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 Post subject: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:27 pm
Posts: 62
Fellow music-makers,

The Pulse Surface Controller System is a hardware / software solution that liberates computer-based musicians and performers from conventional input devices by allowing a surface - i.e. desk, laptop, objects and more - to become a playable MIDI controller. An included piezo microphone coupled with a simple yet powerful software interface converts acoustic impulses into MIDI Note messages for playing software instruments in an intuitive, responsive and connected manner.

The idea behind Pulse Controller was born out of the belief that as computer-based musicians and performers we should not feel relegated to a grid of small 1x1" pads or a keyboard to create our rhythms and provide pulse to our music. Controllers once intended to give us the immediacy of playing an instrument often end up feeling more disconnected and distracting. With the Pulse Surface Controller System, controlling percussive instruments has a more visceral, immediate quality, and via a powerful Melodic Generator that generates notes in selected musical scales, the user can easily extend into the melodic domain to tap into an inspiring world of happy accidents. Power to the fingers!

For more information and video demonstration, please visit http://www.pulsecontroller.com.

System features:

    + Piezo microphone and powerful software interface
    + Attaches to any surface via integrated suction cup (velcro strips also provided)
    + Connects to external audio device or built-in audio inputs (1/4" and 1/8")
    + Velocity-sensitive and highly responsive
    + Low-latency performance
    + Compatible with all software that accepts MIDI Note messages (Cubase, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, VST plug-ins, etc)
    + Generate fixed note or random notes in a selected scale, with control of octave, octave width, root pitch and 21 Scales
    + Fixed note length and note choke modes
    + Store and recall presets
    + Keyboard shortcuts for quick access to presets and important controls

http://www.pulsecontroller.com


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:02 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:10 pm
Posts: 9998
nice touch on an old theme...

but... you can DIY this very easily...
piezoelectric components are super cheap..
(you can use old television/radio speakers as well to generate signals by tapping on a surface..)
the signal/s are handled through some sort of software (m4l patch for instance..)
and you can have as much pulses as your audio interface inputs..
(once upon a time.. built a "drum-set" from blocks of wood...
utilizing all 8 inputs on my sound card and this : http://koen.smartelectronix.com/KTDrumTrigger/ in live..)
of course with an m4l patch can do much much more... in translating pulses to midi..
but contact mics are very interesting for noise making as well...(using their audio..)
very lo-fi... EXTRA CHEAP...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKfF1kqy ... re=related
anyways ... kudos for the re-packaging and the software.. it's a nice product.. looks easy to set up too..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hZPt-w6UPE

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Last edited by 3dot... on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:06 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:36 pm
Posts: 3764
Location: Northwest Nowhere
thats very cool

how is it differentiating between the fingers?


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:14 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:10 pm
Posts: 9998
it isn't... when translating to midi .. it merely translates the audio pulse volume into midi.. (velocity)
you choose the notes...
(you can also use it for midi CCs or aftertouch/modwheel/pitch for that matter.)
you can build something in max that's frequency/volume dependent..
but that would be flimsy at best.. and not accurate at all..

anyways depends on the software..
also remember it's 1 contact mic per audio input...

and btw industrial piezo-electric components are about 1-3$ each..

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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:36 pm
Posts: 3764
Location: Northwest Nowhere
i see, interesting


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:35 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5677
Location: Earth
3dot... wrote:
it isn't... when translating to midi .. it merely translates the audio pulse volume into midi.. (velocity)
you choose the notes...
(you can also use it for midi CCs or aftertouch/modwheel/pitch for that matter.)
you can build something in max that's frequency/volume dependent..
but that would be flimsy at best.. and not accurate at all..

anyways depends on the software..
also remember it's 1 contact mic per audio input...

and btw industrial piezo-electric components are about 1-3$ each..


looks interesting, but I think it would feel a bit limiting to only be able to play 1 MIDI note - even for percussion, as with the kontakt option shown, the percussion instruments usually use a few notes to provide the different tones/veocities etc

but if the components are that cheap, it makes me wonder if you could use a few and have the software work out where you are playing on the desk by how loud each one is or something and track pitch like that?


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:10 pm
Posts: 9998
Forge. wrote:
3dot... wrote:
it isn't... when translating to midi .. it merely translates the audio pulse volume into midi.. (velocity)
you choose the notes...
(you can also use it for midi CCs or aftertouch/modwheel/pitch for that matter.)
you can build something in max that's frequency/volume dependent..
but that would be flimsy at best.. and not accurate at all..

anyways depends on the software..
also remember it's 1 contact mic per audio input...

and btw industrial piezo-electric components are about 1-3$ each..


looks interesting, but I think it would feel a bit limiting to only be able to play 1 MIDI note - even for percussion, as with the kontakt option shown, the percussion instruments usually use a few notes to provide the different tones/veocities etc

but if the components are that cheap, it makes me wonder if you could use a few and have the software work out where you are playing on the desk by how loud each one is or something and track pitch like that?

yep you could.. but like I said it would be far from accurate..

I think what's cool about it is how flexible it is.. you can attach it to any surface.. you can make the cables as long as you want (since "quality"/"fidelity" is not a factor)
so like I said.. if you're not utilizing all your audio inputs.. could be a nice addition...
4 contact mics= bd (which you can simply stomp on)/ snare/ hh
(you can use 1 piezo to determine if the hihat is open or close..sortof emulating a hh pedal)

plus...like I said.. you can get weird sounds ..

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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:40 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5677
Location: Earth
I guess you could maybe put them on 4 different surfaces.... even books or something?


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:24 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:10 pm
Posts: 9998
yep..

if you find old tvs..radios.. ..rip out their speakers..
hook it up to 1/4" jack..attach to surface..done.

one thing I think is worth mentioning..
a disadvantage is.. response is linked to audio latency..
so this isn't so good when buffer size is high..

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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:13 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 7:24 pm
Posts: 1504
Location: Homefree
With scale mode it seems you could have it trigger three or four notes with different velocities round robin and then you would have a more varied percussion sound. I've got to buy this.


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:59 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:16 pm
Posts: 5677
Location: Earth
nowtime wrote:
With scale mode it seems you could have it trigger three or four notes with different velocities round robin and then you would have a more varied percussion sound. I've got to buy this.


don't get me wrong, I think it could definitely be useful - especially if you're happy to see what it comes up with with random and scale, but in the video where there was a tabla sound as an example, that's when I thought it would be pretty annoying for percussion to not be able to choose which different tones/slaps etc to play as you go. You could certainly do a pretty good approximation with the randomness though.


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:21 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:27 pm
Posts: 62
Thank you all for your comments! I will be updating the software frequently and this sort of user input is extremely useful in driving development. Some of the features you mention are already on the to-do list, plus some other neat ones too! :wink:

If there are any other features you would like to see, don't hesitate to submit a feature request through the Contact page on the website. http://www.pulsecontroller.com


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:29 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 2:21 am
Posts: 8804
Location: Amsterdam
Forge. wrote:
it makes me wonder if you could use a few and have the software work out where you are playing on the desk by how loud each one is or something and track pitch like that?

this one seems to be a bit more advanced.. can't wait to try it..
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2012/01/w ... nstrument/


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:39 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:27 pm
Posts: 62
Poster wrote:
Forge. wrote:
it makes me wonder if you could use a few and have the software work out where you are playing on the desk by how loud each one is or something and track pitch like that?

this one seems to be a bit more advanced.. can't wait to try it..
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2012/01/w ... nstrument/

Indeed this too looks to be a very interesting project! It's great to see that other developers share a common motivation in reinventing the way we interface with our music! The main difference here is that Bruno Zamborlin's project appears to be more of a standalone synthesis / sample playback instrument. In some regards, this does make it more "advanced" but the idea behind Pulse is rooted in simplicity - it is strictly intended to function as a controller that interfaces with MIDI-compatible instruments in a natural, expressive way.


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 Post subject: Re: Turn any surface into a playable MIDI controller
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:43 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:10 pm
Posts: 9998
it's CV for the poor... :mrgreen:

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