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Loupedeck or Streamdeck?

There have been a few contributions in the past few days, with glowing tribute to Streamdeck.

I wonder if I have made a mistake in buying a Loupedeck CT. For anyone interested, after wrestling with understanding MIDI (I use SSDR for MAC on my PC), I have actually managed to get the Loupedeck to work to what I think is a really great degree. I have the main dial to control frequency change as per the main dial on the 6600M, and can also select volume, or any other variable parameter I choose to program. The buttons I have made to command anything from Bands, Slice selection, new Panadaptor, Mode, Bandwidth, and all sorts, thanks to the list that Marcus has provided in SSDR for MAC. The side knobs are programmed to change AGCT, Mic gain, Slice Volumes, Audio bandwidth, Slice Zoom, etc. Works brilliantly, with the extra benefit of an Apple TrackPad 2 for example super-quick slice frequency changes.

However, the recent Streamdeck examples shown on other discussions leaves me to wonder if I could achieve the same or better for less outlay...........

I rather think that the Loupedeck CT is more suited to use with the 6400 or 6600 as opposed to the 6400M or 6600M. It is a matter of choice, I suppose. In fact I hardly use the front panel of the 6600M except for meter viewing, or recording transmissions/playback.

Perhaps the only real advantage of owning the Loupedeck CT is that it can also be used for Photography Apps such as Photoshop etc, for which it was originally designed.

I have actually really enjoyed playing with the Loupedeck and have learned a lot besides, so maybe it was not such a bad idea after all!! Just my thoughts.......

Cheers. Mike G4GWH.

Comments

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    I am not familiar with the Loupedeck. I have to look at the interface. Is it strictly MIDI?

    The Stream Deck is popular with a lot of streamers and podcasters. There are plug-ins for a lot of popular editing and streaming software. The plus of the Stream Deck is ability to send REST commands to FRStack for radio control and websocket commands for Node Red integration. Node Red then opens up control and monitoring of all kinds of equipment.

    I haven't heard of anyone using MIDI with Node Red (yet).

    73

    Dave wo2x

  • Mike Steventon
    Mike Steventon Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Dave.

    I believe that the Loupedeck sends ordinary scan codes and binary data to a PC in the same way that an ordinary keyboard does. In the software for the Loupedeck is a MIDI application that you turn on to make it transmit MIDI data. You can then mix both data types with the press of a button if you so desire. It is all done through a USB-C cable. I am finding it quite sophisticated in use so far, in the application of using it as the main control device for SSDR for MAC. In the same way as the Streamdeck, you are of course limited by the maximum (127) number of data instructions via MIDI, but there are clever ways to get round this I think. Still programming and learning…..!

    73 de Mike G4GWH

  • Mike Steventon
    Mike Steventon Member ✭✭✭

    Here are a couple of images of the Loupedeck in action:


    Mike G4GWH

  • David Decoons, wo2x
    David Decoons, wo2x Member, Super Elmer Moderator

    Nice!

    You can use FRStack and program the Loupedeck to send the REST command to the PC running FRStack. If both on same PC then use the loop back address.


    Dave wo2x

  • ctartist621
    ctartist621 Member
    Any more thoughts on this? I just discovered the Loupedeck CT and am now having this debate myself…
  • Mike Steventon
    Mike Steventon Member ✭✭✭

    Having now used the LoupeDeck CT for a few months, I can say that it is now my "go-to" device for radio control. I have two systems on the go. I can select (own my Apple iMap Pro) SmartSDR for Mac, and have the thing programmed using midi commands as per Marcus's Midi controller settings. It took a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of Midi. I also can select, using either Boot-camp or Windows Parallels, SmartSDR for Windows. This alternative allows me to use the FRStack HotKeys editor to set up the LoupeDeck to address ordinary keyboard short-cut keys. Either selection importantly allows me to set up, for example the large control wheel to change frequency, and the 6 side-knobs to control any parameter I choose within the constraints of FRStack or Midi commands. The best thing about the knobs are that they are all encoder types, and there is no end-stop on any of them. The side knobs also have a push-function, so that I can turn on or off for example Noise reducer, or whatever.

    I have not experienced StreamDeck, so I can cast no judgement over it. I would say, though that on LoupeDeck, there appears not to be the ability to put fancy pictures underneath the command image, whereas on StreamDeck, you can make things look quite pretty if you want. As I see it, the only real disadvantage of StreamDeck is that there is no facility available to "spin" across the band, as with the main dial on LoupeDeck.

    I should hasten to add that it is only the expensive LoupeDeck CT that you get the main dial, but, well, it really is worth it in my opinion.

    That is my feedback, from a very happy user of LoupeDeck CT.

    73 de Mike. G4GWH

  • Ted S
    Ted S Member ✭✭
    edited March 27

    My 2 cents, the LoupeDeck looks nice, but it is in a completely different price class from a StreamDeck. I am very happy with the SteamDeck as a low-cost option and would probably be more likely to go with a Flex Control Unit for the rotary encoder functions and the StreamDeck for push buttons. The combined StreamDeck + Flex control is about $300, about $250 less than what I see on the cost of a LoupeDeck CT.

    That still leaves you with 6 fewer rotary controls, if you like to set RIT/XIT, Volumes, AGC thresholds, and maybe filter shifts with rotary controls then this combo would still come up a bit short of the LoupeDeck. When I look at the price of the LoupeDeck CT, I start to think about just jumping up to a full Maestro.

    Ted WR4T

  • KD0RC
    KD0RC Broomfield, COMember, Super Elmer Moderator

    If you like to build things, there is the TeensyMaestro option as well. It operates in similar fashion to a Maestro in SmartControl mode.

    Build difficulty is moderate. It is not a beginner project, but you don't need an EE degree either. It is mostly point to point wiring together of purchased assemblies and controls, no SMD soldering. A front panel can be ordered for a little over $100 USD, or you can use my technique of printing the front panel on an ordinary printer and sandwiching it under a plastic sheet. There is a bill of materials, schematic and user manual on GitHub that should help you make the decision if this is a project that you want to try.

    Link to GitHub:

    Link to Flex Community thread:


  • Mike Steventon
    Mike Steventon Member ✭✭✭

    Absolutely, Ted.

    The LoupeDeck is a toy, and an expensive one at that. But I look at my 6600 and say to myself it is also an expensive "toy"! One could note that if I had purchased an Icom 7300 (a great rig), I could have been $3000 better off but still be quite able to work the DX and rag-chew!!

    I did actually look seriously at the FlexControl option, but I much prefer to have the ability to have type-written the control functions that I have for the rotary pots. See the photos above.

    Right from the beginning, I was not sure I had made a good decision, but now it is all paid for, I am very pleased to have taken the plunge. No regrets.

    Cheers and 73. Mike.

  • w5exy
    w5exy Member
    @mike I have just bought a Loupedeck CT mainly for editing but I'm also looking forward to using it for controlling my 6500. Do you have any time saving pointers for getting started with the programming, or a template even ?. I have it talking to the SmartSDR software but haven't got as far as setting up the midi controls.

    73, Julian
  • Mike Steventon
    Mike Steventon Member ✭✭✭

    Hi Julian.

    You clearly recognise the ability of the Loupedeck CT. It is brilliant for editing for example photographs etc. It's use as an aid for FlexRadio gear is secondary and is a bonus. I primarily use it on SSDR for Mac, and of course it uses Midi commands. The present commands for Mac is a little limited when compared to FRStack, which as you know does not use Midi, but rather "rest" commands on keyboard. Each has it's own advantages, but I must admit I prefer Midi commands (and Apple Mac operating). With regard to time-saving pointers, I am afraid that you just have to dive in from a great height and learn from experience. I am a long way from being proficient, and would not make a very good teacher! I am learning all the time. You might want to look at

    -which gives you a rather neat dial turner (using finger-tip on the small circle) to press over the main dial ring. It also raises the device to a decent angle. The kit has been 3-D printed and is a really precise fit. A few colours to choose from.

    If there is one thing I would say, and that is to write everything down on paper so that you do not duplicate or lose track of your selected commands. I started out in a right mess as I was just randomly without reason selecting the first key I thought of and programming to suit, with sometimes the result that when I pressed what I hoped and thought was a band change instruction, turned out to be TUNE, or worse still, MOX!!

    Enjoy fiddling around with it. You will lose your temper occasionally, but the reward is there waiting to be found!

    73 Mike G4GWH

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