Reason SSL Mixer Hardware Controller

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selig
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Post 06 Oct 2018

normen wrote:
06 Oct 2018
amcjen wrote:
04 Oct 2018
Image
Whoa, nice. And yeah, OLEDs are SO MUCH cheaper than an LED ring - crazy but true :/
Maybe a stupid question, but is it possible to mount a knob in the center of an OLED? Having a knob and a display separate from each other would double the overall size, but if you could mount them vertically, you could make your own "rings" and so much more!
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amcjen
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Post 06 Oct 2018

selig wrote:Maybe a stupid question, but is it possible to mount a knob in the center of an OLED? Having a knob and a display separate from each other would double the overall size, but if you could mount them vertically, you could make your own "rings" and so much more!
I don’t know of any, but would be pretty cool. There are several options for round TFT or OLED displays for all the wearables and smart watches out there. I don’t know if the manufacturing process for those today are able to make a hole in the middle. At high enough volume and price, probably anything is possible!
Last edited by amcjen on 06 Oct 2018, edited 1 time in total.

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selig
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Post 06 Oct 2018

amcjen wrote:
06 Oct 2018
selig wrote:Maybe a stupid question, but is it possible to mount a knob in the center of an OLED? Having a knob and a display separate from each other would double the overall size, but if you could mount them vertically, you could make your own "rings" and so much more!
I don’t know of any, but would be pretty cool. There are several options for round TFT or OLEF displays for all the wearables and smart watches out there. I don’t know if the manufacturing process for those today are able to make a hole in the middle. At high enough volume and price, probably anything is possible!
I have a friend at NYU where they have folks working on wearables - will check with him to see who is deep diving on that subject at the student or teacher level.
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amcjen
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Post 06 Oct 2018

selig wrote: I have a friend at NYU where they have folks working on wearables - will check with him to see who is deep diving on that subject at the student or teacher level.
That would be fabulous. Would really simplify and extend the functionality of a simple rotary knob.

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selig
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Post 06 Oct 2018

amcjen wrote:
06 Oct 2018
selig wrote: I have a friend at NYU where they have folks working on wearables - will check with him to see who is deep diving on that subject at the student or teacher level.
That would be fabulous. Would really simplify and extend the functionality of a simple rotary knob.
Yea, you can include the name of the control and the value, which means you can also switch which parameter the control accesses. So you could create a send section with one knob and one button, and access any number of sends.
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dioxide
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Post 06 Oct 2018

This looks great. The meters are a plus for me, I like to see which channels have active audio and identify them visually, especially when I am opening and closing various songs, which is different to working on a single song for an afternoon.

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dioxide
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Post 09 Jan 2019

Any progress on this? I guess you've been busy with other stuff?

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amcjen
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Post 11 Jan 2019

Hiya! Yes, been slower to update lately. I had a pretty bad motorcycle accident (drunk driver hit me) a few months ago, was wheelchair-bound for six weeks with a fractured pelvis, and so it basically stopped most things in my life for a while.

The good news is that I’m about 100% well again, up and walking around. I’ll be reviving this project shortly, and hopefully will have an update soon!


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dioxide
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Post 11 Jan 2019

Oh crap, sorry to hear that! I hope you've made a full recovery!

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amcjen
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Post 11 Jan 2019

dioxide wrote:Oh crap, sorry to hear that! I hope you've made a full recovery!
Thanks! All good! Getting back into it now. :)

Sorped
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Post 12 Jan 2019

Glad to hear you are OK! :)
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vizay
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Post 15 Jan 2019

This project is damn awesome! I've been researching this myself the last week, and how I could build something similar, just playing with the idea. Then I realized I'd read this thread before and my god the progress you've made!

I might still do a similar but non modular thing myself just to learn and for fun, but to be honest just....SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! :D

When this hits whichever crowd funding platform you select it'll blow up BIG time!

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amcjen
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Post 16 Jan 2019

Thank you! It’s a loooootttt of work, and a lot of revisions and things necessary to just get it in a prototype state.

I’m really happy you’re excited about it though! I am considering some changes to make it more friendly (and affordable) to more people, while maintaining the flexibility and depth. It’s really a tricky thing.

I should be having more updates now that I’m back on my feet again!

vizay
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Post 16 Jan 2019

yeah that's something I didn't realize about a project like this before I read this thread for sure! :)

if you need any kind of help don't hesitate to shout. I know my ways around general system design and coding, and I'm also dipping my toes (as mentioned) into electronics and hw design.

and i do realize it's probably easier to do most stuff yourself at this stage but if you need extra help with testing or similar, I'd gladly help :) (just supply a shopping list or something similar 😛)

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amcjen
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Post 16 Jan 2019

Awesome, I certainly will! I appreciate the help.

vizay
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Post 17 Jan 2019

Just dropping a brainstorm item in here.

Could it be interesting to go a, maybe more unconventional way, and ditch the regular encoders and LED rings for them, and instead going for mini stepper motors?

I'm thinking it would not only take down the complexity of design by combining two elements into one from a function perspective (show what the current value is and send new value when a change is made) but also cut costs and assembly time quite a lot (and if footprint is a problem it also has a slight upside I'd say taking up less space).

The only thing I'm not certain of since I haven't tried it out physically (just an idea right now) is the feel of twisting such a knob and if it would be to "flimsy"? On the other hand, imposing a slight counter force to whichever direction it's being turned should not be impossible either :)

Last but not least, it would look quite unique and cool having actual motorized knobs on a mixing desk that turn quicker than 1 radian / year :D

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selig
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Post 17 Jan 2019

vizay wrote:
17 Jan 2019
Just dropping a brainstorm item in here.

Could it be interesting to go a, maybe more unconventional way, and ditch the regular encoders and LED rings for them, and instead going for mini stepper motors?

I'm thinking it would not only take down the complexity of design by combining two elements into one from a function perspective (show what the current value is and send new value when a change is made) but also cut costs and assembly time quite a lot (and if footprint is a problem it also has a slight upside I'd say taking up less space).

The only thing I'm not certain of since I haven't tried it out physically (just an idea right now) is the feel of twisting such a knob and if it would be to "flimsy"? On the other hand, imposing a slight counter force to whichever direction it's being turned should not be impossible either :)

Last but not least, it would look quite unique and cool having actual motorized knobs on a mixing desk that turn quicker than 1 radian / year :D
I'm wondering how these would operate as encoders? And can they run fast enough to follow quick moves? For example, what's the fastest time from top to bottom (would be ideal if in the single ms range, but probably not possible).

I've not seen any audio products use motorized encoders to date, and just checked out the recent crop at the last AES show here in NYC last fall.

But there IS one thing I'd like the encoders to be able to do, whether motorized or not, and that is to be touch sensitive. That would allow you to read the current value without turning the knob (simply by touching it), assuming there was a centralized display for such things. Another application for touch sensitive encoders is when writing automation, because then you can effectively "hold" the control to erase any previously recorded movement. With a moving fader (or encoder) this is done by simply holding the fader to keep it from moving, but with an endless encoder this isn't possible unless you add touch sensitivity. It's also a way to overwrite existing data, for as long as you're touching the control, and stop writing simply by letting go and grabbing another encoder. This also allows you to write/modify more than one encoder at a time simply by grabbing them and moving them.

Only other option is to use stepped encoders and have the first turn/click display the value. This is how the sequencer encoders work with the Arturia MiniBrute 2S, and while not ideal, it does work. But it also means there are always clicks as you turn the encoder, also not ideal except for when tuning to semitones (in which case it's totally ideal!).

It would be possible to offer different encoder options for different applications, depending no how "modular" one wanted to get with this project.
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vizay
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Post 17 Jan 2019

In terms of running fast enough that shouldn't be a problem since it's essentially magnetic motors, they can most likely move quicker than you'd want them to, of course depending on which model one would chose.

I've not really seen any audio products using "motorized" knobs either, not sure if it's because the solution with regular encoders and leds was enough or if it's just a matter of tech finally catching up now in terms of footprint, price point etc.

As for touch sensitive, that's probably a bit more problematic since it's not a function that comes with these motors as is. Now I'm not sure how it works on encoders with the function built in, but I guess one could write some kind of logic to sense really small movements of the knob (like a fraction of what would be needed to move to a new value), and register that as a touch? However I'd say that's not very optimal but could work.

I deffo see your point, it might not be optimal but interesting to think about as an option at least :)

I'm probably gonna order one or a few home and see what can and can't be done with them just for shits and gigles :P

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dioxide
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Post 17 Jan 2019

This is the first I've heard about motorised knobs. Sounds useful. With some encoders I feel like I am winding a clock when I'm making an adjustment. The range of a knob is better.

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amcjen
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Post 17 Jan 2019

Interesting ideas. I’ve not seen motorized knobs either—as I believe it to be a cost issue still. To put it in perspective, really nice ALPs non-indented endless rotary encoders with push-button capabilities are around $1 each, though I found a surplus location that had them for $0.20, so I bought 500 of them. :)

Also, touch capable *may* be possible, but a couple of things would be required. Best is to have a conductive plastic knob, as that is best for capacitive touch capabilities (the ALPs faders already have this, FWIW). Even without, you may be able to do it thru plastic knobs, but it gets a lot more sketchy on human flesh proximity to other knobs. And how tight the space is, it may be tricky. Still, worth an experiment! (Possible that this is all moot bc the encoder post may be grounded already.)

All encoders will have push button capability though, so that could be helpful to get “focus”, but touch would be better—totally agree.

Wonder how much metal-conductive plastic knobs are—scared to look :)

vizay
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Post 18 Jan 2019

Dang, thats a good discounted price for the ALPs encoders! Which specific encoder did you get your hands on?

with the requirement for both the push and touch functions I think stepper motors are out of the discussion even if the price point would be about the same (which it might be if you compare a full pricing of encoder + leds and all the bits and pieces needed for that to work) :)

as for the touch capability it very much sounds like conductive plastic knobs is the better option since the knobs of the eq section will sit very tight :)

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amcjen
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Post 18 Jan 2019

These are the ones I’m currently evaluating:

https://octopart.com/ec11e183440c-alps-19497214

Ooh, and doing some research it looks like it’s possible to mimic the Ableton Push usability: https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/27779-De ... y-encoders

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selig
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Post 18 Jan 2019

amcjen wrote: Wonder how much metal-conductive plastic knobs are—scared to look :)
DigiDesign’s Icon series of PT contrllers used them for all knobs, and I was using those controllers around 15 years ago - but the consoles WERE expensive, and maybe the knobs were one of the cost factors?

So the tech should be mature by now, I would think, and hopefully economy of scale has kicked in.
:)


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amcjen
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Post 18 Jan 2019

Hoping so too! I’ll add this to the list of things to try out. Totally agree it’s super important for automation (which is one of the main reasons for this project!)

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mon
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Post 18 Jan 2019

Endless encoders with addition of LED positions sounds more REASONable :)
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