Opinions about a daw midi controller

Hey guys... I need some help!

I´m newbie... must learn a lot about arduino, libraries, codes, etc. BUT, before I star studing this deeper, I must know if my project is possible to work.

Well here we go... :)

This is the controller´s layout.

It´s a channel strip. My intention is to controll the plugins I use in my mixes with daw reaper.

My plan is to use:


I´m still not sure if there is any limitation to the midi library, because all the enconders must be set to work as parameter control changes. I need something that I select the parameter I want in the plugin, set it to "learn" and moving one of those enconders it will be mapped to that parameter.

I think this controller gonna work... but now we gonna talk about my biggest concern.

I would like to have 12 of this controller working togheter. Then I could manualy controll many tracks or groups. It would help me a lot. The final result would be some kind of 12 tracks audio mixer.

It would use 12 arduinos mega, 240 enconders, 24 push buttons.

Is there any possibility for this work? I think gonna be hard to use 12 controllers conected in usb and doing serial to midi convertion. Then I thought that maybe it could work if I conect everything with midi cables, and set one controller for each midi channel. Then all the controllers would be conected to my interface midi in.

Please... give me your thoughts about this. Is it possible to work?

Thanks a lot!

I think this controller gonna work.

Yes it will.

It would use 12 arduinos mega, 240 enconders, 24 push buttons.

You could but you can also use just one Arduino with the correct add on circuits. This would get round the problem of trying to combine 12 asynchronous output into one input.

I think gonna be hard to use 12 controllers conected in usb and doing serial to midi convertion.


Is it possible to work?

Yes, but you have a lot of learning to do. This can be either from online sources or maybe my book on the subject.

Thanks a lot Mike... Now that i know this project gonna work i have to study this better. Gonna buy your book as soon as possible.

What are some tips? I am in the process of building a plugin controller myself right now using a mega. And also completely new to this.

I like the idea of modular construction. It’s a lot easier to build one smaller thing and then duplicate it 11 more times than to build one big thing. (Like Mike said, it’s best not to duplicate the whole thing with multiple Arduinos.)

I’d suggest starting with the MIDI control/communication. Just send a few MIDI commands under software control without using any buttons or knobs, etc. Then add a switch and get that working. Then add a pot or rotary encoder and “build” from there.

This is a “big project”, especially for a beginner, and I’d guess it’s going to take a few months or several months.

Personally, I’d only consider doing it if I wanted something unique that you can’t buy or if I just wanted to learn. But in my opinion, this is not a good “learning project” for a beginner. If you are a beginner it’s better to build something simpler that you can build, finish, and enjoy more quickly.

Or, sometimes you think you can build something more cheaply that you can buy it, but the cost of things like the case, power supply, connectors, pots, switches, and all of the little parts can add-up quickly. If you have a circuit board made that’s an expense and the first try often has errors and may need to be scrapped. Then as your project moves-along, you usually end-up placing one or two more “small orders” where the shipping might cost more than the parts, or you make a couple of runs to the store, spending more than you expect or you need 2-screws and you end-up buying a package of 10 screws, etc. I’d guess most of my “little Arduino projects” end-up costing around $100 and they are not nearly as complicated as a 12-channel MIDI controller. (If you can use USB power you can avoid the power supply.)

It’s can also be difficult to build something that’s as reliable, works as well, and looks as good as something you can buy.