Photo courtesy of Axel @ midibox.org
June 12th, 2009 – Sorry about posting on DIY MIDI controllers all the time, but until I make one, I’m going to be obsessing over the options. One of the great options out there is the MIDIbox standard. I’ve touched briefly on it before, but I thought I’d go over it in a little more depth.
The MIDIbox project is an open source development platform for MIDI devices. Schematics and software are posted online, as well as component shopping lists, to build several types of MIDIbox projects. Examples of the projects possible are DJ controllers, synthesizers, and control surfaces.
Because the platform is so open, you are only limited by your fabrication experience. The wiring portion and assembly are not the difficult parts, making a nice housing for your brand spanking new creation is though. Check out the site to see some of the ridiculously well-made MIDIbox projects.
The instructions are very thorough and the platform looks easy enough that I can understand it. Unlike products like the MIDIDIY and UMC32, MIDIbox projects allow you to have an almost infinite amount of configurations. In fact, I have yet to see any two that are the same so far. Some have made almost full size consoles out of the project, with fit and finish beyond production units.
If you have the time, it looks like a great platform to develop for with a very helpful community. The MIDIbox components themselves look reasonably priced, but making your enclosure seems to cost a lot, with many DIYers spending $500 and up for custom housings alone. Still though, from arcade controllers, all the way up to gigantic control interfaces, the MIDIbox standard is very flexible. Many electronic newbies have cut their teeth on MIDIbox with spectacular results.