How many faders?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of [XAP]Bob [XAP]Bob 4 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #58142
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    Do you want…
    More faders on a QU,
    Monitor engineer’s desk,
    Easy remote control?

    Are there times when you want a few more faders. maybe you’re running all the channels and just need a handful of group/DCA/FX faders at hand as well?

    Well – now you can (almost**).

    Although QuPad doesn’t support USB MIDI controllers the Android app ‘Mixing Station Pro’ does, and this offers a way in.
    I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and have a BCF2000 MIDI controller (8*Fader+Rotary+2*buttons on the main area) for this very reason.

    Recently I spotted a note that RTAndroid had been released for the Raspberry Pi 3 – finally a device that I could use to make a good solid connection, with power, USB, ethernet, wireless all built in and usable at the same time!

    So I went off and installed RTAndroid (Free): https://git.embedded.rwth-aachen.de/rtandroid/
    On the Raspberry Pi 3 ($35):

    Home

    Due to licensing issues the install requires a linux box with ads tools installed (a VM is fine, you only need to run two scripts)
    Before the Google Play store etc can be installed (a second script provided with the installation download) you need to:
    Enable developer options.
    Enable the terminal.
    Open debugging to the network:
    su
    setprop service.adb.tcp.port 5555
    stop adbd
    start adbd

    Afterwards disable the network debugging:
    su
    setprop service.adb.tcp.port -1
    stop adbd
    start adbd

    I could then install Mixing Station Pro onto the Pi, and it was quite happy.
    I hooked up the BCF2000 and started to configure it – the faders always map onto whatever faders are on screen, I set the top row of buttons to access each monitor mix by name.

    So my final setup was:
    QU -> Ethernet switch
    Switch -> RPi
    Switch -> WAP for the QuPad and QuYou users

    RPi -> BCF2000
    RPi -> Touchscreen (HDMI->DVI + USB)
    RPi also had a keyboard and mouse attached

    Overall the setup worked well, and provided me with an additional 8 faders – sometimes I used them as a monitor engineer’s desk (during setup) so I could be doing FOH and the monitor mix adjustments at the same time, during the gig I had an extra few faders for easy access.
    Those faders can be anything that the Mixing Station app can show – so they can be anything, in any order.
    I *think*, although I haven’t checked, that I could use some of the buttons on the right of the BCF2k to control which layer of faders I am using.

    Below is a photo of the setup at a gig on Saturday.
    The Pi is to the right of the desk (all the cables were long, and so I tucked them out of the way under the QU). The BCF2k is to the left of the desk, and the (fully working) touchscreen is above that. My iPad completes the tech lineup…

    One additional benefit is that the Mixing Station app puts the RTA under any EQ that is going on – and that’s nice to see…

    Of course I could have used a WiFi connection, and for a smallish band (I could get away with this most times) just set up at the back with this setup, and leave a QU on stage. As it happens I have an AR2412, so I don’t need to, but it’s a much cheaper option than a stage box.

    ** almost…
    The biggest issue I faced was that RTAndroid is still clearly a beta release. It spent an amount of the second half of the gig in a reboot loop, optimising apps and then trying again. It sorted itself out – I just ignored it when it went wrong.
    But there are tablets which run Android and have Ethernet and USB ports – so given different tech, or a little bit more development on the RTAndroid code… This could be a rather nice option.

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    #58147
    Profile photo of Hoody
    Hoody
    Participant

    Super work, I look forward to seeing further developments.

    #58151
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    Very interesting, Bob! Already thought about building something similar, but using a RPi is really smart. 😉
    To complete your hint regarding ethernet enabled tablets I just found this: Which Devices Support the BobjGear® Android Ethernet Adapter?

    #58152
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    Disadvantage of USB OTG is that you normally lose charging ability.

    With a decent wifi router the Ethernet isn’t needed, but charging often isn’t supported whilst USB OTG is in use.

    And of course – you need a second USB port for the midi controller…

    The touchscreen is sufficiently expensive that a dedicated tablet might actually be cheaper…

    #58153
    Profile photo of Andreas
    Andreas
    Moderator

    Sure, charging, multiple USB ports, wireless… All needs to be considered. My first thought was: Why Ethernet? But for simple applications one may not want to setup a WAP and choose the most simple connection (i.e. xover cable, no switch).
    Not sure about the power consumption of that particular ethernet adapter. Maybe it draws that much current from the pad that it doesn’t last long enough for a gig. That could be solved using a powered hub to feed ethernet and the BCF(?) but, of course, does not charge the pad.
    Anyway, your finding inspires plenty of use-options and ideas, so this is just the start not the end. 😉

    #58154
    Profile photo of [XAP]Bob
    [XAP]Bob
    Participant

    Why ethernet?
    Reliability.

    Not sure if many USB OTG systems support hubs either…

    The disadvantage (minor) of a crossover cable (I *think* the pi auto senses, so it might not be needed) is that you need to set up the IP addressing manually – rather than letting an access point do it for you…

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