Lighting up your favorite MIDI controller

Over the past couple years, MIDI controllers have become increasingly colorful. There is the Novation LaunchPad S, whose buttons can be lit any combination of red and green. There is the Keith McMillen QuNeo with its vibrant multicolored sliders. The Livid Base and the Ableton Push both support a full range of RGB in all their buttons.

We want Liquid Rhythm to have an awesome workflow on all of these devices. This task has two facets. First, we have to design a good layout for each controller. This involves singling out the most important features in Liquid Rhythm, and then figuring out which buttons they should be mapped to. Second, we need to light up the device in a way that sensibly represents the current state of Liquid Rhythm. For example, while playback is occurring, the play button should be green, but when the loop is paused, it should turn red.

Both of these tasks are made more challenging by the uniqueness of each MIDI controller.

  •  Unlike the other devices, the LaunchPad S has no sliders. The Livid Base is unique in having a seven-segment display
  • On the Quneo, color can only be specified for the 8×8 pad grid. The rest of the LEDs can only be turned on and off.
  • Each device has its own way to send color. For example, to obtain bright red on the LaunchPad, a note with velocity 15 must be sent. On the Livid Base, it should be 16. On a Quneo drum pad, 127.

The devices also have their similarities. They all take MIDI input to light themselves up, and they all have a grid of pads. When designing our device code, we wanted to make use of these similarities as much as possible. Over the past several weeks, I have been working on a system that allows us to light up and map a variety of MIDI controllers. It’s been very fun playing around with colors and learning about the functionality of each device. So far, we have focused on the LaunchPad S and and QuNeo as our guinea pig devices. Take a look at this demo video of us lighting up the LaunchPad S Liquid Rhythm workflow.

Note: This functionality will be available with Liquid Rhythm 1.2.4 and on the standalone version.  We are working to support across all scenarios and will keep everyone informed of our progress.

Author: Daphne Ippolito

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