Push Buttons, Create Music With A MIDI Fighter

Musicians have an array of electronic tools at their disposal to help make music these days. Some of these are instruments in and of themselves, and [Wai Lun] — inspired by the likes of Choke and Shawn Wasabi — built himself a midi fighter

Midi fighters are programmable instruments where each button can be either a note, sound byte, effect, or anything else which can be triggered by a button. [Lun]’s is controlled by an ATmega32u4 running Arduino libraries — flashed to be recognized as a Leonardo — and is compatible with a number of music production programs. He opted for anodized aluminum PCBs to eliminate flex when plugging away and give the device a more refined look. Check it out in action after the break!

[Lun] designed the project in Fusion 360 and KiCad with plenty of room to spare for some electronic art — gotta love Daft Punk. He’s using Sanwa OBSC 24mm arcade buttons for their premium quality and two SK6812 mini LEDs apiece for a slick lighting effect when they’re pressed.

After receiving the manufactured boards and parts, a quick test fit flowed right into final assembly. With the ATmega32u4 flashed and programmed, he was ready to rock. Down the line, [Lun] wants to have a GUI to configure the notes each button plays without tinkering around in the code, but it works great for now.

For an astounding acoustic to electronic instrument conversion, check out this MIDI accordion!

10 thoughts on “Push Buttons, Create Music With A MIDI Fighter

    1. And that’s not even the first version of the original DJTT midi fighter. The old one didn’t have the accelerometers and side buttons. It looked almost exactly as the one made in the article here.

  1. Pretty sure DJ Tech Tools has a trademark on “MIDI Fighter” and they’re really heavy-handed when it comes to protecting that trademark – which makes sense, if they don’t protect it, they could stand to lose it.

    So anyone interested in this should probably download the repo before DJTT DMCA’s it out of existence. I certainly did.

  2. Musicians would consider it a music fighter. One person with just one finger flings files around with one of these. Playing other’s efforts in little bits and calling it your own, is that all that is left?
    If usable in a live midi setup performance, great.

    1. Ah, of course, the obligatory “it’s not real music” comment. Come on, go further and say “He’s just hitting the play button.”

      Have you tried “hitting the play button” non-stop for some good 5 hours? Trying to perfectly match pitch, tempo, style/genre, applying filters and effects? Live while standing in front of a huge crowd, trying to gaze whether they like he tracks you’re playing or whether you should switch to something different to keep the people at the club you’re playing at? Because you won’t get paid all too well if everyone leaves because of your bad DJing?

      Or have you tried firing up some audio production software, grabbing a controller and trying to make something likeable with it? I mean…it’s just playing snippets of someone elses musical efforts with one finger, right? Oh wait, you lack the creativity? Or the skills? You can’t get that tone you want perfectly right, because you have no clue how to set up filters? Or how to make perfect use of the many recording tracks in the piece of software you’re using? Or do you lack the ability to hit a certain tempo perfectly without any external assistance for an extended period of time? Well, how friggin hard can one suck at something to not be able to fling around a few files with just one finger?

      Also it’s not just one finger. Let’s say…the person in the article above is at the very beginning of his career as a musician. Especially his timing, that one needs some work.

    1. It’s the arcade-style buttons. Hitting them invokes the feeling of the old button smashers like Tekken. I prefer the Akai-type velocity sensitive pads, but I can see the tactile appeal, and you can make one with little more than some buttons and a cardboard box. It would be interesting to make an Akai-ish variant, though, with some piezos and 3D printed pads using flexible filament. Side note, suggesting “you could just buy…” on a hacker site is a bit silly ;)

      1. The Akai MPD or NI Maschine buttons are very nice, but you can’t do everything with them. If you get the domed buttons for your midi fighter, you can “roll” three or four fingers of one hand over them, hitting the button very quickly. That’s not really feasible with the MPD/Maschine pads.

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