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DIY Ribbon MIDI Controller (w/Demo)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author DIY Ribbon MIDI Controller (w/Demo)
chipaudette
Hi All,

Like several people here, I built myself an analog ribbon controller a bunch of years back. Recently, though, I converted it over to being a MIDI controller by adding an Arduino and MIDI shield. It's pretty fun!

Since I didn't see any threads here on DIY ribbon MIDI controllers, I figured I'd link in my how-to post. If you're interested, there's also a demo video with my ribbon driving my Prophet 6...

http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2016/03/diy-midi-ribbon-controller.htm l

As we all know, making something work is totally cool, but the real work comes in trying to make it musical. Lots and lots of little tweaks make all the difference.

Anyone else MIDI'd a ribbon controller? How did you get around the pitch-bend limitations?

Chip
masterofstuff124
how should i go about making one that spits out CV?
4floorsofwhores
masterofstuff124 wrote:
how should i go about making one that spits out CV?


This smile
raph36
cool! i've been looking for a simple solution to this for ages, since it's arduino, you think you could add a 2 note option ?
like the paia one http://www.paia.com/ProdArticles/dual-ribbon-howto.htm
seems like a simple sample & hold, and it really adds to it
chipaudette
4floorsofwhores wrote:
masterofstuff124 wrote:
how should i go about making one that spits out CV?


This smile


Ask and you shall receive! I've extended my MIDI Ribbon to now be CV Ribbon controller. Below is a demo on a Korg Mono/Poly:

http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2016/04/diy-ribbon-controller-cv.html

Interestingly, the ribbon somehow *feels* better when driving a synth via CV. Maybe the continuous nature of CV is better suited to the continuous nature of a ribbon, at least when compared to the quantized keyboard assumptions built into MIDI.

Chip
masterofstuff124
wow i love you. thank you for doing this. it just jumped to the top of my build list!
JenniferG
chipaudette wrote:
4floorsofwhores wrote:
masterofstuff124 wrote:
how should i go about making one that spits out CV?


This smile


Ask and you shall receive! I've extended my MIDI Ribbon to now be CV Ribbon controller. Below is a demo on a Korg Mono/Poly:

http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2016/04/diy-ribbon-controller-cv.html

Interestingly, the ribbon somehow *feels* better when driving a synth via CV. Maybe the continuous nature of CV is better suited to the continuous nature of a ribbon, at least when compared to the quantized keyboard assumptions built into MIDI.

Chip


This is really cool, thanks for sharing all those details. I just happened to order a 4922 DAC the other day and will have soon enough.

I have a few questions for you. I have both Arduino Nano and Pro Mini's.. do they ave the ports/pins needed for the communications to the 4922? I see you are using a Micro and it has some pins I am not familiar with.

I liked those TRS audio jack modules for your breadboard. Do you by any chance have a search term for them so I can search ebay, or an ebay link? I already tried searching for them and couldn't find them. They'd be really useful.. I'd buy a handful of them.

I see you have some caps and resistors on your breadboard, what are these for exactly? (Was looking at the 6 images you shared -- perhaps I should read the page more to get this info in case you already explained this.)

I am surprised the 4922 has enough output power for cv.. I thought the output of it would of had to go through an opamp.

Thanks again, I really look forward to learning how to do CV.
JenniferG
This blog posting do is so very invaluable. I need to look at your blog and check out all your electronics projects -- can learn an awful lot from you! Thanks.
chipaudette
JenniferG wrote:

I have a few questions for you. I have both Arduino Nano and Pro Mini's.. do they ave the ports/pins needed for the communications to the 4922? I see you are using a Micro and it has some pins I am not familiar with.


The 4922 communicates via the SPI bus. Both the Nano and the Pro Mini (the 5V version is best for use with synths) should work fine. For both the Nano and for the Pro Mini, the SPI bus to the DAC will use pins 10, 11, and 13. Communication to the DAC is only one-way, so you won't need to connect MISO (master in, slave out), which is why you don't need pin 12.

JenniferG wrote:

I liked those TRS audio jack modules for your breadboard. Do you by any chance have a search term for them so I can search ebay, or an ebay link? I already tried searching for them and couldn't find them. They'd be really useful.. I'd buy a handful of them.


Those are from sparkfun. The links are below. I also added the links to my blog post:

3.5mm Jack: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8032
Breakout: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10588

JenniferG wrote:

I see you have some caps and resistors on your breadboard, what are these for exactly? (Was looking at the 6 images you shared -- perhaps I should read the page more to get this info in case you already explained this.)


There are two caps. One is a 0.1uF cap near the DAC that is between my 5V power supply rail and ground. You're supposed to put such caps near ICs to help smooth their power. So, I do.

There's also a 33nF cap on the analog input pin. This is to reduce the noise seen when reading the ribbon. Without the cap, the ribbon signal was super-noisy (ie, the pitch jumped all over the place) whenever the Arduino was powered from a wall-wart, or even from my laptop, if the laptop was plugged in.

There are no resistors in the circuit. There is one resistor in the picture, but it just happened to be attached to my headphone jack from a previous project. It's not connected. Sorry for the confusion.

JenniferG wrote:

I am surprised the 4922 has enough output power for cv.. I thought the output of it would of had to go through an opamp.


The 4922 is designed to be self-buffered, which means that it can source some small amount of current. I have no idea if it works with all CV synths or CV modules, but it seems to work fine for me.

Good luck!

Chip
masterofstuff124
dont have any mcp4922. placing a digikey order in the next couple days to get one. have a bunch of arduino nano's. will try on all my different modules and see how it works. will report back here.
sammy123
Let us know if you get this running with the nano. I have a bunch and the micro is a bit $$.
JenniferG
[quote="chipaudette"]
4floorsofwhores wrote:


Ask and you shall receive! I've extended my MIDI Ribbon to now be CV Ribbon controller. Below is a demo on a Korg Mono/Poly:

http://synthhacker.blogspot.com/2016/04/diy-ribbon-controller-cv.html

Interestingly, the ribbon somehow *feels* better when driving a synth via CV. Maybe the continuous nature of CV is better suited to the continuous nature of a ribbon, at least when compared to the quantized keyboard assumptions built into MIDI.

Chip


Hey Chip! Since you have the midi connection and cv on your board right now, might as well add some code for MIDI to CC option wink

I am guessing you have already built one of these smile
Starspawn
Is two ribbons on the arduino and DAC for CV possible without more parts?
masterofstuff124
having another maybe shborter ribbon would be cool as a modulation source etc.
Starspawn
Yep, got a 50cm and a 20cm I never did anything with.
masterofstuff124
this thread has me super tempted to start building a Cv controller keyboard. old organ 44 key keyboard. strip mounted the same way OP did on his mono/poly. maybe some knobs for a constant steady cv source and then mod wheels/pitchbend. plus a couple short soft pots for more CV. I Wonder how many gate/cv i get an arduino to spit out at once!
masterofstuff124
attempting to upload the code to a cheap nano. just gets stuck at uploading...

I have it set to micro as it wont compile when its set to nano.
sammy123
I could not get this to compile on the nano either after already loading the MIDI version of the code.

Here is the short version of the error:

Arduino: 1.6.6 (Windows 7), TD: 1.26, Board: "Arduino Nano, ATmega328"

avr-g++: error: missing filename after '-o'

exit status 1
Error compiling.
masterofstuff124
did you load the biquad library? there is a link in the program.
sammy123
I downloaded the file, but I don't know how to load the biquad library.
chipaudette
sammy123 wrote:
I downloaded the file, but I don't know how to load the biquad library.


On Windows, you move the "Biquad" folder into Documents\Arduino\libraries\. On Mac, there's presumably a similar directory.

Restart the Arduino IDE and compile.

Chip
sammy123
Thanks Chip. I figured it out. Something else is going on though. I am getting this error no matter what I do. I can't even compile a blank or blink program. Maybe something went wrong with my nano? I even removed and reinstalled the Arduino IDE. I'll try another.
Arson
Hi dude, I was looking for a simple cv ribbon controller Something like this:
http://www.matrixsynth.com/2008/04/cv-ribbon-controller.html

Do you offer any of them. If not do you know someone who builds that stuff? If not can you give some resources to make it myself? smile

Thanks dude!
masterofstuff124
finally got all the parts necessary and some free time.

the ribbon itself works great at spitting out CV.
pin 5 is always high though. so when I press on the ribbon, gate goes low which is the opposite of what you want in a eurorack modular. but the CV itself is very responsive.

With winterbreak approaching I should have plenty of time to dive into the arduino code and make the changes I want. my plan is to mount a 7inch resistive strip in the blank space ontop of my arturia keystep. Maybe Ill add some knobs for span and start point. or just some switches.

Ive also been thinking of adding an encoder and screen(or just some indicator LED's) for some advanced functionality. like preset scales or funky rhythms....


anyhoo thanks for this!!

Rockin' Banana! nanners It's peanut butter jelly time! nanners Rockin' Banana! MY ASS IS BLEEDING
chipaudette
masterofstuff124 wrote:

the ribbon itself works great at spitting out CV.
pin 5 is always high though. so when I press on the ribbon, gate goes low which is the opposite of what you want in a eurorack modular. but the CV itself is very responsive.


If you're using my code, I forgot that the Mono/Poly doesn't use Gate In, it uses S-Trig. Hence, the polarity will be reversed. It's wicked easy to change in software though!

Chip
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