…baby step onto the elevator… baby step into the elevator… I’m *in* the elevator.

Like many of my projects, the controller I’m building is an ambitious endeavor.  It sounds simple on the outset, add 8 encoders and an LCD screen to an 8×8 RGB Monome and program the new controller to run a monome patch in one color and a Mackie Control style DAW controller in another, with the third color used for channel meters.   My current prototype for this is pictured in the banner of this website, it’s a 4×4 grid with an LCD on the side.

Functionally this prototype can print text to the LCD while reading and storing button/encoder states.  It can also light up the LEDs, although I have yet to perfect the timing of multiplexing the four rows so that the colors show up correctly and balanced, with minimal flicker.

That last part is actually no small matter, and I’m finding it hard to dedicate the real time needed to make timely progress.

With that goal of mind (the theme for my projects in 2011 is “of substance”) I am declaring an intermediary step.  Remove the RGB monome for now, and instead build a controller that is 9 push-encoders (8 + 1 master) with an LCD and a two shift buttons.  Everything I develop for this version of the controller will port over to the bigger one, and it gives me the added benefit of having another (less expensive) product to offer.  Also small controllers are awesome (hopefully this one wont be much wider than the short side of the arduino).

Last night I perfected reading the encoders via the shift in register, and applying the inc/dec commands to (0-127) ranged values displayed on the LCD, and for fun applied those values to some of the red LEDs still connected to the board.  The next step will be to make it pretend to be a Mackie Control, or perhaps build a custom map in Ableton Live.  I’m leaning towards the first option, even though it’s a bit more complex, as it will be a more universal option.

The only other question is do I use plain old pushbutton encoders, or do I go with these sexy little numbers?

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