DIY MIDI converter for drum signals?


I am trying to build a Electric drum set, I have an acoustic kit right now, And piezo buzzers.
I would like to know how to convert the voltage coming out of the piezos to a MIDI signal,
To run into a synth with drum sets on board.
Is there any DIY way or cheap little box to convert it to any selected channel?
So, if you have any experience or knowledge on this subject? If so please answer!!

Thank you!!!            

sort by: active | newest | oldest
frollard5 years ago

ski4jesus (author)  frollard5 years ago
See what I need is something to convert the signal FROM the piezo to a MIDI signal to be run into a keyboard MIDI IN.
That needs 2 things...Something to drop the piezo pulses to reasonable logic levels -- zener diodes...and a microcontroller to listen to those and spit out midi serial.
ski4jesus (author)  frollard5 years ago
Help? I currently have no microcontroller experience, I am an analog tinkerer, But how would this be accomplished?
Lots of microcontrollers have Analog to digital converters on board which you can use to read the piezos. Most also have serial ports to send/receive data which can be set to the speed used by the Midi-protocol.

So, you'll need to program the microcontroller to check the voltage of the piezos continuously and once a piezo is hit, have the controller send the corresponding midi-command to your computers or synthesizer midi-port.

Looking at components, you'll hardly need more as piezos, resistors and zeners to protect the analog inputpins and ofcourse the microcontroller.

Writing the program may be more difficult, depending on your knowledge of programming and the midi-protocol.

In theory you could build a project like this with countless kinds of microcontrollers and different programming languages.

An arduinoboard... might be interesting to use, it's cheap and was build to give beginners an introduction into the world of micro-controllers. Since then loads of hobbyists also started using it..

The programming environment in C++ is quite simple and has a lot of examples varying from blinking a led to reading/writing an SD-card as introduction to C++ and tell you a little about electronics.

Most important for recommending arduino is it's huge support, just google "Arduino piezo drum" ( or any electronics related subject) to see the loads of projects others already have published. Most have code + schematics included, which, even without much knowledge of programming and midi, makes it easy to start a project.