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A project log for Pi Pedalboard: Live/Recording Rig

A small pedalboard to enable home recording and performance during lockdown

Craig HissettCraig Hissett 3 days ago0 Comments

Just had a thought about the next step of my pedabloard project. I haven't thought it through, but I thought I may as well do that while I write. Ha ha!

So, now I have a concept that works (Pi + usb interface, screen, footswitches etc) I've been keen to refine the approach and make it a) easier to use and b) more robust.

Currently the footswitch box and pi with screen are on top of a pedaltrain nano+ pedalboard; they're good for mounting conventional pedals, and come with a nice gig bag, and I got it really cheap a few years ago for a planned board that I never built.

The Pi and screen sit quite high above the board so would make it quite prone to damage if hit in the wrong place; the screen folds back slightly,  but not flat. Another thing I've been noticing while I tinker with it is that I really don't think that I'd use the screen if I had more buttons....

The screen is a nice touch and has been vital while I've been developing the script to automate the launching of Reaper and the mapping of inputs and outputs, but it's not that practical as a performance aid; it's too small to get a full daw layout, basically.

So, what if I was to remove the screen and have more switches in its place? More buttons means more MIDI control, so I can map all the basic commands (play/pause, record,add track, arm track, transport controls) to this extended footswitch and not need the screen at all.

I'm probably going to be prepping my DAW projects on my laptop, and adding any provided stems or backing tracks to a project file there before dropping onto the Pi; if I write some functions to select opening projects that'd be perfect. This is the step that'll take the most work, I think, getting that control of opening files. Probably a job for a python script that turns midi commands into keyboard presses.

This bigger footswitch will also aow for more effects to be controller in my effects software too, which is awesome. I could have banks upon banks of presets for controlling, effects, reaper, Pi shutdown etc.

Now the cogs are turning about an all-button layout, here's the plan... rather than build a big footswitch to mount to my pedaltrain, why not turn the pedaltrain into the pedal?!
Hear me out 😂😂😂
The board has space for power supplies to be mounted underneath - I plan to glue some standoffs under and put the Pi there, with the Arduino from the footswitch mounted on the other side in a similar fashion. For power, I'll add a panelmount USB C port to keep it tidy.
I'll also add a panelmount for one of the USB3 ports so I can plug my interface in, and drill a jack hole for my expression pedal. So far so good.
Next I will drill holes for footswitches to be mounted into the pedaltrain itself. I should be able to get 10-12 with plenty of clearance from other switches. All wiring will be done below, and cable tied for a clean install.
Last thought - the middle channel of the pedaltrain can be a place to mount some lcd screens (16x2, 20x4 depending on space, i2c with different addresses) and some rgb lighting for feedback. If I could get a screen per pair of buttons I'd be chuffed.

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