Synths & Software
How to quickly set up TouchMe?
- Connect the USB cable to TouchMe and to the computer;
- Open Google Chrome and navigate to synth.playtronica.com
Note: Chrome is the only browser at the moment that supports the type of messages that TouchMe sends (MIDI messages), other browsers will not work.
- Once in synth.playtronica.com, the user should open one of the synths listed there. Please note that the users should open a synth without the note saying “works only with Playtron” (what is the case of the WebSID Commodore 64 or the Playtronica Sampler). Please also avoid recommending the Viktor NV-1 since some users are reporting issues with this synth.
- Once the synth loads, the user should grab both of the conductive sides of TouchMe - as if it was a remote for a console - and apply some pressure on both sides.
The variations of this pressure will trigger higher pitch notes or lower pitch notes.
Extra step: if the user wants to change the root note and the scale that TouchMe plays, they should push the 4 buttons immediately next to the conductive big pads on the extremities of TouchMe. The top two buttons will move the root note up and down and the bottom two will swap between a selection of music scales (with the root selected on the top two buttons).
To learn more about TouchMe check this tutorial page.
I can play with one pad 👀
This is usually due to grounding issue in the power circuit of your computer or devices connected to it. Things to try to resolve it:
- Disconnect all power from your laptop and any devices connected to it, for example speakers. If it helps, you have ground leaking through surfaces if the humidity is high or through poor wiring in your house or applienceies. Try different socket, extension cord.
- Put all your devices on a dielelctric like plastic, cling film or something similar and keep it dry.
- Try to stand on something non-conducutive, of then the floor or soil can transmit electricity.
TouchMe is not working. What to do?
- Make sure that the browser used is Google Chrome (the only one at the moment with MIDI support);
- Make sure that the user connected the TouchMe to the computer and just after opened Google Chrome and loaded any of the online synths;
- Most of the synths in our online library have a dropdown menu on the top right corner labeled as “MIDI”. Make sure that on this menu TouchMe is listed and selected.
The user checks all the points above, but the device is still not working. What to do?
Note: These steps are the same for both Playtron and TouchMe.
- Check the connection of the device with the computer
- check if the device is recognized on the computer
- Push simultaneously cmd+space, which will open Spotlight.
- There the user should type “Audio MIDI Setup”
If the computer is a macOS/Apple computer:
- With Audio MIDI Setup open, push cmd+2 or go to Window->Show MIDI Setup
- On the window that pops up check if Playtron or TouchMe are listed with a brighter color
If the computer is a Windows computer:
- Go to the Devices Manager (you can access it on your Control Panel or by typing “Device Manager” on your search bar)
- On the device manager, open the sublist labelled as “Sound, video and game controller.
- If the device is being properly recognized by the computer it should appear on this list as you can see in the following images:
If the user can't find the device on the MIDI Studio (macOS) or Device Manager (Windows), what to do?
- Disconnect and connect again both sides of the USB cable;
- Try a different USB cable;
- Make sure that the cable used transmits data and it’s not only a power cable;
- With a different cable re-check if the device is listed in the MIDI Studio (MacOS) or in the Device Manager (Windows);
- If you still can’t connect the device, try with a different computer;
- Check with a MIDI monitor.
Checking with a MIDI monitor
Before trying a MIDI monitor, make sure to have the Playtron or TouchMe connected before opening the application or website.
If the user uses a website, make sure that the browser supports MIDI inputs (at this moment only Google Chrome supports MIDI).
There are multiple software, applications, and web pages to monitor if a computer, smartphone, or tablet is receiving MIDI messages.
Below you have a list of applications and websites to monitor MIDI inputs:
- MIDI Monitor from Snoize (only for MacOSX)
- Pocket MIDI (for MacOSX, Windows and iOS)
- Morning Start (online MIDI Monitor)
When you interact with Playtron or TouchMe with software like this open you must start seeing a list of messages appearing on your screen saying the type of message (on Playtron and TouchMe only Note On and Note Off), the MIDI channel, the number of the note played, and a number for Velocity (on Playtron and TouchMe always 127).
Let’s use Morning Star (an online MIDI monitor) as an example:
- To use Morning Star online MIDI monitor we should have the device (TouchMe or Playtron) connected to the computer before opening the website.
Note: preferentially have the device connected before opening Google Chrome;
- With the device already connected and the Morning Star website already opened, follow the normal procedures to play a note on Playtron or TouchMe;
- When you interact with the device, the MIDI message (in the case of Playtron and TouchMe a MIDI Note On and Note Off messages) should be listed on the screen, as in the video below:
- If up to here everything happens as described, the device should be working correctly.
Note: this is not the best troubleshooting tool in cases like the Playtron triggering multiple notes, for example, since all the notes will be listed anyway.
If the notes are not listed as described above
- Start by clicking the button “Devices” on the top right corner of the Morning Star page and check if the device is listed correctly there:
- In case it is not listed, close Google Chrome, wait 5 seconds, and launch it again loading the Morning Start website;
- If the device is correctly listed on this pop-up window, close it and open the menu “Settings”:
- On this pop-up window, make sure that the option to list at least "Note On" messages is selected
Note: it’s ok if more types of messages are active as well. Playtron and TouchMe only send "Note On" and "Note Off" messages anyway.
- If everything seems correct up to this point, but messages are not being listed, the device may be faulty or something may be wrong with the website. In this type of case tell the user to try another MIDI monitor from the list above on this page.
Note: other MIDI monitors normally have exactly the same way to operate as the Morning Star website even if they are a standalone application.
- If using another MIDI monitor there are no messages being listed ask the user to try another computer if possible.
- If even with another computer, there are no messages being listed the device is faulty. If the user is not able to try another computer, it’s ok to give the device as faulty (the probability that it is faulty at that point is extremely high)