It all started in February 2020 when my pal Edgaras and I were entirely devoted to developing our band Odekinys. After one of our gigs Edgaras told me:
"Hey dude, do you remember when I wanted to play these arpeggiated sounds on my keys and it was really hard to stay in time? Well, there must be a simple device that can sync my keyboards using MIDI and at the same time send an audio click, right?"
Frustratingly enough, it seems there was literally nothing like this on the market.
In March 2020, the you-know-what kicks in and suddenly I have... a lot of time on my hands! So I tell Edgaras:
"You know what, I have the skills and the time, so that device we've been looking for, I'll make you one!"
Less than a month later I came out of the dark with the first version of what I called back then the "MIDI Device for Ed". It is not pretty, it does not even have a case, but it does the job flawlessly!
The "MIDI Device for Ed", renamed to Papanome
At that time we all thought the pandemic was going to stop in a few weeks so we were hoping to get back on stage... But still no gigs. I kept working on the device - new ideas for improvements here and there kept coming in my head.
When people were asking "So, what do you spend your days doing during this lockdown?" I would show them the device, raw and rough around the edges as it was, people were fascinated:
"Amazing, and you made that all by yourself?"
"This is great, you should sell this thing!"
"Have you thought about selling the design to a company?"
"How will the finished version look?"
The first "official" prototype - still had a few issues, in particular the buttons were not solid enough to be hit with a hammer
The truth was, I didn't really know what my final goal was. After all, it was only a little device I made for my friend, for fun. Over time I started liking the idea that this could be a professional device - there must be other musicians who have similar setups and syncing issues as us!
Working on this full-time already, I started looking at the device from a more professional angle:
How to optimise the code for a simple and instant interface, and more reliable and stable signals? How to improve the electronic board to get better audio quality? How to make the device durable, convenient and smart, but also
The first case for the Midronome - many months later
I also jumped into the process of designing the visual of the outer casing. I took care to consider such aspects as:
What colour would look good on a stage? What shape and feel of buttons and knobs would be necessary for live usage? How bright and what shape do the LEDs need to be in order to be clearly visible but not blinding?
And I'll admit, there have been times where I felt like giving up on the project - it was a lot of work, but I fought through and with encouragement and help from my amazing friends, girlfriend and flatmates I have finally made it.
Many revisions, countless software changes, and over a year later: the first professionally made Midronome prototype was born.
What an emotional day.
And now, as gigs and concerts are beginning to happen again, the Midronome is ready to be released into the world.