Half a year ago I bought an Alesis Vortex Wireless 2 keytar. It’s nothing more than a MIDI-controller, which didn’t bother me all that much until I started jamming with friends. Hauling a laptop around and firing up a heavy DAW everytime you want to play is quite annoying.
Then the USB connector broke (apparantly there was a cable strap that reduced strain on the connectors which I never used), and when I opened it up to fix it I found lots of empty space.
So I built a Zynthian inside! It uses a Hifiberry zero as a dac, has a beefy 12 volt 6600 mAh battery with a charging circuit inside which lasts insanely long and a stereo 6.3 mm stereo jack as output. The rotary encoders are mounted below the keyboard for easy access when playing.
Using the MOD-UI to map the buttons and sliders to effects works great. Not having to boot up Ableton and load all presets / midi mappings motivates me to play more often.
I might add a screen later, but fitting it correctly will be quite difficult. For now I’m fine using my phone / laptop with VNC. I’m also considering adding a port for a sustain pedal.
Thanks to the people who dedicated so much time to this project. Setting up the mcp23017 with the encoders took a while but everything works like a charm.