Where to start...

Hello all,

I have been reading about Arduino for about a year or so now, and I think I have finally come up with something that I would like to build.

First off, I am not sure if this is the right place to post this or not, but hey, please tell me otherwise.

The Project:
It is very possible that something like this already exists, but…

I have an audio granular synthesis program that I wrote using Pure Data. Each grain of sound has several parameters that go into making the grain (the current version has 7 parameters that make up a grain), and each of these parameters has at least 5 controls that are used to generate the actual parameter. So, with 7 parameters and each has 5 controls, that makes 35 or more controls that go into making a single grain of sound.

My idea is to mimic a mixing board, where each slider is one of the controls, and a group of 5 sliders would be used to control a single parameter. I was thinking about using Round pots for this, but it seems to me that sliders would offer easier was to manipulate each control.

Also, while this is just one application, I would also like to build this thing so that it is generic enough to be used for other things.

ANY help, suggestions, or criticisms would be much appreciated.


You can easily read slide pots with Arduinos analog pins.

The problem you will encounter first is that there are only 6 of them, so to read more than 6 pots you will ned to multiplex the analog inputs.

This might sound scary or difficult, but it’s quite easy.

I have made a project where i read 16 slide pots with the help of 2 4051 analog multiplexre IC’s this project can easily be expanded to read more pots.

It would be relatively easy to make a generic controller with a number of slidepots (or rotary) and some switches, that could be used for variuous projects.

Check the 4051 analog multiplex example in the playground, or PM me for more info on how i did it.

Thanks MikMo,

I guess at this point, I need to sit down and plan out how the thing will look, and what it will do. One thing that I have thought about is that it would be nice to be able to store and reload settings for each of the sliders, but that would also require that the device be settable via the Arduino. I am sure that something like that would add to the complexity of the final device. Also, as there are some things that I would like have as selectable options at runtime. Some of the parameters I am controlling, like frequency, can be controlled in two [or more] different modes, one reading a “low” and a “high” slider, while a second mode might be “low” and “range”. The second mode would in effect lock the high value in relationship to the low value.

I got the Multiplexing stuff and am reading it…

Thanks again, and I am sure that I will be back with more questions, later.


The variable configuration is really just a software problem. You can read the pots, and then decide what to do with the vaues in the software. It’s really easy to reprogram the Arduino board. So you could just have a number of versions of the software, and then load the needed one to the Arduino board. This could of course end in a mess if you have to make changes to some of the basic stuff in the program. You would probably also want some kind of overlay for the frontpanel so it could reflect the different setups.

You can get motorized pots, but they cost a lot, and contolling them would as you have figured ouout your self, bring you to a compleatly different complexity level.

One thing to have in mind, is that drilling round holes in a front panel for rotary pots is easy, making long straight slots for slide pots is a pain in the neck. (if anybody has a good method, please let me know :slight_smile: )

I have a small PCB layout for two 4051’s giving 16 analog inputs to the Arduino board, at the expense of two analogg and three digital pins. Two of them and you would have 32 analog ins, plus the 2 left over on the Arduino board.