PhiLiZound Software
Page updated: 12-Mar-2019

Drehbank Editor/Configurer

This is a program for editing/configuring a Doepfer Drehbank MIDI controller. It uses a text-based system to configure each control to send any type of MIDI message, including sysex strings, which means all functions (presets) are clearly visible and can be edited with standard text editors.

Main screenshot

The knob label layout can also be adjusted via drag & drop in a simple graphical display of the front panel.

Front panel screenshot

It offers an alternative to the original editors which are no longer supported by Doepfer, and has a few extra features, e.g.
 - runs on latest version of Windows
 - support for long folder & file-names
 - multiple functions on each knob, up to 12 cc's.
 - multiple sysex messages with individual checksums on each knob
 - easier mapping of discrete values onto rotary controls or cv range
 - more variations for the RPN & NRPN pre-defined functions
 - multiple note on/off function, up to 14 notes for the v2 Drehbank (legacy editor fixed at 3-note trichord)
 - realtime shuttle functions can be in any order
 - extra MIDI inputs to simplify configuring/operating at the same time
 - built-in general purpose MIDI monitor (not just for Drehbank)
 - auto-conversion from legacy presets created with Doepfer editors
 - future expansion
 - email support

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Drehbank hardware

There are 2 hardware models; the software will work with both.
The old model has a single push-button & LED on the left-hand side...

v1 push-button      v1 hardware top-left  

The later model has 3 push-buttons & LEDs on the left (and may be a different colour!)...

Drehbank controller top view

Both models have 2 banks of 64 rotary controls/knobs which can be configured to output various MIDI messages as the controls are rotated. A harware option allows the 2 right-hand columns of controls to be overridden by 8 x 1/4" jack inputs located at the back of the unit, 4 of which are factory-wired for CV analogue synth levels (0 to +5v) and 4 for foot controllers...

Drehbank CV input sockets

Inserting a jack plug into any of these overrides its corresponding rotary control, allowing the Drehbank to output various MIDI messages based on CV or foot-control values as well as the remaining rotary controls.

These jack sockets are blanked if the option is not fitted...

Blank external inputs

The Drehbank has a single MIDI input & output...

v1 power input      Drehbank MIDI & power connections

...but these can be configured to pass through various types of MIDI message to facilitate routing, e.g. to control a synth by both a keyboard & the Drehbank, just connect keyboard-out to Drehbank-in and Drehbank-out to synth-in.

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Drehbank Config operation

The control definitions are entered or loaded into the editing area on the left, one knob defn per line. You can perform simple editing here, or use a more advanced external editor such as Notepad and load the file into the defns area by clicking the Load button. If you use a Word Processor, files must be saved in plain text format.

Definitions screenshot

The defns are processed and sent to the Drehbank using the buttons in the MIDI output section. You can send selected defns only or all defns regardless of selection.

MIDI section screenshot

The built-in MIDI monitor can decode your synth output to help design the definitions, and/or confirm the Drehbank's knob behaviour. Two inputs are provided to monitor both without having to re-route MIDI connections.

e.g. to define a controller function for cc#7 on knob no. 4, bank no. 1 with a range from 0 to 127 in steps of 1, just enter:-

-kn4 -bn1 -fu CC -cc7

To restrict the range from 10 to 80 in steps of 4, add a range parameter:-

-kn4 -bn1 -fu CC -cc7
-ra 10-80,4

Multiple functions can be added to the same knob:-
-kn4 -bn1 -fu CC -cc7 -ra 10-80,4 -ch 6  -fu CC -cc8 -ra 5-10,1 -ch 7

Numbers can be specified as decimal, hex or textual names depending on context, e.g. to send 4 notes when knob 5 in bank 2 is rotated:-

-kn5 -bn2 -fu Notes -nn C#, 'Hi Mid Tom', x34, 2

The Calc screen shows equivalents for decimal, hex, note names etc...

Screenshot of Calc window

As in Doepfer's v2 editor, pre-defined functions simplify the building of standard MIDI messages including sysex, and a generic user-defined function is available giving you complete control... although some knowledge of the MIDI spec (& hex) may be reqd.

Function overview

Knob labels are defined via the -la parameter (optional),
e.g. -la Wave, and can be displayed & dragged/dropped in a pseudo front panel layout. Changes are transferred automatically to the defn source text and optionally to the Drehbank RAM.

Knob labels screenshot

They can be saved to a file for further editing & printing for templates.

Simple 8-knob label strips (8 reqd)...

Printed labels

Drehbank template left     Drehbank template right

More practical 32-knob templates (only 2 reqd)...

32-knob templates      32-knob labels cut out

32-knob labels mounted

Numerous '?' buttons appear throughout the program for displaying help screens & examples; Drehbank info is included where relevant to avoid hunting for/translating manuals.

Syntax overview

A few syntax examples

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Video Demos

Minimum system requirements

Windows 98SE and later.
MIDI interface capable of handling sysex messages (see below).

Tested on:
  • Windows XP, 7 & 8.1 64bit
  • Wine under Linux
  • Parallels on MAC
  • VirtualBox on iMac
MIDI interfaces
The Drehbank is programmed using MIDI sysex messages. Some MIDI interfaces have problems with these; they are not normally used when recording/playing MIDI, so an underlying problem may go unnoticed until you try DrehbankConfig.

The following list of interfaces has been compiled from user feedback; more info is welcome. Note that other factors can affect this, such as the Windows version, adapter driver version etc. so your mileage may vary.
  • Possible sysex problems:
    • eStudio
    • Miditech Midiface 4x4
    • RME Fireface 400 (also in other list!)
  • Confirmed working:
    • Edirol UM-1S
    • iConnect
    • M-Audio Midisport Uno
    • M-Audio MidiSport 4x4
    • M-Audio Audiophile 2496
    • Miditech Midiface 2x2
    • MOTU MIDI Timepiece
    • RME Fireface 400 (also in other list!)
    • Terratec EWS88D


18-Mar-2016 DrehbankConfig V4.04 - all programs are held on the storage site. If there are problems downloading, check your computer's access or contact me via email address at bottom of this page.
Mods history
The program is free, but if you pass it on, please keep the package intact.

Updated 12-Mar-2019
Examples from users
: synth defns, tips, templates etc.
Example change log
Contact me if you want to share anything here.

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  • Run/double-click the installation file and follow the prompts
    (administrator privileges are required)
Windows may prompt for permission to install using various messages...
  • If you see: Windows protected your PC - Windows SmartScreen prevented an unrecognised application from starting...
    Click 'More Info' to reveal a button marked 'Run anyway' and click that.
  • If you see: User Account Control - Do you want to allow the following program from an unknown publisher to make changes to this computer?
    Click Yes.
When the program is running, click the About button for further information, or contact me if you have any problems.


  • Use the standard uninstall/remove process in Windows Control Panel.
    Administrator privileges are required, so you may need to acknowledge User Account Control prompts as shown above and/or logon as an admin user first.
© Phil Tipping, 2019