I’m planning on buying a 80s racksynth (guess which one looking at the mockup) but I would also like to build a MIDI controller to be able to program it live. There are devices like this, but for the asking price of those things they aren’t completely to my liking. So I started researching and had the idea of trying to build one myself.
I’d love some pointers on which Arduino version and which extra boards to get should this is be feasible, what the possible problems are with this kind of project. Two things I can think of are processing power and energy needs. I’d love a smooth running system without any noticable lag and basically ideally have something on par with a retail midi controller. I’d like to purchase the right boards right away and then slowly work my way up - to test most of these things, I only need a few of the components I want to use in the final version. Unfortunately, I know barely anything about the physical side of things, but I am looking forward to learning, once I got the product to play with!
Here’s what I want to go for:
52x potentiometers, maybe a few of them dented
34x momentary switches as possibly led keys
7x 128x64 oled displays
1x 320x128 oled display
10-14x rotary encoders with push function
few control leds and toggle switches
midi in, thru, out
usb port to configure software and possible extension modules (?)
built into 19" rack and hopefully possible to gig with
The values interpreted from the potentiometers and some of the key presses should get translated to either midi or sysex (the synth receives in sysex). Every control module as seen on the picture I’ve uploaded (oscillators etc) have a few extra parameters in menus which should be accessable via either the 12 key keypad or the keys under it and controlled by the encoders (not in mockup yet). I think in the end, if I manage to do everything which I want to, there will be around 15-20 different menu screens.
Some of the functions are simple parameter menu change, comparing original patch (data from synth) to changes made with the controller, freezing notes, arpeggiator, sequencer and other ideas I might get down the line (virtual LFOs etc). Functions of keys might change depending on which menu you are located. The bottom row of 8 keys under the display should have an assignable function if you aren’t located in a submenu. All of this functionality is supposed to be shown on the large display.
The small displays show the currently selected options of the parameters hidden in the menus, and ideally, the oscillators and LFOs show their own wave form (not sure if this is actually possible to display accurately) but the ramps for the envelopes should definitely be displayable from the potentiometer values alone, which for me is also visually the most important one.
Thanks for reading, hopefully replying and happy new year!