MIDI controllers come in all shapes and sizes. Commercial products based on keyboards or matrixes of buttons are popular, but there’s nothing stopping you from whipping up your own creations out of whatever strikes your fancy. [Kevin] has done just that, turning an old telephone into a working MIDI device.
The phone in question is a Doro X20 wired landline phone. Being surplus to [Kevin’s] requirements left it ripe for the hacking. A Raspberry Pi Pico was wired in to the phone’s keypad, slimmed down with a hacksaw in order to allow it to neatly fit inside the original enclosure. Then it was a simple matter of whipping up some code to read the buttons and output MIDI data via the Pico’s serial output.
Later, [Kevin] brought the design into the modern world, setting it up to talk USB MIDI using the Pico’s onboard USB hardware. This makes using it with a computer a cinch, and lets [Kevin] control a DAW using the handset controller.
It’s a fun build, and one that shows how you can easily build your own MIDI hardware using nothing but a soldering iron, some buttons, and a modern microcontroller. From there, the sky really is the limit. Whether you like big knobs, easy playing, or have your own personal tastes, you can build what you like to suit your own style. When you do, drop us a line! Video after the break.
5 thoughts on “Old Phone Becomes MIDI Controller”
Oh. … I thought “old” = rotary dial. Now that would be a challenge.
And i was thinking along the lines of a Samsung Galaxy S III.
I did something similar a year ago, but I used a TV remote and Pro Micro.
I think next time instead of wiring MCU to key matrix It’d be cool to make it read the original output (IR signals in case of TV remote, or DTMF tone in case of a phone) and convert it to MIDI
Probably someone off screen just tapping an MAudio lol jk
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