How to Build a Midi Controller with the Brain Jr.

In my previous article, I showed you how to make a midi controller using a MakeyMakey. While this was a fun easy project, it wasn’t a real midi controller.

The MakeyMakey only imitates a computer keyboard. For about the same price as that project, we can build a real midi controller. It won’t even be that much more complicated.


Recommended course: The DIY MIDI Controller Course. If you want to become a master at making your own custom controller, this is the course for you! Packed with 11 action-packed modules that include downloadable images, schematics, sample code, and libraries. Even if you’re a hobby musician that doesn’t know anything about circuitry or programming, this course breaks it down to an understandable sense.


Very Simply explained video courtesy of Livid Instruments

This video explains how to get up and running with the Brain Jr. All materials used are listed down below.

Material List:

  • Livid Instruments Brain Jr. – The Brain Jr. is an easy to use board that gives you a lot of possibilities when building a midi controller.
  • Arcade buttons – You could use pretty much any buttons. I chose arcade buttons because they are super cool!
  • Leds – You can use LEDs  for a wide variety of reasons. You could have midi data sent to your Brain Jr. that will trigger the lights. If you want your midi controller to have a VU meter, this will make it possible.

Suggested Tools(Optional):

  • Wire strippers – You could of course use scissors for stripping wires. Wire stripper will just save you time and make the job 1000% easier.

In Conclusion: 

This really couldn’t be much easier. You don’t need a vast knowledge of electronics to get into this. The video explains how to get started. One thing to note is making sure you plug the wires in the right way. On the LEDs, if you reverse the polarity, they won’t work.

Another Example Using the Brain Jr.

Here is a build that someone else did on the Brain Jr. He even built his own enclosure.

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