I dunno about everyone else, but I was truly inspired by That 1 Guy and his pipe to the point where I got my own idea for making an instrument. I took this idea to the electronics store in my downtown area thinking that someone there would be able to help. Needless to say they weren't much help at all. the guy told me flat out that I'd need someone with a degree in electronic engineering to help me get my idea going. >_< that got me really frustrated.
my idea is to take an N64 controller (and maybe others after that) and rewire it into something to the effect of a switchboard. I was told that having the system itself would help (which made sense, it would have something to send the sounds too). I also want the ability to change out different sounds with the buttons. I never actually got close enough to the Magic Pipe to see whether That 1 Guy was using a box of some sort, but I'm willing to use one of those if it would help.
any ideas/help? please? xD
Sounds like a rad idea!!! There are probably lots of different ways to do what you are talking about. I don't know enough about the N64 controllers circuit wiring to give specific technical advice, but I do know that it's not as complicated as the guy at the electronic store said.
Sorry, but when I hear about people in electronic stores giving discouraging advice it really winds me up, so please excuse my long winded rant/answer here.
I also don't know what the heck i'm talking about, so keep that in mind too.
What i'd do first is rip apart the N64 controller and see how it's wired. It's always a lot simpler than it looks on the outside. One idea could also be to rip apart some midi hardware and a midi program change pedal and frankenstein it all together. I've seen folks doing some awesome frankenstein-ing and circuit bending to old speak n spells, atari's, and other computer toys.
that's the "rip it all apart" method. Below is perhaps a better way...
So before you rip it all apart, you might want to look into cc-to-midi converters. Now that i'm thinking more about it, it may be so simple that you hardly have to do much more than plug the N64 controller through a converter and into a computer. It all depends on how deep your willing to go. I can't say for sure what is really possible. All the info you could ever want is on-line! There's a huge subculture of folks on youtube hacking into hardware, modifying, and explaining along the way. Super easy to research this, it's just going to take some dedication and patience….
Because I don't have patience, I usually do the wrong way first only to realize that I worked way harder than I needed to. But that's how we learn right? I'd suggest the simple way first...
Above all, Don't be discouraged! When I built the magic pipe I had absolutely no idea what the heck I was doing, (like I said, I still don't) nor did I have any background in electronics, electronic music, or instrument building. I'm not saying that it's easy, but it's fun! When I first set out to try and start building, my biggest mistake early on was letting my self get discouraged by the "experts" in the field. I went to a plumbing specialty wholesaler and got laughed out of the store. The folks at the electronics store were even worse, they had no idea what I was talking about and just sort of stared right through me as I babbled about my crazy idea. Don't get me started about the jerks at the music stores. Although there was a kid that worked at the guitar center who pointed me in the direction of the right sampler (thanks man), the one that I still use today, but not before I figured out how to articulate what I was looking for. Eventually when I finished the first prototype, all from the plumbing department at the home depot with no advice or help, I soon discovered that I made a lots of mistakes and that my choice of materials was bad. Later I found a stainless steel specialty dealer that had much better metal that made way more sense for my approach. But it took me building the first prototype to figure out that I was far from done. I've been making improvements ever since, one at a time of course…
This is how we learn and make discoveries. One step at a time and eventually your idea will take shape. You have to be willing to keep failing until you succeed.
Looking back I now realize that it wasn't such a bad thing to be misunderstood by the plumbers, electricians, and musicians. This is in fact a good sign. Meaning that your idea is truly original and it won't make sense to anyone but you. This is why the guy at the electronic store said that insane thing about needing a degree in electronics etc. He doesn't understand what you are trying to do and didn't even know where to start. Even people that are close to you and support what you are doing can't be expected to understand what goes on in your head. It's your vision and once you finish your idea, and it's working, you will be able to show it to them and they will understand.
The most important thing you can do, when working on a project like this is to visualize, as clearly as you can, what you want this instrument to do functionally. When you can see this in your minds eye, you will be able to research and discover the answers. FUNCTION WILL DICTATE THE FORM. You must be willing to destroy some things along the way, abandon some concepts in favor of better ones, and you may have to spend some money (but maybe not). When you know where you eventually want to go, there are many paths that will lead you there.
Best of luck and remember to stay away from the "experts". I blame them for the fact that we have not developed our telepathy and levitation skills yet…
Also, this is my electronics site of choice:
Ok, I had quite a bit of text written in here but my wonderful gaming mouse has a button programmed to click back on my browser which caused me to lose everything I had typed. I have some ideas that might prove useful but because I don't want to retype everything I just lost I will just say if you are interested in some resources, tips and ideas to help get your project off the ground, feel free to email me at fuhgawz500-at-hotmail-dot-com. Happy inventing!