rgb grid?

  • hey all. been contemplating picking up a 128 kit and when I happened upon the fact that we supply our own leds, the thought occurred that rgb leds could provide additional opportunities for programing and visual feedback. has there ever been discussion of modding a grid / making a pcb for rgb leds? has anyone made their own (kit, Arduinome, etc.)? I could see the argument for minimalism and elegance winning out over the perhaps easily abused full range of color, especially in the monome arena, but the practical (responsible? :^) ) use of multiple colors on a grid I thought was worth discussion enough to bring up. I've got to believe the subject's come up before (got nothing for site search on rgb) - sorry if I'm showing my ignorance, kind of a cursory community member. hoping to enter the grid + modular world soon though!

    Anyway, thoughts on the rgb led grid?

  • It's not going to happen. Buy a Push or any number of (cheap) RGB controllers out there. The grid kit is not designed for RGB LEDs. It has been brought up before along with the thoughts of velocity. Both ideas aren't in the works from what I've gathered through chatting with Tehn.
    Maybe if you write an amazing max patch and it only can be realized by colors then it might make sense. No patches currently need it, I've never needed it with the dozens of patches I've used on the monome.
    The idea is always cool to think about, but is it going to make you more productive?
    Also I'm partially color blind and others in this group might be also, Do we get left in the dust because I now need to decipher if it's red or green? I'd never know.

  • never liked the rgb look, but omg, oled buttons- http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/popularis/

    one can dream...

  • I love the OLED on the OP-1

  • that Popularis looks sweet, hadn't seen that yet.

    yeah, I wasn't holding my breath or trying to sell the case for an rgb grid necessarily, I was just sure it had been discussed at some point that predates my monome awareness and wanted to hear folks' two cents.

    as for mine: to be clear, I'm no fan of unnecessary color. I think all different colors at once, or worse, prismatic disco-flashing for no reason, looks tacky as s#$%. If I were the type to put up holiday decorations, they would not be in color. But the ability to set the entire grid to any one color I think would be pretty badass. Or better, if say you have a video projection behind you as part of your performance, to have the grid color cycle in sync with the color on your projection would look pretty tight.

    Function-wise, I was thinking along the lines of, say have different pages in different whole colors to help keep track of where you are, or a red pad for record and green for play - cliche I know but I'd think useful for sampling/loopers. (Not actually owning a grid yet, I'm just postulating, I guess maybe this is where I'm curious what you actual grid owners, users, and masters have to say - thanks @c1t1zen for your thoughts, hadn't considered the color-impaired). basically anything that uses the one dimension of variable brightness could gain an infinitude of variable dimensions via color. you could have an 8-row/step tall mod sequence collapse onto a single row represented by color/brightness, then stack mod patterns with different colors on that row/sequence that you could cycle through, expand, adjust, recollapse, dynamically add/subtract, repeat.

    Now I fully appreciate the air of mystery that is (I believe not unintentionally) intrinsic to watching someone perform on a grid. credence must be given to the point that the more that color-coded operation would assist the performer, the more it might also help the observer to better understand and follow what is happening, which to some on this forum might seem to detract more from the performance than what any benefits to the performer might be worth.

    I get that and buy it. But I've also found myself watching some (some, mind you) videos of grid performances wondering if the performer is pressing what they mean to or think they are. Additional visual feedback couldn't hurt. I guess that takes us back to monome devices not really being designed to be user-friendly - not to say they're user-unfriendly, I'd call them user-reflective - or as-friendly-as-the-user. maybe user-reactive? my point I guess is the return is directly proportional to the user investment.

    if I understand the creators' philosophy correctly, their devices seek to be a means of expression not only by what sound it causes to be created but also how it goes about creating it; or perhaps better put, how the user has employed the device to realize their intentions. The art is as much in the method as in the music. It follows logically that to maximize different possible uses of a device, the fewer constraints the better. I personally think multiple colors could add to the artistic real estate and when used tastefully even contribute to the warm thrill of confusion, i.e. "what the f@#% is he doing with that thing?!?"

    I picked up a push when they went on sale. I actually bought an arc before a grid because I had myself convinced I could make the push a grid. a lot of apps actually ported well, some easier than others, but a push is obviously never going to be a grid, even if ultimately for aesthetic reasons only (and grid size). if part of the elegantly simple monome aesthetic depends on a monochromatic (monome-chromatic) color scheme, by all means it should be preserved. but I have really enjoyed the color capabilities of the push, which is maybe part of why I wouldn't mind an rgb monome-stlye grid, even if not monome-made. (but not a cheap piece of plastic like some of the rgb controllers I've seen)

    It makes me remember my old Lemur - you could leave everything unlabeled and ambiguous, but color coding was clutch, especially with multi-paged complex controls that all look the same. obviously the format's different but there feels to be a common theme.

    I was more counting on any diyers out there for any chance this might already or ever exist. I'm no EEngineer, but I'd think the pcb board would need 2 more leads to each led, you'd have to manage the additional output data, I don't know if you could matrix the leds (one of these days I will force my sparkfun color led matrix to reveal its secrets). I also don't know how the power consumption would vary if at all. If the leds are pulsed I'd think not? risking sounding ignorant within a community I know to enjoy educating itself. (especially if you've read this far)

    besides that, rgb leds would essentially turn a 128 grid from a 8x16x1 matrix into a 8x16x3 matrix for physical data storage, right? (and an ~8x16xN matrix for virtual storage). I know nothing of grid memory but if this means more memory than the the grid currently has onboard then I'd see how it'd get more complicated, but it doesn't seem like that much extra data - just over 32K?.

    I'd think the incorporation of color leds would be less inviolate (and maybe easier to execute?) than adding velocity detection. I honestly don't see how the latter would make the grid a better instrument. even with the touch sensitivity setting on the push, I still feel like the velocity detection is inconsistent. for the grid's purposes, timing should ever be prioritized over any other parameter, and I'd be shocked to learn that velocity detection doesn't come at some cost of timing. But having additional data or colors to display wouldn't change the input or interface capabilities of a grid in a way that would fundamentally alter the nature of the instrument in the same way that velocity detection would, imho.

    Guess I'm starved for technical/musical conversation/education - the blessings of the Ainur upon anyone who's read this far. I'll suffer you no longer with my ramblings. peace to all-

  • i probably shouldn't write it off until i see/try a proper variable brightness monome, but i think that even variable brightness is a step too far.

    i think on/off is the ideal way to design a UI with led buttons. anything else just adds visual clutter and is non essential IMO.

  • I was also skeptical of vari-brightness till I built my grid kit. For the monome modular gear it does allow one to see the timeline bar race across the steps and other identifiers easier. Which in turn makes it faster to work out ideas. I'm in the velocity camp, the MPC implements it without timing issues, but it would apply more to realtime playing where a lot of monome apps are sequencers and loopers.
    Most of these apps are max patches so when you first setup you're going to be using the laptop to decipher all the command and such on the grid, then with a bit of practice it becomes natural.
    Some of the grid videos are people just learning their setup and documenting it, and yes they are often just haphazardly hitting buttons. Watch Daedelus using his live, Everything is practiced and he spends time choosing his setlist. The thing is I know exactly how his MLR version works with the 64 doing tilt and changing patches and the 256 using all the loops. After all that knowledge watching him live still befuddles me, his fluid and funky sets just make me, and most all the audiences I've been in, wanna dance. I really don't think it matters what the performer is doing to enjoy it. People go to see Laptop DJ's all the time and the vast majority don't care if he's just checking email if the music is good and bumping. I say leave the grid a mystery live, if a person wants to learn more we happened to have a great forum here with lots of info.