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Low-Cost MIDI-Knobbox

* * * E X P I R E D * * *

Created in June 1998, published in Elektor 2/2000

The Hardware

The main part of the MIDIbox is the Microcontroller PIC 16F84 by Microchip, which is clocked with 10 MHz. It gives enough performance to handle the potentiometers and to send MIDI data. The AD converter MAX 186 by Maxim is used to measure the voltage from the potentiometers and convert it into digital data streams. And thats nearly all of the Box. Yeah, its really simple. :)

The Software

The software was developed very quickly, the test phase took much longer. New concepts, new routines... but now the handling is very effective. The final source code of MIDIbox 1 is here. But look up for the completly re-design! I appologize for the spagetti code, but compress a complex program into 1k program memory must take compromises. If you are firm with PIC programming, you can extend the source code by your needs.

Available Layers

Two layers are available for software synthesizers. This mean, you can change 16 parameters with your MIDIbox. The Layer 1 and 2 Map:

Layer

Pot1

Pot2

Pot3

Pot4

Pot5

Pot6

Pot7

Pot8

1

$10 XX

$11 XX

$12 XX

$13 XX

$14 XX

$15 XX

$16 XX

$17 XX

2

$18 XX

$19 XX

$1a XX

$1b XX

$1c XX

$1d XX

$1e XX

$1f XX

Also the MIDIbox supports controlling soundcards with EMU chip like AWE and Soundblaster Live! You can play with your EMU soundcard over a MIDI monitor with MIDI thru function or with a sequencer. The Map for the EMU Chip is:

Layer

Pot1

Pot2

Pot3

Pot4

Pot5

Pot6

Pot7

Pot8

3

Volume

Panorama

Expression

Modulation

LP CutOff

LP Reson.

Chorus

Reverb

4

LFO1 Delay

LFO1 Freq.

LFO1->Pitch

LFO1->Vol.

LFO1->CutOff

LFO2 Delay

LFO2 Freq.

LFO2->Pitch

5

Env1 Delay

Env1 Attack

Env1 Hold

Env1 Decay

Env1 Sustain

Env1 Release

Env1->Pitch

Env1->CutOff

6

Env2 Delay

Env2 Attack

Env2 Hold

Env2 Decay

Env2 Sustain

Env2 Release

-

-

Nachbauen

Its easy to build the Box, you can do it yourself without much effort, if you know the right end of the soldering iron. To put the software into the PIC, you need the PICplus programmer kit or one of the minimal programmer, which are available in the internet. I would comment the minimal programmer by Martin Clausen which is easy to build and can also burn the 16F87x for MIDIbox Plus!
Anyway, if you see no chance to program the PIC, I can do it for you. You only have to send a PIC to me. I will get no money for this, but don't forget to send me also some stamps for shipping.

Ergebnisse

FUN FUN FUN !!!

With the MIDIbox I realize, that keyboard and mouse is only a handicap when making music. Now I create my own sounds without stole it from soundfont archives. Yeah, its really cool. :) Here are some examples which were recorded at the first week after the MIDIbox was running:

bsp1.mp3 (140k) LFO experiments
bsp2.mp3 (154k) Drum Jam
bsp3.mp3 (119k) Techno-Sequence (melody taken from radio... ;)


Last update: 2018-01-06

Copyright 1998-2018, Thorsten Klose. All rights reserved.