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Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955172 03/07/20 04:39 PM
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Wow, very impressive indeed! Having followed the other DIY thread, it has been quite a ride with such a great conclusion!

(I’ve visited these forums for a while, deciding on my next piano, but now I just had to register in order to add my congratulations to this amazing accomplishment... Btw, ended up with the N1X, coming in a few weeks!)

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955183 03/07/20 05:17 PM
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Really impressive work and very cool project- congratulations to the awesome result and nice playing too!


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955186 03/07/20 05:36 PM
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+1 for a comprehensive HowTo Guide pls!


Kawai Novus NV5
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955192 03/07/20 06:01 PM
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The piano looks and sounds great.

I think there is a market out there for this thing. If you can reliably source grand actions and improve the process so as to reduce the amount of manual labor involved, there is a nice business opportunity here.

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
NoMeGa #2955194 03/07/20 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by NoMeGa
Wow, very impressive indeed! Having followed the other DIY thread, it has been quite a ride with such a great conclusion!

(I’ve visited these forums for a while, deciding on my next piano, but now I just had to register in order to add my congratulations to this amazing accomplishment... Btw, ended up with the N1X, coming in a few weeks!)

Congrats on the N1X! I wonder where Tyrone is, he hasn’t posted in a while and he keeps statistics on N1X owners.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955198 03/07/20 06:39 PM
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So the CG1X is finally here! That's an amazing achievement CG! Very impressed!

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955199 03/07/20 06:48 PM
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This is amazing! So how does the action compare to your N1X? smile

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955206 03/07/20 07:22 PM
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Impressive work!

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955216 03/07/20 08:07 PM
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I don't think I've ever read so much acclaim here on the board. But it's well and entirely deserved. Congratulations CG.

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955244 03/07/20 09:47 PM
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WOW


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Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955245 03/07/20 09:54 PM
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personally, I'd like to know the details and what you went through to create it. I'm sure I'm far from the only software engineer or EE around here who is curious what you went through to build it.

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955309 03/08/20 05:52 AM
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Fantastic job really, congratulations CyberGene !

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955327 03/08/20 08:32 AM
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@CyberGene: Here a very important question for you. Is your new creation a hybrid?

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955349 03/08/20 10:01 AM
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Thanks for the kind words everyone! Glad what I did is well received smile

Let's answer some questions.

- Comparison with the N1X. I was gonna say the N1X had slightly better touch response. But I couldn't live with that statement just like that. I was exhausted and too busy the last days. I got some good sleep today and decided to do something I should have done earlier, measure some MIDI values. So far I've been only "tuning" the piano aurally by turning the trimpots and listening to the sound from the Garritan CFX. Turning the trimpots is like a touch curve but on a per key basis. Anyway, I played the N1X and my controller side by side and immediately noticed that the N1X has wider touch response range. And so I measured the MIDI values. N1X gives MIDI values between 10 and 110 (you can produce quieter and louder velocities, but harder). And I measured mine and immediately realized it was generating velocities within a compressed range of 20-90. And then I slapped my face because I remembered I forgot to use the logarithmic multiplier I had in my code. I experimented a little, this time with a MIDI monitor on my iPhone and easily found the value that would give me a similar range to the N1X and voila! The pianos are indistinguishable in terms of velocity response! This is simply fascinating. I will admit I didn't expect my controller to be that good, honestly! The only difference is of course the actual touch. The N1X is a brand new, well regulated keyboard from a world renown piano manufacturer. Mine is an unknown action, probably 100-120 years old. I replaced many things and I regulated almost everything but there are still some things that may need more regulation or repair. Also, there are no lead weights in my keyboard. All that being said, it feels VERY good, it's certainly not cr*p. It's only different than the N1X, not certainly worse. The feel is also just a bit more springy compared to the N1X but I suspect the felt bushing that the rear part of the keys rest on. I ordered two types of felt from China and the more mushy one arrived first. I now feel a bit sorry for not waiting for the second one but... Anyway, it's not that bad. It's not the bottoming out that's affected but rather the dampening of the keys, when they reach the top position - instead of firm, it's a tiny bit more springy.

- Challenges. Well, basically I encountered all kind of challenges, as you can see in the other thread. I studied Physics at the university but I never liked it and I started working as s software engineer in my third year and barely finished my university courses. I've chosen the least desirable specialization "Optoelectronics and semiconductor manufacturing" because there were free positions and while one may say it's exactly what's needed to make a digital piano with optical sensors, well... I didn't like it and don't remember ANYTHING! I started learning electronics from scratch. I didn't know Ohm's law. Also I didn't know what pull-up resistor is which is why I designed my first version of PCB-s without pull-up resistors laugh And spent days scratching my head what was wrong. Anyway, I redesigned the PCB-s. So, everything was like that - I had to learn and read materials on the Internet for basically everything, starting from Wikipedia smile I improvised with aluminum profiles, cut them with a hacksaw and regular hand drill. I wasted a lot of them until I managed to make something good and stable. I didn't expect that I will have to regulate the action, nor restore it. That frustrated me a lot and was the reason why I almost abandoned the project for half a year. Ultimately I sat on my a** and started reading the piano book by Reblitz, watched YouTube videos, etc. There were also challenges with writing the Teensy code. I am a lazy Java developer and although I work mostly on backend stuff (multithreading, algorithms, data structures) I'm not used to perform such a low level code optimization nor am familiar with CPU-s, controllers, etc. And the guys on the forum, well, some are helpful, but mostly are a bit "elitist" and what they would tell me is: there are examples, look at the examples!!! Whatever wink

- Sharing the code, schematics, etc. Well, I need to think of all this. It turned out good. I spent quite some time to design it, make some choices, gather some know-how. I wouldn't make another one myself again for sure, it's too exhausting. But I may turn this into a sellable kit, or a Kickstarter project or something like that. I'm open to suggestions smile


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955359 03/08/20 10:34 AM
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Good job. How do the optical sensors work? I believe the Yamaha disklavier uses gray scale flags to sense key and hammer velocity.

Last edited by LarryK; 03/08/20 10:35 AM.

Yamaha U1 Silent Piano
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
LarryK #2955361 03/08/20 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Good job. How do the optical sensors work? I believe the Yamaha disklavier uses gray scale flags to sense key and hammer velocity.

I use optical proximity sensors at the hammer shanks.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955363 03/08/20 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by LarryK
Good job. How do the optical sensors work? I believe the Yamaha disklavier uses gray scale flags to sense key and hammer velocity.

I use optical proximity sensors at the hammer shanks.


Can you show us what that looks like? This page describes the anatomy of the Disklavier:

"Record Mechanism
Disklaviers use a number of different sensors to determine the timing, speed of movement, and position of keys, hammers, and pedals.

Unlike consumer-quality retrofit systems from other companies, contemporary Disklaviers are distinguished by their ability to record incremental positions of the left and right pedals. It is necessary to capture incremental pedal movement in order to provide realistic playback.

Today, Yamaha’s standard and PRO model Disklaviers use sensors under every key as well as advanced gray-scale sensors on the hammer shanks in order to determine the timing of notes, the velocity with which the hammers hit the strings, and the speed of the release of each key. At the present time, these Disklavier models are the only recording pianos on the market that record with this level of precision.

Contemporary standard and PRO Disklaviers capture the complete range of piano expression and even record brushed notes (silent notes that result from slight key movements that do not produce audible sound)."

from: http://yamahaden.com/anatomy-of-a-disklavier

Last edited by LarryK; 03/08/20 10:55 AM.

Yamaha U1 Silent Piano
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955374 03/08/20 11:24 AM
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Yamaha’s solution with sensors at hammers and under the keys is a unique one. I can hardly compete with a 20-30 years of iterative development by the world’s biggest electronic and acoustic piano manufacturer, a huge Japanese corporation that also makes consumer electronics and vehicles smile

My solution is closer in principle to Kawai Novus in that I only measure hammer velocity. I’m not saying my solution is as good as either AG or Novus but a rough comparison between my N1X and my own DIY controller affirms that my solution is comparable in terms of dynamics. Whether that will be consistent and durable in the long-term is another story though.

Last edited by CyberGene; 03/08/20 11:27 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955378 03/08/20 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I remembered I forgot to use the logarithmic multiplier I had in my code. I experimented a little, this time with a MIDI monitor on my iPhone and easily found the value that would give me a similar range to the N1X and voila! The pianos are indistinguishable in terms of velocity response! This is simply fascinating. I will admit I didn't expect my controller to be that good, honestly! The only difference is of course the actual touch. The N1X is a brand new, well regulated keyboard from a world renown piano manufacturer. Mine is an unknown action, probably 100-120 years old.
Nice catch!
Originally Posted by CyberGene
And the guys on the forum, well, some are helpful, but mostly are a bit "elitist" and what they would tell me is: there are examples, look at the examples!!! Whatever wink
hahaha.The "unexpected" result of stuffing a bunch of piano players in a room.

That said, I sense that virtually all the commenters were trying to help. Some, like me, didn't have the skills or time to fully vet their ideas but wanted to present ideas that might be worth considering. Some of the comments were stellar and on-point. Overall, I thought the community was very positive on your project. You might miss some of that excitement being "in the weeds" and with English as a second language (your English writing is superb by the way).

Re: CyberGene's DIY hybrid MIDI controller is finally here!
CyberGene #2955380 03/08/20 11:55 AM
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newer_player, I meant the Teensy forum, not PW. All here was very positive smile

P.S. Didn’t want this to be critical of any forum. I’ve learned a lot from all the forums smile

Last edited by CyberGene; 03/08/20 12:01 PM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
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