"DIY project" may conjure up images of something hacked-together and rustic, but then you see projects like this one from William "Logo." Cheap-looking, mass-produced controllers, begone — behold the luxury US$400 and some construction talent can produce!

Logo shares the project on EM411:

After being dissatisfied with a dozen or so controllers, and due to the lack of quality affordable DJ mixer style ones on the market, I bit the bullet and went the DIY route. Overall it cost around $400 to make (it would of been about $300 if I didn’t make several ordering mistakes and splurge on super nice faders). It was by far the largest electronics project I’ve taken on and have the scars to prove it (aka I wanted to throw it out the window several times). Painful but worth it. I’ve never felt anything so damn hefty. It consists of 16 knobs, 5 faders, 16 arcade buttons, and 32 MIDI controlled LED buttons.
I plan on using it primarily for "crazy" 4 channel chopped up DJ sets in Live and simple sets in Traktor. I’m also in the midst of making some simple step sequencers for it in Max to take advantage of the fancy led buttons.

And, of course, having a controller no one else does? Priceless.

This project makes use of the popular MIDIBox project, but we’re also expecting solutions soon based on Livid’s MIDI DIY control board. Which you choose comes down to the configuration you want, but we’ll have more details on the MIDI DIY soon.

More photos (including electronics pr0n shots of the innards), including those above, at William’s set on Flickr:


Previously, also featuring increasingly-popular arcade buttons:

All-Arcade Ableton Live Controller, DIY Hardware by The Prevolt

  • nice job! not often i see one of these with good build quality. the only thing about making these is i often feel its cheaper and more time effective to buy something prefab'd. T least thats how i felt after i built mine even tho i love it:


  • William

    Thanks for the excellent write up! I can finally check off being mentioned on CDM from my life long to do list…

    Seth, your definitely right about buying prefab being cheaper/more time effective, but where is the fun in that πŸ™‚

    That said, it's a very interesting time in the controller market, and getting better everyday. If I didn't go this route I'd probably just buy an Allen & Heath Xone 2d, Ecler Nuo4, or the like. It seems like some of the big players are finally starting to embrace "the future".

    Thanks again, and if anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them…

  • William i totally agree about the fun aspect. Actually seeing your project inspired me to come home and break out my lil home brew knob box and fiddle around myself. Quickly i realized… i should probably start over.

    Between small interferences in knob position (which cause "wiggle") and non plug and play (everything is interpreted through max/msp) i just feel a little janky trying to use this stuff live.

    the good news is a learned a ton about multiplexing and max and all sorts of fun stuff which im sure i'll apply to something more robust some day.

    bahh enough ranting! your box looks great man and if it's as fun to play as it looks you better be cranking out some jamz soon!

  • lematt

    i'm really expecting the livid's DIY board… but it seems they don't want to put it out …

  • What a perfect example how little clue the controller industry has about its new #1 target group. People rather spend lots of time on developing their own box than go and buy one of those misdesigned devices that jump around every corner. Wicked!

  • gbsr

    i just gotta say that this one of the nicest diy controllers ive seen, the layout is just fabolous.

    im also very interested in these people buttons πŸ˜‰

  • I'd buy one of those for 500-600 usd before i'd buy any other controller on the market and im sure others would too……just something to keep in mind πŸ˜€

  • jade

    Looks realy nice.

    Anyone got a good source for arcade buttons?

  • 4lefts

    ++1 @ what ronny said – seems that most people end up with a 'best fit' controller because that's all that exists, rather than something they actually want/need.

    so… what's the skinny on the livid board? it's not vapourware is it?

  • 4lefts

    oh, and william – really nice work mate. just need a joystick on there for some street fighter 2.

  • midifidler

    Sweet midi box, am nearly finished my midifighter,

  • sean

    Damn! That is so crazy awesome!

  • ash

    looks fresh! I wouldnt mind one πŸ˜‰


  • Thanks a lot for sharing. Such a great job and style. Particularly loving the pots and arcade buttons there!

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  • I'm insanely jealous. That's a super classy mixer. Great work!

  • MisterCharlie

    Nice job!

    can you publish the bill of material? cant find those nice LED buttons and fader knobs…


  • William


    Here is a quick and dirty rundown of the parts on Flickr


    Let me know if you need any details…

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  • Matt

    Please tell me you make these to sell!!

    I need one of these…

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  • this is really cool stuff! Wish i could build something like it… Good job!

  • this is really cool stuff! Wish i could build something like it… Good job!

  • this is really cool stuff! Wish i could build something like it… Good job!