Electra One MIDI controller box with knobs & touchscreen

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Panason
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Electra One MIDI controller box with knobs & touchscreen

Post by Panason » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:31 am

Manufacturers, wake up. We need more stuff like this.

Image
We even made knobs touch sensitive. Even a light touch gives you visual feedback on the display about what MIDI parameter will be modified when the knob is turned.
https://electra.one/

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Post by Panason » Sun Sep 08, 2019 9:36 am

"Just" add a sequencer to something like that....

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Post by tioJim » Sun Sep 08, 2019 11:32 am

Only two I/O on DIN?

Next! :roll:

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Post by Panason » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:12 pm

I suggested to them a bigger one and they said the usual things about compactness, desktop space etc etc.

Desktops are already full, just add VESA mounting holes to gear so we can put it on swivel brackets and Bob's yer uncle. I will not rest until I am surrounded by screens and control panels !

Screw Roland, I design the future, and I say the future is hands-on controllers.

It's time VST developers got their act together and came up with an open 21st century protocol/API/framework/whatever for high-resolution 2-way communication between plugins and controllers. With decent screens like this, graphics could be used to give each plugin its own visual identity on the controller... bringing unprecedented levels of hardware-ification of software!!!

Native Instruments are only interested in pushing their products, someone else needs to rise to the task...

(PM me for my consultancy and design services! :tu: )

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Post by daveholiday » Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:51 pm

It is really a good looking piece of gear, but how will they make a profit if they are only going to sell 5 of them to the last people using MIDI! :razz:

:poke:

In all seriousness though, having functions labeled via the screen makes the workflow so much better. So many of the controllers I have used, and are using, (minilab) are great but my memory isn't. I have to remember or notate what "program" is set up for what task or synth I want to control. I think some of the novation controllers started to go this route, but I don't have much experience with them.

This is a pretty slick design on a piece of kit!
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Post by seychmar » Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:17 pm

It looks like a great design. But the big if with all devices of this kind is the device library. And it is really a lot of work to program a large device library, not to mention getting access to all those synths and other devices. I was almost going to pre order one but I think I will wait to see which and how many devices will be covered. As things stand, it would probably be better to invest in something like Midiquest, with its enormous device library. Now, if only somebody could partner with Soundquest and come up with a hardware controller that could use their library!

I have a bunch of older synths and most of them use sysex or RPNs. Programming a sysex editor is a PITA and a good editor would need to make this as easy as possible as well as be flexible enough to accommodate all the nuances of sysex, such as checksums, nibbles, LSBs and MSBs, etc. Most editors I have seen do not offer enough flexibility. In fact the best one I have seen is the old and venerable Peavey PC1600. And I have tried lots of other controllers but haven’t kept any of them except for the Peavey. I hope I will be proven wrong on this controller but for now i will wait and see.

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Post by anselmi » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:00 pm

seychmar wrote:Most editors I have seen do not offer enough flexibility. In fact the best one I have seen is the old and venerable Peavey PC1600. And I have tried lots of other controllers but haven’t kept any of them except for the Peavey. I hope I will be proven wrong on this controller but for now i will wait and see.
Notation Remote Zero SL and Behringer BCR-2000 have the same flexibility and also good editors that makes them even easier to program SysEx templates.

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Post by seychmar » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:19 pm

I tried both. They are excellent editors in many respects but neither cover all sysex variations. Some old devices really have weird sysex protocols, eg 7 bit LSB MSB. Only the Peavey Pc1600 can handle those.

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Post by chaocrator » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:57 am

The only thing that really worried me was the touchscreen. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a touchscreen when playing live, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

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Post by Panason » Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:16 am

chaocrator wrote:The only thing that really worried me was the touchscreen. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a touchscreen when playing live, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.
LOL! MY feelings exactly but I think you shouldn't need to use the touch screen when playing live.

It is really a good looking piece of gear, but how will they make a profit if they are only going to sell 5 of them to the last people using MIDI! razz
Ha, when I said that I meant people using MIDI hardware synths and drum machines. I think the biggest market for such controllers is people wanting a physical surface for controlling plugins. I know I have a few that I never use and am missing out on a world of good sounds...

As for a device library, look how it worked with the Pyramid. Squarp set up a subforum for people to submit their instrument definitions and it's grown to a proper library..... the power of the people!

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Post by martinp » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:24 am

hi, I am actually the guy who designed electra. I am happy to see there is a discussion about it :)

I would like to mention a few things and if there is anything you wonder about, just dump it to me.


The synth library - electra uses JSON files that describe the definition of the midi implementation of synths/dps/whatevers. Currently midi CC and templates for sysex are supported, but we will go futrher, so that parsing of patch sysex dumps is supported, so that we can have this bi-directional communication in place, ie. that electra not only sends sysex, but it also updates visuals on the LCD based on what is in the connected device. Of course handling bitmasks, nibbles, checksums, and other sysex mess is a must. I am not saying all will be there tomorrow, but it is our goal actually.

The format of JSON for instruiments, presets (layouts of controls), as well as sysex to fully control electra over midi will be public. This means that people can write their JSONs, but they can also develop apps to make JSONs. For example our web editor is nothing more than a chrome with webmidi app that talks sysex to Electra.

number of ports, knobs, touch - electra was in the beginning really meant to be a synth programmer. actually programmer for Rhodes Chroma. The project attracted quite some interest from people who want to have it on stage etc. We am going to reflect it - and we have some interesting ideas - very knoby, very stage friendly, but still high level of visual feedback. will share later it still needs thinking.

OSC - Again MIDI ports were must support classic synths. The USB MIDI interface to connect them computer and move to 21st century. USB Host to provide connectivity for other stuff and have means to expand electra's capabilities - think of pedals, extra buttons, knob surfaces, ports. Then I think there is a whole chapter about software world. we are getting into it. I am already playing around with OSC integration and would like to get it working with reaper. So far it is more like an exploring the area...

anyways, if you have qs, I am here.

martin

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Post by kinkujin » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:59 am

martinp wrote:hi, I am actually the guy who designed electra. I am happy to see there is a discussion about it :)

I would like to mention a few things and if there is anything you wonder about, just dump it to me.


The synth library - electra uses JSON files that describe the definition of the midi implementation of synths/dps/whatevers. Currently midi CC and templates for sysex are supported, but we will go futrher, so that parsing of patch sysex dumps is supported, so that we can have this bi-directional communication in place, ie. that electra not only sends sysex, but it also updates visuals on the LCD based on what is in the connected device. Of course handling bitmasks, nibbles, checksums, and other sysex mess is a must. I am not saying all will be there tomorrow, but it is our goal actually.

The format of JSON for instruiments, presets (layouts of controls), as well as sysex to fully control electra over midi will be public. This means that people can write their JSONs, but they can also develop apps to make JSONs. For example our web editor is nothing more than a chrome with webmidi app that talks sysex to Electra.

number of ports, knobs, touch - electra was in the beginning really meant to be a synth programmer. actually programmer for Rhodes Chroma. The project attracted quite some interest from people who want to have it on stage etc. We am going to reflect it - and we have some interesting ideas - very knoby, very stage friendly, but still high level of visual feedback. will share later it still needs thinking.

OSC - Again MIDI ports were must support classic synths. The USB MIDI interface to connect them computer and move to 21st century. USB Host to provide connectivity for other stuff and have means to expand electra's capabilities - think of pedals, extra buttons, knob surfaces, ports. Then I think there is a whole chapter about software world. we are getting into it. I am already playing around with OSC integration and would like to get it working with reaper. So far it is more like an exploring the area...

anyways, if you have qs, I am here.

martin
I love the design and looks of this thing. I'd love one. However, as has been mentioned above, more midi i/o would be most desirable.

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Post by martinp » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:42 pm

kinkujin wrote:I love the design and looks of this thing. I'd love one. However, as has been mentioned above, more midi i/o would be most desirable.
How many ports and in what configuration (ins vs outs) would you find most practical?

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Post by kinkujin » Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:46 pm

I’ve got beaucoups synths. I wouldn’t expect that many inputs but ... 4 in’s would be great! Thanks for asking.

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Post by Panason » Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:58 am

The USB host port can be used for connecting more synths.. and maybe the firmware can be written to allow using a USB MIDI interface on that host port for more MIDI DIN i/o. I've seen other devices that do this, it 's certainly possible.

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Post by euxine » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:16 pm

Ignorant question, but what are the odds of this working with eucon? I'm thinking it'd be swell as a DAW controller...

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Post by martinp » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:26 am

euxine wrote:Ignorant question, but what are the odds of this working with eucon? I'm thinking it'd be swell as a DAW controller...
I will look at that. But as time is scarce I have to be careful about the priorities and feature I will be adding. the pre-order campaign is meant to help me and my colleague to actually have more time for working on the firmware and editor, to add stuff like this there. Till this very moment electra is an evening/spare time project :)

But I will look at eucon. DAW support is a frequently asked topic.

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Post by Panason » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:48 am

I don't see how this would make a generally useful DAW controller without faders or enough buttons or transport controls. The layout just isn't there... unless of course you put all that stuff on the touch screen... in which case you could use an iPad...

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Post by euxine » Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:36 am

Thanks Martinp!

@Panason - it surely wouldn't replace the avid artist mix or similar, but after using Console 1 for single- channel/bus processing, I'm getting comfortable with knobs rather than faders for level and automation moves. Was just a curious question. 8-)

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