MPA open-sourced, on sale

The complete design (PCB, bill of materials, firmware source code) for the MPA MIDI decoder has been posted under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. The source files can be found at the MPA support forum.

The MPA has been placed on sale at the Highly Liquid Store and will be discontinued after remaining inventory has been depleted.

The MPA (MIDI potentiometer array) is a general-purpose MIDI decoder with 8 independent 5V logic outputs and 4 independent digital potentiometer outputs.


Sqwerl MSA Configuration Utility Updated

Sqwerl, the Mac/Windows configuration utility for the MSA-P, MSA-R, and MSA-T, has been updated.  Sqwerl 2.2 supports the new features in MSA firmware version 3.2.  Use Sqwerl to upgrade and configure your MSA using an intuitive graphical interface.

The latest MSA firmware is a great fit for MIDI guitar amp and loop control projects.  Many examples, including the iPatch guitar pedal switcher, can be found at the MSA support forum.

The original Sqwerl announcement can be found here.


Disappearing Cowboy’s Automated M.O.T. Stage Rig

John Erik King, the sole instrumentalist of Disappearing Cowboy, has created the “Minimalist Organic Tech” stage rig, an integrated system that includes guitar effects and amplification, bass, synthesis, vocal processing, and robot drums. Scripted MIDI messaging provides “scene” control, freeing King to simultaneously perform live guitar, bass, and synth.

M.O.T. Minimalist Organic Tech from Disappearing Cowboy on Vimeo.

King’s description of the system:

  • kick, one actuator.
  • snare, one actuator.
  • ride cymbal, two actuators to account for the high volume of repetitive patterns typically played on cymbals.
  • toms, two actuators, again to account for quarter/sixteenth note repetition.
  • crash, one actuator with a very long throw to really smack the crash cymbal so it stands out.
 M.O.T. Rig
  • bass, mute, and distortion control. (big muff)
  • guitar, Moog LP ladder filter into an eventide stereo digital delay. The stereo output then goes to two different amps with independent mutes.
  • synth, only one string goes to a Roland GR-30, which has its own mute as well.
M.O.T. Batar
  • has three outputs. Bass, guitar, and synth.
  • tuning E (bass string), E,B,E,B,E. (five other strings)
  • top three strings are attached to a modified Bigsby tremolo which creates a relative detune effect.
Because everything is controlled by MIDI, we can shift scenes and tempos for each song, or even in between songs. The vocal delays and guitar delays are in perfect sync with the tempo which the drums precisely adhere to. If the tempo is at 135, everything is locked at 135.
I originally controlled everything with a laptop, but found a karaoke device that plays back MIDI files to use instead.
All the different scenes and transitions are triggered automatically. And the entire set is set up like a playlist. We hit one button and the entire show plays without any foot controllers or input like that of any kind. It’s all automated, with the exception of playing the instrument, of course.


The rig employs two Highly Liquid MSA-P MIDI decoders to trigger drums, route audio signals, switch amplification channels and control effects.  An MPA MIDI decoder is used to automate control of the Moog ladder filter.

The new Disappearing Cowboy album, Revolute, is available from every major online music distribution platform including Amazon, iTunes, Soundcloud, and several others.


Great American Horn Machine Appearing at Detroit Maker Faire July 28-29 2012

The “World’s Loudest Mobile Musical Instrument”, The Great American Horn Machine (YouTube, Facebook), is louder than ever and returns to the Henry Ford Museum this weekend for Maker Faire Detroit.

The machine’s creator, Dana Dolfi, recently fielded an interview with Make. Best quote:

“What inspired you to make the Great American Horn Machine and how long did it take to build?

It’s an evolution. It started out as a display rig for my steam whistle and horn collection. This question kinda makes me laugh because you’re assuming I’m done building it. Heck, it’s just getting started.” (emphasis added)

We can’t wait to hear the evolution continue.  The Great American Horn Machine utilizes Highly Liquid MIDI Decoders for MIDI valve control. Dana goes by the username captofchaos at the Highly Liquid Forum.