Photo Journal of my Danik Shruthi build (Input pot increases resonance?!?!? WTF )

Hello everyone! I will be building a keyboard version of the Shruthi.
I’ll keep this thread updated with pictures, plans and of course troubleshooting questions! Of course everyone is invited to chime in and post their ideas!

My build will feature a Shruthi-1 Yellow Magic, full Shruthi Programmer Controls and a 3 Octave keyboard with Pitchbend, Modwheel and octave +/- buttons. I will salvage the keyboard and the controller from a 5 octave Behringer UMX controller which is going to be cut down to 3 octaves. The reason for this is that it’s still cheaper to destroy a perfectly working device that costs ~120Eur than buying a Doepfer 3-octave keyboard for DIY along with its controller which costs ~180Eur!) ( proof )

Since it will have it’s own backpanel, I will not use the Shruthi-1’s MIDI and Audio jacks, I will solder cables instead and put them in the backpanel. I will also use a Mean Well 7.5V Switching PSU ( this one )

The front and back panel are going to be made out of transparent plexiglass painted from the inside (resulting in a “piano black” look, or piano white for that matter). The side panels and the bottom and rest of the case are probably going to be made out of MDF, but I’m also thinking of making them plaxiglass, too. We’ll see about that.

I have already ordered everything I need except the case. I’m currently waiting for the stuff to arrive and start soldering.

For now, here is a draft of the panel layout:

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…and a draft of the final build in sketchup (I’m really bad at this, the final will be much better!)

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Awesome! Seems like there’s a few folks planning keyboard versions. Looks like it will be a pretty one :slight_smile:

Building in the PSU is a nice touch, too.

That is similar to what I was planning so I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


Very very nice! Look forward to reading this thread.

I saw a similar one floating around a blog somewhere. Now this one will only add to that addictive need of wanting to make one.

Nice Shruthi-Keyboard :slight_smile:

ItsDanik, two things that I’ve been considering for my next XT had to do with layout and finish. I decided to make the layout fit the way I would be fooling with the knobs in a live situation while playing, meaning anything I would change live would be accessible to the left hand while the right hand played the keyboard. So, my next XT layout will be the opposite of my first. The other thing is the finish. If you paint the underside of the plexi, the finish will be shiny, meaning it will look great in certain lighting situations but you may get alot of glare in other situations. You could get around this by spraying the top with a matte clearcoat perhaps.

Nice clean modern layout, beautiful.

Does anyone know of a lead on good quality keyboards (other than Doepfer, which has a single dealer in the US)? Maybe Japanese? The Fatar Waterfall is my favorite action but I’m assuming they have some competition somewhere.

Thanks everyone for your input!

Randy, I’m way too used to reading the synth panels left to right, top to bottom. I play a lot of basslines with my monosynths using my left hand, too, so I don’t think there will be any problems with that. My last mbsid was done in the traditional “LCD on the left, controls on the right” and I didn’t ever have any problems with it. Moreover, these are 3 octave keyboards so even if you’re playing right-handedly you can easily cross your left hand over and tweak the knobs without breaking any sweat!

As for the finish, wouldn’t it be easier to achieve a matte effect by painting directly on the outside of the Plexiglas? I’m not sure I want to avoid a glossy look. I can even put stencils that way and leave a logo unpainted and illuminated by LEDs inside! I’m starting thinking I’ll do the rest of the casing out of wood, because it’s so much sturdier and easier to work with, though, leaving the top and back panel to shine Plexi-glory :slight_smile:

Greenrange, I’ve searched a lot about it, and I concluded the easiest and cheapest way is to salvage parts off a cheap MIDI controller for the keyboard.

As long as it works for you. I noticed my left getting in the way when I was tweaking and I couldn’t see the LCD so I’m going to try it backwards for the next one. I thought you were going to paint on the inside of the plexi. Glossy looks nice but I can’t think of any synths that have a glossy finish.

I know, that can be a pain in the ass, that’s why I put the LCD up there, no chance of it getting blocked by any hand! :slight_smile:

Most probably I WILL end up painting on the inside of the plexi to achieve a glossy look (like the Piano lustre). As for the synths, I am pretty sure all 3 Mutable Instruments synths’s original case design is glossy :slight_smile: It is true, most commercial products go for professional look, and they want to keep them clean and easy to use (gloss = fingerprint collector). But at the end of the day, the iPhone is sexier than the Nord Lead :slight_smile:

@ItsDanik - The iPhone’s pretty, but the Nord’s not exactly hard to look at. Redheads… sigh.

Thanks for the keyboard salvage tip, that’s very helpful.

Looks very pretty. Good luck with the build!
I’m also building a keyboard version at the moment. Learning a lot and having fun. Maybe we can trade tips/ideas along the way…

Sure, I’m all open to tips and ideas and I hope I inspire other people in the process, too!

For now, here’s a thought I stubled upon:

The keyboard controller’s MIDI output is going to be wired directly to the MIDI input of the Shruthi. At first glance, this means I can’t have MIDI input in the back panel because two MIDI streams would bottleneck, right? I could always build a MIDIbox MIDIMerger (costs around 30eur including shipping), but I don’t feel like adding extra circuitry and wires.

I could always “Y-cable” it to the back panel, too, though. My question is: As long as I don’t send anything simultaneously from both the integrated MIDI keyboard and the MIDI input, I should be OK? Or is there any constant data exchange? (MIDI clock?)

Another thought is to add a simple physical 3PST toggle switch named “Local Control” which breaks the Keyboard connection, so I can use this whenever I need the MIDI input (mostly for firmware updates, probably). See Pic, I hope it is understandable:

What do you think? Would the switch be important? Or would the Y-cabling work as long as I don’t send simultaneously?

i’m really looking forward for this journal. The sketches look great.

Why don’t use a switch to switch between Keyboard-MIDI and externel-MIDI? This way there can’t be any mix-up.

Using a 3PDT switch, huh? That’s a good thought, too! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks! I’ll consider that! The reason I didn’t consider that in the first place, is I will rarely connect (if ever) anything in the MIDI IN of the shruthi. Maybe when I need to update the firmware, and that’s it :slight_smile:

Nonetheless, no harm done in having the switch…

Polychaining Shruthis is pretty cool so I would put the switch in just in case. I was going to be even more lazy. I figured if I’m going to use a donor keyboard that has a MIDI in and a MIDI out, I would run the MIDI ports from the donor and the Shruthi to the rear panel, and then just connect a short MIDI cable from the donor out to the Shruthi in manually around the back. No wiring and I can change MIDI connections very easily, although it’s certainly not very sophisticated.

That could work, too, although I’d be frustrated to know I have cut corners! But what you can do is actually hardwire the output of the MIDI keyboard to the input of the Shruthi internally, and configure the donor keyboard to forward anything on the input to the output (Thru-style), if the keyboard software allows it (most likely it will). This will work as a MIDI merger, too. Then you just wire the MIDI input of the keyboard and the Shruthi output (configured the same way) to the back panel, and you’re good to go!

Unfortunately, my Behringer controller has only MIDI output, so, no go for me.

As for polychaining Shruthis, I imagine it’s awesome, but an Ambika is on its way in some months :slight_smile:

Sounds like you’re covered. I’m considering using an Alesis Micron as the donor and, at least at home, I will run the Shruthi and the Micron separately into a MIDI patchbay so having the ports on the outside works for me. I have three MIDI patchbays at home. At a gig, I’ll just hook up the single cable.

Here it is, my build’s first PCB :smiley:
I believe it’s self-explanatory

Progress has been made during the weekend :smiley:
Here we are, an introduction to the disassembled Behringer UMX Keyboard Controller:

1) Motherboard:

At first glance, one can say that the PCB is of very good quality (impressed!)

It has 9VDC Input but it can also be powered from 3x AA batteries (4.5V) as well as USB (5V). I saw a 7805 regulator on it, so I guess if it handles 9V without a heatsing, the 7.5V my PSU pushes out will be just fine.

I’m not going to rewire the footswitch jack to the back panel, since I think a sustain pedal is overkill for a monosynth (and I wouldn’t use a footswitch for anything else).

The power switch is going to be always to the “ON” position (I’ll just switch the AC input and the PSU will power both the controller and the Shruthi at the same time).

I’m going to solder 3 wires from the MIDI OUT to the white connector from the PCB in the picture in my previous post (above) which is going to be the MIDI OUT of the keyboard, which eventually is routed to the Shruthi MIDI IN.

All these white headers are connections for the keyboard and some other peripheral PCBs which have sliders, pots, switches etc. These HAVE to be connected, otherwise the unconnected/floating shift register pins are going to pick up noise and we’ll have lots of random values transmitted over the CC# they control, which may or may not mess with the patches, but are going to create a lot of excess MIDI data traffic, anyway, which is never a good thing. I could try disabling them by the controller settings, I guess, but I’m afraid of a random memory loss/factory reset. I could also make a small pcb which shorts the inputs to the ground, but that would be time-consuming for no particular reason. I think just connecting them and let the rest on the bottom of the case is the easiest/best solution. Moving on…

2) Pitch and Mod Wheels (unpainted yet):

Not much to say here, just two pieces of plastic, pitch has a spring for resetting to the center position. They are connected to two pots, which are on tiny PCBs with 3 pin connectors on them. The cables are removable/replaceable! Behringer has gone out of their way to build an easy-to-service product! They could just solder the wires, but NO! They used connectors instead! Way to go, Behringer!

3) “Pots and switches” board (that’s how I named it, anyway!)

A typical “pots and switches” PCB which is just going to be connected and put under the keyboard (for reasons I have already explained).

4) Control board (again, loosely named)

This is the board that has a slider which by default sends CC#07 messages and controls MIDI volume, it has a set of octave /- buttons along with their LED indications and two other buttons for configuring the controller and assigning controls to various pots and switches for the previously presented PCB. I only want to use the octave/- buttons with their respective LEDs, so what I did is I desoldered the two switches and two LEDs and I made a small veroboard where I put them and soldered a 7-wire ribbon cable to the original board. This way I can save space on the panel surface where the Pitch/Mod Wheels reside and only have the veroboard above with the octave up/dn buttons and the LEDs. The rest of the board is going to be inaccessible at the bottom (volume slider maxed, of course :P)

5) The Keyboard

This thing is of the highest quality! I can’t believe they actually have a small weight inside each key, spring action, and a full metal underside! I always thought the feeling is nice on these keyboards (for their money), but seeing how they achieved it is a whole other matter! I had a small adventure, too when cutting the keyboard down to 3 octaves:

The first part of the adventure is that the last C note (C6) would have to move from the end of the keyboard and replace the C4 (i used the first 3 octaves because the connectors to the motherboard are near the first key).
This is not easily done because all white keys are different! the C4 has a small reccess for the C#4 to snug in. It would look ugly if the keyboard ended that way, so I needed to mod/cut stuff on the underside of the keyboard (where the keys mount) to make the C6 fit in there.

The second part (far worse, btw) is that the controller reads keys in groups of 8 (they are multiplexed). When I cut the board, I was forced to scrape it to reveal the copper tracks and solder a wire on it to close the circuit (otherwise the last 5 keys wouldn’t work because they belong in the next group of 8, for which the circuit closes and backtracks after the place where the PCB had to be cut). This took a good 2 hours to figure out and achieve, but it is done now! Pretty happy with the result!

I think that’s it for now!