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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Microcontrollers and Programmable Logic
Raspberry Pi4 Workstation with Music
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 1966
Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:11 pm    Post subject: Raspberry Pi4 Workstation with Music
Subject description: Raspberry Pi4 Workstation with Music
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Hi everyone.

I've purchased a Raspberry Pi4B to use as a workstation. The workstation is quite snappy for an ARM. The 4 core ARM CPU runs up to 1500 MHz.

Today, I received a HiFiBerry DAC+ ADC board. It is a music interface for the Pi that plugs in.

I was amazing simple to setup and install. There was no software to install, the drivers were already part of the NOOBS Raspbian installation. I was finished and getting music in less than 15 minutes.

The sound quality is first rate. With a DAC as well as ADC, the board is capable of both input and output.

There are several synthesizer programs that come with Raspbian, so I will be trying those out in the near future as I have a (supported) MIDIsport Uno. There are also a few pass-thru effects processors available. Of course, you can also program for ALSA to produce your own music applications.

There are also programs which can stream. VLC is a default installed program and I see that it has a stream selection. Also icecast is available as a stream server (single stream). So the Rpi4B can be used to stream your music to electro-music.com. Using VLC, I was able to watch a video with sound.

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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've fooled with the Pi for a few years now. I mainly use it at my workbench to stream internet radio and look up data sheets. Started with 1B and now on 4B.

I never seemed to have good luck with it for anything involving midi. I could get audio programs whose sound would work but couldn't get midi input or I'd get midi working with long latency issues. Every time it seemed like a major project to get things halfway working.

Inevitably I would go back to Windows PCs. Those programs all just work with minimal hassle and headaches. Even my simple Intel Atom uP with 2GB of RAM runs circles around the Pi when it comes to setting up and making music.

You're much better at software than me so I would guess you'll get something satisfactory going before not to long! Good luck!

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JovianPyx



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Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 222

PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Dan,

I've not messed with MIDI very much on the Pi4 yet. So far, all I've done was to generate a stream of note on and note off messages all for the same note 8 times per second. I needed this to test a synth design (STM32) that had an intermittent bug and I was tired of banging on the keyboard 100+ times to get it to happen. I used a program called amidi for that which allows simple shell scripts to be written to do simple MIDI things.

I had played with some of the available MIDI synths on the Pi3, but found most to be underwhelming if they worked at all and I also found latency to be an issue. I will give it another go to see if perhaps newer code is better in buster.

I did solve the MIDI latency issue for my own designs, but the method I used was draconian to say the least. Essentially I took the console UART away from the system and wrote my own driver code so that it would support MIDI at the MIDI baud rate. I could then write MIDI synth code that had very low latency.

I too go back to a PC to do serious music sequencing. I use a Pentium 3 @766 MHz with 1G RAM to run Windows 98SE and a copy of Cakewalk. That and a MIDIsport 2x2 is all I need. I also have a MAudio Uno which the pi4 finds and has a driver. MIDI device drivers that are preinstalled is something new, I remember when I had to edit config files to get the 2x2 working. I had tried generic USB MIDI devices and Pi3 didn't see them. Perhaps Pi4 will, but (as usual it seems) those have all died.

_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I like this HiFiBerry DAC+ ADC. I am now very tempted to get it and set it atop my Pi4 ! Seems a good price also. Maybe a future spin of Raspi, Pi5, will get its very own audio STEREO CODEC instead of sporting the usual onboard PWM/Filter combination. These CODEC chips are cheap enough now in large quantities.I often wonder this. Question
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 1966
Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 222

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have since tested RoseGarden (again). Some time ago I had tested it on a Pi3, but I found it to be clunky. However, the current version is quite slick. I was able to quickly edit a bassline for a piece with no cussing.

The HiFiBerry is very nice indeed. It did present a challenge regarding cooling because the board to board connector blocks air from one side. My workstation Pi4 lives in a Lego house with a fan at one end. I had to block off portions to force the flow of air over the heatsinks, but it works very well (I can tell by watching CPU temperature). A 12v fan on 5v makes very little noise.

_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Rosegarden looks very slick ! The interface looks really clean and you say it runs nicely on the Pi4?
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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
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Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 222

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I was quite impressed by how the GUI responded to mouse moves and clicks, no stalling, action is immediate. The edit interface makes sense, easy to learn. MIDI timing seemed to be close enough to perfect. I did not try to record MIDI, I had a MIDI file that needed work (from another linux program called MidiEditor which was pretty bad). I loaded it into RoseGarden and was able to immediately make edits, copies and pastes with no trouble. I did not use a synchronized audio track, nor record and play back simultaneously so there's a good deal I didn't test. I also tested only with a very light load, 4 terminal sessions were open, but they were all idle.

I've been using Cakewalk 4.5 for it's easy to use piano roll editing, but RoseGarden is without a doubt, just as good or better for that purpose.

_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 647
Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
Audio files: 21

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Looks like Tracktion's Waveform Free works with RaspPi 3 and 4. I haven't tried it yet
https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform-free

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JovianPyx



Joined: Nov 20, 2007
Posts: 1966
Location: West Red Spot, Jupiter
Audio files: 222

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks Dan, bookmarked for later, looks very interesting.
_________________
FPGA, dsPIC and Fatman Synth Stuff

Time flies like a banana.
Fruit flies when you're having fun.
BTW, Do these genes make my ass look fat?
corruptio optimi pessima
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View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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