The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Electra One Midi Controller / Synth Programmer
Old 10th September 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Electra One Midi Controller / Synth Programmer

Hi everybody,

I have been working on a midi controller that would address several issues that I did not like on existing products. the project was aimed towards programming classic synths like MKSes, Chromas, DX7s, ie. those with a few knobs and buttons but great sound engine inside.




The project has attracted some attention. So I recently launched pre-orders so that I can rationalize financing a bit.

I am interested in your feedback. More info can be found at https://www.electra.one/

The main idea here is to combine quality hardware with an idea a of smart web editor that would allow people to define and share sysex implementations of their instruments. Covering all those nibbles, checksums, bitmasks. And have the bi-directional communication in place, so that electra always displays what is in the device and never makes abrupt changes in sound. It is not very different from ctrlr.org idea (which is very cool), but runs on dedicated ARM hardware. Also, I am already playing around with OSC integration as well as some sort of SDK for developers to address software world.

if you feel it does not have enough knobs or touch is a bad of option for stage - this was originally meant to be a machine to studio. The USB host port opens up room for all types of extensions (ports, pedals, buttons) and I have some ideas about a stage version too.

Any input appreciated. thx!
Old 11th September 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Very cool.
So for input I would much prefer to have the 12 knobs in one row with the display put close above the knobs so that you see directly what you are editing when you jump to a new knob (display at half the height and double the length) and when you push the buttons the editing values jumps down in the display to the lowest row. Like it is now you have to look at two places when you want to edit a new parameter. At least you have to look at the screen first which is not optimal.
For parameters that only have few values like waveshapes it would be nice to be able to change the knobs in an editor to corespond better, if not already possible. Would like to see more buttons as well for on/off switches.
Old 11th September 2019
  #3
Gear Addict
 
Sarrova's Avatar
It looks awesome! This is exactly the controller I've been waiting for: high quality build, lots of hardware controls, a beautiful big screen, midi ports (!) and even an editor. Wow - preorder done
Old 11th September 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hearteh View Post
Very cool.
So for input I would much prefer to have the 12 knobs in one row with the display put close above the knobs so that you see directly what you are editing when you jump to a new knob (display at half the height and double the length) and when you push the buttons the editing values jumps down in the display to the lowest row. Like it is now you have to look at two places when you want to edit a new parameter. At least you have to look at the screen first which is not optimal.
I was actually trying this idea with 8" 1280x400 LCD, but I was not very happy with it. Please note that electra has touch sensitive knobs. When you touch the knob the corresponding control is highlighted on the screen. Right now it is the Label but it is possible to make it more obvious. check this video where I am testing the functionality:



Quote:
For parameters that only have few values like waveshapes it would be nice to be able to change the knobs in an editor to corespond better, if not already possible. Would like to see more buttons as well for on/off switches.
I am not sure what you exactly mean. The controls are physically aligned with knobs. The knobs linked to parameters with low number of values also change their sensitivity so that they act more like encoders.
Old 11th September 2019
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by electra.one View Post
I was actually trying this idea with 8" 1280x400 LCD, but I was not very happy with it. Please note that electra has touch sensitive knobs. When you touch the knob the corresponding control is highlighted on the screen. Right now it is the Label but it is possible to make it more obvious. check this video where I am testing the functionality:





I am not sure what you exactly mean. The controls are physically aligned with knobs. The knobs linked to parameters with low number of values also change their sensitivity so that they act more like encoders.
That looks much better than I imagined. I have used a lot of controllers and never been really satisfied. I would have prefered it like I said, but maybe I will get one and try.
Ok its great that they change sensitivity thats what I meant.
Old 11th September 2019
  #6
I think this has real potential. If this works with most soft synths and plugins I’d definitely be interested.
Old 11th September 2019
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TEMAS View Post
If this works with most soft synths and plugins I’d definitely be interested.
the project really started as programmer for hw synths. But it attracted quite some attention of people with soft synths. Right now you can use it with soft synths via MIDI CC. There are not many means to read their settings that way though. That's the reason why I started playing around with OSC. Honestly if anybody provides good pointers on how to get info about parameter values from soft synths, I will be very thankful for that.

For me the aspect that you can fetch and display values is crucial. Electra has 360 degrees pots to avoid abrupt changes, if you change patches or modify sounds on the synth panel. Displaying the value as it is set in the synth, gives you the reference and you know what will be happening when you twist the knob.
Old 11th September 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Progmatic-Studios's Avatar
Cool!
Definitely interested when it can be used with software synths and fx! (possibility to save control presets per synth and effect etc)
Old 24th September 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
Re: softsynths : ideally, the Electra One would rely on the DAW / host automation system rather than CCs (the way Push and (IIRC) NKS controllers do). I’d certainly buy one if it does
Old 29th September 2019
  #10
Gear Addict
 
Sarrova's Avatar
Just a quick push to get this into attention again. Only one month for pre-order and to kickstart this project.
I really believe this is a fantastic controller, totally worth the money. I think the possibilities are amazing, and really hope this project can be funded!
I can't wait to show some vids when my presets for this device are finished (I pre-ordered).
Old 15th October 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Progmatic-Studios's Avatar
Any updates on this?
Old 17th October 2019
  #12
Here for the gear
 

Hi there, we are preparing an update about what was done in last weeks. It will be published soon. But a brief update here:

- 14bit CC, NRPN, RPN are fully supported. One can select type of message per Control

- tempated SysEx message. Also per control, users can define sysex messages that will be send on value changes. The templates support inserting value variables, modify them with bitmasks, and compose data bytes that are sent from more parameter values. An example of this is for example a "Operator switches" byte that is sent to DX7. it is one byte where each bit represents on/off status of the operator. Electra now allows you to make controls (faders, switches, etc) that actually control bits in bytes of sysex messages and seamlessly combines that with other bits in those bytes. I hope you guys catch my drift

- We have implemented "smooth takeover" in such way that adding support for new instruments does not need changes in firmware. Smooth takeover is reading of parameter data of current patch so that you do not get jumps in value when you turn the knobs after the patch change. Electra now supports configuration files (in JSON format) that describe how to parse parameter data out of sysex patch dumps. The next step is build an easy to use tool for doing this without knowledge of JSON. For us this is the way to make it possible for electra to support many MIDI devices.

- Colors were introduced to the UI

- And colors were introduced to Electra enclosure too (silver, space grey, and black)


- We listened to the feedback on touch and made with possible to switch pages without using touch on screen. Buttons and knobs are used for it now. So if somebody does not want to use touch, there is a way...

I know we are not that good in "promoting", but it is mostly due to fact that we keep programming
Old 18th October 2019
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Sarrova's Avatar
Wow great news!!!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
rids's Avatar
 

Curious how this works. At first I thought the Electra One detected all the parameters of the hardware synth somehow, retrieving parameters immediately and display them on it's screen. But that is not the case, right? So someone has to create a template on the computer first and then you load that up onto the Electra one so that you can use it to tweak your hardware synth? If that's the case, is there anything different than other controllers regarding parameter detection or do you have to go search for what CC matches what parameter in the synth and then create that in the software editor?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Here for the gear
 

I think some roadmap/tease list for 2020 would help with reaching the goal
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Hi,

Let me clarify. Electra needs a file that describes synths MIDI implementation. The file may cover both reading of parameters as well as sending. We are working on these files, following the list of gear that people voted for. We are also working on an editor that makes this a breeze. It allows you to catch messages send between electra and the instrument and visually mark your parameters in it. We really hope people will share these, when they make them.

Once synth is supported, you can use it as shown in this video: https://youtu.be/rrgoZ75CBuM
If you do not have an instrument file, you can either create it or just create preset adhoc - using generic messages such as CC7, CC14, NRPN, RPN, SysEX.

When I mentioned automatic reading of patches, I meant reading of the patch parameter values. As shown in these videos:
https://youtu.be/QdbkWXKy0sI and https://youtu.be/U_MWTRu3Q3E

Electra recognizes button presses, program changes, or may request patch dump by itself (button press on electra). When patch data are received it displays them immediately and all values are updated. As we use endless pots, it provide soft takeover without abrupt changes when you turn the knobs.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Here for the gear
 

The roadmap, yes Today is the last day of pre-orders. It was so hectic, that we did not manage to do many things. I hope that November will be slower and we will have time to work on the web, tutorials, and will provide more info. Long term roadmap is one of them. This was our first pre-order campaign even - we could do better indeed. Lesson learned. Still the result is great.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Head
 

Just ordered one, will be the perfect controller for my softsynths
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump