Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

...and how to do so...
mixalisnl
KVRer
3 posts since 20 May, 2019

Post Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 pm

Hi,

I would like to share an idea for a new midi controller and would love to hear some feedback.
I am not related with any music tech company or have any other commercial interest.

Prologue: If you are not familiar with the Novation Nocturn and their Automap technology, the nocturn maps controls on its 8 endless knobs on the selected plugin in the DAW. For example, if i select the Logic EQ in track 1, then all the knobs of the Nocurn map there, if i select the EQ in track 2 it maps on track 2 and so on.
The leds on the controller also get positioned to the corresponding values on the plugin upon selection.
I also do the same with my bcr2000 in Logic. I premapped some knobs to plugins parameters i use frequently and when i have the plugin selected in Logic i immediately can control the plugin with the bcr2000.

I mentioning Logic here as an example but this can be done with most popular DAWs.
So, the idea is a controller like Nocturn or Bcr2000 with endless knobs. Imagine a similar controller with 32 or even more knobs, HOWEVER the background of the actual device, instead of plastic and the red leds, would be an oled or amoled display (similar to a high res mobile or tablet screen).
So, we will have the real knobs and the background of the controller would display an 'arranged' version of the VST/AU synth/plugin selected in the DAW.

For example, if i select the Sylenth1 in my daw, the background of the controller device changes to the Sylenth1 (and the knobs would be automapped to the Sylenth1 of course). So essentially what i am suggesting is an oled screen with real knobs/faders/buttons on top of it.
That would be awesome!!! (imho)

Perhaps the real product would be something like this photorealistic 3d design:
Image

What i have in mind is like a hardware desktop synth, but the panel that the knobs come out of is screen it should be one continuous screen to display like a hardware synth. imagine the access virus desktop as a controller with the whole panel being amoled
Image

This could go a long way. Like selecting your favorite compressor in the DAW and immediately appears on the controller with the graph and all the controls mapped.

I understand that there would have to be templates for each synth or plugin from different vendors (and that opens up to a whole new market, people could be designing their own templates for existing plugins - synths and effects - and this controller could become the new standard)

I have seen some people making overlays for the bcr2000. Imagine that when selecting the plugin from the DAW, the background of the controller becomes...well.. the plugin.

Why? What would be the benefits of such a controller?
When you do sound design, you want to control the instrument. You know what i am talking about. You need to be able to reach to the controls with both of your hands, trying different things. It's not the same with the mouse. And no, with a touchscreen controller is not the same experience. I have seen these tuna knobs but again, far from what i am describing.

With a controller like the Mackie C4 or the nocturn or the bcr2000, it becomes very difficult to reach and remember the controls. The user experience is really poor. We want to be looking at the actual instrument when looking at the controller.
So, similar to the photo in the link, i want to see each section separated from the rest, osc/envelopes/modulation/filter etc like looking at the plugin on my screen with similar colors and section arrangement. You could even have pages and on each page the controller background changes along with the assigned knobs (like it is with the nocturn).

I would pay $500-$800 for such a controller - given made of good quality and have templates for many plugins DAW & 3rd party - and that would be the last controller i would ever buy.
I discussed this with many people in the music scene/industry and they loved the idea. From film composers to edm producers and they were really excited.

What do you think?
Would you find it useful?
Would it increase your workflow and overall music making experience?
What would be the biggest difficulty in making something like this?
Which company do you think could make something like that?
How much would you pay for it?

I would love to hear your response.

Thanks much,
Michael

etl17
KVRer
5 posts since 29 Dec, 2005

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:09 pm

$500 to $800 is prohibitively low. What's the competition? Once you equalize for the same value, what's the current price point of competitive products?

Also, are the knobs fixed? If yes, how's that different than C4? C4 has a small LCD scribble per knob.

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Pictus
KVRist
295 posts since 21 Aug, 2017 from Brasil

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Mon Jun 24, 2019 3:07 pm

OLED is too prone to image retention...
https://www.reviewed.com/televisions/fe ... -retention

Fox_GAMING_NTF
KVRist
190 posts since 11 Apr, 2019

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:17 pm

It's funny, if I am reading this correctly, you're trying to essentially put knobs "inside" of the screen, so to speak.

So like the base/ surrounding surface area around the knobs are all just screen,/

The screen has a circlular cutout where the knob would go through.

If so, I've actually had this same idea before.

I don't know how useful this would be, if I'm completely honest.

It would be cool though.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3380 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:18 pm

As each plug-in is designed differently, you would never be able to make a controller as you describe. Plug-in A has its filter on the left side, plug-in B on the opposite etc...
But one could create some sort of multi page setup, as filters, oscillators, envelopes, compressors etc. do have something in common across different designs. This would have the advantage, that you learn the controller, not the plug-in UI... This means a lot of preparation to adapt a given plug-in to the controller, which could only happen with a huge community...
There are several concepts, just without the OLED (The mentioned article shows that there is no big problem with burn-in of OLEDs btw...).
In Bitwig I connect a collection of knobs to my plug-in controls. I could as well label them if a controller has a display for each knob. Now, I just need to add a touch screen on top of it to have extra visual feedback for an equalizer curve or an envelope for example...
Simply 8 or 16 rotaries all with labels and a screen on top, and the ability to combine several of them would enhance the controllability of plug-ins big time. It does not need to look like the plug-in, but if programmed consistently, you will know where your knob for the filter frequency is...

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whyterabbyt
Beware the Quoth
27705 posts since 4 Sep, 2001 from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:08 am

mixalisnl wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 pm
What i have in mind is like a hardware desktop synth, but the panel that the knobs come out of is screen it should be one continuous screen to display like a hardware synth
Why do think that that is technically possible?
"The bearer of this signature is a genuine and authorised pope."

LarsDaniel
KVRist
86 posts since 9 Sep, 2019 from Denmark

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:03 am

I LOVE the concept.
However, I fear that manufacturing a screen that is that special, will be brutally expensive.
There might be workarounds though:
Maybe the “pots“ could be just knobs with magnets under. Glue this magnetic pot to a screen, and have sensors on the backside, reading the position of the knobs.

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GaryG
KVRAF
5831 posts since 13 Jan, 2003 from Kent, UK

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:20 am

People were playing with ideas along these lines a decade ago: https://sites.google.com/site/girtonlabs2/sensesurface

Kind of clunky as you'd have to rearrange the knobs constantly unless a standard grid approach was adopted.
()_()
(O.o)
(")(")

flundstrom2
KVRer
5 posts since 10 Dec, 2014

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Tue Nov 26, 2019 8:15 am

whyterabbyt wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:08 am
mixalisnl wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 8:31 pm
What i have in mind is like a hardware desktop synth, but the panel that the knobs come out of is screen it should be one continuous screen to display like a hardware synth
Why do think that that is technically possible?
I've been developing "stuff" for the last 20 years, and in one of the last projects, we discussed various display alternatives. Given that displays can have non-square footprints, it would certainly be feasible to make such a product. There might not be physical holes in the display (even if it would be technically feasible) , but rather many smaller displays, jagged together as a jigzaw pussle, with notches for the knobs between the displays.

Given enough precision, and clever UI design, the seams will be invisible.

But, from a cost-perspective, I have no idea what the total bill-of-material would be.

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VariKusBrainZ
KVRAF
8782 posts since 16 Dec, 2002

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:08 pm


CarniverousSock
KVRer
6 posts since 3 Dec, 2019

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:06 am

Those touchscreen knobs seem kinda nifty, but I wouldn't want to use them for real if you can just knock them off.

This device, with real encoders, seems like something Roli might be able to make with its r&d budget. As described, the largest obstacle is manufacturing the specialty displays to allow the encoders to pass through. Definitely don't see this happening in a DIY project, though.

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VariKusBrainZ
KVRAF
8782 posts since 16 Dec, 2002

Re: Universal Controller Concept - knobs on oled screen - What do you think?

Post Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:31 am

CarniverousSock wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:06 am
Those touchscreen knobs seem kinda nifty, but I wouldn't want to use them for real if you can just knock them off.
Theyre have pastic suckers to keep them on.
Damn sight cheper than the idea being floated here which is overkill and expensive.

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