Being interested in electronics I always wanted to build something but I have always felt that a project is either too big, too complicated or even that someone else has already done it. So, although this will be big I believe I am capable of constructing the necessary hardware, programming it and making it work and I can afford to buy the things needed (although I admit it will probably be a bit expensive..)
The thing that worries me the most is my usual enemy, waning motivation :)
Let's just hope I don't run out of that.
My preliminary design features are:
- Every parameter directly available (no "alternate" functions), even matrix modulation parameters
- Every potentiometer should have a 10-segment LED array associated with it to show the current value, or the value of the patch if the value hasn't changed.
- Nice "digitaster" style buttons with LED indication
- Divided into "modules" as on conventional panels, like DCO1 parameters grouped together, ENV2 parameters grouped together etc...
- LCD displays for the matrix modulations to show actual words of the source and destination routings (maybe overkill as it will require 10 displays)
- LCD displays for the LFO sample sources and possibly waveforms (most likely overkill)
- 16-step sequencer. Simple, but enough to test out a patch without an external sequencer running.
- MIDI merger, needed to keep SysEx data, 16-step sequencer data and external MIDI messages from colliding.
- Large LCD display for general information, showing LFO waveforms, all parameters in one module and things like that.
- Controlled by a microcontroller, for example an NXP LPC-type for which I have bought a development board (LPC-2103) and started experimenting with. Possibly need another controller instead with more memory as I suspect I will run out.
- Envelope 1
- Envelope 2
- Envelope 3
- Tracking and ramp generators
- Modulation Matrix
And, just to make things clear:
I know there are software editors that do the job already. I don't like to edit with the mouse. I learn by doing this project and it's fun!
I know about the Access Matrix programmer but it's not "complete" and I didn't build it myself :)
I know there are things like the Behringer BCR-2000 but again, I didn't build it myself and I don't learn anything by buying it. Also, being a generic controller, the controls for each block in the synthesizer aren't grouped together.
I know you think a dedicated Matrix 1000 controller with all parameters available would be awesome so don't try to fool yourself, or me :)
Now I hope you can wish me luck (without being sarcastic) instead of trying to convince me I shouldn't do it ;)
In fact, I have already done some initial tests and evaluations. These can be seen on youtube.
The first one is a test of whether I manage to send MIDI data and make an interrupt driven 16-step sequencer. Hardcoded, but still:
I have also built a prototype board for controlling the parameters for DCO1.
So far I didn't connect the DCO1 module board to the microcontroller because I need the motherboard prototype built first.
Here is a video of the DCO1 module board prototype and some "manual testing" of it:
As noted in the video I need to test the analog multiplexer by connecting potentiometers to it and I also need to test the button input functionality. Once that is verified I have to make the motherboard to act as a kind of addressing controller for all the module boards.
So, this is an introduction to my project and shows what I've done so far. More will hopefully follow soon...