DIY Ribbon to MIDI Controller

Written by ryan cockerham
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DIY Ribbon to MIDI Controller
Signals from the potentiometer can be converted into MIDI data and translated into perceivable audio by computer workstations. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Ribbon potentiometer controllers provide musicians with a method of music production that allows for an infinite variety of control parameters. Ambitious musicians can assemble their own ribbon to MIDI controller using prefabricated electronic components.

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Conversion

In order to convert signals produced by the ribbon into MIDI audio data, a control unit such as the Doepfer R2-M control box must be used. The ribbon is connected to the box using a USB cable and port. Signals received by the ribbon are translated into functional MIDI data that standard audio workstations can process. The control box can then be connected to the computer using a second USB cable.

Ribbon

Unlike a traditional MIDI keyboard, ribbons act as a potentiometer, varying electrical resistance depending on the position of the finger on the device. Ribbons can be purchased through the Doepfer company along with the control box or through vendors such as Spectra Symbol.

MIDI interface

In order to translate MIDI data, a digital audio workstation such as Reason or Logic must be used. These programs are designed to assign incoming MIDI data specific roles within the program, be it tone production or effects modulation. These software programs are available for purchase through audio equipment retailers such as Guitar Center or Sam Ash.

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