MIDI Drum Pad (aka Koala 1) Final Post – Reflections

Functionality

Functionally, I’m really happy with how my project turned out.  It syncs up seamlessly with any music software that accepts MIDI ins, and can transmit a variety of easy-to-change MIDI signals.  The response time is also super quick – unnoticeable.  Even when two pads are being struck at the same time, the Koala 1 works amazingly.  The pads have also stood up to all the abuse thus far, and still look pretty nice.  I can’t wait to use the Koala 1 to make some sick beats!

Aesthetic

Aesthetically, I’m also really satisfied with how the project turned out.  The Koala 1 is sleek, organized, and consistent.  The wood stain goes well with the black pads and nameplate, and if I can get some LED’s to diffuse through the acrylic body, it’ll look amazing.  The end product has definitely inspired me to design and build some more MIDI instruments in the future.

Improvements 

First, I’d like to create a PCB for all of the electronics.  This’ll prevent everything from getting jumbled around, and will end up saving a lot of space.  Second, I’d like to create a hysteresis band for each of the sensors.  This will allow me to hook the sensors up to digital pins on the Teensy instead of analog pins.  With digital pins, each of the sensors can be read via an interrupt instead of using looping conditional statements.  This will allow for even less latency (even though its pretty much unnoticeable now), and will make the project feel more professional.  Finally, I’d like to figure out how to hook up more LED’s to the system.  Currently, I can only hook up 2 LED’s without the controller freaking out.  This isn’t enough to illuminate the nameplate, let alone dissipate light through the body.  Hooking up an external power supply would easily solve the problem, but it would be more rewarding to figure out a way to do it using only the Teensy.  I’ll figure it out this summer.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Jakob Oreskovich
    Thomas Brunsgaard
    April 27, 2016 11:07 pm

    Depending on how crazy you want to get with the LEDs, there is a native library for Teensy called FastLED (https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_FastSPI_LED.html) that allows you to easily control addressable RGB LED strips (something like https://www.adafruit.com/products/1461). These draw a significant amount of power, and can not run directly off the power. It may be an over kill if you are just trying to light up the pad dividers, but it could be a cool addition if you make more MIDI instruments in the future. At expo, I was thinking that it would be crazy to use distance sensors with the MIDI library to make a digital theremin.

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