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€7,505 pledged of €15,000 goal
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By Nicolas Toussaint
€7,505 pledged of €15,000 goal
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About this project

The SoundForce SFC-Mini is a USB controller for your Mini-style synthesizer plugins. USB-powererd, class compliant (plug&play) and compatible with Win/Mac/iPad. Get hands-on control of your software synthesizer and bridge the gap between hardware and software!

The full photo gallery here!

 

- 22 x rotary pots
- 21 x tact switches and LEDs
- 6 x 6-positions switches
- USB-powered class compliant device
- Dimensions: 32cm x 13cm x 4.5cm (fits in a backpack)
- Ableton, Logic, Pro Tools, Bitwig, Cubase, Reaper and much more
- Easy setup with pre-mapped preset for Mini-V/Monark
- Custom firmware for Minimonsta (as the MIDI map is fixed in the plugin)
- Also compatible with the iMini iPad app
- Can be used with any other MIDI-mappable software
- Open-source Arduino-based firmware

10 backers are able to get a special edition in a wooden finish and the opportunity to get their own custom logo laser engraved on the front panel. This model is made out of birch plywood. Before engraving the wood gets 2 coats of clear finish.

From the start, the goal of SoundForce was to produce locally and to support the economy in my local area. That's why the SFC-mini is Made in Europe and assembled in the Netherlands. The PCBs are ordered through Eurocircuits in Belgium and fabricated in Germany. The enclosures are made at Fablab Enschede (where I work) and get screenprinted at Duotone in Hengelo (a city nearby). The enclosure material is acrylic plastic made in Italy. Electronics components (LEDs, switches, pots ,... ) are traditionally produced in Asia.

The 7 demo models were 100% hand-soldered but the production units will be assembled in a factory. I already got a great offer from a local manufacturer located 10 minutes from home, Global Electronics. Here is one of the machines they have in their factory:

A lot of attention is given to build quality. That's why only parts from the best brands are used: Atmel (micro-processors), Bourns (rotary pots), Molex (usb-connectors), ... Keeping all manufacturing local also allows for much better quality control.

The SFC-Mini firmware is open source and can be edited and compiled using the Arduino IDE. The compiled .hex file can then be uploaded to the 32u4 chip using the Atmel flip utility on Windows. Future firmware upgrades will be provided as both Arduino project files and compiled hex files. Ideal if you want to customise your controller or learn to program with Arduino. I will give certain backers a video tour of the Arduino code and explain how it works. See the rewards section for more details.

The shift knob gives every control an alternative MIDI CC message. The extra "user" rotary pot can be mapped to plugin-specific controls (such as the Mini-V arpeggiator speed or LFO rate). This adds up to a total of more than 90 MIDI messages!

Offering this product through Kickstarter allows me to reach the broadest audience possible. Also, with the support of the backers I will be able to start the mass-production of the first SFC-Mini's, pay for tooling and start-up costs, get discounts on parts and offer the SFC-Midi at the lowest price possible.

- January to march 2015 : Concepting, designing and drawing the first prototype
- April to June 2015 : Testing, building and programming the first prototype
- July to September 2015 : Adjusting the design for the final version and building 7 units
- October 2015 : Start Kickstarter campaign!!!
- December 2015 : Ordering parts and materials
- January 2016 : Pilot production run
- February 2016 : Product manufacturing
- April 2016 : Shipping

I selected CC values that are compatible with most mini-plugins. If you ever need to modify them our google chrome web-based App allows you to re-attribute CC numbers of every single control and save them in the memory of the controller.

125% target:

The old-school rotary switch will be replaced with a tactile switch and 6 LEDs. It offers better control and less mechanical wear and tear. Here is an example of a similar switch on the interface of the SFC-101. When you press the switch under the LEDs, the position changes:

150% target:

All LEDs will be also replaced with 24-bits multicolor LEDs, with customizable color scheme via the user APP and animation on the beat of the incoming MIDI clock. It can also be just one colour if you want it to.

200% target:

The current enclosure is made of laser cut acrylic plastic. If the goal exceeds 200%, the bottom part of the enclosure (bottom plate and sides) will be injection molded. This will offer a similar look, increase rigidity and will allow me to produce a lot of enclosures very quickly. I am already working on a 3D model of the enclosure :

My name is Nicolas Toussaint and I am the man behind SoundForce. With SoundForce, I combine my 10 years experience in computer-based music production and my electrical engineering background to create my dream products. I love the sound of classic analog hardware and the workflow of digital recording. Fed-up with generic controllers, I started to build MIDI controllers laid-out specifically to software vintage synthetizers.

Risks and challenges

To build such a project I have to lean on a lot of partners and collaborators. For a couple of years I have been working with the same people and have built good business relationships. I designed the electronic circuits with very common parts, available at the main electronic suppliers (Farnell/Mouser/Digikey) in very big stock and under different brands. There is little chance that a low stock will create delay.

Manufacturing electronics products is complex and expensive, that's why I am teaming up with a local manufacturer with industry-standard equipment. I am confident that I can deliver the product within the estimated timeframe.

If you have any questions, drop me an email : nicolas@sound-force.nl
Please note that I will be showing the SFC-Mini at the Rome Maker Faire on the 15-16-17-18 October and it might take me a few days for me to back to you.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €1 or more About $1.14

    Big thank you! If you like my work and simply would like to support my projects!

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    1 backer
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About $6

    Hall of fame laser-engraved plate! Your name will be engraved on wood on a commemorative plate that will hang proudly on the wall at SoundForce HQs.

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    1 backer
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge €15 or more About $17

    Commented video tour of the Arduino firmware.

    You want to build your own DIY MIDI controller ? Get access to an exclusive video where I take you through the firmware and teach you how it works.

    + your name on the kickstarter commemorative plate

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    3 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge €25 or more About $28

    SoundForce swag:

    Hand screen-printed SoundForce shirt in your chosen size

    + access to the firmware video + your name on the kickstarter commemorative plate

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    0 backers
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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €165 or more About $187

    Early bird SFC-Mini in your color of choice
    (White/Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue)

    + access to the firmware video + your name on the kickstarter commemorative plate

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €179 or more About $203

    SFC-Mini in your color of choice
    (White/Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue)

    + access to the firmware video + your name on the kickstarter commemorative plate

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    19 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €195 or more About $221

    Combo SFC-Mini + t-shirt

    SFC-Mini in your color of choice
    (White/Red/Orange/Yellow/Green/Blue)

    + hand screen-printed soundforce shirt in your chosen size

    + access to the firmware video + your name on the kickstarter commemorative plate

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    2 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge €209 or more About $237

    Special edition wooden finish laser-engraved SFC-Mini (free t-shirt included)

    + access to the firmware video + your name on the kickstarter commemorative plate

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    Limited 3 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)