DIY based Raspberry synth - how to continue?

As I sorta introduced my project in another thread, I want to elaborate and maybe ask somebody more experienced for help.

My project started simple - I wanted to buy a synth but I had a little money to spend on it.

But I had already some experience with writing VST plugins using CSound, noname MIDI controller and surplus Raspberry Pi in my drawer. So I build synth from it using LCD display and rotary encoder to change presets, hacky python code for software side of things, Patchbox OS and some lego to hold it together. It kinda worked (as seen in demo video) but it was not practical for real use.

It has two major problems:

  1. boot time is painfully slow (about two minutes from power on to first sound)
  2. hardware side of things is too fragile and prone to cables sliping out of connectors

I am working on another version which will use another display with integrated keypad and I hope this will make it more robust. But I still need to improve sofware side too - it’s too hacky now.

I am looking for any advices how to advance my project and make it usable. Maybe even start it as a product one day.

These are contrainst of my project:

  • as cheap as possible
  • using only off the shelf components
  • no soldering
  • software side need to be done in some language I can use (so no C++)
  • I don’t need hifi output, built-in DAC is OK
  • but sound input will be nice (my dream is to make SK1-like sampler thingy)



Have you consedered using a teensy 3.6 or 4 with audio shield? Some advantages: low latency, nearly instant boot, programmable in arduino, fairly mature audio library with drag and drop interface for signal flow… lots of io, 4.1 can be a usb host and device…

There are several synths, samplers and other audio devices using it so easy to find reference materials and help


Hi. Thanks for feedback.

Project was currently put on hold and Raspberry itself was dismantled. When I return to this I may consider using something else, for example teensy as you said.

C&G provided the desktop mother patch Desktop Mother | Patchstorage as well as all the organelle patches so you can simulate the hw on a normal machine. It hasn’t been updated in a while, so it looks like some newer patches complain but it will work with the older patches fine.