OpenDeck Is An Open Platform For Making Custom MIDI Controllers

OpenDeck is a new platform for prototyping and developing custom MIDI controllers, compatible with any MIDI software on any OS.

The main part of the platform is a PCB, above, on which various components used to build a MIDI controller can be connected. The board supports the following components:

  • Buttons
  • Encoders
  • LEDs (single color or RGB)
  • Potentiometers
  • FSRs (force-sensitive resistors)

A configuration utility that runs in Google Chrome using WebMIDI is also available, for customizing how OpenDeck works.

Pricing and Availability

An initial run of PCBs is in the works, priced at 111€. The source code is freely available via Github. Details on the OpenDeck platform are also available.

23 thoughts on “OpenDeck Is An Open Platform For Making Custom MIDI Controllers

  1. This is promising.

    Highly Liquid’s MIDI CPU has been sold out for years, and support is non-existant.

    I didn’t find any mention of whether OpenDeck can generate 14-bit NRPNs. It does look like it has plenty of i/o, though.

    1. Quick look at the firmware source code reveals the existence of function to deal with 14-bit values. And being open source I guess if some particular functionality is missing it could be added without too much effort. Very good project.

      1. Thanks for checking that. If I’m wondering if the hardware has AD conversion at 14-bits on on sensor inputs or if that is something that is somehow “faked” in software.

        I’ll keep an eye on this one, for sure.

              1. The main thing that you get from 14-bit (or perhaps 10 bit) is less stairstepping when sweeping pitch or filter cutoff. (or even volume for that matter). 127 discrete steps (7-bit) is fine for making adjustments and some realtime control (especially when the destination synth can do some smoothing between values). But when you want to use a controller for large pitch sweeps or where higher resolution is needed, 127 is pretty low-res.

                There have been demos showing the stair-stepping of pitches when modulating with a standard CC, vs. a 14-bit NRPN. It is pretty dramatic.

    2. Orgautomatech sells MIDI to anything technology. Their interface comes with a screw terminal block so you can easily connect it to external devices such as solenoids. I use them for my musical robots. It is an easy way to interface MIDI with the external world.

      1. Sorry just realized this product is for sensory input to MIDI and the one I mentioned is MIDI to anything….the other direction 🙂

  2. Hi! Igor here, creator of OpenDeck. NRPN isn’t supported yet – I wanted basics to work before releasing v1.0. Support for that will come at later time. You can always request additional features on OpenDeck GitHub, as this is a community-driven project.

    1. Although they are meant to do fundamentally the same thing, there are some key differences:

      1) Smaller form factor
      2) Open-sourced / community-driven
      3) Uses WebMIDI configuration tool

      It also probably has different set of features compared to the Brain (I don’t have one so I don’t know for sure).

      Igor

    2. … not to mention Livid products and support are dead in the water. If you want stable, reliable hardware for your project, and the support to back it up, OpenDeck is the future of DIY midi controller builds. Hands down.

  3. 64 inputs for buttons (digital inputs available on OpenDeck can be used to connect 32 encoders)
    32 analog inputs (all analog inputs can be configured as potentiometers, FSRs and buttons)
    48 single-color LEDs, or 16 RGB LED

    Nice.

  4. Hi, thinking of building my first midi controller, very new to this and it maybe a stupid question but would I be able to use faders, I’m looking to build an 8 channel, 4 pots per channel, one fader per channel , 2 buttons per and a cross fader, I can put it together but never tried anything with software, any pointers, idiot proof would be good ???? Thanks

  5. @Pompey Chris – your desired configuration is quite standard and can be found on many commercially available controllers. It could easily be built with this platform, dependent (of course) on the available number of analog inputs that OpenDeck supports.

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