Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Novation Xio Controller


This story started with me buying a Novation Xio 25 VA synth. After checking out the original presets I' ve strated to programming. Right there I faced with a problem. I'm sure there are people on Earth who can program a synth using sub-sub menu, but it'snot me. I 've found an editor for windows but not for osx. First I made an environment in Logic:

The Xio manual contains everything, some of the parameters receive CC message the others NRPN .
This way I could programm it quite well, but I still faced the problem the set the potmeters with the mouse, which I also don't like.
I played with a Teensy microcontroller board for a while now. (Teensy is an Arduino like usb developer board). It's able to handle usb midi, you only need to connect the potmeters to it and write a few lines of program code and you good to go. (USB class complient midi controller)

It worked with 2 potmeters. So I figured what if I would make a dedicated controller for the Xio.
Teensy has 12 analog A/D input, every input is connected with 8 channel multiplexer and I got a 12*8=96 potentiometer handling.
On the developer's website there is a schematic diagram and example program code what you need to "little bit" expand.


First of all I needed to figure out which 96 out of the 200 parameters is the most important to control the Xio. Logic environment was a big help in that.
After that I had the list and started to plan the frontpanel.

I've tried to make it small, putting the potmeters cca 25mm from each other. It resulted 5 rows and 19 columns (95 parameters). 91 potmeters and 4 switch.


Frontpanel, potmeters, knobs:


Since it strated as a experiment I didn't make a PCB, I built it on a breadboard.
It contains: a Teensy, 12 multiplexer IC (74HC4051), 3 connector (34pin).
The circuit is connected with floppy cables to the potmeters.

First test, 4 multiplexer, 1 cable. It worked fine.

Couple more solder and build a house and it's ready :))))

So now I have a dedicated USB midi controller for Xio. It can be use to control other device but  parameters can not be set (it uses fixed CC and NRPN messages). 

I recorded some demo video.

First a 303 like...

Second was a supersaw try

The third was a universe sound :)))


  1. Hi and thanks for posting your work.
    Since Xio does not have any midi in port, do you need a computer with USB port to control it ? Or the teensy provides direct mid connection to the xio?

  2. Hi! You are welcome :)
    Yes need a computer+DAW to connect the controller to the xio.(USB midi)

  3. Good work vlaca :)
    Maybe this could work without a PC ?

    1. Thanks! :) Yes maybe will or try raspberry PI, its a complete PC in small form.