MIDI Show Control

Thanks to Brent Ross and James DeBenedetti’s evil influence…

Info On Brent’s System

I will be documenting my experiences setting up a MIDI show control system for my own records and for your information. There is not a lot of information out there for the home haunter who wants to use this system.

This is by far the biggest project I have undertaken so far and also the greatest expense. I feel though that investing in a good base control system will allow me the flexibility to add props with greater ease at a later date.

UPDATE: November 3rd, 3013

After finally getting ready to use the system I went to turn it on and it was dead!  Rust on the motherboard meant the computer was finished.  I ended up rebuilding the PC portion of the tower and cleaning the rest of the electronics up and dusting everything.

I decided to use some lights to test the Sprawling Delusions MIDI controller and to be able to start programming shows for the props before I complete them.

Tonight I set it up using 12v LEDs and power supply and got no response from the MIDI output.  After checking every setting and banging my head a few times I remembered a note that James wrote and included in the box with the MIDI card.  I found it!  I set the Oxygen 8 down 4 octaves and whamo!  Success!  Now Yessss its just a few blinking lights but those lights can be solenoids, or spotlights or anything that can be triggered with 24v.

 I basically made a magnetic white board with 8 magnetic lights so I can draw a sketch of the prop I’m working on and place the LEDs to represent the pistons which will move it.  Then I can program the midi before the prop is even done.

Hardware:
6 foot component rack – $50
Computer in rack mount case – $250
M-Audio Midi Man Oxygen 8
Keyboard – $114
M-Audio Delta 1010LT 10 Channel in/out – $174
Power One 24vdc 10amp DC Power Supply – $14.95
Sprawling Delusions Delusional Prop Card – $65
DigiTech Studio 100 – Effects Processor – $50
Yamaha SPX100 – Digital Effects Processor – $100
Rack Mount Project Case – $30
Battery Power Backup System – 550va 330watt – $69
Samsung 21″ PNP Monitor – $89
Compaq Rackmount Keyboard w/ Trackball – $39
Rackmount Keyboard Shelves (x2) – $39

 

 

The Build:

After welding my rack from 1/8″x 1″ tubing I mounted the rack mount rails by drilling holes and bolting them on being careful to line up each rail piece level.

Plans to weld your own rack can be found here:

How To Build A Rack

 

 

 

I then gave the rack 2 coats of flat black Rust-o-leum and 2 coats of automotive clearcoat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at those sexy welds!

 

 

 

 

 

Here, I have mounted the effects processors to test the spacing of the mounting strips.

 

 

 

 

This is the project case I got off of Ebay to house the power supply and the MIDI controller cards. It’s nicer than a blank face box since it have all those nice transmitter buttons! The power switch on the front of the box powers on the 24v power supply.

 

 

Here I am starting to wire in the power supply which with minor modifications fit perfectly into the project case.

 

 

 

 

This computer was purchased on EBay for the sole purpose of running this system. It was recommended that I set the system up on a computer dedicated to this purpose. I plan to build this into some kind of rack cabinet which will house the whole system. The processor should be fast enough and it really only needs the Delta 1010LT card installed in it… and that’s all the cards in the system save for video.

This way I can setup CuBase 2.0 SX and that will be the only software on the system eliminating glitches caused by running an excessive amount of applications. Like I am on the computer I am typing this on… hehe

 

 

I then gutted the computer and converted it to this rack mountable case.

 

 

 

 

Here you can see the power supply mounted and wired, the Sprawling Delusions MIDI card mounted on standoffs and a DIN Rail terminal block to distribute the power from the PS. The terminal block is interesting as I found it in my junk drawer and with a tester it measures 25vdc out the bottom row of screws and 23vdc out the top row so there must be some reason for it… but I don’t know what that would be… although it may be useful to use the top 23vdc screws one day. The power supply is wired into the ON switch on the front of the rackmount transmitter box which I was pretty happy about… but…. small things amuse me these days.

 

I added two rackmount keyboard shelves for the keyboard (no mouse needed) and the Oxygen 8 keyboard. I moved the computer up and left room for the surround amp when it comes this week. The LCD will be mounted permanently to a wall mount VESA compliant arm giving it more movement. It is thus far, everything I hoped it would be.

 

 

 

 

 

Plugging it all in:

This hookup map was put together by James DeBenedetti at Sprawling Delusions and shows how to wire it all together…

Download (PDF, 83KB)

The Setup:

The first thing I did was format the computer with a fresh installation of Windows XP. This is going to be the only function of the computer so it might as well be nice and clean. I entered the BIOS and disabled the onboard sound card and MIDI ports so as not to add to the confusion later. Then I downloaded the latest drivers from M-Audio for the Delta 1010LT sound card and the Oxygen-8 Keyboard and installed them. In the Windows Control Panel enter the sound card settings and make sure they are all set to use the Delta 1010 “Multi” setting.


The next thing to do was obtain a copy of CuBase SX 2.0 and install it.

The SD midi card “midi-in” gets plugged into the “midi-out” of the Delta 1010 by using a standard midi cable or one of the older style AT keyboard cables (5 pin din). In the box with the the SD midi card should be hook-up instructions for where to plug in the midi cable and where to plug in power and valves. Before shipping James preconfigured the SD midi card to be on the Oxygen8′s default channel 1 (SD board selectable via jumpers – see included paper) and starting from note one (left most key on Oxygen8 when set down 4).

The next step was to setup up CuBase and this was the hardest part. Thanks to the awesome customer service of James at Sprawling Delusions, I was up and running in about 10 minutes. His Prop Interface card is pound for pound, dollar for dollar the best card out there. Buy It!

I launched Cubase (let it run its audio check) and configure it. After the program has launched the first thing to check is the that is it using the “multi” ASIO audio driver. Next you need to go in and activate each of the audio channels of the delta card. This is all done from the devices menu.

At this point I am ready to add some tracks to a blank project. The first track to add is a Midi track set (should be options on end side of track) the track to midi channel “ANY” and set both the midi-in and midi-out to use the Delta 1010.

Next make sure all of your audio output are configured for use by entering the VST connections menu in the Devices menu. Then if you don’t see this… Click “Add Bus” and add 4 additional Stereo bus. Then expand each and configure as shown by right clicking the right hand listing (ASIO Device Port). Once this is done you can add Audio tracks to your project and have them sent to any of the 10 outputs of your sound card. You can have sound playing in 10 different areas of your haunt all from the same screen.

By the way you should have plugged the Oxygen8 keyboard out to the Delta 1010 midi in. With the Oxygen8 turned on shift the octaves down 4 (use the two buttons at the middle top of key board, red display should move to D4). When you press a key on the keyboard you should see both a red and green indicator move in the transport bar (floating window normally at the bottom) this is telling us that a midi signal is coming into CuBase and also going back out. You should also be seeing two green bars move in the left end of the midi track indicating the same thing. If this is the case then the SD midi board and CuBase should be talking and whatever you have hooked to the SD board should be controllable at this point with the left most 16 keys of the Oxygen8.

Here is the official instructions from Sprawling Delusions on setting up the software for use with the controller.

Download (PDF, 3.49MB)

 

Supplies:

Sprawling Delusions Creature Supply Shop – Delusional Prop Interface
EBay – Best place to get steals on industrial surplus valves and solenoids.