Beat707 LE: A Button Pad-based Standalone MIDI sequencer

sparkfun_button_pad_midi_controller

[Guilherme] picked up a SparkFun Button Pad and was taking a closer look at the device when he noticed that it was based off the ATMega328 microcontroller. Since he loves working with MIDI, he thought that the Button Pad would make a slick yet compact standalone MIDI controller.

Since his ultimate goal was to create a completely standalone controller aside from the power plug and MIDI interface, it forced him to work quite closely with the ATMega chip. He and his partners spent a good deal of time working through some serial communications issues so as not to block the LEDs or MIDI block timer during operation. Ensuring that the Arduino doesn’t block any other functions is obviously important when you are building a MIDI timer, and it seems [Guilherme] was successful in his quest.

The MIDI controller works quite nicely as you can see in the videos below, great job!

Comments

  1. sawo says:

    Great stuff!

    How about chaining those up to e.g. 3pcs 4×4 boards?

  2. Beat707 says:

    Good question, I have to check if that’s possible, as the first board would have to talk to the others directly. With an extra Arduino its easy, but using them as they are, a bit harder. Depending on the demand we could do our own hardware for this and have the pins right, in a way we could stack those in an easier way. ;-)

  3. abobymouse says:

    I love this, but the UI is pretty hard-core, no?

  4. FredP says:

    @abobymouse – What, you find 16 unlabeled buttons with colored lights inside them hardcore? Why, this thing is simple to use! Just memorize what each button and/or color means and never forget. How much simpler could it get?

  5. Bigdeal says:

    Novation does someething similar called the Novation Launchpad… but it’s a proprietary USB protocol made for Ableton Live. I wish someone would hack it to reuse the neat 8×9, bi-color led/button matrix for other applications, such as light cues launching or something…

  6. sawo says:
  7. Mudo says:

  8. octave says:

    Nice job,

    USB would have been much better draw power for the board and send the MIDI data over it. You’d need to write a USB device driver for the Computer tho’.

    May also simplify using multiple pads just hook them into a four port hub?

    Do sparkfun also have cheap sliders and pots cos my component supplier is charging crazy $$ for these items.

  9. sawo says:

    @Mudo

    Looks like a Octinct there.

  10. sdlion says:

    Nice! I really like it.
    But as abobymouse said, pretty hardcore UI. A friend of mine asked me to build a sequencer for her if I have the time, but I doubt she could master the UI XD. She isn’t that type of person.

    Maybe with a second uC and lots of pretty hard work, you could integrate OLED displays over (or behind?) the buttons showing the current function. Human memory is the most unreliable human feature, just saying XD.

    Nice work again!

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