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Cheap Midi to CV converter?
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gusjdt



Joined: Apr 12, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:45 pm    Post subject: Cheap Midi to CV converter? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey guys,

I've been looking around for a good and bargain priced Midi to CV converter and so far the best looking one is Paia's unit. I've looked at Kenton but its more expensive, and I've looked at a few others but the Paia is still the cheapest. I don't think I would like to build one myself without a printed circuit board since it would save me a lot of time and "accidents".

Does anyone know of a good MIDI - CV? Unfortunately Oakley's MidiDac is out of production...

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Pehr



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

http://www.musicfromouterspace.com/analogsynth/midi2cv.htm
http://www.doepfer.de/mcv4.htm
http://www.doepfer.de/mcv24.htm

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gusjdt



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yup, I've already looked at these too. MFOS expects you to breadboard it or etch and drill the board yourself and Doepfer is much more expensive than Paia not including shipping.

Perhaps there is another place?

I've looked at:

Oakley which is sold out
Doepfer, expensive plus shipping international
Kenton, even more expensive plus shipping
Paia
Philip Rees which doesnt even show a price.

So far I think Paia is the best choice but I'm still trying to see if there is a cheaper unit.

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State Machine
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I own and use the PAIA unit and it works fine and it is a bargain! It goes together fairly quickly. The most time consuming portion of the building process is the front panel wiring.

I would suggest using this unit. Just take a look at the user manual on the PAIA web site to make sure all the modes supported are exactly what you are looking for. Why pay more than you should if this unit will fit your application?

Bill
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bugbrand



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, there's maybe 2nd hand options - I got one of these GrooveElectronics boxes a year or so ago and its got a lot of features for the low low price I paid (something like £30):
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
(obviously it'd be a bit of work to rack mount it..)

But last week I ordered a PAIA unit and it should be delivered very shortly..

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sneakthief



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i'm a staunch uCapps Midibox advocate, especially the Midibox CV!

Main features:

8 cv's + 8 gates + midi-clock to pulse output. lots of nice features, works great!

...more info here: http://www.ucapps.de/midibox_cv.html


My experiences:

It cost me about $80 US to build, including the boards from Mike's Elektronikseite: http://www.mikes-elektronikseite.de/shop_englisch/index.htm
(he ships internationally)

There are 2 PCB's - one for the midibox core, and one for the 2 DAC's. They're quite small and easy to build. When you're finished assembling it, you program the PIC by simply sending a midi SYSEX dump of the Midibox CV program. Voila!

What you need:

12,20 euro - Midibox Core kit
7,00 euro - 16x2 backlit LCD
5,50 euro - AOUT V1. PCB
11,00 euro - jacks, buttons, IC's, resistors
10,00 euro - power supply parts
5,00 euro - case
10,50 euro - preprogrammed PIC chip

Total: 61,20 euro

Note: The DACS for the Midibox AOUT PCB are expensive - the AOUT PCB uses MAX525ACPP chips which cost ~$66 US; however, you can instead procure f-r-e-e s-a-m-p-l-e-s from M-a-x-i-m Wink


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

regards,
michel

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deknow



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

also, kyle jarger makes some really good ones worth checking out.

http://www.jkjelectronics.com/index.htm

deknow
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
i'm a staunch uCapps Midibox advocate, especially the Midibox CV!

Main features:

8 cv's + 8 gates + midi-clock to pulse output. lots of nice features, works great!


Fantastic looking unit ... and very nice features!

Quote:
you program the PIC by simply sending a midi SYSEX dump of the Midibox CV program. Voila!


I like that, I am going to start to incorporating this feature on all my "Home Brew" gear also ... Since I am using the 18Fxxx series PIC MCU's these days and since they have a "self" programming program memory feature, the procedure should be easy to develop.

Nice work on the panel!
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I built and use the Paia MIDI to CV converter and it works well.

The only issues are:

1) the supplied wall-wart power supply is not filtered sufficiently to prevent some AC ripple in the output voltages. I am using my Aries synthesizer power supply instead of the wall-wart thus, there is no ripple problem.

2) the trigger output is a little weak to drive my Aries EGs. I have to boost the signal with one of my mixers (a real hassle). My plan is to build a non-inverting (buffer) amp that has enough gain to drive all my eg's. Incidentally, the gate signal is fine.
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
But last week I ordered a PAIA unit and it should be delivered very shortly..


An interesting feature of the PAIA unit is that all the output jacks are TRS type with the ring portion connected to the collector of a driver transistor. This means that the output can be used as a discrete output and can drive a relay, electromechanical or solid state, to control lighting or whatever!

Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
) the supplied wall-wart power supply is not filtered sufficiently to prevent some AC ripple in the output voltages. I am using my Aries synthesizer power supply instead of the wall-wart thus, there is no ripple problem.

2) the trigger output is a little weak to drive my Aries EGs. I have to boost the signal with one of my mixers (a real hassle). My plan is to build a non-inverting (buffer) amp that has enough gain to drive all my eg's. Incidentally, the gate signal is fine.


With ragards to the power supply issue, others can probably jumper out R51 and R52 and increase capacitors C20 and C22 to 1000 uF would help the ripple issue. I agree, the wall wart thingy is not the greatest power supply!

Wow, the output is weak? They have a 4051 MUX biased at 15 V driving a follower that can supply at least 20 to 30 MA. You must be driving lots of EG's ny friend Very Happy . I have a suggestion, if you require more current, I would take advantage of the open collector output PAIA uses and connect the RING of each output to a PNP transistor driver to boost the current a bit. Cheap and dirty fix! Very Happy
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

State Machine wrote:
Wow, the output is weak? They have a 4051 MUX biased at 15 V driving a follower that can supply at least 20 to 30 MA. You must be driving lots of EG's ny friend Very Happy . I have a suggestion, if you require more current, I would take advantage of the open collector output PAIA uses and connect the RING of each output to a PNP transistor driver to boost the current a bit. Cheap and dirty fix! Very Happy


I have six EGs on my synth, two s/h's, sequencer, switches, sync inputs... so I could really load that trigger output if I wanted to.

However, the symptom doesn't change with the load. I guess it is possible that I have a weak solder joint (that happened to me one time where a solder joint was closed and acted like a resistor -- took me forever to find).

Guess I gotta check the simple stuff first. Smile
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deknow



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

here are the specs for one of kyles creations. he showed me these at the analog heaven northeast event, and they are super killer, and i think pretty cheap. kyle was an engineer at kurzweil when they were doing cool things, and has performed with us on his 4 pannel serge Smile

Quote:
The CV-5 model features:

9 controllers + Bend, Velocity, and Aftertouch
Control of a second V/Oct synth, or additional control on the main channel
LFO: 13 waves, Note ON Sync or MIDI Clock sync
Fixed frequency triangle wave sub-LFO always available for vibrato
Single/Multiple trigger modes Low/High/Last note priority
Pitch/Filter/Aux/Pan/Volume MIDI controlled
Pan/Volume of ANY line level audio signal
True exponential portamento, with the time MIDI controlled
System configuration memory
DIN Sync Out standard
Hz/V operation optional
Gate and S-Trigger outputs
Plus more features

The CV series uses the latest digital signal processing technology to permit control of your analog synthesizer in the most expressive, natural manner of any previously available MIDI to control voltage converter device. No other MIDI to control voltage converter at any price offers true portamento, two LFOs, or volume and panning capabilities. The CV series adds a new dimension to your analog synthesizer playing. We invite you to compare the price and features of the CV series with those of our competitors.



The CV-4 is $199 and the CV-5 is $249. Add $25 for Hz/V option.
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The Alison Project



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Elby Design offers the Oakley/Modulus Polydac as kits or built.

http://www.elby-designs.com/
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synth_ollie



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have one of these :

http://goto.glocalnet.net/mcx16/mcx16.htm

cheers

OLLIE
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gusjdt



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Whoa, thanks for all the replies! I'll have to see which of these will fit in my synth project. The MidiBox looks sweet for its price, maybe I can get it to fit.

Thanks again for the help!

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Last edited by gusjdt on Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fonik



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i built two of toms midiports when he sold them as kits, now he offers them as assembled and tested boards:
http://www.ele4music.com/kits.html

cheers,
matthias
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gusjdt



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I heard that some EFM circuits were poorly designed. A friend of mine ordered a few designs from him and he had to modify them in order to get them to work. Did you have any problems like that?
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fonik



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i built two midi2cv from tom.
first i built the RXCV which works great with +/-15V (had some problems with 12V).
the 2nd one i built was the successor, the MidiPort 3503, it generally works, but with some problems, i didn't troubleshoot it yet. i built it from a kit, i didn't buy the assembled and tested board tom now offers.

in the past i built several of toms designs (VCO, VCA, VCF, LFO, ADSR, MIDI2CV). you get what you pay for. and the designs are "slimmed". tom simplifies classic designs which makes them less "stable" and you may will have to modify them (one or another resistor value), but not necessary. but if the board you buy is assembled and tested...
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zipzap



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi. I have a question about the midibox cv. I read through the page but didn´t get everything.
(BTW Maxim has been very generous)
Do i understand right it´s possible to use this in a configuration like this:
cv+gate on two cv outs, controlled by two midi chanells for duophonic play
plus
use the other cv/gate outs for a drumbox. 6 notes on a third midi chanell + velocity on each note to trigger drum modules/ controll vcas?

If that is so than this is the perfect project for me.

Also the way i read the text you get 10 gates. 2 on the A_Out + 8 on the core.

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bugbrand



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Slightly off topic, but I tell you what ----- sequencing (or triggers or lfos or envs inc tempo syncing etc) on the G2 modular feeding 8 midi message channels to the PAIA Midi2CV = amazing power. Then add a MIDI controller keyboard (I'm using remote25 = lots of different knobs and sliders) and you've got a mighty driver for your modular setup.
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kkissinger



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Bugbrand,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. The original keyboards on my Aries synth were non-touch sensitive and the support for velocity, aftertouch, PB, mod-wheels, etc... give my vintage synth capabilities beyond what it could do originally.

Problem is... I don't know what to do with my two original Aries keyboards now.

The only disadvantage to the Aries/Paia combination is that the Paia unit doesn't support portamento. While the Aries has a "Lag" (slewing) module, it is not voltage-controllable and the response curve isn't variable between linear and logarithmic (as the original keyboards are).

What I'd like would be a kit or schematic that would allow a lag with the following features:

1) switched on and off via a gate signal
2) voltage-controlled lag time
3) linear and logarithmic response continuously variable, voltage-controlled

Any suggestions?
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gusjdt



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kkissinger, how about this?

http://www.wiseguysynth.com/larry/schematics/Morph-Lag/Morph-Lag.gif

From what I can see, it has the CV in, CV out, inverted CV out, attack and decay controls, and shape control for lin/log variables. This is the one I'm going to build soon for my project.

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sneakthief



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

zipzap wrote:
Hi. I have a question about the midibox cv. I read through the page but didn´t get everything.
(BTW Maxim has been very generous)
Do i understand right it´s possible to use this in a configuration like this:
cv+gate on two cv outs, controlled by two midi chanells for duophonic play
plus
use the other cv/gate outs for a drumbox. 6 notes on a third midi chanell + velocity on each note to trigger drum modules/ controll vcas?

If that is so than this is the perfect project for me.

Also the way i read the text you get 10 gates. 2 on the A_Out + 8 on the core.


yes, you can have poly mode on some cv outs and mono mode on others.

re. 10 gates: i thought so two but then realized that the software treats the 2 gate outs on the AOUT board as the same as the first two of the 8 on the core. does that make sense? so, in effect you "only" get 8.

cheers,
michel

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The Alison Project



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

gusjdt wrote:

http://www.wiseguysynth.com/larry/schematics/Morph-Lag/Morph-Lag.gif


For those who don't know Ken Stone / CGS sells a PCB for this if interested, there is no project page up but it is listed in the for sale section. I have built two, everything is the same except the 50K resistors are replaced with 47K, also for the 5UF cap, the board is laid out so you can use a 5UF of 5x1UF caps.
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