in progress

I’m in the middle of building a new toy, or something.

(Verbs and nouns are a little tricky with such matters. “Instrument” and “Controller” both feel wrong, as do “Inventing” and “Creating”.)

Anyway, here’s a quick mockup of what will soon exist, that has never existed in this configuration before:

(click to expand)

The two colorful grids there are each chronomes.

The keyboard is a Korg Microkey, with a handful of small modifications planned.

  • I’m replacing the pitch wheel with the jack for a sustain pedal, and replacing the mod wheel with a touch strip. These modifications more or less follow the instructions outlined in this video.
  • Additionally, I’d like to add arcade buttons on either side of the keyboard (like a pinball machine) to double up on the octave buttons.

Leveraging that keyboard’s existing functionality like this is cheating in a lot of ways, but seemed a lot more attainable than, say, trying to figure out how to integrate the keybed as a raw data source (version 2 will probably rely on this chip for that). Meanwhile, this is a class-compliant MIDI controller, and a USB hub for the two Chronomes to plug into.

The space for an iPad is probably self-explanatory. That will be driving a custom template in Control.


Current build progress:

  • both chronome button boards are mostly constructed. LEDs and diodes are all in place.
  • the two chrome controller boards are not yet started, but the components are in hand.
  • Button pads are in hand.
  • Korg MicroKey is in hand, but not yet modified.
  • Touch strip is in hand. Though, I’m thinking I might make that a second foot pedal instead, and use a vMeter in that space. Or if the case is big enough, this could be a good place to integrate the Arc 4.
  • iPad is in hand. Custom template is half-written.
  • I’ve got a dozen packets of sugru ready to help integrate the keyboard when that time comes.

Still to do:

  • Finalize the design and construct an enclosure.
  • Name the thing.

Regarding the enclosure, this is going to be a little bigger and more substantial than we usually go for. I’d sort of like to model this on old wurlitzers, where the instrument was built into a suitcase, which legs attach to to form a free-standing entity.

I’d also like to integrate an overhead bar of some sort, to mount cameras and additional sensors on.

Regarding the name, I’m juggling three ideas:

  • GreaterThanZboard” or “GTZboard”
    That’s a good name for my proprietary keyboard. But, is this that? Seems like this name gives one element of the setup too much weight.
  • Double Rainbow”
    (What does it mean?)
  • Chro-Magnome”
    This calls out its lineage (born of Chronome, son of Arduinome, cousin of Monome), while acknowledging that this is actually sort of a primitive early model / still evolving.

If we’re to be completely nerdy about this, one of the things that separates Chronome from Arduinome is the Arduino version required for its controller. Arduinome uses a standard issue Arduino, where Chronome uses the Arduino Mega. So, really, “Chro-MegNome” would actually describe its lineage more completely. It just doesn’t flow as nicely.

Anyway, there’s that. Progress towards something. Yay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *