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RELEASED - UPDATE - Feedback on new controller - Noatronic Onboard Expression

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
Hi fellow Axe-FX users

I have created a new MIDI controller, that is controlled from a push-push pot inside the guitar, with no batteries in or extra cables attached to the guitar.

It's not on the market yet and I am looking for some feedback on a specific feature of the product. I really hope you guys will chime in.
I've developed this product parallel to my studies as an electronics engineer, mainly for us amp-modeller users.

I've limited the flexibility of the MIDI messages to keep the UI simple.
Currently it does MIDI Program Change and CC messages for expression and bypass.
I have gotten several request for it being able to control Scenes and now considering adding this feature before launch.

My Question:
Is controlling Scenes a critical part of your system and is Scenes control something you would expect in a product like this?
General feedback and questions is dearly welcomed as well.

Short teaser video that explains the concept:

Longer in depth technical video showcasing several use-cases (AX8 at 03:00):

There is more info on my website: www.noatronic.com
 

DLC86

Fractal Fanatic
Really cool product! Looking forward to get one.
Is controlling Scenes a critical part of your system and is Scenes control something you would expect in a product like this?
Surely scenes are critical, most fractal users change sounds during a song via scenes, but personally, for the way it works, I see it more as an expression control or something to turn a single effect on/off.
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Interesting concept.

I would definitely want the ability to do Scene changes. Also, with the Axe Fx III we now have Channels which operate in a similar fashion.

Personally, I would prefer some sort of small "membrane" control pad over the pot replacement, but I can see a definite market for both.

Also, FYI, you should update your forum signature to comply with forum affiliations policy:

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/affiliations.102186/
 

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
Thank you guys for chiming in! :)
Really cool product! Looking forward to get one.

Surely scenes are critical, most fractal users change sounds during a song via scenes, but personally, for the way it works, I see it more as an expression control or something to turn a single effect on/off.
Nice to hear you want to get one! :)
Some users intend to use it as a standalone controller. For that use-case, being able to switch between 6 different tones is helpful (the pot has a center detent for preset/scene 2 and 5).
If using it as an extension for key parameters and solo boost, I agree that it's more of an expression control and switch. This is also the way I use it.

Interesting concept.

I would definitely want the ability to do Scene changes. Also, with the Axe Fx III we now have Channels which operate in a similar fashion.

Personally, I would prefer some sort of small "membrane" control pad over the pot replacement, but I can see a definite market for both.
Nice info about the Axe-FX III Channels control. This way you would be able to control 3 different amp channels by turning the knob and engage solo effects when pushing it. Great!

About the membrane thing. If you think about some sort of touch control, then for me that's a no-go. I am a tactile guy. Some previous attempts to create an onboard controller required some sort of touch control and for me that is too flashy. I do agree there is probably a market for both. Matthew Bellamy (Muse) uses a solution like that.
I want to stay true to the instrument, use the knobs already there and don't change its construction or aesthetics. This also makes the experience very natural. There is a pot with a push-push - pretty straight forward and natural to use.

Also, FYI, you should update your forum signature to comply with forum affiliations policy:

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/affiliations.102186/
Thanks for giving me the heads up, although my signature says I am Founder of Noatronic. I believe that complies with the rules or am i missing something?
 

unix-guy

Legend!
About the membrane thing. If you think about some sort of touch control, then for me that's a no-go. I am a tactile guy. Some previous attempts to create an onboard controller required some sort of touch control and for me that is too flashy. I do agree there is probably a market for both. Matthew Bellamy (Muse) uses a solution like that.
I want to stay true to the instrument, use the knobs already there and don't change its construction or aesthetics. This also makes the experience very natural. There is a pot with a push-push - pretty straight forward and natural to use.

I thought that you might say that about sticking with the aesthetics...

I was actually thinking of a combination: a membrane with say 6-8 "buttons" and then using the pot for expression type controls.

This would allow for (IMO) cleaner control of the access to preset, scene, etc changes.

It would be very easy to forget which "state" the push pot is in but dedicated buttons you have direct access to those features.
Thanks for giving me the heads up, although my signature says I am Founder of Noatronic. I believe that complies with the rules or am i missing something?
Ok... When I looked last night I didn't see any signature.
 

Admin M@

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Nice! Sound Sculpture used to make a product like this but it was discontinued. Glad to see a cool idea will be on offer again.
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
This looks pretty interesting.

Is controlling Scenes a critical part of your system and is Scenes control something you would expect in a product like this?

100% yes. I could totally see this + guitar + AFIII being the "lightweight gig rig" for me. With maybe an expression pedal into the AFIII for wah duties but I could probably even forgo that for a Mu-Tron block. Very, very interesting...
 

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
I thought that you might say that about sticking with the aesthetics...

I was actually thinking of a combination: a membrane with say 6-8 "buttons" and then using the pot for expression type controls.

This would allow for (IMO) cleaner control of the access to preset, scene, etc changes.

It would be very easy to forget which "state" the push pot is in but dedicated buttons you have direct access to those features.
Actually just the one switch and the pot on the same conductor was quite a challenge to get right, as there is no battery inside the guitar. But speaking from a non-technical perspective, there is definitely merits to your suggestion.
Having said that, doing testing of prototypes the most natural usage was when the controller only had one "state" at any time - that is you have to change the state from e.g. expression to preset from the Receiver. The worst thing would be to not know the effect of turning and pushing the pot - so it has to be simple. For me playing live, it's a clean to distortion mixer with a solo boost and delay control.

BTW. here is a short clip demonstrating how the preset control works. The Scenes control would work similarly.
 

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
Nice! Sound Sculpture used to make a product like this but it was discontinued. Glad to see a cool idea will be on offer again.
Im glad you are welcoming it! :)

Really cool idea. Does it just use a TRS cable to send the control signal over the second conductor?
Yep. The controller is connected to the ring terminal while the guitar pickup is connected to the tip and therefor separated from the system. In the Receiver the guitar pickup signal is directly bypassed.

This looks pretty interesting.



100% yes. I could totally see this + guitar + AFIII being the "lightweight gig rig" for me. With maybe an expression pedal into the AFIII for wah duties but I could probably even forgo that for a Mu-Tron block. Very, very interesting...
Thats just awesome to hear! It really gets you thinking doesn't it? When you think about it, how many different tones do you really need? I feel there is definitely something about trimming the rig down and having everything on the guitar.
 

yek

Legend!
Seeing this for the first time. Cool device. I like this implementation better than - for example - the Guitar Wing.
 

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
Seeing this for the first time. Cool device. I like this implementation better than - for example - the Guitar Wing.
Thanks yek. I really appreciate that.
It's funny you mention the Guitar Wing. Many years ago when I first realised I needed control on my guitar, the Guitar Wing was what I found. Can't say anything about the product, as I haven't tried it. For me, the aesthetics needed to be kept so the Guitar Wing definitely wasn't an option. Years went by and I finally decided to study Electronics Engineering and develop the Onboard Expression system.
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
Finally a use for tone knobs.

Question: Could you use this if you already use a stereo jack on your guitar to stop on board effects and things like sustainers from drawing current when not in use? Like the pedal input jack is often used in effect pedals?
 

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
Finally a use for tone knobs.

Question: Could you use this if you already use a stereo jack on your guitar to stop on board effects and things like sustainers from drawing current when not in use? Like the pedal input jack is often used in effect pedals?
Unfortunately not. You would have to attach a power on/off switch somewhere for the active circuit - like the switch from a push-push pot.
 

Muad'zin

Fractal Fanatic
Hmm, that requires some thinking and tinkering around. That means basically every active guitar or bass is kinda incompatible. Unless you install an on/off switch. This will require some creative thinking. ;)

Thanks for responding so quickly by the way.

EDIT: How does it work with wireless by the way? I use the Line6 G30 and G50 system. Do these transmit the MIDI signal as well or does it only work with cables?
 
Last edited:

Michael Engel

Member
Vendor
You are right - most active guitars are incompatible unless you work around it.
It do not work with wireless systems as it requires the TRS cable attached from guitar to Receiver. I am however working on a solution for wireless guitarists.
 
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