Paper Mockups

When in doubt, print it out

I find that I can’t really get the gist of a product idea unless I lay it out on a table and actually see it in person. It helps me see the sizing of things, are buttons too big/small, is there enough space, etc.

So first thing I did was to lay out a default Reason channel strip, in all of it’s glory:

Dear god, it’s a full 44” long, and that’s before I made the fader the full 100mm (the Reason one is smaller, something like 60mm).

Here I am sitting and trying to reach up there:

And the furthest reach I can muster:

And this is the point at which I realize that Selig is right–this thing is just monstrous if you want it all. I just don’t think I’d even be able to work using it. It’s huge.

So, I take out the Inserts (even though I rely heavily on them for how I like to mix), just to see if it’s any better:

Nope, not any better–still at ~1 meter in depth.

I then start to play around with what a center channel strip could look like. This is much better, 12” x 10” for the full channel strip:

Move them around like legos, re-design a few things in Photoshop to make the fit better, and it’s coming together nicely:

Now I start trying to make it all really fit–including various buttons needed (like automation arm, sequencer, and rack). I also start replacing some of the display areas with the black display strips I plan to use for the prototype:

Add the transport bar:

And now what happens if we start adding the master section? Well, for one, the master stuff is BIG, like too big. Look at the size of the mixbus compressor!:

And if you think THAT’s big, take a look at the FX sends and returns. (I combined them here to try to get them more compact, to little avail). I also added the Panorama here, just to see if it would fit:

Even if I switch things around, it’s no go. So so big:

So I re-lay out the Master FX Send/Return to be much smaller, and to use the same black displays I plan on using. I get it close, but couldn’t get it as short as the mixbus compressor. I also try moving some of the oft-used buttons to the side, to get them easy access:

Now the fun part–start trying out the layout sizing of the parts I bought to prototype this thing:

The LED bargraph looks to be a perfect size:

The OLED display is a bit small, but maybe there are larger ones. Actually, yes, I’m almost positive there are larger ones. I want this section to be able to display both the channel name and the output group (if any). This is a little too short for that:

The small OLEDs look to be a great size/fit for showing preset names (and here in the input section, will show the order of the inserts/dynamics/eq, as in the software mixer, but much more compact):

The double-size OLED looks like a pretty good fit too. This one will show the insert preset name and the delay compensation (if/when Propellerheads starts offering that info as part of the Remote protocol. Gotta plan ahead!):

And finally, the ALPS flying fader. It’s a little long, as I had underestimated the additional flange spacing it needs for its motor. Should be okay though, if it gets moved down a bit during final layout. Also, the pan rotary encoder is a pretty good size, but I don’t have the LED ring sourced yet, still looking for one:

So, the ideation is coming along really nicely! A lot of everyone’s ideas here in this thread were bouncing around in my head while I was laying it out, and I think it’s starting to coalesce into something I’d really enjoy using (and hopefully you all too!)

Some things I haven’t started working on yet design-wise:

  • Additional buttons near the transport for things like setting L/R loop points, undo/redo, save, reset automation override, etc.
  • The transport, though taken directly from the Reason software, looks incredibly too small IMO. I’m used to the DM3200 one, and it feels much bigger and better, so will need to resize it bigger.
  • I haven’t made room for rotary encoders with LED rings in the centerchannel yet. I really want to maintain the look of the original hardware (using the original Sifam colored-top knobs hopefully), but need to find some good LED rings that aren’t too big.
  • Haven’t started working on the channelstrips themselves. My best guess, after seeing what’s all available in the center channelstrip, is to just include the following (heavily borrowed from Selig’s mockups!):
  • Fader
  • solo/mute/pan
  • OLED display for channel name/output bus
  • send on/pre backlit buttons for the 8 sends, (but not planning on having “pre” buttons, go to center channelstrip to modify that).
  • on/off backlit notifiers for the following sections (similar to the red LED light that lights up next to each section name header in the channelstrip, if it’s enabled): Input, Dynamics, EQ, Inserts, Send, Automation Enabled. This should let you get a really good scope of the entire mix, without having all the knobs necessary.
  • LED bargraph for levels