First blog post here, so I just might explain what it’s all about and what I do. I started building my first MIDI controller around 4 years ago, mostly out of the frustration with M-Audio X-Session Pro. It lacked in features (okay, it’s not really expensive, but still) and would often just stop working for some reason. After I tried to search for better controller, it turned out I haven’t had that much money for controller with all the features I wanted. Searching around for videos on Youtube I found out there is this thing called Arduino and that people, among other things, use it to build their own home-made controllers. Wow! A DIY controller! From that moment I knew I’m going to build myself one. It did not matter to me that my knowledge for electronics was 0 at that point, or that I haven’t even understood what is MIDI, or that I didn’t know what that Arduino and microcontroller are. I knew what I wanted and I was about to use any resource available to get my hands dirty and build that thing. I haven’t realised that during my learning process I’m going to learn things I never thought I’ll need, such as designing electronic circuits, PCBs, drawing in vector software or programming microcontrollers. I guess it all boils down to your will and how much of yourself you’re willing to put in things that you do.
My first project was a bit of overkill, too many stuff on it (buttons, LEDs, faders, rotary encoders…) so I never managed to finish it, mostly due to the lack of money I was going to save to build DIY controller in the first place. Oh universe. Nevertheless, I learned very much on that project, so whoever told you you should start with simple things, was wrong. :) At first I used Arduino Uno, then Leonardo, then Nano and finally Pro Mini (keeps getting smaller). In the future I’m probably going to use my custom built Arduino since those boards do come with some limitations. I figured that out couple of years after using it.
So, I’m going to write here about my designs, programming, post finished controllers (which I’m building for others as well, for a price of course) and everything else involved in the build process. Phew! Lenghty post.