Ander sends us his creation, “Station,” a brilliant-looking MIDI controller built on the ucapps.de hardware platform. It could easily have qualified for the kinds of designs in the dreams competition – except he went ahead and made it. He filled it in with RGB LEDs, touch pads, and new SMD-based hardware.

The impact of the colored LEDs is something that provides some of the visual feedback of a touchscreen, but with real, tactile control and the satisfaction of using something physical. I challenge the iPad running TouchOSC (or Lemur, or anything else) to a smackdown with this gorgeous beast. Even as a fan of some of the advantages of touch, I suspect the iPad would lose rather spectacularly.

I asked Ander for more technical details:

have a look at MIDIbox of the Week: Station MIDI controller by Ander – MIDIbox Forum There is a diagram about the LEDs and knobs. For the touch pads I am using force sensors at the moment, but they are terribly expensive. I will be switching to FSRs

Some stats, if you want to know more just ask.

- based on the open hardware platform ucapps.de
- Aluminium casing, custom made
- Acrylic knobs, also custom made
- Modularized, can be made into any form
- Flexible PCB: can hold sensors, encoders and/or buttons
- Custom firmware on the microcontrollers
- Custom software interface on the host computer which interfaces via MIDI (in my case to Live)
- RGB LEDs, 24bit color depth (technically)
- USB interface (plus power, this thing needs a lot of power for all these LEDs)
- I have not counted the buttons :)

It’s an epic piece of work, a real testament to the efforts of its builder. We’ll need a new category of competition, for things other people already made that we dream about / covet anyway.

Nerd alert: Ander, the name “Station” is a reference to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and “Do you want to know more?” in the YouTube description to Starship Troopers … right? (Actually, even if I’m wrong, I’ve just identified myself as a dork cinematic connoisseur.)

Thanks to cooptrol for the tip, too!

  • 23fx23

    the best controller ever seen, and by far.

    totally awesome!!!

  • http://zeroreference.blogspot.com zero ref

    this is one of the most beautiful controllers i've ever seen. and i even like the demo music!

  • http://cooptrol.com cooptrol

    you're welcome Peter ;)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @cooptrol: oh yeah, the inventor got in touch, as well!

  • http://ander.fm Ander

    Well, I just hope Tom does not get to read this post :) Ah, and no, yes.

  • http://www.cdbsn.com cdbsn

    gorgeous! bigger than what i would find useful for weekend giging, but WELL DONE.

    man, this thing is BEAUTIFUL.

    question: when you disable a button that has a knob in the same cell, whats going on there??

  • g

    ummmmmm… stunning

  • pierlu

    cool

    nice effort

    [provocative mode on]

    but in the end… isn't that infinite rows of buttons and knobs controlling ableton live?!

    Does all of the controller have to control ableton live in the end to be meaningful?

    The fuzz pedal was not invented to affect only stratocasters, but other guitars as well… dunno, but apart from craftmanship, which is undubitably high level here, i cannot see anything musically challenging.

    maybe this post should be blogged to createmidicontroller.com instead

    [provocative mode off]

  • http://nezoomie.wordpress.com/ nezoomie

    this one is really inspiring! there are a couple of great ideas that make the device looking so efficient

  • http://lynxzone.wordpress.com/ Lynx

    Beautiful, like an Aurora on steroids. Are there any other colorful midi controllers out there, like the Livid Ohm?

  • lematt

    @pierlu: hey you're trolling ?? :)

    that controller is by far the most beautiful DIY controller i've ever seen.

    ++ for the surface mount soldering… which is really a pain.

    congrats !

  • pierlu

    @lematt

    LOL a little bit. I was obviously complaining about the software part, the interface i marvellous, of course.

  • andrew zero

    that is the sexiest thing ive seen in ages.

  • lematt

    what i don't get is the actual color code…

  • http://turntablepoetry.com/blog dj professor ben

    - I have not counted the buttons :)

    288 buttons assuming the 2 dimmed rows of buttons between the 2 rows of knobs aren't really buttons, but if they are you've got 320 buttons there. And 80 knobs.

    I love that the guy who is able to put this beast together couldn't be bothered to count the buttons ;)

  • http://zeroreference.blogspot.com zero ref

    @pierlo,

    Good for you for being provocative!

    I think the button-grid interface metaphor is valuable on its own, as is the channel-strip-with-buttons metaphor that seems to be going on here.

    It is tricky, since software design has such a strong relationship with controller hardware, and right now Ableton and its ideas have such a strong presence. But I could imagine a Max/MSP person finding this thing useful.

    And yeah, I realized awhile ago that CDM has a strong focus on music technology. Still love it though :)

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  • http://www.lazytrap.com Aaron

    man, this stuff is just getting a lil too trekky for me ;p seriously… that looks like something straight out of next generation! =P

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  • Fid the Fosh

    Mass production when?

    I realize it is a labour of love,crafted by an enthusiast,but me wantee.

  • Ben

    As a result of seeing this controller I am about to order some midibox stuff myself, just so I can start messing with a controller of my own.

    Very inspirational!

  • Mal Quat

    I think it would cause me many multiples of 2k of brain damage to my poor thick noggin to try to make one of those. It ain't happening. Lemur here I come. iPad will never put out. The others are shadows.

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