While I was making a custom mechanical keyboard for a friend, I got the idea that I could make a Renoise specific keyboard. It would be a standard USB HID keyboard with CherryMX style switches and a nonstandard layout.
I repeatedly get lost anyway when inputing notes on a qwerty keyboard as I’m a hobbyist and I use Renoise infrequently. I know there are several options from marking the keys, practicing, using a midi keyboard… I want to see if something neat/useful/fun pops out of this.
For size, I aim for 5 rows or less in height, and not wider than a full sized keyboard. I want to put it under my normal PC keyboard without rearranging my desk.
This abomination is the first draft that I made:
A started with this diagram which highlights the note editing keys.
I rearranged the note keys so the top rows are a bit offset. I left out the keys which do not correspond to notes as this isn’t for typing. I also added a hexadecimal numpad, which sounds useful to me but might be an unnecessary gimmick. The rest are just sprinkled around at the leftover spots without a strong concept behind.
I’m also considering making it a 2 row keyboard instead and use my regular keyboard for the keys that do not fit.
The layout/design is very much in a state of flux. I wanted to throw the idea out there early to get some insight from you guys. Thanks for any tips in advance!
Maybe create housing/placeholder for Pi within keyboard, and make it single unit
The Pi support sure opens up a few possibilities For now I’m limiting the scope of my project to being just an addon keyboard. Otherwise one could easily balloon a weekend project into a multi year one
If someone endeavor on such a project, one could draw inspiration from the open source LMN 3 or the off the shelf Polyend Tracker and see how these concepts could be adapted for Renoise.
I will 3D print the housing and the switch top plate. I have a set of ready made keycaps, so I will use those, but if the keyboard works out I will 3D print custom keycaps. That way I don’t have to manually label them
The key assignments will be done in the microcontroller firmware so it will be plug-and-play on all OS platforms.
I modified the layout to be 2 row. I added an indication of a full sized keyboard on the top of the image:
If I can make the keyboard bezel minimal, it will be only a single column wider then my regular full sized keyboard.
I figured I can leave out a few keys like space, arrow keys or the numpad enter, because they are easily reachable on my regular keyboard above. I wanted to keep the “/” and “*” octave keys so I can reach them with my left hand. Shift, Tab and “A” would be harder to accurately reach up to, so I kept those. They might be pointless if I hover my left hand over the regular keyboard instead, but I can reassign those keys later if I end up not using them.
I had to sacrifice the hexadecimal numpad. I was so proud of the idea, but it’s utility was dubious
@alien7 :Headroom……but nothing to compare to “samplitude”(awfull to use)…cordially @taktik :Test the sound of “Samplitude pro”…cordially
@AltVanguard :Brilliant idea…I repeat…Your brain has to be very powerfull to merge all the essential shortcut needs of a renoise user…not impossible…But if your are not familiar with DAWS->Give up
But your project can be used for other things
Think line,rectangle or square grouping and colors
I don’t have time to really make a list of all the suggestions to be put in a really well thought out list/order, maybe can in a week or so, but there is so much potential here! It seems your latest iteration is almost basically a nanoKey2 slim minus the velocity sensitivity. IMHO if you’re going through the effort make something to replace your other keyboard, so I think the dpad is actually necessary. I agree to take input from very experienced users here, it could be awesome!
That is pretty sport on Although this keyboard is half an octave longer as well Thank you for the suggestions!
I don’t think it’s constructive to add a key for literally every function, and I wanted this to be a no fuss keyboard, so I’m only assigning default shortcuts to the keys. I added the Fn key so there would be some extra space for the most common shortcuts.
I tried to add this, but I couldn’t find a default shortcut for this. There was an action that sounded similar, but it was unassigned in Renoise.
I had some time during the weekend to finish the wiring, so here it is. I call it the Cricket
I also updated the layout and marked the keys for the second Fn layer:
(Top labels mark the first layer keys, bottom labels mark the second layer. Left aligned labels are the actual keycode sent, right aligned are the semantic meaning.)
There are some additional info on the github page of the project. There are no build instructions yet, but I will upload them as time allows. You can play with the layout file and see the firmware in the meantime.
I’m still open for suggestions about key assignments, the firmware is easy to modify I don’t plan on making further iterations on the hardware anytime soon.