Overlays for Midi Controllers
Who is MidiPoti ?

Who is MidiPoti ?

MidiPoti is a single man adventure led by Mehdi Touzani in Paris, France.

I bought my first DX100 in 1984 (age 14), got into an industrial-goth band. We made an EP in 1988 with a sound engineer who did not know what he was doing (don’t listen to it please) and then we grew up and went into our own directions, I went into reggae/ragga, and techno for a few years. Got myself a PC in 1996, and it took me a couple of years before I could use it for music.  Then I discovered the Scope plateform and began doing synths and effects  as SpaceF, in 1999 or so, and still do.  You can check the SpaceF-Devices website and YouTube channel. Or get in touch on SpaceF  Facebook page.  Check the “Prodyssey CV” and the ‘ultravox” audio demo, or the videos about KrOn+Eurorack. Because I am also a happy Eurorack user and made software to control it with Scope.

My Studio circa 2018, before I sold the Zero SL and Komplete keyboard. I often change my setup which mixes hardware and software. Sometimes I am minimal (everything is done with a few software) and other time I go bonk and have a lot of analog synths. It comes and go depending on the mood, the needs or the wants.

I have used a lot of midi controllers, but didn’t get much satisfaction in the long run. I had a zero SL with Automap, Native Instrument S49 keyboard, Maschine, and many more. They are annoying to program and bring new problems. On the other hand, many soft synths/effects developpers are guilty of overlooking midi functions. I’ve been guilty of that too. If you have tried you probably know that only a handful of brands have a useable midi implementation, and even fewer of them allow to save your midi setup on disk, or make a good use of Program Changes and of all the flexbility of midi Even DAWs are not equal in this domain. 

So after the midi controller, comes the selection of the synths that will actually work well.

What we all want is actually a screen with potis that go through it, and that would change look and labels as we use different synths, effects or mixer. It is doable nowadays, the technology exists, but would cost an awful lot, only a few people could afford a midi controller like that. There have been kickstarter projects for that, but the required investment was very high, and the projects failed.

I recently came up with my designed boards. They are the closer that I can get to a dynamic screen with potis through it. You need to change the board instead of changing the screen preset, but it is the same thing, in a less technological, but as efficient way, and affordable. And it pollutes much less than the mass production special screens and electronics, production of which is also controversial (work conditions, environment…). 

Why sell them ?

Good question ! It is probably because I enjoy sharing the results of hard work and have been doing so for the last 20 years through spacef-devices.  Making boards is expensive and time-consuming. It took me 9 months to learn and get to the point of being able to produce working boards that are affordable. 

If you want to make the boards at home, you can. It will cost you around 500 € for a home cutter with a few materials to make a board,  and a few prints at your local print shop.  If you want to achieve an industrial quality, ie print directly on plastic or metal, you can make it for like 8000 / 10 000 € and dedicate a room for it because of the necessary air filtering + smells. As the money is not in the making of overlays for midi controllers, you will end up doing it for eurorack brands, or go into smartphone cases or custoimized objects to repay for your investment.

If you cut at home, you will need to change blades often,  refill the ink pigments, buy the material in quantities that you do need for yourself. And I did not talk about those cuts that go wrong because the blade is dead or because you used wrong settings. That’s why boards and overlays are expensive to make and to buy. Beyond the price, you have to learn several design software and make a lot of tests. You cannot download an update, so the board must be final and without mistakes if i is for other than your personal use.   

Now, I know that it will be difficult to find 15 / 20 people in the whole world to follow me. You have to have a controller that I have too, you have to like the designs, and you must be fed up of your ugly stickers. That’s a lot of conditions.

Or you may be you are a collector that want to make a nice looking and functional “miniature rack” of synths, which is something I am going to do for myself because it is cool  🙂 . 

But anyway if you like it, I am available.  

See you soon

Mehdi 

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