Portable studio makes and plays music on Raspberry Pi 3

We see a lot of cool stuff on Twitter. A lot. But we stopped in our scrolling tracks for this colourful set of synthesisers. Then we got even more excited when we saw maker Yohan’s follow-up tweet explaining that all MIDI connections, routing, and filtering are handled by a Raspberry Pi Model 3B hidden in the bottom layer.

Yohan’s goal in building this rig was to have everything he needs to create complete tracks and also play them live: a truly portable studio.

The main challenge was how to make all the devices communicate with each other, and in such a tight space. On top of this challenge, Yohan also wanted something low-power, which wouldn’t get too hot around all his expensive music equipment. Enter Raspberry Pi.

portable studio synthesiser rig
Secret hidden layer

What’s in the box?

All of this fits inside a tiny Magma Carry Lite XXL case:

  • Digitakt
  • Digitone
  • Typhon
  • MicroMonsta 2
  • OPZ
  • Korg NTS1
  • 1010 Bluebox
  • Korg nanoKEY Studio
  • Sony SRS-XB01 (mini speaker)
  • Bluetooth controllable LED strip

Yohan designed and 3D-printed all the synth supports so that they all align at the same level.

portable studio synthesiser rig
Everything is satisfyingly the same height

How does it work?

Inspired by this post explaining how to use our boards as a MIDI host for USB or Bluetooth musical equipment, Yohan wrote this script to prepare an OS image with everything he needed. It interconnects the MIDI ports of any USB device that is plugged in, and also auto-connects with the Bluetooth MIDI controller, so tracks can be played live from the box.

There’s a lot more info on MIDI wiring and audio paths here.

portable studio synthesiser rig
Raspberry Pi hiding underneath the Bluebox mixer

Yohan’s final touch was to downclock the Raspberry Pi to reduce heat dissipation because it sits right underneath the Bluebox mixer, which generates quite a lot of heat itself.

So now it can sit happily in the background silently conducting all the flashy music-making things up top.


Caden avatar

Awesome, I love it! The way you have it set up. I will never have guessed that it is powered by a Rasberry Pi.

Suonerie avatar

From a fantastic music player to a full-fledged audio workstation. Love it

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