Best music add-on/HAT for Raspberry Pi?

I’ve got a network of Pi’s in my classroom and was wondering if there was some add-on that would help with Sonic Pi. I’ve seen a few DAC attachments and even one gizmo with an actual tube/valve, but I’m wondering if anyone has found something worth springing for extra money.

Been having a great experience with Blokas Pisound. The integration between hardware and software is particularly useful.

1 Like

Thanks! It looks seriously cool. What have you done with it, what controllers/software have you hooked it up to, etc.?

Been using two pisound-hatted Pis at a few events in museums and such. One runs MODEP (MOD Emulation for pisound). Been using a wind controller (Yamaha WX-11) and a small keyboard (Alesis Vmini) to control some softsynths and effects on one. The other Pi runs Sonic Pi which also controls Minecraft, using note input to select blocks. The two Pis are hooked to one another through a MIDI cable.
Also used my MODEP setup during jam sessions, including a pretty crazy one during Drone Day. In that case, was using a pedal (hooked through the MIDI Expression iO adapter) to control a very simple looper (loopor, made specifically for the MOD Duo).
Loads of fun.
Sure, the HAT is much more expensive than a Pi. But it’s still much cheaper than many other devices that people buy without blinking an eye.

1 Like

Seriously cool stuff! Are you using PureData to link everything? (I’ve fallen down the PD rabbit hole and it’s looking like the solution for tying all these things together).

Have you blogged, GitHubbed, etc about this? I would love to know more about it! Or perhaps I can email you…


Feel free to email me. It’s actually quite simple, though.
Did post a couple of things, here and there. Will try to find them, if you’re interested.
No Pd involved. Tried digging in that direction, but hit walls fairly quickly. Sonic Pi saved me from those.
In this case, the main code is about putting blocks from incoming notes (which are simply passed through MODEP; easy to reassign things, by the way).

So, here’s that code.

block_type=(ring :fence, :glass, :farmland, :door_wood, :dirt, :diamond,  :cobblestone,  :clay,  :cactus,  :chest,  :brick,  :bookshelf,  :bedrock,  :bed) # A ring of Minecraft block types

live_loop :midille do
  nt, vel=sync "/midi/*/*/*/note_on" # Take incoming notes, assign them to nt and capture the velocity as vel (just in case)
  tick # Increment the counter
  block_note=(scale 0, :chromatic)[nt] # Continuously assign a number from 0 to 11 to the note number
  b=block_type[block_note] # Choose the block which corresponds to that number
  x = (range 20, 100, step: 0.1).look # Set a point forward, according to the counter, but within bounds
  y = 40 # Remain at the same altitude
  z = -20 # Remain at the same depth 
  mc_teleport x, y, z # Go to the new coordinates
  mc_set_block b, x, y, z-5 # Put a block of the note-assigned type at a depth of -5 from the character

For the rest, played a bit with using my existing scripts to play crazy effects.

The performance wasn’t always worth it. Ended up playing sounds through MODEP itself (or even with an iPad connected through Bluetooth). The whole setup already gets people intrigued enough, what with my wind controller and a way to control Minecraft by playing notes.

You don’t necessarily need a HAT to do these things. Here, Sonic Pi mostly uses the MIDI port. But the musical affordances from that HAT are really stimulating. Naysayers claim that it’s better and cheaper to do such things with another device (say, the Bela). Got those as well. Keep going back to my pisound setups because they make sense to me.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing! I will def contact you on email!