Midi controlled step sequencer for midipal


#1

I’m currently hacking the midipal and working on a step-sequencer app controlled by midi. I don’t know if it has been done already but the idea is to transform a configurable midi device like the BCR2000 into a step-sequencer, without a computer. The cool thing is to send midi back to it to make it highlight the current step.

Here is a video that shows it in action.
Top row is the melody. Buttons act as triggers. CC from the melody row is quantized and mapped to a selectable scale.

It is not ready yet. I have few bugs and I want to add more features as :

  • independant step number for melody and trigger,
  • make the melody row advance only after each trigger (this would allow quite interesting musical pattern with only few notes and a longer trigger track),
  • multiple pattern switchable on the fly or new track for velocity+duration etc … (have to see how much ram remains)

Any suggestion ?


#2

Cool… I’ve been thinking about writing something similar with python and mididings using a korg nanokontrol2, maybe two… They’ve got 3 lightable buttons, a pot, and a fader for each step. USB midi only though, so you’d need a computer in there somewhere.

This could work well enough with a novation remote zero, although I don’t think you could get it to indicate what step it’s on - no midi feedback LEDs… But it’d be easy to make a mapping for it that would mimic your BCR2000 and it should “just work”, minus the LEDs. Look forward to trying this out when you’ve got a semi-finished product. Does your app show the current step on the MIDIpal’s screen? That would make it easier to use your app with devices that don’t have midi led feedback.


#3

Mate thats fantastic! Really good work especially the visual feedback which really makes it special. Now I HAD a 2000 but guess what? Its broken beyond repair. Im not one of those people who have any good B stories. Anyway I could really use something like this, Im trying to think what though. Im looking for a cheap bank of encoders 8 to 16, any suggestions?


#4

Theres this Novation Launch Control http://www.awave.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=4957 - but $170? And the last thing I need is drum pads. They have a nocturn - last one for $130 but it uses Automap and unless its improved beyond recognition never again. JUst simple midi learn.


#5

All the small Novation controllers are only USB MIDI .

The only modern controller I know of with a dedicated hardware sequencer is the AKAI MAX 25/49 (can sequence via midi or CV and control 2 other sources with the pads and the keys at the same time). It uses touch sliders that mimic the old analog step sequencers.

A great product would be a small box that tricks USB MIDI devices into transmitting CCs. Problem is, they all seem to need to run proprietary software or are plug and play with DAWs. So it might require a little too much software to be running (and would require wholesale theft and re purposing of it).

Those new little AKAI MPC Element controllers have mini-jack MIDI I/O- but you still need to run the software to set up the mapping and I doubt it stores your settings.

The Microbrute stores settings (that can only be) made in it’s dinky software- but it only CV sequences (only has MIDI In) and the knobs don’t even send CCs over USB (because no one would buy the Analog Lab controller…)

I believe the new AKAI MPX8 pad sampler thing transmits () polyphonic after touch over midi jack midi ports, but it has 30 MB of RAM and AKAI wasn’t about to sell a hardware sequencer along with that amazing little sampler for $99.


#6

borfo : there is unfortunately no way to control the lights on the nanoKontrol. I plan to show the current note being set, probably just temporary. Showing the current step would also be do-able but I’m not so sure it would be so useful. Don’t you think that the remote zero accept feedback for the buttons? It also has light circled rotary encoders, this should work the same as with the BCR2000.
I don’t plan to work on it before the beginning of next year. I’ll publish the code as soon as it feels usable.


#7

You can control the lights on the nanokontrol2 - usb midi, so you’d need to go through a computer, but I’ve scripted for the nanokontrol2 before, and you definitely can control almost all of the lights. You need to use the configuration software to set the LED control to “external” first though.

I’ve got the earlier version of the remote zero. It doesn’t have lit encoders, just an LCD display. And it uses Novation’s Automap, so it’d need a windows or mac computer in the mix somewhere to handle midi feedback. (that’s a real drag about these novation remotes… They’d be amazing controllers if they could just handle simple midi feedback on their own)


#8

The Korg microkontrol has pretty advanced midi feedback possibilities. You can control all the leds and displays (including red/orange/green backlights) by sysex.
I have only tested it with usb MIDI though.


#9

Ive ot an an analog experience the labratory 49 and you can send CC’s over USB fine - you can set up templates have transport control. But in reality its buggy as hell. I have to load Live numerous times occasionally before its even recognised by Live. Just a nice keyboard though. I would never ever buy another product like it again or any automap bullshit. Just midi learn. Thats why I want to break everything into component parts - have a sepertate bank of encoders for external and softsyths, a fader bank , and a nice KB only like the roland a-49 http://www.bettermusic.com.au/roland-a-49-midi-keyboard-controller. Still need to find something to use this software with as the more I watch it the more it makes sense for me in my workflow.

The Microbrute stores settings (that can only be) made in it’s dinky software- but it only CV sequences (only has MIDI In) and the knobs don’t even send CCs over USB (because no one would buy the Analog Lab controller…)


#10

To be fair, it’s likley that Ableton is the problem and not the Analog Lab: Ableton is notoriously awful when it comes to syncing to external clock (unusable) and is always spotty for me when it comes to transport controls.


#11

So, I lost some interest in this thing because it feels a bit quirky to use at the end. Was fun to test out but I don’t see any serious usage for it.
I uploaded the code here so you can test it yourself and possibly extend it. Adding CC+Velo tracks should be really easy.
I also attached the syx file if you don’t have any dev environment.
To be used, the BCR have to be configured that way :

  • midi mode S4 (EDIT+LEARN then TYPE encoder. See doc)
  • Note encoders CC1-> 16
  • Trigger buttons CC17 -> 32
  • in/outA to midipal. outB to synth.

As you see the setup is quite difficult and that’s a lot of cable. I’ll rather have this :slight_smile:

midipal_bcr_sequencer.zip (21.9 KB)