Concensus on best DJ controller for 6000 series as of Dec/2017

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I'm wondering what the favored DJ controller is for the 6000 lineup at this point in time ?
I quite like the look of the Hercules MP3 ES but it seems the Behringer CMD gets a lot of attention. Is one better supported (software) than the other or is it strictly a matter of preference ?  Any hardware limitations between available controllers ?

I'll be content just using one for which someone has already defined the controls and written code , I'm not prepared to re-invent the wheel (thanks in advance to those who have written code for this). I'd like to get some input before shelling out for one.

Thanks, Hugh VA3TO
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Posted 7 months ago

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Alan W4FBI

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DJ ?
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Torrey Mitchell

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Dow Jones?  I need one!
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Hugh - VA3TO

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...as in "Disk Jockey"... what these controllers are called and were actually designed for !
Do you have anything useful to add ?
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Alex - DH2ID, Elmer

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Behringer CMD micro

because it is 
- small
- easy to handle
- great software
- works all the time

I use it for SSB, CW and RTTY. For the digital modes like PSK31,MFSK16,Olivia,JT65,JT9 and FT8 I switch it off, as the modes arestable in a relatively small window and switched by the software.
(Edited)
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w7pp

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Alex: Hello... What software did you use and is the program/source available to others. I would like to try and adapt it to my own taste.  Thanks, Dick W7PP
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Thanks for your input Alex. Exactly what I was looking for... what controller you chose and why.
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Paul Burton

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Hugh,

I wrote a small Windows application to tie the Behringer DJ Micro to my Flex 6300 using Flexlib and Microsoft Visual Studio.  It works great on Windows 7, but is designed to my liking and may not be to everyone's taste. The problem when doing the application is that choices have to be made as to which radio functions get tied into which knobs, buttons, and sliders. I suppose with a large enough DJ controller you would have enough controls to handle every function in a 6700, but then you have an unwieldy and costly box and it's a lot more work to program it. The DJ Micro has just enough controls to handle two slices on one panadapter, so that limit may not appeal to people with more capable radios.

For example - I like to work DX pileups, which are normally in SPLIT UP mode. So I have programmed a button which creates a second slice up 2 or 5 KHz (depending on mode) with transmit on VFO-B in the upper slice and receive on VFO-A in the lower slice. A single button push gets me into the pileup. But everyone may not care for that type of split mechanism. Also, I largely favor CW using a paddle. so some choices may reflect that preference. Another problem is that I was never able to get the tuning knobs to tune the radio's frequency smoothly (like the Flex Knob does). So I generally use the Flex Knob for tuning except when in "split" mode. There are a number of controls which are not assigned to a radio function because I had what I wanted and didn't feel like putting more effort into the software. I'm sure avid contesters would have different requirements and I offered to take suggestions for other control assignments, but no one responded.  

This app could be written to control any of the DJ controllers, but would have to be custom-made for each since they likely have different MIDI outputs. My impression is that very few are interested in this, so I haven;t done more on it. If you get a Behringer DJ Micro controller you can download my application at

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rsbsidlv5mljq5n/AAC4puhwbGXHfGxzQaS8UEnpa?dl=0

Someone had an issue with Windows 10, but I didn't see it on my Windows 10 machine.

73, Paul - AA6Z


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Hugh - VA3TO

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Thanks for the reply Paul.
My programming skills are mostly limited to embedded controllers; I've done very little desktop programming but I could probably figure it out. That said, I'm fine using someone else's setup to start.
I have to opportunity to buy a Hercules MP3 LE for a song. Is there a particular reason why you chose the Behringer DJ Micro ?
73, Hugh VA3TO
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Paul Burton

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Hugh,

Well, I was following the earlier work of Will Hemmingsen who did a similar implementation using the Ethernet API.  He used the Behringer DJ Micro, so I just leveraged off of his work using Flexlib API and the C-Sharp language programming, with which I am familiar.  I was not familiar with other DJ controllers, and I liked the DJ Micro for it's small size and low cost.  it has just the right amount of controls for my 6300 use.  I just googled the Hercules and it looks to be about the same thing as the DJ Micro.

I doubt that my software would work on the Hercules, since it probably has a different assignment of MIDI commands to each of the controls.  But, having my source code and some facility with C-Sharp and Visual Studio, I don't think it would be difficult to modify the code to work for the Hercules.  I couldn't do it because I don't have a Hercules to test with.  Figuring out the MIDI commands associated with each of the controls is the time-consuming part.  

Paul
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Paul; Do you think the rougher VFO tuning is a function of the rotary encoder used (steps per rotation) or software ?  Maybe some intelligence in the tuning algorithm i.e. dynamic increment steps depending on the rotational speed would improve it ?
Just curious to know why the Flex knob is better in this respect.
73, Hugh
(Edited)
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Paul Burton

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Hugh,

When you tune slowly it works well, but if you tune too fast it seems to overload the interrupt processing/buffering and causing the tuning to pause before it catches up, creating a "jerky" effect.  It's probably a Windows thing caused by too rapid interrupting from the tuning knob control.  I partly ameliorated that by incorporated slow tuning using the plastic outside of the knob but if you touch the metal inside part of the knob as you tune, it tunes faster.  This eliminates the need to spin the knob for larger movements in the band.  I use the Flex Knob when I'm not in split mode, but when I go to split mode and need two knobs, the DJ Micro knobs work well enough for minor tuning tweaks.  

Will Hemmingsen's implementation also had this "jerkiness" tuning problem but he claimed to have solved it.  But he was using the Ethernet API and his solution would not work for my implementation with Flexlib API.  The Flex Knob probably does not use the same Windows interrupt mechanism to handle tuning steps, so it works very smoothly and can handle spinning the knob rapidly. 

That's the best explanation I have without some pretty serious debug to analyze the interrupt issue, which is a bit beyond my expertise level..

Paul 
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Hugh - VA3TO

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Is the source available for the API  in case that's where the limitation is ?  I'm starting to wonder if I should just get a FlexControl knob.
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Paul Burton

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The Ethernet API is built into the Flex box and is proprietary.  The Flexlib API is a C-Sharp wrapper around the Ethernet API, and the source is available. 

As I previously mentioned, the tuning hiccups seem to be some kind of event-processing overload within Windows due to turning the tuning knob too fast and quickly spewing out huge numbers of MIDI events.  If one could detect that this was happening, then perhaps it would be possible to discard intermediate events and tune faster with the events that are kept.  I have no idea how to do that, or to even verify that it is an event-overload problem.

My solution using the "touch plate" on top of the tuning knob to speed tune faster works just fine for me in "split" mode, but for general tuning I like the Flex Knob.  But, it is very limited as to how many things it can control, and you have to switch between them so I only use it for tuning.

73,  Paul  AA6Z
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Andrea Vernice

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Hi Paul

i have download the files. have 2 zip. but when install use only cdm microflex setup , then i cannot find any flex radio.

i guess the second zip file https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rsbsidlv5mljq5n/AACeWAgy7ZT50XyyVpelIuwga/CmdMicroFlexControllerProject.z...

have to be copied manually. where?

also will work in remote configuration?

thanks
Andy ik7ytt
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Paul Burton

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Andrea,

The second zip file is the C# source files for anyone desiring it, but if you just wanted to run CmdMicroFlex you only need the setup file. 

I assume you are trying to use my dropbox download on SSDR 2.x.   Unfortunately, as SSDR moved to version 2.x, flexlib was changed and those original files no longer work.  I have somewhat discontinued improving the program since the Behringer CmdMicro is no longer sold.  Sorry.

I did, however, modify the program for SSDR 2.x flexlib for my own use (since I have the old CMDMicro), but I haven't made a setup file for it, or uploaded it to dropbox.  I'm pretty busy right now, but could email you the folder containing the .exe file and all the required .dll files.  You could just create a shortcut to the .exe file to run it. There were some problems found running it on Windows 10, but it works fine on my Windows 10 machine.  Let me know if you want it.

73, Paul AA6Z
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Andrea Vernice

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Yes if you can mail me will be perfect. I’ll let you knkw if work. My email is :
Mycall@gmail.com

Thanks
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Paul Burton

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Andy,  I get a permanent error trying to send the folder to Yourcall@gmail.com.  It is 508 kb.  Maybe that's too big.
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Andrea Vernice

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i don't think so. can can accept more then 10mb. i think the problem is exe files.
can you use wetranfer.com? is also simple and immediate.
email is ik7ytt@gmail.com

thanks
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Paul Burton

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Andy,  I uploaded the files to my dropbox account so you can download from there.  It's in the folder entitled

release