You see that door? You secretly want that to be a MIDI controller? Here’s how to do it, and how to play a cover version of “Break On Through” by The Doors on a door 😉 Link to source code and the DIY kit below.
If you don’t live in a home with squeaky doors — living room door, I’m looking at you — you probably never think about the musical potential of mundane household objects.
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If the sound of a slammed oven door isn’t involved in your ditty of choice, you may instead want to add some electronics to that sweet, sweet harmony maker, just like Floyd.
Trusting in the melodic possibilities of incorporating a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and various sensory components into a humble door, Floyd created The Doors Door, a musical door that plays… well, I’m sure you can guess.
recorded fall 1966 – lyrics: You know the day destroys the night Night divides the day Tried to run Tried to hide Break on through to the other side Break on through to the other side Break on through to the other side, yeah We chased our pleasures here Dug our treasures there But can you still recall The time we cried Break on through to the other side Break on through to the other side Yeah!
How to use a Raspberry PI as a synthesizer. Table of contents below! The Raspberry PI is a popular card-sized computer. In this video, I show how to set up a Raspberry PI V3 as a virtual analog synthesizer with keyboard and knobs for realtime sound tweaking, using standard MIDI controllers and some very minor shell script editing.
“In this video,” Floyd explains on YouTube, “I show how to set up a Raspberry Pi 3 as a virtual analogue synthesiser with keyboard and knobs for real-time sound tweaking, using standard MIDI controllers and some very minor shell script editing. The result is a battery-powered mini synth creating quite impressive sounds!”
We know a fair few of you (Raspberry Pi staff included) love dabbling in the world of Raspberry Pi synth sound, so be sure to watch the video to see what Floyd gets up to while turning a Raspberry Pi 3 into a virtual analogue synthesiser.
Two decades ago, the music industry was presented with an unprecedented threat. Napster made it possible for the public at large to share tracks with people they didn’t have to meet in person.
While sharing was already commonplace on bulletin boards and IRC, Napster opened it up to an audience of millions.
In the years that followed, torrent sites, download portals, and other pirate services only made things worse. To counter this threat the music industry began filing lawsuits and lobbied for modern anti-piracy laws, which France was one of the first countries to adopt.
Ten years ago the French Government approved the HADOPI law. Among other things, it included a graduated response system where Internet subscribers face fines and even criminal convictions if they get caught repeatedly.
According to initial studies, the legislation wasn’tvery effective. However, a new paper set to be published in a forthcoming issue of the academic journal Information, Economics and Policy, sings a different tune.
To measure the impact of Hadopi on music consumption, KU Leuven researcher Ruben Savelkoul analyzed music sales in France during the years following the introduction of the law and compared that data with sales in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The research specifically looks at digital download purchases during the early years of Hadopi. The results, shared in an article titled “Superstars vs the Long Tail”, shine an interesting light on the potential impact the anti-piracy law had during this time.
One of the main findings is that Hadopi had a positive effect on the sales of digital music tracks in France compared to the two control countries. This effect was the strongest for popular artists.
In addition, the findings suggest that the effect of Hadopi on sales decreased over time, except for bigger artists.
“The introduction of the Hadopi anti-piracy law in France had a positive effect on sales for all artists, superstars as well as artists lower in the sales distribution,” Savelkoul writes.
“The effect is stronger for superstars, suggesting that smaller or niche artists gain exposure from illegal downloading, partly offsetting the negative substitution effect on sales,” he adds.
The weaker effect on smaller artists suggests that these may also see some benefits from piracy. For example, because piracy allows music fans to discover new content more easily.
This leads to the second hypothesis tested by Savelkoul. Did the anti-piracy measures lead to a reduction in variation when it comes to music consumption? This indeed turned out to be the case.
“We found that in the absence of piracy, consumers tend to concentrate more on genre and style,” Savelkoul writes.
The researcher suggests that piracy makes it easier to discover newer music. As a result, people consume more different types of music. Stricter anti-piracy measures limit this effect and as a result music fans buy more ‘popular’ music.
“In absence of the possibility to sample ‘adventurous’ music, consumers might not be willing to pay and purchase these music items to discover its quality and instead opt for ‘safer’ purchases, thus consuming less variety,” Savelkoul notes.
Overall, the findings suggest that stricter anti-piracy measures can positively impact digital sales revenue. At the same time, however, they decrease variation in music consumption.
While these are intriguing findings, the paper’s author cautions against generalizing the results. The findings only cover a relatively short period of a few years. In the long run, the effect may be different.
In addition, the research only looks at digital music sales. It’s unclear what the effect is on touring revenue for example. Related research has found that revenue from live performances is growing for smaller artists and Savelkoul suggests that piracy may have a net positive effect for this group.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the music industry has changed quite a bit since the introduction of Hadopi. Streaming subscriptions are now the main digital revenue source, which has made it easier for consumers to discover new content. As such, the ‘discovery’ benefit of piracy may not be the same today.
A copy of the article titled “Superstars vs the Long Tail: How Does Music Piracy Affect Digital Song Sales for Different Segments of the Industry?” can be found behind a paywall.
Perpetual Chimes is a set of augmented wind chimes that offer an escapist experience where your collaboration composes the soundscape. Since there is no wind indoors, the chimes require audience interaction to gently tap or waft them and encourage/nurture the hidden sounds within – triggering sounds as the chimes strike one another.
Normal wind chimes pale in comparison
I don’t like wind chimes. There, I said it. I also don’t like the ticking of the second hand of analogue clocks, and I think these two dislikes might be related. There’s probably a name for this type of dislike, but I’ll leave the Googling to you.
Sound designer Frazer Merrick’s interactive wind chimes may actually be the only wind chimes I can stand. And this is due, I believe, to the wonderful sounds they create when they touch, much more wonderful than regular wind chime sounds. And, obviously, because these wind chimes incorporate a Raspberry Pi 3.
Perpetual Chimes is a set of augmented wind chimes that offer an escapist experience where your collaboration composes the soundscape. Since there is no wind indoors, the chimes require audience interaction to gently tap or waft them and encourage/nurture the hidden sounds within — triggering sounds as the chimes strike one another. Since the chimes make little acoustic noise, essentially they’re broken until you collaborate with them.
Why spend years learning to play a musical instrument when you could program a robot to do it for you? This month HackSpace magazine, we show you how to build a glockenspiel-playing robot. Download the latest issue of HackSpace for free: http://rpf.io/hs22yt Follow HackSpace on Instagram: http://rpf.io/hsinstayt
If programming your own instrument-playing robot isn’t for you, never fear, for HackSpace magazine is packed full of other wonderful makes and ideas, such as:
A speaker built into an old wine barrel
A Raspberry Pi–powered time machine
A…wait, hold on, did I just say a Raspberry Pi–powered time machine? Hold on…let me just download the FREE PDF and have a closer look. Page 14, a WW2 radio broadcast time machine built by Adam Clark. “I bought a very old, non-working valve radio, and replaced the internals with a Raspberry Pi Zero on a custom 3D-printed chassis.” NICE!
Honestly, this month’s HackSpace is so full of content that it would take me all day to go through everything. But, don’t take my word for it — try it yourself.
HackSpace magazine is out now, available in print from your local newsagent or from the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge, online from Raspberry Pi Press, or as a free PDF download. Click here to find out more and, while you’re at it, why not have a look at the subscription offers available, including the 12-month deal that comes with a free Adafruit Circuit Playground!
Some of you may wonder why you wouldn’t have your records with your record player and, as such, use that record player to play those records. If you are one of these people, then consider, for example, the beautiful Damien Rice LP I own that tragically broke during a recent house move. While I can no longer play the LP, its artwork is still worthy of a place on my record shelf, and with Plynth I can still play the album as well.
In addition, instead of album artwork to play an album, you could use photographs, doodles, or type to play curated playlists, or, as mentioned on the website, DVDs to play the movies soundtrack, or CDs to correctly select the right disc in a disc changer.
Convinced or not, I think what we can all agree on is that Plynth is a good-looking bit of kit, and at Pi Towers look forward to seeing where they project leads.
Inspired by Rousseau videos I tried to build my own Piano Visualizer. It is made with Raspberry Pi and WS2812B LED strip. Screen and buttons: Waveshare LCD TFT 1,44” 128x128px.
Fans of the popular YouTube pianist Rousseau would be forgiven for thinking the thumbnail above is of one of his videos. It’s actually of a Raspberry Pi build by Aleksander Evening, who posted this project on Reddit last week as an homage to Rousseau, who is one of his favourite YouTubers.
Building an LED piano visualiser
After connecting the LED strip to the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and setting up the Pi as a Bluetooth MIDI host, Aleksander was almost good to go. There was just one thing standing in his way…
He wanted to use the Synthesia software for visualisations, and, unmodified, this software doesn’t support the MIDI files Aleksander planned to incorporate. Luckily, he found the workaround:
As of today Synthesia doesn’t support MIDI via Bluetooth, it should be added in next update. There is official workaround: you have to replace dll file. You also have to enable light support in Synthesia. In Visualizer settings you have to change “input” to RPI Bluetooth. After that when learning new song next-to-play keys will be illuminated in corresponding colors, blue for left hand and green for right hand.
The final piece is a gorgeous mix of LEDs, sound, and animation — worthy of the project’s inspiration.
Find more information, including parts, links to the code, and build instructions, on Aleksander’s GitHub repo. And as always, if you build your own, or if you’ve created a Raspberry Pi project in honour of your favourite musician, artist, or YouTuber, we’d love to see it in the comments below.
Sheet music: https://mnot.es/2N01Gqt Click the bell to join the notification squad! ♫ Listen on Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2LdpqK7 ♫ MIDI: https://patreon.com/rousseau ♫ Facebook: http://bit.ly/rousseaufb ♫ Instagram: http://bit.ly/rousseauig ♫ Twitter: http://bit.ly/rousseautw ♫ Buy me a coffee: http://buymeacoff.ee/rousseau Hope you enjoy my performance of Nuvole Bianche by Ludovico Einaudi.
The program I made lets me bind “actions” (strobe white, flash blue, disable all colors, etc.) to any input and any input type (hold, knob, trigger, etc.). And each action type has a set of parameters that I bind to the input. For example, I have a knob that changes a strobe’s intensity, and another knob that changes its speed.
The program updates each action, pulls its resulting color, and adds them together, then sends that to the LEDs. I’m using rtmidi for reading the midi device and pigpio for handling the LED output.
You no doubt heard the news this month about the huge data loss at Myspace, which announced that users’ audio files — along with any photos and videos — that were uploaded to Myspace more than three years ago, “may no longer be available on or from Myspace.” That’s estimated to be as many as 53 million songs from 14 million artists that were lost. The reason given was a botched server migration, but it could have been anything. Data can be lost due to accidental deletion, hardware or software failure, or because a service is terminated by a company that decides it no longer fits their business goals.
Myspace: A Groundbreaking Online Social & Music Community
Ten to fifteen years ago, Myspace fulfilled the promise of an online musical community where up and coming bands and musicians could share their art, interact with their fans, and promote their concerts. Many musicians made a lot of music that ended up on Myspace, and some of them even became superstars, or at least, well-known names such as Arctic Monkeys, Attack! Attack!, Black Veil Brides, and Panic! at the Disco.
Today, Myspace is just a shadow of its former social media presence, but at one time it claimed nearly one billion registered users and the biggest library in digital music. Now, much of that music is gone. Artists who thought that their music would exist indefinitely on Myspace have had to deal with the realization that putting recordings — or any kind of data — in a cloud streaming service doesn’t guarantee that it is safe. Cloud-based sites like Myspace, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Google, or any other site that is not specifically a backup or archive site can’t be relied upon (nor do they claim the intention) to keep your data safe and available indefinitely.
A Personal Story of Music and Myspace
by Ahin Thomas, VP of Marketing, Backblaze
Recently, I was sharing the story of the first good song I had written with a colleague and sent her the link to the song on Myspace. When she went to listen to the song, the page was there but we both found out that the song was no longer available on Myspace.
That’s the problem with data loss. You don’t know that it’s lost until it’s gone. And, at that point, it’s simply too late.
The song was called By The Way. The inspiration for the song came when I was waiting for a restaurant table and saw a picture frame in a store window with a photo of this adorable little kid. “Twinkle, twinkle in your eyes, are you an angel in disguise?” was written on the picture frame. Cute kid, great line. I fiddled with it for awhile and managed to twist it into a nice little pop song.
Writing By The Way was the first time I felt like a real songwriter. It also taught me that being open and willing to share with others can change your life. The song itself is decent, but the lessons and memories are priceless. It’s the sort of thing I want to be able to share with my daughter. She’s only 15 months old now, but I figured maybe she might someday tell stories about how her dad wrote songs that people recorded, and how he played his songs for her when she was little. So that’s what the song meant to me.
I was lucky. I had backed up the song, which means that I still have the song to play for my daughter (photo above). If I hadn’t backed up the song, well, I wouldn’t be able to.
I think of the many artists who are way more talented than I am, but not as lucky as I was to be able to preserve the music that means so much to me and my family. To them, I send my heartfelt condolences for the hours and memories lost due to the flip of a wrong switch. To everyone else, remind one friend today to get backed up. They’ll never forget you for it.
If you’re interested, here is my song By The Way, performed by Sehr Thadhani and her wonderful band.
Nothing Holds a Memory (Like a Song)*
Just about all of us are music fans and consumers, and we have music files that we keep on local computers, mobile devices, and in the cloud. Even if you’ve switched to a streaming music service such as Spotify, Google, Pandora, Apple, or Amazon, it’s likely you still have music files on your computers and devices that you’d like to preserve.
If you keep only one copy of a music file, you greatly increase the chances that the file will be lost.
Back Up the Music
We can hope that most of the garage bands, aspiring, and successful artists who uploaded music to Myspace had other copies, but if past incidents have taught us anything, we can expect that for many this is a permanent loss of their music files. Whether on an attached or local disk, mobile device, or in the cloud, one copy of a file is susceptible to loss. As we’ve often said, the only reliable protection against data loss is to keep multiple copies in more than one location, also known as the 3-2-1 backup strategy. Having more than one copy (of your tracks, your rough and final mixes, your vocals, your masters, your sessions), and ideally three in at least two different geographical locations, can go a long way in ensuring your music won’t be lost.
The only reliable protection against data loss is to keep multiple copies in more than one location.
Depending on the amount of recording data you have and how you work, a good backup service can automatically back up your recording data and ensure it against loss. If you wish to archive recordings for future use or reference, an object cloud storage service will store your data in a secure data center and provide greater flexibility and long term storage at reasonable cost.
For a good overview of backup options for recording musicians, there’s a great article written by producer, recording engineer, instructor, and composer Glenn Lorbecki, called The Music Producer’s Guide to Backing Up Data. Glenn is also a Backblaze customer, so he knows backup and cloud storage. You can read about Glenn on his website at Glennsound.com.
Backblaze has many musicians and recording professionals among our users. The entire Austin City Limits music archives are in our B2 Cloud Storage. Kontent Core is a music licensing platform where labels and artists can showcase their creative work. Other customers are solo musicians, bands, recording engineers, studios, and music publishers.
Preserve Your Memories and Your Songs with Backblaze
Backblaze offers flexible and affordable backup and cloud storage for music, digital recordings, and data of any kind. Your content is stored with a data durability of 99.999999999 (11 nines), and covered by an SLA. If you’d like to learn more about Backblaze’s Computer Backup or B2 Cloud Storage, we invite you to read more on our website.
ChordAssist aims to bring the joy of learning the guitar to those who otherwise may have problems with accessing guitar tutorials. Offering advice in Braille, in speech, and on-screen, ChordAssist has been built specifically for deaf, blind, and mute people. Creator Joe Birch, who also built the BrailleBox device, used Raspberry Pi, Google Assistant, and a variety of accessibility tools and technology for this accessible instrument.
Powered by the Google Assistant, read more at chordassist.com
Accessibility and music
Inspired by a hereditary visual impairment in his family, Buffer’s Android Lead Joe Birch spent six months working on ChordAssist, an accessible smart guitar.
“This is a project that I used to bring my love of music and accessibility (inspired by my family condition of retinitis pigmentosa) together to create something that could allow everyone to enjoy learning and playing music — currently an area which might not be accessible to all,” explained Joe when he shared his project on Twitter earlier this month.
This isn’t Joe’s first step into the world of smart accessibility devices. In 2017, he created BrailleBox, an Android Things news delivery device that converts daily news stories into Braille, using wooden balls atop solenoids that move up and down to form Braille symbols.
This same technology exists within ChordAssist, along with an LCD screen for visual learning, and a speaker system for text-to-speech conversion.
Chord Assist was already an Action on the Google Project that I built for the Google Home, now I wanted to take that and stick it in a guitar powered by voice, visuals, and Braille. All three of these together will hopefully help to reduce the friction that may be experienced throughout the process of learning an instrument.
ChordAssist is currently still at the prototype stage, and Joe invites everyone to offer feedback so he can make improvements.
UK-based Lucem Custom Instruments has teamed up with Seattle’s Tracktion Corporation to create an electric guitar with a built-in Raspberry Pi synthesiser, which they call Spirit Animal.
The Spirit Animal concept guitar
We love seeing the Raspberry Pi incorporated into old technology such as radios, games consoles and unwanted toys. And we also love Pi-based music projects. So can you imagine how happy we were to see an electric guitar with an onboard Raspberry Pi synthesiser?
Tracktion, responsible for synth software BioTek 2, ran their product on a Raspberry Pi, and Lucem fitted this Pi and associated tech inside the hollow body of a through-neck Visceral guitar. The concept guitar made its debut at NAMM 2019 last weekend, where attendees at the National Association of Music Merchants event had the chance to get hands-on with the new instrument.
The instrument boasts an onboard Li-ion battery granting about 8 hours of play time, and a standard 1/4″ audio jack for connecting to an amp. To permit screen-sharing, updates, and control via SSH, the guitar allows access to the Pi’s Ethernet port and wireless functionality.
The Guitar Boy is a guitar. The Guitar Boy is a Game Boy. The Guitar Boy is the best of both worlds! Created for the BitFix Gaming 2015 Game Boy Classic build-off, this Game Boy guitar plays both Pokemon and rock and roll!
Missing for five years, Destiny’s soundtrack album, Music of the Spheres, resurfaced in 2017. Composer Marty O’Donnell reflects on what happened, in this excerpt from Wireframe issue 4.
When Bungie unveiled its space-opera shooter Destiny in February 2013, it marked the end of two years of near silence from the creators of the Halo franchise. Fans celebrated at the prospect of an entirely new game from such well known talent. Behind closed doors, however, Destiny was in trouble.
Though the game was almost complete by mid-2013, plans to launch that September were put on hold when concerns over Destiny’s story forced its narrative structure to be rebuilt from scratch. It would be more than 18 months before Destiny was released: a fun but strange shooter that bore difficult-to-pin-down traces of its troubled gestation. But one element of Destiny – that had been a huge part of its development – was nowhere to be seen. It was an ambitious original soundtrack written and recorded with an impressive but unexpected collaborator: Paul McCartney.
Audio director and composer Marty O’Donnell had been with Bungie since the late 1990s, and for him, Destiny represented an opportunity to develop something new: a musical prequel to the video game. This would become Music of the Spheres – an eight-part musical suite that took nearly two years to complete. This was no mere soundtrack, however. Born out of discussions between O’Donnell and Bungie COO Pete Parsons early in the game’s production, it was to play an integral role in Destiny’s marketing campaign.
“I wasn’t writing this just to be marketing fodder,” O’Donnell laughs. “I was writing it as a standalone listening experience that would then eventually become marketing fodder – but I didn’t want the other to happen first.”
Between 2011 and 2012, Bungie and O’Donnell devised plans for the album.
“Every few weeks or so, I would be called to a meeting in one of their big conference rooms and there would be a whole bunch of new faces there, pitching some cool idea or other,” says O’Donnell. “[At one point] it was going to be a visualisation with your mobile device.”
Difference of opinion
But there were fundamental differences between what Bungie had planned and what Activision – Destiny’s publisher, and keeper of the purse strings – wanted.
“I think Activision was confused [about] why you would ever use music as marketing… And the other thing is, I honestly don’t think they understood why we were working with Paul McCartney. I think they didn’t think that that was the right person for the demographic.”
News of a collaboration with McCartney had raised eyebrows when he revealed his involvement on Twitter in July 2012. His interest had been piqued during his attendance at E3 2009 following the announcement of The Beatles: Rock Band, which was preceded by Bungie’s unveiling of Halo ODST.
“I had a contact in Los Angeles who worked out deals with actors we used on Halo,” O’Donnell recalls. “He was able to make contact with Paul’s people and set up a meeting between the two of us in spring of 2011. My impression was that Paul saw a new crop of fans come from Beatles Rock Band and was interested in seeing what was involved with creating music for video games. He seemed convinced that Bungie was working on a project that he could get behind.”
Within a few weeks, O’Donnell and McCartney were exchanging ideas for Destiny.
“The first thing he sent me was what he called his ‘loop symphony’,” says O’Donnell. “He used the same looping tape recorder that he used on Sgt. Pepper’s and Revolver… He hauled this tape recorder out of his attic.”
Working with regular collaborator Michael Salvatori, O’Donnell and McCartney set about developing Music of the Spheres into a fully fledged album, comprising eight movements.
“I have all of these wonderful things, which included interesting things he did on his guitar that sort of loop and sound otherworldly… I think there are a couple of times in The Path, which is the first piece, and then I think The Prison, which is the seventh piece, where we use a recording of Paul doing this loop with his voice. This little funny thing. That’s Paul’s voice, which is cool.”
The album was completed in December 2012 following recording sessions at Capitol Studios in California, Avatar Studios in New York, and Abbey Road in London. Musical elements from Music of the Spheres accompanied Bungie’s big reveal of Destiny at a PlayStation 4 event in New York in February 2013. But after that, things started to go south.
“After that PlayStation 4 announcement, I said, ‘Let’s figure out how to release this. I don’t care if we have Harmonix do an iPad version with a visualiser for it. I mean, if we can’t pull the trigger on something big and interesting like that, that’s fine with me. Let’s just release it online.’ It had nothing to do with making money… It was always fan service, in my mind at least.”
Activision, on the other hand, had other priorities. “Activision had a lot of say on the marketing. I think that’s where things started to go wrong, for me… things started being handled badly, or postponed, and then all of a sudden I was seeing bits of Music of the Spheres being cut up and presented in ways that I wasn’t happy with.”
You can read the rest of this fantastic feature in Wireframe issue four, out 20 December in Tesco, WHSmith, and all good independent UK newsagents.
Or you can buy Wireframe directly from us — worldwide delivery is available. And if you’d like to own a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download a free PDF.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’s much mistletoeing, and hearts will be glowing – as will thousands of Raspberry Pi-enabled Christmas light displays around the world.
This morning I have mostly been spending my virtual time by a roadside in snowy Poland, inflicting carols on passers-by. (It turns out that the Polish carols this crib is programmed with rock a lot harder than the ones we listen to in England.) Visit the crib’s website to control it yourself.
We are also suckers for a good Christmas son et lumiere. If you’re looking to make something yourself, LightShow Pi has been around for some years now, and goes from strength to strength. We’ve covered projects built with it in previous years, and it’s still in active development from what we can see, with new features for this Christmas like the ability to address individual RGB pixels. Most of the sound and music displays you’ll see using a Raspberry Pi are running LightShow Pi; it’s got a huge user base, and its online community on Reddit is a great place to get started.
Light display contains over 4,000 lights and 7,800 individual channels. It is controlled by 3 network based lighting controllers. The audio and lighting sequences are sent to the controllers by a Raspberry Pi.
This display from the USA must have taken forever to set up: you’re looking at 4,000 lights and 7,800 channels. Here’s something more domestically proportioned from YouTube user Ken B, showing off LightShow Pi’s microweb user interface, which is perfect for use on your phone.
Demonstration of the microweb interface along with LED only operation using two matrices, lower one cycling.
Scared of the neighbours burning down your outdoor display, or not enough space for a full-size tree? Never fear: The Pi Hut’s 3D Christmas tree, designed by Rachel Rayns, formerly of this parish, is on sale again this year. We particularly loved this adaptation from Blitz City DIY, where Liz (not me, another Liz) RGB-ifies the tree: a great little Christmas electronics project to work through with the kids. Or on your own, because we don’t need to have all our fun vicariously through our children this Christmas. (Repeat ten times.)
The Pi Hut’s Xmas Tree Kit is a fun little soldering kit for the Raspberry Pi. It’s a great kit, but I thought it could do with a bit more color. This is just a quick video to talk about the kit and show off all the RGB goodness.
Any Christmas projects you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!
We’ve seen many Raspberry Pi-powered music players over the years. But rarely are they as portable (and snazzy) as the PiPod by Hackaday user Bram.
My biggest regret in life? Convinced I wouldn’t need my 160GB iPod Classic anymore thanks to Spotify, I sold it to CEX for a painfully low price. But not only was I mistaken as to how handy it would have been to hold on to, the money I made doesn’t seem to justify parting ways with such an iconic piece of technology no longer available to purchase anew.
Which is why the PiPod project from Netherlands-based Hackaday user ‘Bram’ caught my attention instantly.
I made this music player because I wasn’t satisfied with the current playback methods that are available. The music streaming services available started to feel like radio stations with the same music repeating, they are also depended on an online internet connection while there might be offline functionality it is still limited by the available storage on your phone.
We hear ya, Bram.
With his mind set on creating a music player of their own to overcome the limitations on offer without having to pay hundreds of Euros for high-end portable devices, Bram got to work.
The PiPod, now in its third iteration, offers users a range of functionality and can be made fairly cheaply using Bram’s custom PCB.
For the display, Bram uses a 2.2″ TFT screen connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero. As can be seen above, the screen offers all the information you could ever require of your media player despite the low 320 by 240 resolution.
For music playback, the PCB also includes the PCM5102A a 24-bit I2S DAC that offers a high-quality audio output accessible via a 3.5mm jack. And for power, Bram has done his homework, incorporating a series of components to protect the device from overcurrent, thermal overload and various other power-related concerns.
We’re sure Bram’s PiPod isn’t the only portable music device with a Pi inside. What have we missed? Share yours with us in the comments or on social media so we may bathe in their glory and give them the attention they deserve.
The Raspberry Pi community is wonderfully collaborative, with people all over the world supporting each other to make things they care about. It’s part of a much wider maker movement, and a new project from seismic industries, called spink0, brings the power of Raspberry Pi to another DIY community in the music world: modular synthesizer enthusiasts.
Modular synthesizers are dedicated machines for creating and controlling electrically generated sounds. Unlike the ubiquitous electronic keyboards, they don’t offer pre-set sounds. Instead, they allow players to deeply manipulate the nature of sounds: by connecting different modules with each other via cables, players use signals from one module to affect and alter the sounds from another, and generally get very creative with not just the musical notes but the sound itself.
Recent developments in technology, and enterprising module creators, have made these machines much more accessible, largely through a modular synth format called eurorack. A thriving DIY community has also grown, with people assembling their own modular synths using kits or even building their own modules from scratch.
spink0 syncs music
Enter the Raspberry Pi Zero W, just the right size for adding sophisticated computing power to a eurorack module. The spink0 eurorack module uses the power of a Zero W to allow musicians to keep their eurorack synth music in time with music created with more common electronic instruments like drum machines and computers. The Zero W connects to a wireless network and uses the Ableton Link protocol to share timing information across this network. It converts this digital data into the analogue square wave clock pulses that modular synths use for musical timing.
jam with spink-0. launchpad, the two spinks and ableton are synchronized with their integrated LINK protocol via a WLAN accesspoint provided by the 2nd spink module. Tempochange in Ableton at 0:37
With spink0, seismic industries have developed shaduzLABS’ original prototype pink-0 into an open-source DIY kit including PCBs and a panel that rather neatly integrate a Pi Zero into a eurorack module (a CLK/RST generator, to be exact).
The PCBs that seismic industries designed for spink0
Pi-powered electronic music jam sessions
This opens up a whole world of jamming potential to musicians who use these esoteric machines to make their sounds. A group of electronic musicians can get together, connect over a wireless network, and improvise ideas, all kept in time across the network. Thanks to spink0, eurorack synths can coexist with computers and even iPads and other tablets.
spink0 without its top panel
Now anyone can link their modular synth with other music machines and computers for collaborative jams! Seismic industries offer the DIY kit, plus full instructions and code, so you can solder yours at home, or you can buy spink0 preassembled if you wish.
experimental musical instrument, 2018 Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Pure Data, Python
Making music more accessible
J. One’s latest project, synesthiser, produces vibration alongside sound, and is an exploration into music production and performance for hearing-impaired people.
Its main objective is to make music producing/performing more accessible for those who have a hearing impairment. By producing not only vibration but also audible wave, it could widen the opportunity of designing sound for handicapped and non-handicapped people equally.
The build’s interface is a round surface that reacts to pressure and rotation. By turning it with the flat of their hand, users of synesthiser alter the frequency of sounds; by pressing on it, they manipulate the amplitude and modulation of the waveform.
A transducer within the unit provides vibrations that resonate throughout the entire device to let people with hearing impairments experience its sound via touch. And hence the project’s title, a portmanteau (or mashup!) of ‘synesthesia‘ and ‘synthesiser’.
installation / media art, 2017 Max 7, p5.js, Swift, Raspberry Pi filmed by Jaewon Choi special thanks to Gayeong Baek, Jongmin Jung The atmosphere of Seoul is sophisticated. A cold wind of the dawn, endless traffic, people yelling each other, and the rhythm of the footsteps. Everything vaporises to the noise.
You can find more of J. One’s projects on their website, including Seoul, a Raspberry Pi–powered sound exhibit that allows visitors to incorporate their own sounds into layers of real-time noise of Seoul.
Build a synth with Raspberry Pi
Musicians and Raspberry Pis make beautiful music together. This much we know to be true, and a quick search of the interwebs will confirm it for you. We and our community have created Raspberry Pi projects for even the most novice of programmers to try out.
Hi folks, Rob from The MagPi here! With AI currently a hot topic in hobby tech, we thought we’d demystify it for you and your Raspberry Pi in The MagPi 72, out now!
AI made easy, in issue 72 of The MagPi!
The MagPi 72
AI made easy covers several types of current AI and machine learning tech that you, as a hobbyist and consumer, can get your hands on and use with your Pi. Many companies offer voice and image recognition services that work with the help of machine learning, and it’s actually pretty easy to get started with these.
We asked several AI experts to help us out with this, and we cover robot automation, getting the details of an image, and offline voice recognition. We promise it’s Skynet-safe.
Make sweet music
Want to make music? Then follow our guide to create your own Raspberry Pi–powered recording studio — all you need to bring to the table is your own musical talent.
We’ve also got some great tutorials on how to make a mini magic mirror and hack Minecraft Pi with Mathematica, along with some fantastic project showcases such as the squirrel cafe and a ghost detector.
Still not satisfied? Then check out our reviews and community segments — there’s a lot of excellent stuff to read about this issue.
Get The MagPi 72
You can get The MagPi 72 today from WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda. If you live in the US, head over to your local Barnes & Noble or Micro Center in the next few days for a print copy. You can also get the new issue online from our store, or digitally via our Android or iOS apps. And don’t forget, there’s always the free PDF as well.
Rolling subscription offer!
Want to support the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the magazine? You can now take out a monthly £5 subscription to the magazine, effectively creating a rolling pre-order system that saves you money on each issue.
You can also take out a twelve-month print subscription and get a Pi Zero W plus case and adapter cables absolutely free! This offer does not currently have an end date.
With the “tuned” status LED. https://t.co/PuIi6sY78V
…and now I have Barracuda stuck in my head.
The music of GTA
Anyone who has played Grand Theft Auto knows that one of the best parts of the series is the radio stations: a mix of classic tunes and often comical DJ interludes make driving haphazardly through the streets of San Andreas a joy.
And much like fans of the Fallout series, many of us GTA players are guilty of listening to the in-game music outside of gaming sessions.
Hacking a radio
Maker Raphaël Yancey loves the San Andreas tunes so much, he decided to build his own Grand Theft Auto radio, complete with the MP3s available from Rockstar, the game’s creators.
Raphaël used a 1970s Optalix TO100 portable radio for this project, along with a Raspberry Pi 3. While this would be enough to create a music player, he also added two potentiometers for volume control and frequency tuning, as shown in the video above.
Python code allows the potentiometers to move within a virtual frequency range of 88.7Mhz to 108.0Mhz, with five stations to find along the way. A LED comes on whenever the player finds a station, and the Pi then plays the music.
You can find Raphaël’s complete code for building your own GTA radio here. We’re keen to see what other game-based music projects our community will come up with. Here at Pi Towers, we have a spare Fallout Pip-Boy that’s aching to play the sweet sounds of the post-apocalyptic Commonwealth…
Raspberry Pi and music
The integration of Raspberry Pi within music projects is a theme we’re very fond of. From rejuvenated jukeboxes such as Tijuana Rick’s 1960’s Wurlitzer, to The Nest, a USB music download system built into Table Mountain, we’ve seen a host of imaginative projects and are always eager to discover more.
So if you’ve used a Raspberry Pi in your music project, whether it be a jukebox, a guitar pedal, or an instrument, be sure to share it with us.
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