Minime Controller

This is a controller that I have put together for the purpose of controlling visuals software, and probably sequencers and synthesizer software as well. I hacked together a bunch of different controllers as a way to test out what works and what I would really use.

Here is a track I put together using just Apple’s Logic and my Minime as a basic midi controller.

I have tended to perform my visuals using the screen on my laptop to choose video clips, and then doing most of the rest using just a 16 dial controller. I’ve been looking a long time at a lot of different types, sizes, and shapes of controllers and just decided one day to put together a bunch of stuff I already have to see what I could come up with. The case ended up being larger than it would have to be, so if I remade this, I’d measure everything out to make it as small as it could be while also feeling good.

1x Monome 40h kit (64 LEDs and 64 buttons, you can add a tilt sensor)
1x Evolution UC-16 MIDI dial controller (without the settings buttons)
1x Intec XBox controller joystick and controller board
2x BBC Microcomputer joysticks wired into aforementioned XBox controller
1x cheesy purple case from the thrift store
1x USB hub
1x USB A port, external
1x USB B port, external

Some of the component parts could just be partially disassembled and then attached to the case. The USB hub, and the UC-16 controller, that’s all I had to do. The rest was more work.

The XBox controller really is a USB device with a strange connector. To use it on the Mac, all you have to do is cut off the original connector, and then wire up a USB connector instead. With the Mac, you also need drivers. I’m currently using Carvware GamePad Companion for most programs, but I think with Max/MSP I can support it without the driver.

The most important modification you can do with a game controller is to take apart the joysticks and take their springs out. Once you do this, they will stay where you leave them. This allows you to use that stick as an X and a Y setting that won’t jump back to the middle. Very useful for audio filters, color filters, and the intensity of various audio and video effect plugins. I lucked out and found a couple joysticks that came from an old BBC Microcomputer (yes, that BBC).

I was thinking that once I figured out what worked, I would transfer things over to a new case. But, I just realized that would be somewhat insane, as I would have to de-solder and re-solder all of the almost 400 solder points on the minime section. So, if I like things, I will make a nicer version, and likely sell this one off as-is.

Here is a previous post on putting together the electronics kit for the monome in this project.

p.s. – I know the correct pronunciation of Monome is supposed to rhyme with gnome, but I still like calling the little monome section of my controller the Minime, pronounced “mini me”. That or Getome, which should be pronounced “Ghetto Me”

Visuals Controller (LED numbers turned on)

Visuals Controller Monome Wiring

Visuals Controller (LED numbers turned on)

Visuals Controller Monome Initial Wiring