Can’t Find the Right Music Controller? Don’t get Mad, get Livid!

Music Technology
Can’t Find the Right Music Controller? Don’t get Mad, get Livid!
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MIDI controllers are a staple of electronic music. They provide a physical interface to let the user “play” notes on their computer using software like Abelton Live or GarageBand. Traditionally, MIDI controllers have resembled piano keyboards but other button / pad based controllers like the monome, Abelton Push, or Livid Base (above) have become more popular. These alternative controllers allow musicians to trigger loops, sequence tracks, and explore new ways to create music without being limited by tradition. But what happens if you want to take things further and make your own custom controller?


The Maker Shed has teamed up with the folks from Livid Instruments to bring you their Builder DIY lineup of MIDI controller kits. Each kit is based upon the flexible Brain Jr. platform (above) to provide a driverless USB MIDI interface to your computer. The Brain Jr. allows 16 digital (switches, buttons) inputs, 16 analog (pots, sliders, sensors) inputs, and 16 LED (RGB and monochrome) outputs from a board roughly the size of an Arduino.


We currently have 5 kits to choose from, ranging from the comprehensive Omni Kit, to the basic Starter Kit. You can even pick up the Brain Jr. along and a Breakout Shield for those that want to supply their own parts.

Due to the flexibility of the Builder DIY series, enclosures are not available – but building your own is half the fun anyway, right?

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I am the Evangelist for the Maker Shed. It seems that there is no limit to my making interests. I'm a tinkerer at heart and have a passion for solving problems and figuring out how things work. When not working for Make I can be found falling off my unicycle, running in adverse weather conditions, skiing down the nearest hill, restoring vintage motorcycles, or working on my car.

View more articles by Michael Castor


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