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USB Spacebar?

So Im not sure this is the right place to post. But please bear with me and forgive me if its the wrong place. Thanks! (Oh, and sorry this message is so long. I wanted to be extra thorough. :))



Hi,

My names Emily and Im in a band. Were a three piece: weve got a keyboardist, guitar/vocals (me), and a drummer. On the 28th we have a Battle of the Bands where were playing 4 songs. One of them, a new one, has just recently been recorded/mixed. On the recording, where weve worked very hard on getting it to sound very good, theres a sort of sparkly background melody thats going on behind the normal parts that was added in the mix. Since then, weve grown very attached to these sparkly noises. However, everyone has their hands full (quite literally) and cannot play the sparkly noises at the same time. We had to find a way to automate the noises playing.

So, today we had a practice and we decided to try to get these sparkly things going. We did find a very unorthodox, time consuming and temporary way after a lot of time wasting. Our way of getting it to work involved getting a separate laptop, plugging it into the PA (the speakers, that is, for those who are less learned in audio), attaching a USB keyboard to the laptop, make a loop in the best way we could of the sparkly noise, and leaving the screen open so that the keyboardist could with his toe hit the spacebar to make the sparkly melody play.

This method had a couple disadvantages:
1) We simply cannot continue to use this USB keyboard. We only have one USB keyboard in my house, and its used on a computer that has no PS/2 ports. So I had to put it back today, and we just need another solution.
2) The keyboardist kept accidentally hitting other buttons/the mouse pad when we used the built in laptop spacebar, making the automation stop, pulling up some weird program, etc. This was why we switched to the USB keyboard. However, he still occasionally hit the wrong button, caused problems, etc. We could, in theory remove all the buttons except for the spacebar on the keyboard, but like I said, I have to return the keyboard and I dont want to ruin anything.
3) A KEYBOARD IS BULKY, can break, and looks weird on stage. We have a complicated enough set up already and this simply adds to the issue. I have no problem using an extra laptop, but the keyboard has to go!

The solution:
This is where you come in! My hope was to try to rig up a modified staples easy button, a keyboards sustain pedal, a Rock Band (the game) pedal, etc. (any sort of pedal) and just make it so that you just plug in the device and you have an assignable button. (In this case, a spacebar.)

Im on a tight budget.

Any ideas?
PS: If youd like to hear the effect/song Im talking about, please go to www.power-pirate.com (my bands website), go to Music, listen to the “In Mind (DEMO)” mix. Feel free to skip to the chorus, the part Im talking about starts at 1:04.

PPS: When I posted this text into the message body box, all my apostrophes turned into weird special characters! So yes, I do know basic grammar, but my computer doesn't. Sorry about that :p

westfw8 years ago
While you COULD build custom electronics that looks like a USB keyboard, you are unlikely to find a solution any cheaper than:

1) Buy a cheap USB keyboard.
2) take it apart, strip out everything other than the logic board containing the actual electronics (should be on a tiny board.)
3) Figure out which pair of contacts from the keyboard electronics cause a space to be emitted.
4) put your choice of electronic contact there instead of the original keyswitch.

(as an intermediat step, ripping all the keys except the space bar off of the cheap keyboard doesn't sound so bad...)