Bela (embedded music-centric hardware)

For the serialosc command, try running:

$ serialoscd

I can’t speak to the USB issues, I’ve never had a problem with audio interfaces or grid on my stock (non-Bela) beaglebone black

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Hi there - I don’t actually own the Bela cape, like @murray have been using the grid with a stock bbb. So can’t help much (if at all) with the issues you’re having, since I run arch linux on there. Never had any issue booting with the grid plugged in. Sounds like it may be specific to Bela’s OS?

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Ive got BBB + Bela, but not running a monome, but I dont really have any issues with USB device (other controllers)…

BUT … whilst using a powered hub is a good idea, make sure the device is plugged in before you power up - there is a bug in the kernel being used, that means it the hub doesn’t come out of power saving mode when devices are plugged in… and then gets into a ‘weird state’.

does libmonone/serialosc need any particular kernel version?
the bela one is quite old (so there are various kernel bugs) … but they are actively trying to upgrade to 4.4. (see here)

also… its worth posting on the bela forum (apologies if you have already) , the guys are really helpful.
(EDIT: sorry, just noticed your post there :slight_smile: )

what I would suggest, if you still have problems, is try running a stock BBB distro (doesn’t matter if the bela board is attached) , see if it runs with that, then you can narrow down your issue a bit.

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Finally getting around to reading this thread from last July:

Getting some crazy ideas…

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thx for the help guys

got serialoscd running

now the issue is that it leads to segmentation faults, probably due to the kernel issues that @TheTechnobear was mentioning

going to try updating the kernel

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Hi everyone,

Long-time lurker first-time poster here. I’m a PhD student in the Augmented Instruments Lab, and I wanted to share with you an update from the Bela project. I know some of you are familiar with Bela as you backed the original Kickstarter - thanks very much for helping us get off the ground.

Thanks to launching the PocketBeagle, we are today launching Bela Mini, which features the same software, chip and the key hardware at a smaller size and price:

For an idea of what people have been making with Bela since it launched, there’s our blog (please let us know about your projects!). There’s also lots of tips, tricks and support available on our forum, and hardware, software and wiki can be found on our github.

As people in this community have backed Bela (and hopefully it’s of interest to others as well), we wanted to drop by to say a big thanks and ask if you have any questions about Bela Mini or the project in general.



Hey this looks really cool. Do you have any product demonstrations using the Bela Mini? (110 Euros is a bit of an investment). I’ve never thought about turning a tennis ball into an instrument

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We will have more projects demonstrating Bela Mini specifically in the coming months, but as of yet we haven’t had much time to make them as we have been focusing on the launch.

What we can say is that most projects that run on Bela will run on Bela Mini, aside from the IO differences, so you can view Bela projects as a good demonstration of what Bela Mini can do. With Bela Mini you get the same processing power, ultra-low latency, synchronised sensor and audio processing, high-bandwidth inputs, browser-based IDE, and so on.

The main advantage with Bela Mini is the reduced size and weight, so we hope this means it will be easier to make for example hand-held instruments, and to embed Bela inside smaller objects (such as a tennis ball!) and spaces. We anticipate Bela Mini will be especially useful in wearable and robotic instruments where discreteness and weight are important.

There’s some more FAQs about Bela Mini here:


This is really great news, and exactly what I was hoping for once I heard about the PocketBeagle. Looking forward to picking one up :slight_smile:

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seeing this thread pop up again reminded me that i recently learned this very cool sampler is actually built from a PD patch running on the bela platform:

totally self taught with no prior programming experience. inspiring!


Can you stack Belas (mini or normal) to get 4x audio in and 4x audio out?

there is an audio expander that uses the bela (not mini) analog outs:

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Good supplemental info to @shellfritsch’s link:

As mentioned there is an audio expander “capelet” for the original Bela which turns the analog outputs into audio outputs.

Bela Mini will not feature analog outputs due to reduced device footprint (see comparison table in blogpost for full description of differences). We do expect to be able to design stackable extensions of Bela Mini eventually though (in the same way that PB is compatible with mikroBus Click Boards).

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damn, I love this guy! the realtime sample rate adjustment sounds so good.

edit, related to this whole conversation: I’m working on an installation concept that would, ideally, involve:

  • ~4 audio inputs (probably super compact electret mics + op amp preamps to get to line level)
  • ~4 sensor inputs (figuring on them also outputting analog voltages but not sure what I’ll use yet)
  • 2-4 audio outputs

the basic idea is that the audio inputs would be sampled and/or processed in real time with various parameters being influenced by the sensor inputs. probably relatively simple in the scheme of things.

I could do a simpler version of this with my modular and effect pedals, but especially after @zebra’s interview on Sound + Process, I am curious about learning how to do it with software, preferably in a way that I can set up on a laptop but then embed for the installation itself. given that I have no coding experience, setting up a patch in PureData seems like what I’d be able to wrap my head around most easily.

  • am I correct in my understanding that Bela is perhaps the most purpose-built for something like this? is there a different device I should consider instead? is there something cheaper?
  • I might want to have some sort of visual feedback or a screen for setting everything up - since Bela uses a BeagleBone Black, can I just plug in a HDMI screen and mouse and be able to modify/troubleshoot the PD patch on the device?
  • if I want to expand on this and use some sort of voltage or digitally controlled visual elements, would this be possible (within the realms of how much I/O I have)?

thanks to anyone who might be able to help out with my software novice questions! :woman_teacher:

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Yeah, belamini looks cool, mainly because of its size … but its a good match with bela… choose belamini if size is critical , or bela if you need more IO options (not only output, but its 2 add on capes)

Axoloti is a cheaper option (65 euro) , uses a RTOS, has its own patching environment, can be programmed/extended with C/C++… however its doesn’t have the same RAW cpu power.
has 2 audio in/out, 2 analog outputs, and quite a few analog inputs

rPI, but no analog IO/and bad audio , you could supplement with other boards like PiSound, but often these reduce the IO… you could pair with an arduino board, to provide analog i/o

Bela is a good option though.

I dont think this is possible, as whilst bela (well BBB) has a mini hdmi output, ive a nasty feeling it clashes with the bela board.
(and never heard of anyone doing this)
really the best option is to use a desktop computer, to do most of the dev … just use things like sliders to ‘pretend’ to be the IO … then when its working , just connect up the real IO.

( I do this kind of cross platform dev for Bela/rPI/Organelle/MacOS… it can be a bit painful to get setup, but once you’ve found a workflow it can work really well)

as I said i don’t think there is any video output, if this is important, then Id say the rPI (or derivatives) are perhaps easier

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The Bela IDE runs in the browser at the fixed address of, which means you save CPU by virtue of the editor running as client-side JavaScript on your desktop/laptop. You edit your Pd patch on your desktop/laptop as normal, and it will transfer to Bela and start running when you save it, when using our watcher script ( Or you can drag and drop the patch onto the browser window.

In terms of visual feedback, the Bela IDE features a text editor, console and oscilloscope (more on the IDE in this paper

And, yes depending on what the ‘visual elements’ are; LEDs and LCD screens are a possibility for example. The HDMI capabilities of BeagleBone are not available on Bela currently, this was not a priority initially as the graphics would consume CPU that we wanted to preserve for audio.

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Hi, I’m considering using Bela to play audio files on 12 audio channels. would this work, or do i need something else ? What i don’t get is if it’s only the audio extension or if it contains the “core” platform as well.

Thanks for help !

Hi @chapelierfou, that is a ‘starter kit’ which includes the whole platform. I agree that page is a little ambiguous, thanks for pointing that out!

You can always reach out to & too.

I got in touch with Bela and they replied me the opposite. So I’m even more confused…