Virtual Pipe Organ Keyboard and Console Scanners

USB-MIDI Keyboard Interfaces for Virtual Pipe Organs

Complete with Virtual Organ Software - just connect keyboards and play!

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KEYS2USB module scans and interfaces up to 3 Keyboards, + Pedalboard and 32 Stops or Pistons*

2 inputs for Swell pedal potentiometers 

Single USB connection to host computer, fully MIDI-Compliant - no driver software is required

No additional power supplies or midi adaptors,  the USB connection provides all that is needed (30mA)

*64 Stops + 32 Pistons if only 2 Keyboards + Pedalboard.

Contacts are connected as 4  8x8  diode matrices - diagram available

Data and Clock outputs are provided for external hardware, eg stoptab illumination

Single Keyboard Scanner

MINIKEYS module  scans  a single Keyboard, or a Pedalboard, or 64 Stops or Pistons

includes 2 inputs for Swell pedals, sending standard MIDI Controller messages 

Single USB connection to host computer, fully MIDI-Compliant - no driver software is required.

MIDI Channel Nr. can be set when installing, and changed if necessary.  Several of these modules can be used together, one per department,  and connected to the computer directly or via a standard USB hub.

No additional power supplies or midi adaptors are required,  the USB connection provides everything.

Up to 64 key or stop contacts are connected as an 8x8  diode matrix - diagram available - 


MAESTRO VIRUAL PIPE ORGAN

I have designed and built classical and other electronic organs since around 1964 (!)   I tried to keep up with available technology as increasingly useful integrated circuits became available, including microprocessor controllable ones.  But everything changed around 1999, when powerful synthesiser cards and larger memories had appeared.  People began to make sound samples from real organs,  often of a length that could include aperiodic features such as wind noise.  The subtleties of attack (with "chiff" ) and decay could captured and reproduced far more faithfully than possible with electronic hardware.  My organ hardware was reduced to a parallel interface, with the PC doing all the console scanning, and sound generation via a standard Soundblaster audio card.  It ran faithfully for the next 14 years on Windows 95 !   More recently I worried that more modern PCs and operating systems would make interfacing more difficult, the obvious standard to adopt being USB.  Hence this board, which runs its own scan cycle and sends MIDI messages to the host PC.  

Using Soundblaster or other MIDI compliant cards had always come with the restriction (mainly due to MIDI protocol) of being able to play only 15 'presets' or stops at once.  Some fonts have been made to get around the problem by combining sensible combinations of stops in a single preset.   NB  MIDI protocols for synthesiser control and soundfont design are a subject in themselves - the 127 selectable presets in a soundfont bank can each contain many sound samples.    Anyway, with powerful PCs it is now possible to avoid the restriction of 15 presets by resorting to "Soft-Synths" - these are program libraries which generate the final waveforms in software, fast enough for real-time playing.   Thus the software evolved into its present form.   I am happy to provide it for private use as shareware, and it will run with or without my interface boards, if a console is already sending MIDI events.

MAESTRO Virtual Pipe Organ software can be configured to use any soundfonts, from Baroque to Wurlitzer, and provides on-screen stop configuration, voicing and fine tuning - no need to purchase any other software in order to enjoy dozens of freely downloadable soundfonts !

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Sundries needed:

Ribbon cables,  fitted with IDC connectors, to plug into KEYS2USB, or Dupont connectors to plug into the MINIKEYS module:

Smartphone cable to connect with computer's USB port

Diodes - 1 needed per contact ,  set of 64 diodes for one keyboard matrix, if not already present

Contact wire -  for home-made contacts (construction suggestions available)

                  4m length of gold plated phosphor bronze - sufficient for at least one keyboard of 61 notes

Reed Switches and magnets -  Ideal for pedal contacts, to avoid dust and dirt !

                32 reed switches and magnets, plus 32 diodes
 

Contact: bstuartb@compuserve.com   for more details,  and availability

Visit the Electronic Organ Constructors Society website www.eocs.org.uk  for inspiration,  information,  and more. 

Visit Colin Pykett's website www.pykett.org.uk for many in-depth articles on organ design.