$50 Open-Source MIDI Controller, The Chomp, Looks Awesome

Atlanta high school student Max Justicz has announced a new DIY MIDI controller ‘brain’, the CHOMP, that looks awesome.

Basically, the CHOMP (Configurable Hardware Open-source MIDI Platform) is a cheap board you plug switches and pots into to create custom MIDI controllers.


  • Completely open-source.
  • Affordable ($50).
  • Compatible with ANY MIDI configuration.
  • 48 Inputs/Outputs!
  • Made and assembled in the USA.
  • Programmable
  • Tiny, only 100mm x 60mm x 25mm

Here’s what Max Justicz has to say about the CHOMP:

The Chomp uses an ATMega328 running the Arduino bootloader to read up to 48 analog and digital signals and output a MIDI signal to do, well, anything! This device will aid tremendously in the construction of custom music projects.

Seriously, though, this thing is pretty sick. You program it just like an Arduino, plug buttons, knobs, and switches into any of the 48 inputs, and plug it into your computer, all with no extra drivers! There’s even support for new-fangled USB midi with the included adapter.

Actually, everything about this project looks awesome.

  • First of all, ‘Max Justicz’ sounds like the name of the protagonist in a gritty graphic novel series. Awesome.
  • Next, the Chomp itself not only looks cool, but seems to be thoughtfully designed, too. Justicz has created add-on boards to make attaching potentiometers and buttons a no-brainer. Awesome.
  • Finally, Justicz put this together while he’s still in high school. Awesome.

Get the details on CHOMP at the project’s Kickstarter site. Then leave a comment and let us know what you think about the CHOMP!

via adafruit

25 thoughts on “$50 Open-Source MIDI Controller, The Chomp, Looks Awesome

  1. Looks good, a lovely, well made, good looking concept (no QuNeo 3d rendering for him).

    I’m not confident it will get funded though, 25,000$ is a high goal for almost any project, let alone one done by a highschool student.

  2. Nice work Max, looks like it has a lot of potential. I’ll be looking out for this one.
    Seems a little like the Bento Box that Teenage Engineering introduced at NAMM.
    25k is a pretty lofty short-term goal for a $50 device, but I like the ambition. It matters very little that Max is in high school.

  3. This will be cool with ribbon style controllers..

    I want controllers that i can stitch on my shirt and wear them and play 🙂

    Waiting for the day when we can get thin touchable bendable glass sheets that can act as contollers…..do we have ?

  4. The op.lab is an embarasing piece.of crap, I would rather buy this and install it inside a custom enclosure. Its easy and I understand it immediately…. I still cant believe they brought a $300, cafeteria tray to naam.

      1. Thanks, Max!

        I especially like that it will be made in the USA. I like that it will be open-source and will allow users to come up with creative ways to control older & newer synths. Very clever and a well-concieved idea!!

  5. Sorry for noob question, but does anyone know if it is possible to connect a CHOMP with a second CHOMP or other device to provide more than 48 buttons, knobs, and sliders?

    1. Hello,

      Yes, this is certainly be possible. However, the trick is finding an open MIDI port that isn’t already designated for some other purpose (like pitch shifting, or something like that). The Chomp uses the first 48 undeclared MIDI ports. With simple code modification, though, you could certainly do this. That’s the beauty of having it be programmable!

      Thanks for your interest!

  6. What happens if I buy one and you never reach 25000, two years go by and I don’t get my chomp…. Do you just keep my money?

    1. Hi Darren,

      Here’s how Kickstarter works: If I don’t get to 25k, no money changes hands, you keep your cash, but the project doesn’t get funded. The money is used to put the units into production, so if I don’t get the money, no boards get made or shipped.

      That being said, this is a great reason to spread the link around if you’d like one! I’d really appreciate it if any of you guys could tweet the link or post it to your Facebook. If we continue at this rate, I’m confident the project will be funded!

      Here’s a shortened link to share if you like: http://kck.st/xdnUhp

      Thanks so much – you guys rock!

  7. I would very much like to see this form some 8×8 MIDI interfaces. No-one (save for MOTU) makes them any more, let alone MIDI patchbays.

    I hope this changes things up! Someone put a kit together for an 8×8 MIDI interface/patchbay, please. With panels. I would absolutely buy one!

  8. Man, I thought it was cool to learn html in high school. Should’ve delayed graduation by 8 years and gone for Arduino.

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