Up yours Roland


Well my broken BK7M got me thinking ……. If my PC goes wrong, I just go to the shop and buy a part and replace it. e.g. hard disk, motherboard, peripheral interface. Its no big deal and the stuff is cheap.

I propose to build a BK7M clone from parts that are common off the shelf and cheap as chips. If it goes wrong just chuck the old part and put a new one in.

And what better to use than the trusty Raspberry Pi. The Pi Zero W is a fully functional computer running Linux that costs 10 quid. It has wifi, bluetooth, 2 USB ports, HDMI video, additional general purpose IO and uses SD cards for solid state disk.

I bought one of these in the past to monitor my surveillance video cameras and hook up to the Internet. I have now bought three more.

1) Hooks up to a USB hard drive and runs a Samba and Subversion server. This provides me with a common file server that is easily accessed by a Windows PC and any other computer on my home network. Its powered from the USB on my Internet router and the power consumption is too small to meter.

2) Hooks up to a stereo amplifier and provides a neat web interface to any mobile phone on my wifi network. It accesses my file server (1) containing my entire CD collection or any Internet audio stream. So I can play music anywhere in the house. It’s so cheap I can put one in every room and recycle redundant sound systems. None of this Sonos nonsense !

3) This is for audio experiments like a replacement BK7M. Well so far I have hooked it up to a Midiman USB Midi interface and played a sampling sythesizer (QSynth). It is very impressive. I could replace the Midiman by a few electronics components, but that is a future project. I am currently getting the analog synth (amsynth) to work. These are open source software projects.

As for the arranger software – I haven’t located an open source Pi implementation yet. There are ones for the Windows PC that cost money, e.g. One man band and Virtual something or other. So this is something I am looking to write. I am going to use Free Pascal (Lazarus) to develop it because I can develop on the Windows PC and cross compile to the Pi. I have already written a control program in Lazarus for my video project and it is the only program that doesn’t crash ever… Although I have made a living writing C, C++ and C# programs, I just hate C. Its ugly.

So that’s it. One Pi will handle synths for the solo keyboard. One Pi will do all the auto chording, drums and additional instruments. One Pi will handle the buttons, sliders, screen, Play and Record, and Karaoke screen. (Karaoke, you’ve got to be kidding !!)



Leave a Reply