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Dunshield - our passive fader controller is in the works

A new passive fader controller: just faders, or can there be more?

  • Just the faders, thank you.

  • A pitchbend/modulation wheel would be cool.

  • Add a couple of buttons, but no pitch/mod.

  • Pitchbend/modulation + buttons please.


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puremusic

Active Member
I saw some software for using game joysticks once. Never tried it though. I can't envision how it'd give me good fine control compared to other options.
 
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Dunshield

Dunshield

New Member
Thanks people for this new surge of comments. We've been hard at work designing other family members for our Dunshield line of studio desks and furniture, and make no mistake the MIDI controller is on that list.

Also great to see the votes are still coming in.

I'd be happy with 1 pitchwheel, 1 modwheel, 4 80-100mm faders in a box. Low profile and slim as possible.
Making the controller as low profile as possible is a goal for sure, but adding the pitchbend/mod wheels - even optionally - will make the unit 45 mm high - measured from the base of the unit to the top panel (so excl the fader caps etc.). If this was a faders only controller that height could be reduced.
 

yak

The Yak
Making the controller as low profile as possible is a goal for sure, but adding the pitchbend/mod wheels - even optionally - will make the unit 45 mm high .
I think having a flatter device outweighs the benefit of an integrated pitchbend/mod wheel. Perhaps having a separate device that would do that make more sense.
 

yak

The Yak
I saw some software for using game joysticks once. Never tried it though. I can't envision how it'd give me good fine control compared to other options.
Don't know about using a game joystick but Roland has a low profile joystick built into their stage pianos:

See Roland RD-800 for reference.

FYI: Can't submit a link since the site interpreted my liking as spam. :-\
 
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Dunshield

Dunshield

New Member
I think having a flatter device outweighs the benefit of an integrated pitchbend/mod wheel. Perhaps having a separate device that would do that make more sense.
I hear you in regards to flatness of the device.

The poll shows that there's a big interest in a pitch/mod controller though, and I want to see that through as well. I have come across a low profile pitch/mod joystick that is used in one of those Korg mini keyboards. Have not tested it yet. I'm wary of its resolution capabilities though, but I heard they are a lot of fun - the latter is a feature we're not exactly looking for.

I'll have a look at that RD 800 part.

As you say having 2 separate devices might be the way to go and it could be possible if we have enough sales of both items.

I saw some software for using game joysticks once. Never tried it though. I can't envision how it'd give me good fine control compared to other options.
Many game joysticks are in fact simple switches on a 2 axis plane; so it's either Left position / Center / Right position / Top position / Bottom position. So zero values in between say Hard Left and Dead Center.

Needless to say that a true pitch bend or mod wheel is a continuous controller; it has a stream of values, so it is a potmeter of some kind.

There is a thread on Gearslutz on this very topic if I remember correctly.
 
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puremusic

Active Member
Yeah I've seen some keyboards with joystick controllers, there was one I wanted to buy but for that it had that instead of standard mod/pitch wheels. If I could've gotten a separate mod/pitchwheel it might be still considered.

I like the separate mod/pitchwheel device idea. 4 separate faders is good too. Another idea is instead of mod/pitchwheel, mod/pitch trackpad like on the Keystep, then 4 faders. Might be able to still be slimline that way?

I prefer wheels to the trackpad type, but the ones on my Keystep, they're not bad at all and you can do some things you can't do with wheels with them, i.e., skip around. Sometimes this works great, sometimes, a lot of kontakt instruments can't handle that big a change if it's to dynamics and get all crackly though.
 

babylonwaves

Senior Member
Slimline is more important to me than additional controls such as a pitch/modwheel section. to me, it's important that the heel of the hand can rest on something. if you look for instance at a Presonus Faderport this works better than a FaderCTRL which is a bit high. A joystick I personally find totally useless. never liked it in the Prophet VS or the Yamaha SY22 for instance. If I want a 2d control, I prefer an iPad for instance. Maybe that's all a bit different when you produce surround format (which I don't do).
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
There are some products already existing to handle it. I'm just wondering if anyone here has actually TRIED it and how it worked out compared to say 100mm faders, which are so hard to come by these days
 

burp182

Active Member
It would seem that an inexpensive properly sized trackpad might be a good solution to the joystick issue. A simple and adjustable “return to center” bit of software could prove useful. All this could seemingly be done either as an integrated option or a small standalone add on very quite cost effectively.
 

jonnybutter

Active Member
Just my 2p. I see pitch/mod wheel spoken of together so much in this thread, but pitch bend and mod wheel are so different! As far as I know, there is no pitch bend add on device on the market. Mod wheel functions can be handled in other ways - fader, track pad - but the center detent spring action return to zero pitch bend is unique, physically. I'd love to have one I can plug into my hub. I suppose because of depth, if you add one you may as well add the other, but...eh, I don't care that much about a mod wheel, even though I'm fairly used to using one.

I have a fadercntrl, and it's working just fine, but I'd certainly consider getting a box with pitch bend and faders too. Those yamaha levers are cool too...
 

Ryan Fultz

New Member
So cool to see you doing this and I'm very intrigued to see what you do and what you prioritize. I'm a little late to the party, but I think I'll add my thoughts in maybe a slightly different way than I've seen from most of the posts. Here is my setup and here is what I wish I could improve on it:

My keyboard is a digital piano with great hammer action, but no modwheel/pitchbend etc.

For the pitch bend I have to draw it in. It sucks, absolutely sucks to not have a pitchbend for the virtual instruments that can sound more realistic with it like guitars. I'm not aware of any external device I could add that has it and doesn't have a keyboard attached that will take up valuable real estate on my desk/piano area. That would make me look heavily at something cheap with small footprint that solved it. The quick snap back to zero is so important that any other device just doesn't cut it. X/Y as part of that device would mean less accurate bending, but I'd probably accept that compromise.

For the majority of my instruments I use the pallete gear setup and the things I love are :
- modular (least important)
- solid construction
- those arcade style buttons are the most satisfying things to tap for simple commands
-super well-designed interface for assigning the pieces to CC, midi notes, or keyboard commands and the ability to change profiles from the device itself is amazing.
- the color assigning to pieces works just fine for me to identify instantly what I'm looking at
- endless turn with knobs makes certain things like play head movements great.
-being able to push in the knob gives them an additional function that creates more control without increased footprint on the desk

What is less great:
- Faders are a bit wide apart
- the shape makes going up and down more difficult when using multiple with one hand
- knobs are a bit slow to respond and require too much movement to make them enter a CC making them hard to use as knobs on a synth filter for example
- endless spin makes entering 1-127 cc data less precise and easy

For a few samples like embertone' strings an x/y axis works best. I have a tablet with touch osc on it that I use.
The good:

- Great dual control, much more intuitive to playing and entering data than faders

The bad:
Hard to tell the outer bounds of the x/y space, keyswitching live on it is impossible and some silly joke, if I were a virtuoso pianist I bet I could actually really like and prefer the tablet setup, but with my current piano skills it's an impossibility to keep all of that in my mind at once. 6 or so SMALL buttons that could be assigned to keycommands or notes would be amazing right above a physical joystick to make using it and still have articulations available.

I have no velocity sensitive pads to play in percussion parts and having like 4 of those (as someone coming from a drumming background originally) that I could assign to midi note values to would be a freaking godsend and speed up all my percussion writing to the point of just playing a pass one time and being done. (Currently looking at e-kits or a roland brain and a couple pads to fulfill this, but just thought I'd give you more to think about in terms of who you would market to.)

So there's my long breakdown.
 
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Dunshield

Dunshield

New Member
Just my 2p. I see pitch/mod wheel spoken of together so much in this thread, but pitch bend and mod wheel are so different! As far as I know, there is no pitch bend add on device on the market. Mod wheel functions can be handled in other ways - fader, track pad - but the center detent spring action return to zero pitch bend is unique, physically. I'd love to have one I can plug into my hub. I suppose because of depth, if you add one you may as well add the other, but...eh, I don't care that much about a mod wheel, even though I'm fairly used to using one.

I have a fadercntrl, and it's working just fine, but I'd certainly consider getting a box with pitch bend and faders too. Those yamaha levers are cool too...
Thanks Jonny, that's a very helpful comment and insight.

Separate mod wheels or pitch benders seem not to be commercially available - except for the Doepfer (Fatar?) part, which we purchased and tested and found not te be satisfactory.

Any regular pitch bender will also require a certain build-in depth, which does not comply with our aim to keep the controller as low profile as possible.

We did find a hi-quality joystick with center return, that is super precise and renders high resolution data to work with. It is a "joy" to work with as a pitchbend/mod combo. It can also be ordered without the center return, so it is a great allrounder and it fits the design beautifully. Also the depth of the part is rather shallow, in fact it is half as deep compared to other wheels or benders. so we can keep the case low profile with this part.

==> Most benders will require a bulky +42 mm of depth, and that is without the feet or lids, so this would render a 50 mm high desktop case.

So lots of things to consider here, and we feel the Joystick we found checks all the right boxes: high quality, precision, shallow built-in depth, optional center return - and a dead center return at that, great feel, nimble .. It is not the cheapest part though, but it is a quality piece so it will serve the user for many, many years.
 
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Dunshield

Dunshield

New Member
So cool to see you doing this and I'm very intrigued to see what you do and what you prioritize.
Many thanks Ryan for that breakdown and taking the time to write it all up.

See my reply to Jonny in the post above regarding the pitchbend X/Y challenge.

Velocity sensitive pads! Excellent suggestion.

Question: Palette Gear has the faders spaced at 45 mm, correct? Could you live with 25 ~ 30 mm? That would make it a bit wider than FaderCtrl, which has the faders spaced at 20 mm.
 

Ryan Fultz

New Member
Question: Palette Gear has the faders spaced at 45 mm, correct? Could you live with 25 ~ 30 mm? That would make it a bit wider than FaderCtrl, which has the faders spaced at 20 mm.
If they had the normal console shape instead of the shape pallete gear uses it would be a huge improvement.

The pallete gear faders look great, but the shape makes them far harder to control in a musical situation.
 
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