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So I built a touch control panel concept prototype
What a great idea! You’ve un-menu’d a menu’d synth. I honestly feel that the DX7 would not be considered so hard to program with something like this. Awesome.
Thanks! It probably makes it one of the easiest to understand & program. I was able to show a drummer in 15 minutes the basics of it, and he had fun learning it. The bueaty of it is that along with full manual control, you’ve still got all the advantages of presets, and can still have menus if you want them for any reason.
When you’re doing music, any time you deal with a menu you have to mentally task-switch from a music fram of mind, to a more analytical frame of mind. You don’t realize how much it throws you off until you no longer have to sdo it.
What is that board/controller you’re using to tweak the DX7’s parameters?
I wanted to have both presets, and live controls, with a seamless transition so that I can call up a sound I like, then twesk on it. A plausible choice would be touch controls, but touch sensors have a habit of being unreliable / sluggish / laggy, mostly due to sensitivity to electrical noise. You can see obvious lag in the NAMM video of the Yudo Neuman Synthesizer, for example. I solved the noise problem in a way that allows fast response times and much better reliability.
So I built a touch control panel concept prototype, just to see how it would handle. Ten seconds on that thing, and I’ll refuse to use menus ever again. It makes it simple; pull up a preset, there’s the settings. Want to tinker with the sound, just touch it where you want it to be. It works so well that it actually feels natural to use.
I use a laptop computer for the brains of it, a few kilobytes of code is all it takes. I have a patch library in the software, so I can pull up a preset, run with it, if I get a sound I really like, it can be saved as another preset.
I chose the DX7 for testing the touch controls on, due to it’s reputation for being hard to understand & program. This made it one of the easiest. When I first got it up & running, I quickly got to the point where I was getting dynamics in the sound that I’d always drewamed of doing, but never thought I could do.
It’s such a game-changer that I wish I could get it out on the market, but don’t have the resources to do so. It could be made with many more sensors (in the same space), touch buttons, etc. The display could be cheap old-style monochrome low-res LCD. about anything that could be controlled by midi / computer would work with it.
Here’s a video that also shows the insides of the controller:
Here’s a bit of DX7IID bass that I’ve been having fun working on. Algorithm 22 (op 2 modulating 1, op 6 modulating 3,4 &5, with op 1,3,4,5 audible. feedback mostly around 4 or 5, coarse frequency on 1-6 starting at at freq. 0,2,1,2,1,0 , unison on. This gives a not very punchy, industrial drone type sound to it.