Let'smake some noise! Open Source hard and sofware for systems on a chip (SoC), Arduino, Pico Pi, Teensy and more
On the beat?
We like synthesizer and electronics turning noise into music. Anything that is tiny and can be played over Midi or OSC.
We don't like latency, often found in PC setups or out of the box Raspberry Pi projects. A trained musician can hear 1+ msec delay.
To achieve latencies under 1 msec you need to go analogue, which is great but expensive or use a realtime OS or a micro chip where the audio thread has priority.
Here are some ideas for you to try:
TSynth is a great DIY project to get started. Build it and you will learn a lot about building synthesizers. You can customize the code, it is all Open Source and you find it in Github here. The project is based on the Teensy, a fantastic SoC for audio projects. To read more about the Teensy see the next project.
The Teensy is our favourite board, it comes with amazing libraries and our favourite is the
audio library. The company PJRC belongs to
Paul Stoffregen, this guy knows what he is doing! Check it out, there is also an Audio Shield available
The Pi Pico from the Rasperry Pi Foundation is a great new little micro and we expect a lot to happen with this new low cost (~4$) board.
For low latency audio use C++. A guide to setup the cmake based build environment is here.
We started a new little synth project based on the Pico Pi and called it Fly Pico Pi
Turn the Pico Pi into a polyphonic synthesizer playable over Midi or USB.
There are 2 DACs, one 16 bit DAC delivers the audio signal and a second
12 bit DAC is used to create a 10V Control Voltage (CV) to set the frequency of a Eurorack format based filter.
On our roadmap there are a display, SD card, buttons and encoders, an analogue 24dB/Oct voltage-controlled filter with VC Resonance based on the AS3320 VCF chip and more.
ELK Audio OS is a supercool OS, running a real time process for audio rendering and a standard process for anything else.
You have the advantage of Linux as well as relative low latency audio.
It can work with the HifiBerry DAC on the Raspberry Pi.
Bela is a framework and audio shield for the BeagleBone
Baes on Xenomai Realtime Linux a latency as low as 1.02 ms (2 samples buffer size) can be achieved using DMA transfer with a custom driver over I2S.
Details can be found in this publication.
Mini Synth is a great little project based on the Circle bare metal environment framework for the Raspberry Pi. It is not for the faint-hearted, you need to write a lot of C++ code to extend it and you can achieve super low latencies.
We have a Mojo v3 FPGA Development Board ready to be fired up. The board is based on a Spartan 6 Lx9 FPGA and a ATmega32U4 micro. It can be programmed using Lucid or Verilog. An FPGA would also be great option for the FX section of a synthesizer
or as the basis for a low latency guitar multi effect processor.