Raphael Huber has gone through the familiar journey failing to find the perfect MIDI controller for software instruments. And so he’s decided to design “The Ultimate VST-Synthesizer MIDI Controller” which he is calling Rava Yamana.
It’s a USB MIDI controller with 60 knobs. But it’s designed and laid out to reflect the most common controls found in analog-style VST synthesizer instruments. So you have a section for oscillators, a section for filters, a 4-knob ADSR and so on. These are simply control knobs that kick out data on various CC numbers but the layout encourages you to map them in a similar way on all your VST synths.
It reminds me immediately of the old Phatboy controller designed for Rebirth RB-338. I’m also reminded of the emerging MIDI 2.0 specification which talks about categories of software instruments sharing the same controller information so that you can map up one controller and it will control the same controls on everything synth. It certainly plays into this idea. But at a simple level the Rava Yamana is just trying to offer a more intuitive workflow to control similar functions on similar synths.
The MIDI mapping has to be done in the VST synth via MIDI learn functions and once setup is saved with your synth. Some synths and some functions won’t have a MIDI learn function but then you can’t have everything. Most of the knobs are pots with 280-degree range and some are endless encoders.
Open Source and DIY
Rava Yamana is based on the Open Source OpenDeck MIDI control board. Although there will be a limited number of pre-built ones it is intended to be released as a DIY kit. Raphael says that the electronics are set now but in terms of things like the front panel labelling, this is still being worked on and you can even print your own overlay if you wish.
The goal is a hefty €50,000 and they say they have to sell over 200 in order to meet the pricing offered for the preorders. If you want one of the 30 prebuilt then that’s €385, for the DIY kit it’s €230.
It’s a decent looking MIDI controller that takes a familiar idea and actually does something with it. Check it out on Indiegogo.
- Campaign page.