Little. Knobby. Different. Better.

Little. Knobby. Different. Better.

8 knobs. No, 64 knobs! No, giant knobs, hundreds of buttons, dozens of faders…

Okay. One button, one knob. Put (one of your) opposable thumbs to good use and just do something simple. And, with something this small and inexpensive, never go anywhere without a real knob again. (Friends don’t let friends operate fake simulations of knobs using mice. Augh. Painful. (Which way is a “circle,” again?)

That was the creed of none other than Brendan Ratliff, aka Echolevel, aka chip music “superhero” Syphus, a composer/musician/hacker who works scoring games and film/TV soundtracks and general musical mayhem. He wanted something simple that just didn’t exist. So he built it himself, all using an Arduino-like dev board (by way of the ultra-small Teensy USB hardware).

It works without drivers, so any OS will function, and so will the iPad via Camera Connection Kit. In fact, that makes this a great project if you’re learning how to make this sort of hardware – and it’ll keep you from biting off more than you can chew on your first go.

Of course, there are lots of build details and instructions should you want to attempt your own. And open USB MIDI implementations are just making so many things better. (I wonder if we’ll ever get around to doing something with that?)

Knobber – USB MIDI single knob/button controller by Echolevel

What a teeny little super guy this is. Did I ever tell you about the time …

Brendan makes music. Let’s hear it. (Sorry, I’m late to giving a talk, so that’s all the intelligent analysis I have … no, Brendan deserves more — here’s a giant cornucopia of awesome. You can quote me on that.)

Disclaimer/apology: I grew up in the 80s, and … sorry about the two references above.