XR18 MIDI Footswitch

When we aren't playing with technology, we play rock music. We created an accessory for our digital mixer to make the guitarist's job easier.

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When we are playing music, we use the Behringer XR18 digital mixer to mix the instruments together. In certain songs, the guitarist has to switch between clean and distorted guitar in the middle of the song, which is usually done with a footswitch. Unfortunately, the XR18 does not support normal footswitches. We solved this problem by creating our own Raspberry Pi powered MIDI footswitch.

We decided to use the Python programming language due to the ability to use third-party libraries to do certain tasks that Python does not support out of the box. The two libraries we used were Mido to send MIDI messages to the XR18 and rstem to get input from buttons. The code was simple. First, it imports the two libraries. Then, it establishes a connection to the XR18, the button, and the LEDs. Next, it repeatedly checks if the button was pressed and switches from clean to distorted or vice versa and turns on the proper LED if it was.

Next, we built the hardware. We used the Raspberry Pi computer because of its very small size and its GPIO (some pins that can handle taking input from a button and sending output to LEDs via code). The button and LEDs were mounted on a small breadboard. Using some wood and a duct tape hinge, we created a flap that would hit the button when pushed by a guitarist's foot. This push would trigger the code and switch the setting and the LED.