The "perfect" MIDI controller

I do not want anybody read my mind


I knew you were going to say that!

Maybe it wouldn’t be so expensive.
We pay 600 bucks for “good” controllers that have strange, exotic, hidden features (Kontrol for NI with two hires displays, Analog lab for Arturia).
Take those things out, make a simple Arduino interface with pure MIDI. Open source.
It wouldn’t be more expensive than a closed software solution, I guess.
We should start to design it ourselves.
GigPerformer started as a musician initiative.
Let’s do it with hardware too!

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I think about this often… I have what is for me a nearly perfect setup but there are small things I wish were different to the point I have considered modifying one of my keyboard enclosures and/or working out a bespoke stand that extends the chassis of one of my keyboards.

I only meant musical thoughts… for the rest TMI.

I would like to see almost exactly the keyboard described in the first posting, only things to change would be a set of knobs with led-ring, and i wouldn’t actually need MPE (i think one had to choose between “real” keys without MPE, or something like those rubber keys the Roli has).

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I have found what I think is pretty close to the perfect controller (for me). Viscount Physis Piano K4EX has 88 weighted keys with a better keybed (TP40L or at least the TP40M) than the Fatar TP100LR that is used by a large number of manufacturers.
It has:

  • 9 Assignable sliders
  • 9 Endless rotary knobs
  • 9 Buttons
  • 4 Controller banks
  • 128 Performances with 4 scenes and 8 zones
  • Colour display (4.3" Multicolour Graphic LC display 480 x 272 px)
  • Connections: 2x MIDI Input (2 midi input DIN plugs)
  • 8 x MIDI Output (8 midi output DIN plugs)
  • USB to device
  • 4 x USB (jacks that you can plug external USB controllers in)
  • 8 x pedal connections (YES 8 - that can be either sustain or modulation type pedals in any combination)
  • 2 mod wheels and a pitch bend wheel

It comes with internal modeling sound sources but I only use it for controlling my rack PC VSTs.

The only thing it lacks are the trigger pads. I have the Special Waves Mine~S controller I have configured for pad triggering.

But here’s the kicker…
They discontinued there Physis Pianos a year or two ago… :rage: :rage: :rage:

Yeah, I have one of these — the sliders are not motorized though.

In my opinion, to enter the category « perfect », I need motorized faders/drawbars , knobs with led rings, buttons with on/off leds and a display (LCD, OLED) under each generic button. Of course accessible from GP. Currently this doesn’t exist and I am not sure it will. So, I use an Icon Platform M+ additionally to my not perfect controllers…

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From a philosophical point of view: Some would say that the lack of perfection in the means leads to the creativity that leads to art :thinking:

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Special Waves reported they are currently working on motorized faders for their Mine~S controllers. So that may be an option for me in the future with my current set up. (:crossed_fingers:t2: :wink:).

Dexibell does make an organ with motorized drawbars… but I don’t think it qualifies for perfect keyboard.

The point is that I don’t want to pay for a new synthesizer or a new workstation. Inside my computer I have all the sounds that I need.
I have an extremely good software host to drive them (GigP).
But I am missing a serious controller.
I am convinced this is the future, so I am thinking to invest in what I need.
Pity it’s not in the market…

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Before I went the route I did, I was seriously considering the DMC-122… which is certainly the most robust controller-only, dual-manual ‘organ’ midi-controller. It has some of the building blocks for a “perfect” controller which in my mind would require two manuals but it also comes up lacking.

If you took the idea of the DMC-122 and made the lower manual weighted action and kept the upper manual organ-action, added more high-resolution sliders or converted the 9 position drawbars to high resolution sliders (with detents for organ stops) and added perhaps pads… and possibly motorized the drawbar section… you might be getting something close to a “perfect” keyboard controler.

I put that DMC thing under my radar. But strangely I never had a chance to see one, and I live in Italy!
Here it was always at 1200 bucks level. Part of a project that never started off, with optional audio board and internal sounds.
And it was a huge one piece thing.
Currently I am using a Studiologic SL73 with its own Mixface and a Native Kontrol S61.
So I arrived just at your opinion.
But with two bags I am much more flexible.
Planning to sell my Montage7 and buy a CP73, I love it’s keybed.

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Thats my opinion and idea too! I just started developing a hardware-controller using a Teensy. The first step will end in 8 OLED-Displays, displaying the Captions of GigPerformers Panel Control-Elements (using SysEx-Midimessages). Step two will integrate 9 motorized faders. And finally i would like to add a state-of-art Keybed.
The first step is almost finished. At the beginning of next year I will post circuit diagrams and software (Arduino IDE) in GigPerformer forum.
II would be happy if other users would participate in the hardware and software development


I would be happy to support. But I don’t know what to do. I guess you are much more skilled

Same here…

It looks very interesting. However, I’m afraid I don’t have much time to actively participate, but I will follow your project.

If you want I can maybe review it (but not intending to build the controller anyway soon). I have experience with Arduino and ESP-32 (never built anything until completely finished, but played a bit with them, also related to MIDI messaging and DMX).

Continue reading about the DIY-Controller here.