal membrane tact switches. It was actually my first homebrew pcb...a breakout for the computer keys to x0x board. Alas, I got hung up on the case, and I still haven't finished it...
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by ersatzplanet » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:39 am

Easy enough to do in software. Reason has been doing this for years. Velocity, octave transpose are mapped in their version, you could add all sorts of other commands too, anything could be mapped to a range of keys. I could easily see volume, pan, modulation wheel (multiple keys for depth). While you are at it, since most keyboards have a USB port on them, add mouse control while you are at it. I could easily see a product there if you could find an easy way to make a module or box out of it (Raspberry Pi or Arduino in a box).
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by mrand » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:51 am

I've been wanting a blackbox that does this for years!
It would be amazing to be able to create custom keymaps, so you could arrange the notes any which way across the keyboard.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by NS4W » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:21 pm

mrand wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:51 am
I've been wanting a blackbox that does this for years!
It would be amazing to be able to create custom keymaps, so you could arrange the notes any which way across the keyboard.
Exactly!

I want a keyboard to be a midi device that I can plug into my eurorack and other gear. (I'm fully aware that the keyboard can be used as a controller in the DAW, but that relies on the software in my computer and is something else)

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by fg » Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:29 pm


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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by Flounderguts » Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:16 pm

fg wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 4:29 pm
https://github.com/gdsports/USBHIDKbd2MIDI

?
Yup
:yay:
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by mrand » Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:38 am

I always get a bit lost when I go to github. This project looks perfect though. If anyone builds some of these, I'd love to trade for a euro modules or something.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by mskala » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:05 am

Be aware that computer keyboards vary in their ability to handle multiple simultaneous keypresses. Depending on your keyboard, you may have trouble if you try to play polyphonic music; and the traditional USB keyboard protocol isn't capable of handling more than 6-way polyphony (which the gaming keyboard people call "rollover") even if the keyboard can do it. Specialized keyboards attempting to support more than that either use PS/2 connections, or extensions to traditional USB that require special drivers on the computer end.

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:23 am

mrand wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:38 am
I always get a bit lost when I go to github. This project looks perfect though. If anyone builds some of these, I'd love to trade for a euro modules or something.
I will jump on any project if there is a demand for it. whatever pays my bills. I also need to look at the license. I don't want to use it if the creator does not want us to have it.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by soon_come » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:31 am

I recently bought one of these from a DIY builder; it's an isometric layout which mimics guitar/bass string layout with fret markers. Class compliant MIDI via mini USB. The best part? You can play multiple notes on one "string" now. :hihi:

This is much easier for me to arrange/play on than a keyboard layout. I learned theory on guitar many years ago, so I associate finger patterns with chords / moods and have always cared more about relative intervals / progressions than what key I'm playing in... so piano keyboards tend to slow me down. This thing is super fun and useful.

Image

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by mrand » Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:29 am

mskala wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:05 am
Be aware that computer keyboards vary in their ability to handle multiple simultaneous keypresses.
Thanks for this info, mskala. That could be a deal breaker for some. I think for me it would still be worth a try for macro type jobs like triggering pattern changes.
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:23 am
I also need to look at the license. I don't want to use it if the creator does not want us to have it.
Yeah I couldn't figure this out from the github site. Maybe there is a contact/email and the designer themselves it selling unts.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by NS4W » Thu Apr 30, 2020 1:54 am

soon_come wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:31 am
I recently bought one of these from a DIY builder; it's an isometric layout which mimics guitar/bass string layout with fret markers. Class compliant MIDI via mini USB. The best part? You can play multiple notes on one "string" now. :hihi:

This is much easier for me to arrange/play on than a keyboard layout. I learned theory on guitar many years ago, so I associate finger patterns with chords / moods and have always cared more about relative intervals / progressions than what key I'm playing in... so piano keyboards tend to slow me down. This thing is super fun and useful.

Image

Yes, this is what I'm talking about! It has to be plug and play midi controller. I have seen this guy on instagram and suspects he is using QMK to program it - maybe he'll share his recipe how to do it!

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by nigel » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:35 am

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:23 am
I also need to look at the license. I don't want to use it if the creator does not want us to have it.
It says MIT license. Use as you want, don't remove the license or copyright notice.

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by Flareless » Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:57 am

Brain Jr and Brain V2 are cool options for getting MIDI out of keys, switches, etc...

Check out Livid Instruments
Rich

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by NS4W » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:19 am

Flareless wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:57 am
Brain Jr and Brain V2 are cool options for getting MIDI out of keys, switches, etc...

Check out Livid Instruments
Thanks for the tip. Sadly seems out of production?

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by Flareless » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:38 am

NS4W wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:19 am
Flareless wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:57 am
Brain Jr and Brain V2 are cool options for getting MIDI out of keys, switches, etc...

Check out Livid Instruments
Thanks for the tip. Sadly seems out of production?
Sorry to hear that.

I've got a V2 that I purchased several years ago and still hasn't been put to use. I dredged the company name up from memory. I guess they didn't sell enough product to stay in business. Bummer.
Rich

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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by dot matrix madness » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:43 am

The CTM64 Contact to Midi interface might also be a solution for hooking up external
controllers.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Thu Apr 30, 2020 4:59 am

QMK has a midi feature but you would need to build a QMK keyboard for that. I think OP asked how to customize an existing keyboard that does not have an STM32F that QMK uses. if you want to go the QMK midi option, you are already spending $100 on a kit + labor. that also means your other keyboard is not usable so add that to the cost since you can't use it.
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Re: Computer keyboard to midi controller conversion

Post by cmachi » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:55 pm

If you just need to convert any keyboard to be QMK, then you can use a hasu usb converter:

https://www.1upkeyboards.com/shop/contr ... converter/

I haven't looked into QMK's MIDI features at all, but it should be what you're looking for. (provided QMK has all the MIDI functionality that you need)

Keep in mind the 6KRO which could be a dealbreaker though. Failing that, you're probably best off with a custom keyboard.

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