I wondered if anyone else had used calculators as music controllers. The answer? But of course. Here’s a classic Russian calculator model controlling arrangements in Ableton Live. It appears in this example as though this is working as a USB (QWERTY) keyboard substitute, rather than as a MIDI controller, but you get more of the same potential from all those wonderful buttons.

This find comes to us from Toyo Bunko of Noise.io – themselves lovers of mobile technology, having built a sophisticated soft synth for the iPhone. Toyo writes:

The page (in Russian) : http://diver.net.ua/page-id-124.html

And the video (instant download link) is here: http://diver.net.ua/page-id-124-a-dl.html

([Credited as] created by Zinus of "Diver Group").

The calculator model is Elektronika MK-52, it’s quite famous. More info on this calculator can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MK-52

He managed to connect the calculator via a USB interface which he took out from an old USB keyboard. So it basically acts like a keyboard controller.

If you’re out there, we’d love to hear more (or from anyone who can translate the Russian here). I expect I’m not the first to point to this, but the calculator music – by popular demand – continues!

  • nobody

    Hi Peter,

    if you only could read the comments to that post!

    It's fabulous!

    So sad I'm not that mighty in english to translate it 🙁

  • urri

    I think this is fake

  • nobody

    No, it's not.

    It's just a substitute of keyboard keys with keys of the calculator

  • Peter Helms

    Hi Peter
    As you maybe know the russians are a quite poetic people..:) the text says:(Directly translated)
    "In the beggining it was freezing
    Then came the pre new years house cleaning.
    Then a programmable microcalculator fell out of the closet.
    After that a genius qwerty usb keybord fell out.
    They fell out on the top of each other and stayed like that for a couple of minutes.
    And they exchanged their fluids.
    Now the calculator has an USB interface, but the keyboard lacks its brains.
    But the most important thing: atleast now the program ableton Live can be adressed in its human session language"

    the folowing coments are too amazing and will only work in russian..
    great stuff:)

  • samu

    I want a Curta-based Live controller. Please, someone, anyone!

  • Luca De Rosso

    It looks interesting to me! Is quite useful to have a grid based interaction for samples, especially using Ableton.
    The only problem is that, having a device which is viewed by the laptop as a keyboard makes the real keyboard almost useless since the visual map is different and you risk to mess up everything! But I like this tests anyway!

  • Keyboard as oscillator – no vid yet
    The layout of the notes makes some things really hard but encourages other, less usual intervals

  • Sorry, that should be, "calculator as oscillator"

  • wait…why would you want to controller ableton live when you can control a Soyuz with device?

  • @regend: Why choose?

  • Andy

    Does the calculator still work, or did they have to gut it?

  • Hallo!
    Sorry all fo my bad english.

    We a UKRAINIANS! Russian language at our site is for them, who come in without knowledge about our Country and our language.
    Welcome to UA!

    About MK52:
    his buttons is in positions like clips in Ableton Live, so this was a target in creation.
    🙂 bad kbd -> good organized controller.

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