Pisound Pre-purchase questions (latency, inputs, recording)

Hey all, super excited about Pi Sound (as a long time linux user)! Looking to understand more about Pi Sound as my main use case is realtime guitar and vocal input right now. Here goes, they are in the wrong order and poorly worded, please bear with me:

  • There is just one analog input, so this means if I wanted to have independent vocal and guitar effects I would need two Pi Sounds right?
  • Can a Pi Sound be an actual DAW? Or would I hook the Pi Sound (and Pi) up to a more powerful Linux host? I was looking at Ubuntu Studio with the realtime kernel, wondering how this plays into all of this. Is the Pi Sound intended to be more of a nice sound card?
  • I mainly want to add vocal effects and guitar effects and also record. Can the Pi Sound handle this realtime with a latency under 10ms? I want to be able to do some tracking over other recorded tracks and latency will matter for this.

Lastly, I am looking to do a YouTube Live interview with anyone interested in me picking their brain about all of this. So if you are up for it, we can just do that, record it and post it back here.


K, found this thread Suitable as guitar effect pedal? and Modep was referenced, watched the video and I see Mod Duo is a thing https://www.moddevices.com/products/mod-duo, so maybe that is what I am looking for actually in regards to taking care of vocals and guitar simultaneously.

K, I see that Mod Duo is $700 compared to ~$120 for the Pisound. And I don’t see any mention around open source for Mod Duo.

K, even though the kickstarter or website (not even FAQ) for Mod Duo doesn’t mention open source, I did find this article https://opensource.com/life/16/10/mod-duo-multiple-guitar-stomp-boxes-single-device and the GitHub account with a bunch of open source repos in it.

So it seems like Pisound is a more tinkerable and lower cost option to get started, especially with the Mod Duo emulator https://github.com/BlokasLabs/modep.

Hey! Welcome to the community!

The input port is stereo one, you could use a Y splitter like this to input two mono devices, one to the left channel, the other to the right one. The caveat is that Pisound has a single stereo potentiometer to control the gain, so finding a level that works well for both devices might be tricky or impossible in case the audio levels of the connected devices are very different.

But if you could match the audio levels for both channels just right, then yes, you could place individual effects for each channel in MODEP.

There’s many things you can do with Pisound - it is an ALSA standards compliant sound card, so it can be used with virtually any Linux audio software that runs on Raspberry Pi. As for a DAW, there’s Tracktion Waveform that has a build for Raspberry Pi. I haven’t had much experience with it myself, so I can’t comment on how well it performs.

The intention of Pisound is for it to be a sound card that enables transforming Raspberry Pi into a standalone instrument / effects unit or whatever you desire :slight_smile:

Yes, that should be possible.

Great answers, thank you!

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Came across the Pisound today and considering using it along with a Pi 3B+ to build a customized live guitar rig in conjunction with MODEP. Looks like it have some great possibilities but I have a couple of questions and didn’t find answers in the documentation or the forums. Or I missed them if they are there. Playing live presents its own set of challenges - so I would want to pair some kind of MIDI foot controller to send MIDI program change commands and potentially continuous controller data to the MIDI input on the Pisound. There’s the background, now the questions.

1 - In this scenario, could the MIDI program change messages sent from an external controller be used to change configuration in MODEP? Assuming that MODEP provides a mechanism to save different configurations and thinking along the lines of traditional MIDI instruments, in other words could MIDI program change messages call up different saved “patches” if you will?

2 - Is there some kind of underlying setup to vary how the MIDI input and output on the Pisound are used? In other words, with software driven configuration changes can the MIDI out be re-purposed as a MIDI thru port to daisy chain a second device?

3 - Does the Pisound recognize any MIDI controller input and provide a mechanism to relay the controller input data to specific parameters within a program?

  1. Yes, MODEP can react to Program Change messages, but there are some weird quirks, see these posts: Change Patches in Bank with es-8, and MIDI Command Server, the best way would be to have the MIDI Command Server configured to do preset changes via modep-ctrl.py script. Apart from program changes, pedalboards can be switched using different number of clicks of Pisound’s The Button, or using Pisound App.

  2. Yes, it can. If using MODEP, you should just connect the input to output, so the data gets sent through, if using something else, you have to use aconnect or to make the virtual connection manually, or our amidiauto utility configured appropriately,

  3. You can connect anything to the DIN-5 input, or USB MIDI controllers to the Raspberry Pi’s USB ports. The ports appear to the OS as virtual MIDI ports. The MIDI mapping is then up to how the software you use implements this functionality.

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Fair enough, thank you for the quick responses. I’m off to purchase one now. :slight_smile: