Overlays for Midi Controllers
Pre-release blog

Pre-release blog

This article gathers all post made while the site was under construction

I bought my first DX100 in 1984 and also a cheap guitar. I used computers for the first time in 1988 when we recorded our first EP with an Atari and Pro 24 as a midi sequencer. It is only 10 years later that I could get my first PC, and it took my 3 years to get this PC to actually produce and record music.

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I had a lot of midi controllers: BCR2000, Novation Zero SL with Automap, Maschine with editable displays,  NI Komplete Kontrol keyboards… I tried many controllers to get that feeling of “touching the sound” or just to avoid endless sessions of “making a midi template”. But I was not satisified, even with the latest midi controller gear.   Something was missing, that led me – and many other users – to not use them much on the long run, or just for a couple of things. Not really what we imagined when we bought them. I t is true that most of use would be happy with stickers and paper boards, but MidiPoti has a graphical dimension which intention is to convey  functionality and look, but also something “spiritual” or artistic. These overlays are like going into a universe with rules that change according to the singularities of each synthesizer. Moreover, they will last very long. The colors will not fade away easily (250 years before it begins to fade away due to UVs) and we have a UV protective coating, so it might last longer. Ity is water resistant (not 100% water proof, but it should survive water/cofee spills etc). 

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The last 10 years, I’ve worked in the interior design / decoration / merchandising /cultural industry, so the aesthetic of our home (and studio)  is something important for me. It is not a luxury.  Our environment has a direct influence on our state of mind, and in a music studio it helps keeping the “pleasure of creation” using tools that are inviting and helpful.

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I hope that users of MidiPoti will find in those boards are motivating in the first place, and inspiring at the same time as being fun and great to look at and take advantage of those vstis, without touching the mouse or looking to the screen too often.

28 sept.2021

At last, I have some units that are sellable. It was not easy to reach that point. It is not only a matter of design: if it looks great on the screen, it still has to be printed correctly, and cutting through will reveal tiny defects that do not  seem to matter on screen but become obvious  “in context”.  

Of course, all models use the same X-Touch mini templates (no need to load a new template each time). So you just change or flip the board and it is ready for playtime. 

 This week, I will be buzy updating the website. 

 Available (for Behringer X Touch Mini)

  • Mini D: for most Minimoog VSTis. Tested with Arturia’s Mini V.
  • Odysseya-K: for all Arp Odyssey VSTis. Tested with Korg Legacy Odyssey.
  • Jupit-A8: Arturia Jupiter 8V, but can be adapted to other Jupiter 8 models that include the Crossfader for setting oscillator levels
  • Merc.4.CA: for Cherry Audio’s Mercury 4
  • DX-Art-7: modelled for Arturia’s DX7V
  • OBiXa: for OB-Xa VSTi, and modelled for Arturia OB-XA
Not released yet:

This is what is planned

  • Modular / Blank Boards: these boards are “blank” but not white. I made a couple of mistakes and have to be perfected.  
  • SQ80:  for Arturia SQ-80V, 
  • M1: for Korg Legacy M1.  I hesitate on releasing it due to the limited midi CC implementation of the Korg M1 Legacy. 
  • Solina:  for Arturia’s Solina. 
  • Omnisphere: not satisfied with current design.
  • Diva and Repro One: Diva requires a bigger controller with several pages.
  • Native Instruments:  not had the time yet. 
  • Roland Cloud: not had the time yet.
  • Arturia’s Pigment: requires a bigger controller with several pages.
  • Korg MicroKorg: planned. 
  • Other hardware: i’ve seen a few manuals for midi specs, and many hardware require a specific template. Please post your whishlist on the forums.
  • Print your own design: simple print and cut service
  • Order a custom design: on quote service for single users or companies.  Users can also use the forums to make a request and exchange with other users to make a board that fits a group of people. Then the price is divided between several people.

27 Sept 2021

I am improvingh the design gain as I noticed on the printed batch that the white labels of blank boards are not well centered under each buttons. Some of them were really off and had to be re-done. So it also has to be re-printed and re-cut. It is not like software that I can correct later, it has to be the best version. The reason is that a not well centered label can get into your workflow, and I try to avoid that. So It will take a bit more time (and sunk costs…).

15 Sept 2021

A few words about my production techniques.

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Recto-Verso ? Yes, all boards can be flipped and offer a “printed virgin board”‘ on the B side. That’s why I don’t do blank boards, because all  boards already have  a blank B side for free! The B Side is not “white” but is printed with textures and light colors. It is still quality print with several passes, that make the board thicker, and this avoids to use thicker materials that would be hard to cut. It is also this double-sided print that help the board stay flat.  If you wanna know, MidiPoti boards are hard to cut (230 micron of PET), and blades are dead after cutting a few units.  You can stack 2 or 3 boards max on an xtouch mini (2 board is better, 3 boards is really the maximum, because the xtouch mini buttons are less than 1 mm high and have rounded edges). 

The textured print (generally some greyish metallic texture) is nice for those who will use water-color-pens to customize a board. The texture will still show through your colors, and the results are very nice. I have tried with “Bic Kids” colors, and it seems to work fine contrary to Stabilo Boss Higlighters (which never dries and leaves your fingers yellow-fluo even weeks after). if you are skilled at colors, posca type pens (acrylic) will be your friends, but as it is opaque, printed textures are unlikely to show through. However, you can alternate various type of colors with non-colored part, which might give really fun results with some 3D impression. I expect to set up a facebook or Instagram channel to post your own artistry. “Overlay-art”, the story is about to begin, lol.  

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Led Printing ? Led printing is just like laser printing except that it uses leds instead of a  laser to “cook” the ink. The main advantage is that it does not produce ozone like laser printer. I’ve worked in a design studio with a big canon laser printer, and when used intensively, the ozone is really a disconfort, beside the fact that it is not something healthy to breath, nor something great to release in the atmosphere. That’s why I went for led printing.

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Mechanical blades ? Yes because laser cutting is dangerous (can burn your retina) and requires water cooling and air filtering, in addition to the production of toxic dioxines when it burns to cut. So I choose mechanical blades, that do not produce dioxine and is not dangerous to operate .   

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