Monday, January 4, 2016

Play the Kaossilator and Kaoss Pad with any Din MIDI equipment

Due to popular demand after my post about how to Play the Korg Kaossilator Pro(+) and the Kaoss Pad (+) with standard MIDI controllers (solder-free tweak), here is an update of the tweak that adds the option to use DIN connections (alone and in any DIN-USB mix).

To quickly summarise my initial problem: the Korg Kaoss devices are designed to be played via their touch pads. Accordingly, the MIDI implementation is tailored around corresponding commands. In practice: MIDI controllers send a note on command to play a tone, while the Kaoss devices expect a control change # 74 (to signal that the touch pad was pressed), and then control changes # 12 and # 13 (to define the X and Y coordinates on the pad) to make a sound. This is a very consequent design choice, however, I frequently struggle to hit exact notes which would be very beneficial at times.

After already posting a way to circumvent this problem by making a small device that translates all USB MIDI messages for the Kaoss devices, this idea is elaborated by adding MIDI DINs here. While this greatly improves the usability for computer-free life performances, unfortunately it cannot be implemented without assembling a small electronic circuit. However, this circuit is particularly simple, very cheap, and comprehensive instructions are posted here.

After adding the DINs in hardware, get the latest Kontroller firmware and change the following parameters in the beginning of Kontroller.ino with the Arduino IDE:

  • USB on/off
  • DIN on/off
  • MIDI channel
  • enable/disable modulation of the X-axis (the note's pitch) by your keyboard's pitch wheel
  • enable/disable notes velocity to define the Y-axis (often a filter or delay)
  • enable/disable a control change # (which can be freely chosen) to define the Y-axis
  • enable/disable aftertouch to modify the Y-axis value
  • enable/disable indication of played notes on the built-in LED of the Teensy (Why not?)

For DIN connectivity, the MIDI library needs to be installed. Connect your Teensy board and, in the Tools menu, select Board: "Teensy LC""Teensy 3.1" or "Teensy 3.2" with USB type: "MIDI". Then press Upload in the Sketch menu.

The Kontroller firmware is now under the umbrella of my MDMA project.

Update: a solder-free DIN solution without USB connectivity

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