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Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...
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Bohr

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Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostWed Jan 13, 2021 6:06 pm

Hello everybody,

I am about to build my own Hauptwerk organ console. I already bought three wood-core keyboards. Now I need to build a console. It's a lot easier to know beforehand what you need and what you don't need. Therefore, I am thinking a lot about what is useful and what is useless.



I am thinking about for which functions in Hauptwerk I need LED-buttons for. I am able to label the buttons. I want to drive them with this product (multiple): https://midi-hardware.com/index.php?sec ... duct=LITSW

Currently I have a cheap one keyboard + pedal board setup with . but plan on switching to Hauptwerk once I have build my organ console.
I already considered the following switches:
  • A switch button for each register of a certain organ.
  • Setzer (Combination setter?) mechanics with _0 to _9, 000, G.C.
  • For Setzer as well: +1, +10, +100, -1, -10, -100, next, previous, current
  • For Setzer as well: Set, delete, insert
  • So far I don't quite understand the differences between scope, scoped and stuff. I have to read about it more. But currently I think that I don't need it. I somewhere read that this is more of an American thing. And I never saw it in reality here around.
  • Therefore, I might not need buttons 0 to 9 for every manual, too. But I am still thinking about it.
  • Buttons to start the program, load the organ, close the organ, save
  • Buttons for metronome maybe (?)
  • Buttons for temperaments maybe (?)
  • Buttons for recording and playing midi
  • Buttons to change computer audio volume maybe; mute
  • Buttons for crescendi pedal modes A, B, ...
  • Buttons to address specific organ works to specific manuals or pedal board (kind of couplers)
Did I miss any function which you have in use, maybe one which you even like a lot?
Are there any buttons which I really don't need?
Is there an option to toggle between functions of buttons? E. g. use 0 to 9 for different manuals when pressing a specific button beforehand.

Besides, which foot pistons do you use for your pedal board?
Setter combination forward and backward and couplers?



Furthermore, I would like to be able to display some responses from Hauptwerk. I would like to use these displays: https://midi-hardware.com/index.php?sec ... uct=MiDisp

I actually don't know very well which information can be displayed and is useful. Maybe some of those:
  • Name of loaded organ
  • Setzer number
  • 0 - 100% for swell and crescendo pedals
I don't know more actually. I am happy for every input. Especially how you ordered it and how much displays you use. Is it even possible to shift the shown messages with a button press?



And last one: Potentiometer.
How many swell pedals do you prefer? Can you switch where a swell pedal belongs to by pushing a button? Is it useful to have some rotary knobs instead or in addition?



I am very happy for every input! Your longstanding experience could really help me. Thank you very much in advance!
Bohr
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostWed Jan 13, 2021 7:39 pm

Bohr wrote:So far I don't quite understand the differences between scope, scoped and stuff. I have to read about it more. But currently I think that I don't need it. I somewhere read that this is more of an American thing. And I never saw it in reality here around.[/*]Bohr


If you plan use lighted thumb pistons for control of the combination action, you will need to create scoped pistons:

http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=18792&p=143198&hilit=scoped+pistons#p141472

Briefly, the scoped pistons do the communication with Hauptwerk while the physical pistons control and communicate with the scoped pistons.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 12:32 am

If you plan use lighted thumb pistons for control of the combination action, you will need to create scoped pistons:

http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=18792&p=143198&hilit=scoped+pistons#p141472

Briefly, the scoped pistons do the communication with Hauptwerk while the physical pistons control and communicate with the scoped pistons.

Rgds,
Ed

Hello Ed

Thank you for your answer. I actually don't quite understand your thought, sorry. I don't usually use scope and scoped pistons. I always use regular pistons. My workflow ist the following:

I save a specific registration to let's say combination setter 001. E.g. I want to save that 001 should activate Register 5 and 11 and turn all other registers off. Let's say that I have registered the registers 3, 5 and 8 currently. I press combination setter 001 now. Then registers 3 and 8 are deactivated, 5 stays, 11 gets activated (and this is shown on my computer screen).

I thought that the LED-pistons for the registers mimic this properties from Hauptwerk. So LED for register 3 and 8 switches off, LED for register 5 stays on, LED for register 11 gets switched on. Is this right? I kind of understand your post like this isn't possible?
Or did you mean something completely different?

Thanks in advance
Bohr
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 7:34 am

Hello Bohr,

Bohr wrote:I am about to build my own Hauptwerk organ console. I already bought three wood-core keyboards. Now I need to build a console. It's a lot easier to know beforehand what you need and what you don't need. Therefore, I am thinking a lot about what is useful and what is useless.

I am thinking about for which functions in Hauptwerk I need LED-buttons for. I am able to label the buttons. I want to drive them with this product (multiple): https://midi-hardware.com/index.php?sec ... duct=LITSW

Currently I have a cheap one keyboard + pedal board setup with . but plan on switching to Hauptwerk once I have build my organ console.


I'd highly recommend familiarising yourself with Hauptwerk's functionality first-hand before trying to decide exactly what MIDI pistons/functions to include on your console. I think you'd then quickly be able to see what all of the functions in Hauptwerk actually do, and would end with a console design that suits your own personal needs much better than you could achieve purely by studying any documentation.

If you don't have a licence for Hauptwerk yet, you could run Hauptwerk for free in evaluation mode for 14 days, and if you need more time than that then you could potentially take a monthly subscription for the Lite Edition (which has all of the functionality that would be relevant to planning your console) for a month or two.

All of the relevant functions are available via buttons on Hauptwerk's control panels, so you could then try them in full, without needing any additional MIDI hardware. All buttons on control panels can be mapped to MIDI pistons (except for the few functions that open file browsers or settings screens), and if a control panel button lights up then it would cause the lamp (if present) in any MIDI piston mapped to it to light up accordingly.

Briefly in answer to your individual questions/points:

Bohr wrote:A switch button for each register of a certain organ.
Setzer (Combination setter?) mechanics with _0 to _9, 000, G.C.


- Yes -- that sounds fine.
- (The setzer is termed 'combination stepper' in Hauptwerk.)
- GC cancels any registrations (irrespective of whether they were actuated via the combination stepper).

Bohr wrote:For Setzer as well: +1, +10, +100, -1, -10, -100, next, previous, current


- Yes -- that too sounds fine.
- The +1, +10, +100, -1, -10, -100 pistons you're referring to affect the combination stepper's cued frame number. Strictly speaking, you wouldn't need +1 and -1 purely for triggering stepper frames if you also have _0 to _9, but you would need them if inserting/deleting/editing frames, so you would probably want to include them anyway.

Bohr wrote:For Setzer as well: Set, delete, insert


- Yes -- that sounds fine too.
- 'Set' affects any combination triggered whilst the setter is 'on' (not just combination stepper frames).

Bohr wrote:So far I don't quite understand the differences between scope, scoped and stuff. I have to read about it more. But currently I think that I don't need it. I somewhere read that this is more of an American thing. And I never saw it in reality here around.


- Most people use master scoped pistons as divisional combination pistons (by defining their scopes to be the relevant divisions' stops).

The potential advantages of using them, instead of any divisional pistons included within the sample set are:

- Some sample sets don't have any divisional pistons (or don't have as many as there are master scoped combinations).
- You can auto-detect master scoped combinations 'for all organs', which may save time if you use a lot of different sample sets and always want to use the same MIDI pistons as divisionals.
- Master scoped combinations light up whenever the current registration matches their stored registration, which you might possibly find useful, and many sample sets don't have lighted divisional pistons.

Bohr wrote:Buttons to start the program, load the organ, close the organ, save


- You can't natively launch Hauptwerk from a MIDI piston, because Hauptwerk would need already to be running in order to 'hear' the MIDI piston's message. However, you could instead configure the operating system to launch Hauptwerk automatically when the computer boots.
- By 'save' I assume you're referring to the function to save the current combination set (file). You might decide not to bother with a piston for that since Hauptwerk will automatically save combinations (or prompt you, depending on a general preference) before unloading an organ or exiting or loading another combination set.

Bohr wrote:Buttons for metronome maybe (?)


- Hauptwerk doesn't currently have built-in metronome functionality (although we do hope to include that in the longer term).

Bohr wrote:Buttons to change computer audio volume maybe; mute


- Hauptwerk doesn't have a 'mute' function natively.
- Hauptwerk does have buttons/pistons to adjust ('trim') the audio level (which is stored per-organ). However, they're mainly meant just for balancing the levels of different sample sets. There is a master volume slider (which can be mapped to a MIDI slider/knob), which is intended for 'on the fly' adjustments if needed.

Bohr wrote:Buttons to address specific organ works to specific manuals or pedal board (kind of couplers)


- I assume you're referring to changing MIDI keyboards' mappings dynamically amongst virtual keyboards. Hauptwerk's floating divisions (pages 124-132 in the current v6.0.1 user guide) cover those. Some sample sets have their own native functionality to achieve similar things.

Bohr wrote:Is there an option to toggle between functions of buttons? E. g. use 0 to 9 for different manuals when pressing a specific button beforehand.


- Not as such. (The minor exceptions are the functions on the 'Cued favorites (all types) and utility functions menu' large control panel, which allow you to select/load combination sets, organs, and temperaments, and to perform less-common functions, such as editing stepper frames.)

Bohr wrote:Furthermore, I would like to be able to display some responses from Hauptwerk. I would like to use these displays: https://midi-hardware.com/index.php?sec ... uct=MiDisp

I actually don't know very well which information can be displayed and is useful. Maybe some of those:

Name of loaded organ
Setzer number
0 - 100% for swell and crescendo pedals

I don't know more actually. I am happy for every input. Especially how you ordered it and how much displays you use. Is it even possible to shift the shown messages with a button press?


- Try running Hauptwerk, go to the 'General settings | MIDI LCD panel control (for all organs)' screen, press the Insert button (to configure an LCD panel, just as a test), and look at the list of 'line formats' available. They show the status information that you could use any given 16-character line of an LCD panel to display.
- The two line formats are configured per-LCD-display, and which formats are selected can't be changed dynamically.
- However, the LCD panels do update dynamically, so if, for example, you have a line format selected that shows the stepper frame then as you change the stepper frame number the LCD panel will update accordingly.

Bohr wrote:How many swell pedals do you prefer? Can you switch where a swell pedal belongs to by pushing a button? Is it useful to have some rotary knobs instead or in addition?


- Hauptwerk doesn't currently have functionality to switch assignments of expression pedals around dynamically (apart from via floating divisions), but some sample sets do include their own functionality for that.

I hope that helps.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 7:46 am

Bohr wrote:I always use regular pistons. My workflow ist the following:

I save a specific registration to let's say combination setter 001. E.g. I want to save that 001 should activate Register 5 and 11 and turn all other registers off. Let's say that I have registered the registers 3, 5 and 8 currently. I press combination setter 001 now. Then registers 3 and 8 are deactivated, 5 stays, 11 gets activated (and this is shown on my computer screen).


Yes -- that's how Hauptwerk's stepper works.

Bohr wrote:I thought that the LED-pistons for the registers mimic this properties from Hauptwerk. So LED for register 3 and 8 switches off, LED for register 5 stays on, LED for register 11 gets switched on. Is this right


Correct. That's Hauptwerk's standard behaviour. If virtual stops are mapped to individual MIDI stops/switches/buttons that have lamps then Hauptwerk will control the lamps automatically to match the states of the on-screen stops. There wouldn't normally be any need to use scoped combinations for that.

I'm not actually clear myself what Ed is referring to -- perhaps some specific unusual behaviour within the particular LITSW MIDI encoder/decoder board, which requires some unusual configuration in Hauptwerk as a work-around? Or perhaps Ed is just referring to wanting lighted combination pistons (as opposed to lighted stops) for sample sets that don't themselves have lighted divisionals/generals.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 8:56 am

am thinking about for which functions in Hauptwerk I need LED-buttons for. I am able to label the buttons. I want to drive them with this product (multiple): https://midi-hardware.com/index.php?sec ... duct=LITSW


Hauptwerk can turn on stops when these are added by pistons and if you have an LED associate with the stop you would probably want this to light in this instance as well as when you manually turn it on with the associate switch. There are other cases (lighted pistons for example) where Hauptwerk would turn the LED on without the switch having been pressed

I would recommend checking that the interfaces you use for switches and LEDs support sending MIDI commands when the switch is pressed and that the LED is turned on by a MIDI command sent by Hauptwerk rather than by the switch itself. I am not certain that the board you mentioned can light the LED in response to MIDI output sent by Hauptwerk.

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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 9:02 am

I had a Midi console created from an old Electric organ that I converted, which had a lot of buttons available that I midified. I found that over time my preferences foe what buttons to use for what changed. So I would recommend you have some system for stop selection, pistons under the keys, and some general purpose pistons for Hauptwerk functions, etc. And don’t label them yet. Try different configurations until you find something that works well for you, then label them. You could also use temporary labels just in case. For me, I use pistons for pre-set registrations, and I like having some pistons available for selecting floating divisions. I only use console buttons for things I need while playing. Everyone has their preference, but sometimes it’s hard to decide on those things in advance.
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 9:40 am

IainStinson wrote: I would recommend checking that the interfaces you use for switches and LEDs support sending MIDI commands when the switch is pressed and that the LED is turned on by a MIDI command sent by Hauptwerk rather than by the switch itself. I am not certain that the board you mentioned can light the LED in response to MIDI output sent by Hauptwerk.


That's exactly how the LITSW board functions. The piston sends a MIDI message to HW by means of the piston switch contact connected to the LITSW (which functions here as a MIDI encoder). MIDI out of the LITSW to MIDI in of HW.

MIDI output from HW connected to the MIDI input of the LITSW (which functions here as a MIDI decoder) turns the associated LED on.

The LITSW is both a MIDI encoder and a MIDI decoder.

MIDI output of Hauptwerk needs to be ticked.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 9:59 am

mdyde wrote: Or perhaps Ed is just referring to wanting lighted combination pistons (as opposed to lighted stops) for sample sets that don't themselves have lighted divisionals/generals.


Exactly. There are many sample sets, that, true to the original sampled instrument, do not provide for the lighted piston function. Here you need to use scoped pistons and make sure the pistons are made to function in the Independent mode which is setup in the LITSW.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 11:17 am

I did look at the documentation before making my comment about the board. I've now looked at the controller board MRG 2 document and in the "independent mode" it does imply that the LITSW will respond to MIDI output messages received from Hauptwerk - sorry if I got this wrong. I did find the documentation not really very clear but assume Ed has used this board successfully with Hauptwerk.

I note that the LTSW board is "Temporarily Unavailable" according to the website.

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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 12:45 pm

Yes, I originally found it a little confusing as well. But end of story, once set up, the LITSW works very well. I outlined the steps in the Forum thread I mentioned above which solved all the issues for another member. Aside from creating scoped pistons, etc, an important point when using the LITSW is to eliminate MIDI feedback by entering code #972 (into the MRG2 Master Controller) which is easily done by means of the Keypad available from Midi Hardware.

Something else to remember, the configuration (memory) is stored in the MRG2, MIDI 128 or MBBS Master Controller(s) not in the individual extensions plugged into it. So once set up, the extension needs to remain plugged into a particular socket of a Master Controller. There is a code #979 which serves as a "Factory Default / Reset" setting everything back to just as it was out of the box.

Even tho an item is listed as Temporarily Unavailable, you can still order it and Roman will ship ASAP. There is a known shortage of many electronic components world wide for many reasons including COVID.

You might want to watch for some new products from Midi Hardware - soon.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 5:37 pm

mdyde wrote:I'd highly recommend familiarising yourself with Hauptwerk's functionality first-hand before trying to decide exactly what MIDI pistons/functions to include on your console. I think you'd then quickly be able to see what all of the functions in Hauptwerk actually do, and would end with a console design that suits your own personal needs much better than you could achieve purely by studying any documentation.

If you don't have a licence for Hauptwerk yet, you could run Hauptwerk for free in evaluation mode for 14 days, and if you need more time than that then you could potentially take a monthly subscription for the Lite Edition (which has all of the functionality that would be relevant to planning your console) for a month or two.

All of the relevant functions are available via buttons on Hauptwerk's control panels, so you could then try them in full, without needing any additional MIDI hardware. All buttons on control panels can be mapped to MIDI pistons (except for the few functions that open file browsers or settings screens), and if a control panel button lights up then it would cause the lamp (if present) in any MIDI piston mapped to it to light up accordingly.

Thank you, @mdyde
Your reply helps a lot!
I might buy my PC for Hauptwerk earlier then. I wanted to wait until I built my console but I should reconsider this. I currently only have Linux. Thank you for your opinion!

And thank you a lot for all of your detailed explanations regarding my questions!
mdyde wrote:You can't natively launch Hauptwerk from a MIDI piston, because Hauptwerk would need already to be running in order to 'hear' the MIDI piston's message. However, you could instead configure the operating system to launch Hauptwerk automatically when the computer boots.

Yes, I know that. I should have mentioned that I want to accomplish this with a little script.
mdyde wrote:I assume you're referring to changing MIDI keyboards' mappings dynamically amongst virtual keyboards. Hauptwerk's floating divisions (pages 124-132 in the current v6.0.1 user guide) cover those. Some sample sets have their own native functionality to achieve similar things.

Exactly, using virtual keyboards. I really like this concept!
mdyde wrote:Try running Hauptwerk, go to the 'General settings | MIDI LCD panel control (for all organs)' screen, press the Insert button (to configure an LCD panel, just as a test), and look at the list of 'line formats' available. They show the status information that you could use any given 16-character line of an LCD panel to display.

Thank you, I need to try this out when testing Hauptwerk.
mdyde wrote:Correct. That's Hauptwerk's standard behaviour. If virtual stops are mapped to individual MIDI stops/switches/buttons that have lamps then Hauptwerk will control the lamps automatically to match the states of the on-screen stops. There wouldn't normally be any need to use scoped combinations for that.

I'm not actually clear myself what Ed is referring to -- perhaps some specific unusual behaviour within the particular LITSW MIDI encoder/decoder board, which requires some unusual configuration in Hauptwerk as a work-around? Or perhaps Ed is just referring to wanting lighted combination pistons (as opposed to lighted stops) for sample sets that don't themselves have lighted divisionals/generals.

Thank you very much for your clarification. I was really concerned now that this wouldn't work.





IainStinson wrote:Hauptwerk can turn on stops when these are added by pistons and if you have an LED associate with the stop you would probably want this to light in this instance as well as when you manually turn it on with the associate switch. There are other cases (lighted pistons for example) where Hauptwerk would turn the LED on without the switch having been pressed

Thank you, Iain. I am glad that you confirm my plan.





larason2 wrote:I had a Midi console created from an old Electric organ that I converted, which had a lot of buttons available that I midified. I found that over time my preferences foe what buttons to use for what changed. So I would recommend you have some system for stop selection, pistons under the keys, and some general purpose pistons for Hauptwerk functions, etc. And don’t label them yet. Try different configurations until you find something that works well for you, then label them. You could also use temporary labels just in case. For me, I use pistons for pre-set registrations, and I like having some pistons available for selecting floating divisions. I only use console buttons for things I need while playing. Everyone has their preference, but sometimes it’s hard to decide on those things in advance.

That's quite a good point, thank you for pointing this out.
Regarding the labels it's not difficult to change them in my case. That's a matter of seconds for each.
What really bothers me is how to group the buttons in a useful way. Therefore, I kind of need to know which buttons I want.
And I can really understand what you mean. When I first thought about which buttons I need my plans have been a lot different from my plans now ...





engrssc wrote:That's exactly how the LITSW board functions. The piston sends a MIDI message to HW by means of the piston switch contact connected to the LITSW (which functions here as a MIDI encoder). MIDI out of the LITSW to MIDI in of HW.

MIDI output from HW connected to the MIDI input of the LITSW (which functions here as a MIDI decoder) turns the associated LED on.

The LITSW is both a MIDI encoder and a MIDI decoder.

Good, thank you :)
engrssc wrote:Yes, I originally found it a little confusing as well. But end of story, once set up, the LITSW works very well. I outlined the steps in the Forum thread I mentioned above which solved all the issues for another member. Aside from creating scoped pistons, etc, an important point when using the LITSW is to eliminate MIDI feedback by entering code #972 (into the MRG2 Master Controller) which is easily done by means of the Keypad available from Midi Hardware.

Thank you for pointing out to switch off midi feedback with #972 for MRG2. That's a very valuable piece of information when setting things up. I already read the thread you mentioned some time ago.
engrssc wrote:You might want to watch for some new products from Midi Hardware - soon.

Exactly, I am waiting till roughly march for some new products. I need to be patient :)
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 6:20 pm

Due to the compact size of the LITSW, and with proper planning you can mount the board on or near the c/a piston rail given physical space. Then only the small 4 conductor cable connects to the Master Controller. This 4 conductor cable carries power for both the piston switches and the LEDs. As well, the logic for 24 lighted pistons.

Something to consider is the length of the 4 conductor connecting cable when you order a LITSW. The LITSW will not power incandescent 5 V lamps found in some lighted pistons - only LEDs with no more than 3ma draw. I have replaced the incond lamps with LEDs without an issue. I add a 1K, 1/8 W resistor in series between the LITSW and the LED. There is a single common lead for both the switch and the LED. Nothing says you need to use only white LEDs BTW.

Lighted stops use different boards, also easy to configure.

Another "thing", I have used laser printed .5 inch diameter (black or colored lettering on clear) labels for pistons. The advantage is the label can be changed/replaced if you change the configuration. The option is, of course to use engraved pistons. I've got some laser printed labels on a regularly used instrument's pistons, still in good condition after a couple years. There are a few "tricks".

If you don't use scoped pistons, the LED will only stay lit as long as you hold the piston in.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Pistons, display and potentiometer advice

PostThu Jan 14, 2021 11:39 pm

Bohr wrote:I am thinking about for which functions in Hauptwerk I need LED-buttons for.


When I was planning out my HW console conversion, I went through the same exercise trying to figure out what additional buttons/pistons I wanted to add for HW-specific functions. I wanted to figure this out before I ordered MIDI boards so I could order everything at once and make sure it all worked together (I also use Roman Sowa's midi hardware).

Despite reading the HW manual over and over and creating lots of spreadsheets with button layouts, I never came up with something I was comfortable with. I'm modifying an existing pipe organ console with limited space for additional controls. Any buttons I add require holes to be drilled, and once holes are drilled I can't change my mind and move things around.

Finally I gave up on that and came up with another idea. I decided to create an "organ controller" using a RaspberryPi and a small touchscreen display. The pi has a USB midi adapter and is connected to one of the in and out ports on my MOTU MicroLite, so it receives all midi messages flowing through the system, as well as being able to generate midi messages on its own. I can create any number of interfaces on the touch screen to display messages from HW and to send commands to HW. If I don't like something I can easily change it, and if future versions of HW add a feature I want to control I can add it, without having to figure out where I would mount more physical buttons.

In addition, the pi also controls relays that turn on/off the main computer, controls power to the 12v dc power supplies, the console lights, the speakers, etc. Also, I plan on having it drive four led bargraph displays for swell shoe and crescendo indicators.

I started this project about 2 1/2 years ago, but it's been on hold for 2 years as I moved and other things took priority. I just recently pulled it all out of the box and started working on it again, so I don't have anything at this point I could share. If you have any programming skills though, it isn't that hard of a project to put together.
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