Easy Button USB hack

I guess everybody knows the Staples Easy Button.


There are numerous hacks out in the wild adding some weird functionality to it. For quite some time I wanted to something similar. This is the documentation of how to make the Easy-Button a MIDI-USB device based on Atmega328 (Arduino).

Many hacks have in common that they are either relatively expensive (like…involving something with a dedicated teensy device) or rather ugly (due to holes just being sawed into the Easy Button’s case).

My first goal was to build a device that automatically identifies itself as an HID-compliant USB-MIDI device and gives simple MIDI functionality by using an Atmega328 and V-USB. In order to achieve a correct enumeration and to get a useful starting point I used the demo-versionof USBLyzer to get the necessary data from my KORG nanoKey and altered them in various places (Vendor ID etc..). (You will remember this one later.)

When the button is pressed a ‘MIDI Note ON’ signal is sent. Upon release it sends a ‘Note OFF’ message.

The second goal was to give it a clean overall look.

Let’s see…

This is the Staples Easy Button with the cap and the clicker already being removed (which makes it just a pretty unidentifiable bunch of electronics and some plastic)

we don’t need the speaker so it will be gone soon….

The black line shows how deep the cap goes when it’s pressed.

This is the spot where the USB connector will be placed

I might not be the best craftsman around (already mentioned that once before) but after some filing this one looks pretty decent:

The plastic on the inside has to be cut as well

This DOES look quite well

Now I need to add the circuit board. Due to the speaker being thrown out there is lots of space for that now.

The circuit is basically a 1:1 copy of the V-USB keyboard example. The Button is connected with data pin 6 of the Atmega. It involves some creative soldering of the diodes because I didn’t care too much about the circuit’s layout before I started soldering.

Everything’s coming to an end soon

It seems impossible for my camera to do any decent shots that contain the color red.
Anyway, you might get an idea of how the circuit fits into the structure.

Some detail of how the actual button-mechanism is connected to the Atmega (the blue wires, you guessed it)

To make future additions a little easier I added an ICSP connector which fits nicely into what has formerly been the battery case

Finally… in all its glory.

I had this in the back of my mind for ~2.5 years now. Shortly before starting with this built I started wandering whether this might make sense or be worth the money or time invested or…..

F*CK IT.  Never let doubts get in the way of your creativity.  If this wouldn’t make sense than I probably wouldn’t have built it. Word!   =)

The whole Arduino project (I did that arduino IDE 1.0.3) can be downloaded here. Unzip and copy the folder ‘Nanokey’ to the libraries-folder of your arduino IDE. Feel free to contact me if anything is left unclear.

Terrassenfest 2013

This post will be about my third time at the Terrassenfest (Facebook). It’s an annually held 3-day event organized by volunteers of the senior technical college in the city of Osnabrück. Every night there are 2 bands and a DJ afterwards. We are doing the stage for the third year now and I guess it’s the right time to go a little more into detail than the years before.

This is the 38th year this event takes place. Last year my former boss visited me when I was working there and told me he had been organizing this event ~25 years ago himself.

It all begins at home in Hamburg. I am in charge of lights and visuals and I will be using VDMX for the first time. I already created some footage and am working on the basic screen setup.

The stage-setup will contain 10 units of 42 inch monitors. 6 being twisted by 90 degress, hanging overhead in the truss, 4 being packed together in a somewhat classical 2*2 matrix-style stetup. The monitors themselves are configured in 3*3 matrix mode. This means every monitor gets the same input data but only displays 1/9th of the actual picture depending on the position that was set in its configuration.

Codec shootout based on visual impression and CPU usage. VMDX’s new HAP codec won.

Packing my stuff for staying out of Hamburg for 5 days (sat – thur).

This is only the technical stuff i’m carrying:

MacBook pro, Lenovo Thinkpad, Akai APC20…. to name just a bit of the stuff i took with me. It’s important to know that I will be meeting friends of mine there and I’m planning to play arround with different stuff so I am taking way more than I’d need to.

Entering a 4-day mayhem.

The foh (front of house) will be by new home from now on. The most important thing (the fridge) is already there. Though the Terrassenfest is organized by volunteers it doesn’t lack professionality at all. We get the best support one could think of. Including a never-ending amount of energy-drinks, beer and grilled food.

By the way: It’s one of the better ideas to use an extra cable only for the fridge at the foh. Trust me.

Working for the company doing the stage for me as the guy for lights and visuals also means: Bringing up the complete stage! From zero.

Well…. it IS that much. It took us Sunday to build up the stage.

Yes, this is a friggin’ huge PA-System. It IS way too much for such a tent. But it DOES sound incredibly good.

Part of the monitor setup. 4 Monitors are hanging in the back truss, one is hanging at each side.

That might be me…

And that might be another pile of cables

Slowly growing

Oh… and by the way: we’re also doing the trussing and lights for the bar…

And YES: we are going full pro on this one.

First impressions at night. All lights on 100% to check whether we calculated our energy consumption correctly. We did.

Getting a little bit into detail. The dmx data for the lights are transmitted via lumenradio. The video is transmitted via ethernet cabling based on Kramer technology.

Signals arriving at Dimmerland, Amptown city. From here the DMX data are fed back into cable and the video data are sent to various multiplexers to reach the monitors.

This is the final stage setup. The DJ booth will be put aside as long as the bands are playing. One aspect of this setup is to be able to change from band to DJ as quick as possible. It took us ~5 minutes each time.

For the videos I created two main groups in VDMX. The ‘Truss-Group’ and the ‘DJ-Group’ (guess which is which). The Truss-Group consists of three layers: Background, Center and Front. The Background layer spans over the 6 monitors completely and the visuals will be twisted by 90 degrees. That’s okay since this layer is intended for blurry-motioned video backgrounds. The Center and Front Layer are twisted by 90 degrees within VDMX so they will be ligned up correctly on stage. Both layers are cropped and resized so the whole video of the layer will be shown on every screen.

The DJ-Group only consists of two layers: Background and Center but the configuration is similar – without the 90 degree twist.

I could have done more but I wasn’t too sure about overall CPU usage and stability so I decided to better be safe than sorry. Next time I guess I will be doing 8 layers each since VDMX showed no problems at all.

Everything that I wanted to have control of was connected with a custom control interface which was then connected to different midi inputs. That way everything stayed clear and easy to handle… just in case…

Everything is controlled via an APC20 from Akai

The buttons on the right select the page in the media bin (‘Chroma’, ‘Ballern’, ‘Stuff’, ‘Strahl’ and ‘Atmo’). The butons above the big stripe of yellow duct tape select the layer the video clip is played on and the 40 main buttons finally select the video clip itself. The faders from left to right control each layer’s opacity.

Btw.: The duct tape is the expensive type which is used by professional painters. Not the cr*p you get in your ordinary hardware-store. It’s 3 or 4 times as expensive but absolutely worth the money. You can stick it on, leave it there for a year or more and remove it without leaving just one bit of ugly residue. Try this with your Gaffa-Tape.

That’s my setup at the front of house. From left to right: MacBook pro 13″ running VDMX being controlled by an APC20 from Akai. Some earplugs and a Korg Kontrol 49 Keyboard for controlling GrandMa onPC running on a Panasonic Toughbook. If you look carefully you’ll spot a Wiimote as well. This was used to control two effects in VDMX. Pixelate and Strobe. Though I am generally not too much into using video-fx this sure was huge fun, especially for the people hanging around at the foh.

(click for a larger image)

The way the lights are connected with the keyboard has grown over the years. It evolved from the very first show that I used when working in a discotheque. It has become so intuitive even my mom can do it:

By the way: I was staying with my parents for the time which was quite a lot of fun. I moved out ~15 years ago and haven’t slept there more than 6 nights since. They brought me to the event every day and my dad was totally eager to carry my bag:

Considering the amount of bullsh*t (a.k.a infurious pain) he is going through with all his back this has to be accepted as one of the coolest things a dad can do for his son.

That’s part of what the setup is capable of:

This is one bad mobile-phone photo giving a glimpse of what it looked like when the bands played. During their set I brought their logos on the screen together with some background videos colour-fitted to the rest of the lights. This always looks amazingly cool and it shows that you don’t need an LED-Wall in the back to do a good show.

I will add more and better photos with overall impressions within the next days.

By the way: We intentionally didn’t use an LED-Wall. Right now I see LED-Walls on every yet-so-small village-party-stage. What’s wrong with the people out there? Is an LED-Wall the new huge phallus-symbol in stage design? Does every average top40-band really need hi-res image processing in the background? Wake up guys: It’s about the band and the music! Not about what you are able to dry-hire …..

Some hours into the first night (bands were done, DJ was playing) the event got into some trouble with local authorities because of noise. Fact is: we couldn’t get more silent than ~80 decibel just because of the people themselves making this amount of noise purely by being there. Anyways, It was on us to turn the music down. This ended in the situation that we needed the Master-Out on a headphone in order to -literally- hear anything from the music.

The second night we caught a glimpse of the music because the DJ turned his monitor speaker up enough so we could hear him through the tent. Foh seemed to be a good place to catch some … sleep. Cool thing: Nevertheless people stayed there until the end at 3’o clock in the morning. I was told there were ~3500 patrons every night.

Growing chaos at the second day.

Oh and by the way…..this is a f*cking NON SMOKING TENT….damnit

Revenge of a non-smoker

I learned from past events that it is important to NOT drink all the energy drinks that are available but only so many you really need to. Last time it took my body 5 days to  come back to normal digestion…intervals….

This is the event ground at the dawn after the last day. the event left its marks.

This is me going to bed after dawn after the last day after taking down the complete stage. Being all comfy and stuff. I guess the event also left its marks on me.

I am writing this right now so probably I’m not dead by Terrassenfest.

Harddisk Turntable

This is my attempt to build a Midi turntable (a.k.a. Jogwheel) from an old harddrive.

Some time ago I came across this (rather famous) article:

A hard drive hacked into a turntable

What they basically did here is to take an old harddrive and connect the motor via a set of op-amps to a microcontroller. When the platter is moved the motor (now actring as a generator) will produce signals that can be analysed by the µC and used for generating Midi out.

So far so excellent. But the deeper I got into the topic the more it became clear that this wasn’t the best solution for me since the article states that very small and slow platter-motion isn’t detected reliably.

That’s why I started building my own version of a harddisk turntable using the optical sensor of an old mouse.

Here we go, it all starts with an old harddisk

I have been dealing with computers for more than 20 years now but this is the only harddisk I had ever problems with. And this probably wasn’t caused by one of those “ooh my god…my harddisk suddenly crashed”-moments ismply but due to accidentally dropping it while moving to another flat.

So – this is the first time ever that I’m taking apart a harddisk….

I figured out that I had to get rid of two platters because it would make the construction too heavy an dull-feeling.

In order for the optical sensor to be able to detect the platter being moved I taped the edge of the platter to give it some structure.

Fortunately the harddrive motor could completely be detached from the housing. This way I can use it in another case

The mouse was a Logitech RX250 that I had lying around

The sensor is of type A5020E. Fortunately I found an Arduino library for this device over here. It’s a little bit old and in order to make it work under Arduino 1.0.1 you have to exchange

#include “WConstants.h”        against

#include “Arduino.h”       in the .cpp file. That’s all.

I simply desoldered the sensor and put it on a scrap piece of vector board. This will later be fixed by hotglue-influenced-technology =). the datasheet can be found here or here (if the original site will change or be offline).

During the first attempts I found out that it’s a good idea to keep the clear piece of plastic together with the mouse’s original LED in order to have the right conditions for the optical sensor’s illumination. For that reason I cut an appropriate hole into the new case.

It is pretty save to say that I am by far one of the worst craftsmen around….

Because I left away two of the three harddisk’s platters I had some space that needed to be filled up. This piece of foam comes from inside the old harddisk

Some hotglue later

At the moment the circuit only exists on an Arduino breadboard. I will fix this later

Proof of concept

Normally I try to create all my circuits as clean as possible. Proper layout, exactly the right amount of space, everything neat and tidy. Not this time. I think that from now on I don’t give a brick about that any more. It’s way more fun to just go for it with as little space left as possible. Trains your soldering skills as well.

I could’ve left the voltage regulator since it only causes problems. There isn’t even a reason for it since the device will be USB-powered and USB has relatively exact 5 Volts so why care… anyway, I didn’t want to desolder it… yet.

The USB interfacing is done via one of my all time favourite hacks. I once bought about 15 ultra-cheap USB-to-MIDI convertors (~6€ each) and I use one everytime I need USB-Midi  in one of my Projects. (Those where you only have a cable with USB on the one and two MIDI conectors on the other side. In between is a circuit taking care of all the USB stuff etc.)

While doing the finetuning I tried different approaches for the coating of the platter. An untreated harddisk platter’s motion will not be recognized by the optical sensor so you have to attach some kind of structure to it.

Using plain simple duct tape I was able to yield the best results. The rest will be handled in code.

And just as a little side gimmick i added a green led which is lit …

…when you touch the platter. Oh – and it sends out MIDI by the way =)  The poti is there to adjust the sensitivity of the touch sensor.

This picture shows the distance between the platter and the optical sensor. I tried different configurations but it turns out that my initial approach was just about perfect.

While thinking about how to actually use this thing I came across a few ideas and added a little more stuff to the circuit

Pressing the left putton will light up the left LED and make the device put out Midi CC #42 when the platter is spun. When the right button is pressed the other LED will light up and Midi CC #43 will be sent upon moving the platter. When the middle button is pressed the Midi Channel will change from 9 to 10 so you can use it for temporary pitchbending, etc. The screw above the LED on the right side is electrically connected to the platter so you have another ‘platter is touched’ contact.

The whole device came out pretty well. I still have some minor quirks when spinning the platter ~really~ fast but I will give it a test run within the next days before altering the code any further.

[Update 10.11.2013]

I added another poti which makes it possible to change the response rate of the platter (and, of course, I altered the micro controller’s code…). That way you don’t have to fiddle around within software but can easily adjust it on the fly

As a result I found a quite easy to do live video scratching within my favorite VJ-software (VDMX)

Adding 24 Buttons to the Numark DJ2GO

Digital Dj’ing has become too clean.


When I was an early adopter of M-Audio’s Torq there were no usable controllers at all (let’s not even think about the xponent, never saw such an ugly piece of plastic).

At first I used a Berhinger BCR together with Bome’s Midi Translator.


Later I built my own Controller specifically taylored for my workflow with Torq. Technically those solutions were far from being perfect, mainly caused my a lack of feedback possibilites of the software and by mechanical imperfections that occur when you build a controller without paying enough attention for the necessary precision.


Nowadays the situation has changed drastically. There’s a huge amount of great Midi controllers out on the market. You only have to plug them in and that’s it. Most of the DVS-packages even come with pre-configured tepmplates ready for you to start dj’ing without any worries.


I don’t like it.


I just can’t help myself but for me digital djing always includes the need and the passion for some amount of own development.

This surely can only be done in an area where errors can occur and you are not a stadium-filling super-paid person, but then … this isn’t djing…that’s a concert.



When I went out making music I normally took this with me.

(yes… a wooden board)

I really like playing around with timecode vinyls. Mixing is pure fun with these things. Unfortunately there is a rather high potential for errors and stepstones. A broken ground wire on a turntable, faulty contact fields for the needle, dirty electricity (when the hot water boiler is in the same circuit as the p.a.  …).  Furthermore Torq’s very own soundcard -the conectiv- is higly prone to errors because of voltage hickups….


There’s absolutely no fun in carrying all this stuff around town just to realize you forgot one fr*ggin cable.

That’s why i tried to slim down my equipment as much as possible.


(Meanwhile I switched to Torq Version 2 and fortunately there are no limitations to using the conectiv (or any other torq hardware) as a dongle for copy protection so I could get rid of this easily.)


I don’t want to stop mixing and beatmatching myself (not using auto-sync or other helpers) but scratching and cutting in most cases is nothing for the places I play music. That’s why I still need some sort of jogwheels but can happily get rid of timecode vinyls.

I could have bought anything like the vci-380 or any common controller with usable jogwheels but even that is too much for me to carry. Leave alone the missing space behind a small bar’s dj ‘booth’.


I came across the Numark dj2go a while ago and gave it a try. And even though it takes some trial-and error the Jogwheels can somehow be used for ‘platter emulation’ (don’t expect too much). Interestingly there are ~zero videos around where the jogdials of the controller are used. Maybe noone really took the time…


Only backdraw of this solution is the fact that the controller is missing a few buttons for the workflow I developed. I’d like to have some buttons to jump to cuepoints, set (and release) loops and maybe trigger a few effects.

On the other hand side the controller has some things I never use since I’m using an external mixer: Channel volume A and B, master- and headphone volume on a midi controller are just unnecessary for me. That’s why I sacrificed them for some buttons.

So, here we go.


The 4 potentiometers on the top half will be exchanged for buttons. This way there are no continous messages of the corresponding CCs any more. Instead every press of a new button will create a somewhat unique CC-vlaue ‘click’ (more on that later). This is done by some simple ladder of resistors. The resistors’ sizes are calculated to fit different needs:

I wanted this to be as simple to rebuild as possible. One resistor for every button should be easy enough.

Furthermore these are the most common resistor values. No problem on getting these anywhere. I also wanted to be on the safe side and select the resistors in a way that the corresponding voltage drops (the midi outputs) are as far away from eacht other as possible. That way the circuit will even work -at least some kind of- stable in rough surroundings (very hot/ cold temperatures that make every resistor change its value to a certain degree).

(All resistors are 5% tolerance.)

The resistors form a simple voltage divider. The supply voltage is 5v. Since everything in the controller is handled with 3.3v the values of the resistors make sure the output voltage never goes above 3.3v (see below).


There is one major disadvantage, however: Simultaneous button-presses will not be able to be realized due to the nature of the construction. Keep this in mind when slaughterig your controller for this.

First up, the case needs to be opened and the poties have to be removed. Avanti warranty! Interestingly, I don’t feel any kind of shiver any more when doing things like this. Voiding the warranty and taking the risk of destroying a basically new and unused controller I just bought seems to be the most normal thing in life. Good. It took me long enough for this =)


The SMD capacitors below the poties don’t have to be removed. I tested the results with the parts being removed and it’s better to keep them soldered. Never soldered SMD before but I got the two caps back in place at 1 o’clock in the night with 2 big glasses of beer in my …headstomach. Seems normal.


Otherwise: If it didn’t want to be treated that a way it shouldn’t have become a Midi-controller. Damnit.


Next the buttons are soldered together. Every potentiometer is exchanged for six buttons. 2 Groups of buttons (12, that is) are fitted onto one stripe of vectorboard. That makes 24 new buttons overall which not only is a somewhat insanely high amount of buttons but which also is the maximum number of buttons that can physically be fitted on top of the controller.



Every button has one pair of contacts which opens and one which closes upon buttonpress. Make sure to get the correct one (the one which closes).



One thing I found out is that the controller uses 3.3 volt internally. To make the voltage drops on the resistors as big as possible I took 5 volts as a supply logic for the buttons. Stole it from a little pin I soldered to the board. The spot is easy to find since it’s situated next to the 3.3v voltage regulator. And because it’s labeled.



As mentioned before the resistorvalues make sure that the maximum output voltage never exceeds 3.3v.

Btw: did you realize the light barriers? This might be the cheapest possible solution ever to easily get some feedback from the jogwheels… should keep this trick in mind for later use.



The case needs a little dremel action for the cables to connect.


And everything needs….hotglue! yeee-haw!



And here we go: 24 shiny new buttons attached to the Numark DJ2GO:



That was the hardware part. Now we have to take care the buttons send useable MIDI-values.

When the original potentiometers were attached every poti sent a continuous stream of CC-values when it was twisted. Now that we exchanged them for buttons we still get CC values when the buttons are pressed. They are, however, not continous any more but somewhat stepped.

There are three problems with this. First up, most DVS systems can’t handle the same Midi-CC for different software-commands. When you map the first button to “cue 1” it will map “CC #8” to it. The difference of the CC value between button 1 and 2 isn’t recognized. That’s why we have to convert different values of the same CC to different MIDI Notes.

Second problem: The buttons are bouncy as hell. Even though I bought the extra-expensive ones to NOT face this problem they create quite some nasty bouncing when pressed and released.

Third problem: the controller’s internal logic seems to do some even-out-processing in this area. This makes sense when poties are attached but isn’t very helpful when we have buttons. Even when the controller gets some perfect bounce-free signal the controller spits out something between 2 and 6(!) CC values.

Problem 2 and 3 make it we have to do some external software debouncing.


Using a Macbook I found Midipipe to be the best tool for the job and wrote a little script for it.

In short: CC values coming from the controller are sent to Midipipe where they are temporarily stored.


In order to debounce (and in order to come across Applescript’s limitation of being single-threaded) a second script is triggered. This script does nothing  more than to wait ~40ms and tell Midipipe to continue by sending it a certain MIDI message back via a dedicated port.


The CC values which came within the last 40ms are then transformed into individual MIDI Notes and sent out via the IAC MIDI port into the software.


Both scripts are a little buggy still and need some fixing.They will be made available soon. Contact me if you urgently need them.

The whole system is far away from being perfect. Sometimes the buttons don’t become recognized … but  … that’s great – somehow. Adds some flavour. At least everyone will otice I’m not using auto-sync when things are messed up.

I love this.



There has been some progress, lately. First up when I visited my parents I used my father’s toolshed to build some case out of plywood in order to be able to transport the controller without breaking it:



Secondly, I was out making music with it for the first time outside my home. This took place at the Freundlich & Kompetent in Hamburg.

And as expected the controller failed BIG TIME. Somehow there was lots of electrical shizzle around and the modified Numark controller seemed to catch it all. Showing this in the loop section for ‘Deck A’ behaving totally random without even touching the device or any of the cables around.

Well, I deactivated this function in the Midi-Editor and went without it that night. Not a big problem (The night was great, by the way…The bar has a super nice crew).

Back home I did some deeper investigation and after applying an insane amount of hotglue I realized that my midnight soldering skills (after some beer…see above) seem to have left me. One of the wires connecting the buttons to the contacts of the former poties was quite sensitive to impact. Midi data were created upon … breathing onto it… I guess that relates to one of the SMD caps I temporarilly desoldered for testing purposes got killed.

So … after a heavy research I made an educated guess and then took the first thing that came into line of sight and added an extra capacitor (47 nf for those who care) and … everything seems to be perfect now.


You can even see it after the enclosure has been put back together =)


The buttons are now a little more sturdy as well due to an improved construction of leftovers from various vectorboards. Everything is hot-glued, of course =)


Anyways, this is the current configuration I use (same for ‘Deck B’). I will post a video of this together with the current version of the Midipipe-script soon.





Oh man ….

to make things short: even after adding a new capacitor I experienced a faulty behaviour from time to time. This resulted in ‘phantom button presses’ (a loop or a que was triggered without touching the device) preferrably in situations when it was very hot and/or humid around. Looking at the circuit diagram above it becomes clear why: The circuit was always closed in some way. Current was flowing the hole time. Everything that might have caused even little changes in the resistors’ values (temperature being one of these things) MUST have caused a changed current and therefore some ‘phantom’ action.

Looking back that seemed to be the perfect circuit to provoke such a behaviour. Might keep this in mind for later use …

As soon as I realized that i built an … improvable … thing it became clear to me that I had to change the circuit. The new circuit now only causes current to flow when any of the buttons are actually pressed and furthermore widens the range of values that are created when a button is pressed. That way I could change the midipipe script to use a wider hysteresis to make operation even more reliable:


Putting it all back together I found a new way of fixing the buttons to the controller. I used scrap parts of vector board for this before but toothpicks do a much better job in my eyes


Looking as good as new from the store


[Update 10.11.2013]

The controller works like a charm now. There are only little things left to improve. One of the things is to make sure I’m not pressing the wrong button when using it without watching. So I added this little piece of plastic. (the one between the black and yellow buttons.) Doesn’t sound too impressive but it really helps preventing wrong button presses since my fingers ‘know’ where they are.


DJ’ing without external Soundcard


Every now and then i use M-Audio’s Torq DVS to make music. I have been dj’ing in a bar for a few years and most times I was annoyed by the necessity for an external soundcard.

i really like mixing with an external Mixer so controlling my dvs via Midi and using the internal mixing engine is not an option. I just like having physical access to the channel faders, the crossfader and the equalizers.

Using a Macbook and a selfbuilt cable I found a way to use a dvs with an external mixer but without the need for an external soundcard.

Starting with the cable. I cut a cinch-cable i had lying around. For every half the wires for left and right channel are soldered together to form a ‘cinch-bundle’.


Things are then soldered to a stereo headphone jack which fits into the Macbook. Ground to ground, of course.  One ‘cinch-bundle’ is soldered to the left , one is soldered to the right pad of the headphone jack.


The whole construction is then drunk with hot glue to make it insensitive to mechanic stress.

This way you have 2 pairs of cinch-cables coming out of your Macbook’s headphone jack (both mono, of course) which can be connected to a mixer.


In order to devide the Macbook’s audio output into two independent interfaces I use soundflower the following way: The 16ch-interface is connected to the built-in output of the Macbook. Channel 1 and 2 are routed to built-in output #1 (I guess it’s the left channel).



Channel 3 and 4 are routed to built-in output #2 (if #1 is the left side then maybe this is the right audio channel..).



All other channels’ outputs are set to ‘none’.


When I want to use a dvs with this solution I start soundflower and configure my dvs’s outputs as shown (channel 2 and 3 are my left and right deck’s output since I’m using Torq in 2-deck mode):


As mentioned earlier, you only have 2 mono outputs with this solution. This is not a solution for playing a big gig or club or any place where sound quality is a criterium at all. This is just a quick-and-dirty hack for playing in those places where sound quality just doesn’t matter that much (most of the bars I came across…). anyways…it works.

Wallace Autonomes Zentrum

Unser dritter Gig im AZ (Autonomes Zentrum) in Osnabrück. Irgendwann im November (2008?). Anlass war u.a. der Geburtstag von Seb, seines Zeichens Sänger bei der Band Credenza .


Die Schale wird im weiteren Verlauf des Abends noch eine angenehme Rolle spielen, ich bin dafür, daß sie ab jetzt unser ständiger Begleiter wird. Gegen den Ball hab’ ich auch nix.

Continue reading

Wallace Anklang 2008

Yo, das.


Im Oktber ’08 hatten wir dann den wohlverdienten und allerüberfälligsten ZWEITEN Gig unserer Laufbahn. Diesmal auf’m “Mortale Arcade” in der Lagerhalle in Osnabrück.

Wir haben im Foyer als ‘Bonbon’ für diejenigen gespielt, die keinen Eintritt zahlen wollten. Reichlich angenehm ob der Aussage vom Veranstalter: “Ihr könnt so oft und solange spielen, wie Ihr wollt. Macht einfach”. Astrein, oder?


Eine kleine Liste der Dinge, die so im Verlauf des Abends schiefgelaufen sind:

Computer spielt verrückt,

Programm startet nicht,

mitten im Set muss eine Software neu registriert werden,

Stromausfall während des Sets,

Midi-Keyboard abgestürzt,

Mischpult spinnt.


Dennoch habe ich mir sagen lassen, im Duell “Wallace vs Lagerhalle” stünde es 1:0.  Kein Wunder bei dem, was wir aufgefahren haben:

Zunächst mal die typische Armada an technischem Bimbam Schnickschnack. 5 laufende Meter feinster Wahnsinn. Kommentar vom Veranstalter (der auch unserern ersten Gig gebaut hat): “Sagt mal Jungs, seid Ihr zwei Leute mehr geworden?”


Und dazu unser eigenes Licht. Jetzt mal ohne Scheiss…..Warum hab’ich mir die letzten Jahre als LJ um die Ohren geschlagen, wenn da nix bei rauskommt?

Also:  3 LED-Spots via Ableton getriggert, unterschiedliche Chaser, jeweils passend zum Track und genau im Rhythmus. Zwischendurch hat’s mich gepackt und ich habe nochmal ‘live’ geleuchtet, als Simon mit einem Solo-Part dran war.




Eventuell einen Hauch zu blaulastig. Nun gut, nächstes Mal noch ein bisschen mehr Farbe, vielleicht ‘nen Hazer und etwas Video =-)



Techpr0n deluxe! Genau SO muss es sein!

Wir haben 3 Sets zu je circa 45 Minuten gespielt.Das erste Set war etwas steif, das zweite angeblich bombastisch (Teile davon fehlen in meiner Erinngrung, aber ich habe meinen Bier-Rekord gebrochen), das dritte Set hat uns zerlegt: Stromausfall mittendrin, Triggersingal (“Traktorstrahl”) ausgefallen, 10 Minuten durchgehalten, bis wir es gemerkt haben.Huuiii……


[Somewhere around 2007]

musik is okay. die ganze sache wabert schon seit etwa 1,5 jahren in unseren köpfen herum, scheiterte aber eigentlich immer daran, daß wir zur umsetzung unserer ideen schlichtweg zu betrunken waren. mittlerweile steckt aber schon ein nennenswerter geldbetrag in der vorbereitung (bei mir zumindest). ausserdem ist es winter und… egal. los geht’s.

die erste ‘probe’ war eigentlich keine probe sondern erstmal ein treffen, um die technik halbwegs voreinander zu bauen. synchronisation externer geräte per midi, passiges aufstellen der teile u.s.w. ist zwar prinzipiell nicht unmöglich, muss man aber mal gemacht haben.

momentaner stand ist, daß wir 2 rechner (beide mit ableton live), 2 keyboards, 1 drumset, ‘ne elektrische gitarre einen bass, ein sofa mit sensoren und unglaublich viel blink-kram und gedöhns mehr oder weniger präzise zusammen spielen wollen. mit live improvisation an den rechnern (damit keiner sagen kann “eyh techno is’ ja nur musik auf knopfdruck”). wird übrigens kein techno. wir werden später in interviews sagen, daß man unsere musik nicht in eine schublade einordnen kann….


weil ich beim bestellen gepennt habe, kommt das mischpult erst nächste woche, also von meinem kumpel shimon leihweise diesen kawenzmann bekommen:


beim bugsieren mit dem monster den rücken verkantet, ‘ne macke in den türrahmen gehauen, aufgebaut. alles klar. gerade fertig, klingelt’s an der tür………


guter tag. erst die sache mit dem prinzen und dann der fee-sau voll eins reingewürgt. und nachdem wir drei stunden aufgebaut haben, kam das dabei heraus:


voller erfolg: kein kurzschluss, kaum software- oder rechnerabstürze, alles irgendwie so, wie wir uns das vorgestellt hatten. die keyboardständer von musik produktiv sind übrigens unschlagbar günstig, stinken aber arg derbst nach altöl. jawohl.

wir warten jetzt mal einfach ab, was da noch so auf uns zukommt…….



so. nach all den jahren kommt die midibox nun endlich zu ehren. das sind die tags für mein ableton-live setup….manno, wurde aber auch wirklich zeit:



Gestern war schon endlich wieder Bandprobe. In Ermangelung meiner Kamera, die einem wahnsinnig kompliziert zu schildernden MANN…SIE IST EINFACH NICHT DA….. haben wir einen Satz höchstspektakulärer Handyfotos gemacht. In Wahrheit war es natürlich alles viel heimeliger, als die Fotos es vermuten lassen.


Um “zuwenig Equippment” oder “Nich’ genug Bier an’ Start” müssen wir uns vorerst jedenfalls keine Sorgen machen. Der Raum ist voll mit Gedöhns.


Der ‘neue’.


Geilerweise haben wir ALLES mitgeschnitten.

Dummerweise ist der ganze Kram völlig übersteuert Undecided, heisst: auf die ersten Takes werdet Ihr noch etwas warten müssen. In zwei Wochen geht’s weiter. Daumendrücken, bitte.


Ladies and Gentlemen…das erste Dokument unseres Schaffens.

In Ermangelung eines Aufnahmegerätes haben wir zwischenzeitlich die Lautsprecherboxen mit der Digicam gefilmt. Qualitativ zweifelhaftes Verfahren aber allemal besser als die völlig übersteuerte Nummer vom letzten mal.

{mmp3}round2.swf|1.mp3&ph=30&pw=30|First Take{/mmp3}

Was Ihr hier (hoffentlich) hört ist einer der geileren Momente, die beim improvisieren entstanden sind. Von gezielter Arbeit ist noch nicht zu reden, vermutlich auch, weil wir erst zum zweiten mal in dieser Konstellation spielen….Aber da ist Raum für mehr.


P.S.: Das mit der Gitarre is’n Kracher, oder?



Momentan haben wir einen wöchentlichen Probetermin einrichten können. Damit’s nicht so langweilig wird, habe ich von meinem Kumpel Oli dafür ‘nen Satz Floorspots besorgen können. Posen: 1+ mag ich sagen.



Wir haben jetzt offiziell einen Namen:


(Also ‘Wallace’ ohne Punkt,…der beendet nur den Satz, Klar, oder?).

Und während meiner Abwesenheit (Aaabeit zieht eben aaabeit nach sich) haben die beiden Halunken in der Probe ein ganz ahnsehnliches Teil in den Raum geschraubt. Der Track hat noch Ecken und Kanten, aber so wie die beiden heute zustanden (will sagen: verkatert), ist das dennoch eine beachtliche Leistung, ist schliesslich alles live eingespielt.

Der Track heisst ’23’.

{mmp3}round2.swf|23.mp3&ph=30&pw=30|First Take{/mmp3}



Natürlich waren wir in der Zwischenzeit alles andere als untätig. Da waren zunächst zahllose Gigs in Übersee, dazu die Backstageparty für Rockbitch etc.


Jedenfalls haben wir wieder mal etwas aufgenommen. Das folgende Teil besticht durch einen (ziemlich) geplanten Break:

{mmp3}round2.swf|break.mp3&ph=30&pw=30|First Take{/mmp3}

Und ich weiss: Du wirst sagen “Aber hey, das klingt ja garnich’ wie Scooter und überhaupt.” Richtig. Gut so.


Schliesslich geht es um den Spass an der Sache. deswegen hatten wir tierisch Bock, die Ghostbusters durch den Effektwolf zu jagen (Der Track kommt aus Ableton, die Effekte haben wir ‘Live’ dadrüber geschmissen – Ein Heidenspass). Simon hat dabei getanzt. Stimmung kommt also rüber

{mmp3}round2.swf|Ghostbusters.mp3&ph=30&pw=30|First Take{/mmp3}


der Track ist -Logo- die Titelmelodie vom Film ‘Ghostbusters’ und kommt im Original von Ray Parker Jun. Solltest du kaufen, weil’s ein großartiges Stück ist.


Erster Auftritt!

Wir durften beim diesjährigen Gala Galore spielen. Supergeil

Letze Probe:


Und dann geht’s auch schon los:


Aufbau: als erste Band hast Du den Vorteil, die ganze Bühne für Dich alleine zu haben…




Backstage gab’s Herforder Bier. Ich wusste gleich: Dieser Tag wird gut.


Gleich geht’s los


Ganz locker mal auf die Bühne kommen und so tun, als wäre man gar nicht nervös.


Erster Auftritt, gleich vor Publikum. Geili





Erster Track (zumindest Teile davon): VintageScanner


D’og ‘d Or






Und weil es ja mittlerweile unausweichlich geworden ist, gibt’s uns jetzt halt auch by MySpace. Aber so richtig froh bin ich darüber nicht. Mal ehrlich…..MySpace….welche Irren haben den Dreck denn zusammengeschustert ( Eine fehlende Überprüfung der Dateigröße VOR einem Upload ist da noch das kleinste Problem) ? Jeder, der irgendwie ‘aus dem Bereich’ kommt, MUSS die Hände überm Kopf zusammenschlagen. Benutzerführung from Hell. Das ganze Ding ist zwangsweise kostenlos, weil man für so einen dahingerotzten Müll niemanden finden kann, der bereit wäre, dafür Geld zu zahlen. Müsste eigentlich Scheisspace heissen, wär’ aber wohl zu un-web-2.0-ig. Damn!