Announcing the sonaremin v1.0.0 - vcvrack in a box


after a few more weeks of work and testing i would like to announce the v1.0.0 release of the sonaremin: a small standalone device one can build based on various little arm computers like the raspberry pi, the odroid c2, the asus tinkerboard, some android tv boxes and some other similar devices and which is built around my arm builds of vcvrack. it can operate in two modes: display mode - where it can be used like a regular standalone vcvrack installation to create or modify vcvrack patches with an hdmi monitor, keyboard, mouse and maybe a midi controller connected to it – and headless mode - where it can run with just a midi controller connected and using a specially prepared patch to play it like a hardware instrument or even without a midi controller connected to it in some installation scenarios where it simply plays a generative patch. in headless mode it can be used like a regular hardware device: plug it in and shortly after it will work and when done simply plug it off.

the major changes for this version are:

  • support for vcvrack v1.0.0 (v0.6.2c is still part of the sonaremin, but in the exact same version as in sonaremin 0.5.0)
  • support for amlogic s905 tv boxes
  • with vcvrack v1 the raspberry pi seems to be useable in display mode finally (for v0 it is still discouraged)
  • added support to use rtpmini (via raveloxmidi) as input - used for instance in macos as network midi or on windows via tobias erichsen’s rtpmidi software
  • added support for midi input and audio output via jack net functionality (if enabled no local audio output)
  • added support for using 2x padthv1 and/or 2x synthv1 from instead of vcvrack for sound creation
  • changed partitioning: less data (512mb should be enough), less swap (if we swap too much with audio we are lost anyway) and more space free in the system (for experiments)
  • lots of minor fixes and improvements

a lot more information about the sonaremin and installation images to flash a handful of small arm cpu based devices can be found at … there are still some gaps in the documentation for some of the new functions, but i’ll try to add it during the next days.

feel free to try it out - it is and will remain free - maybe you’ll find some use for it …

best wishes - hexdump


It be interesting to see someone test this on the latest Rpi4 :+1:t4:

it does not work on the rpi4 yet as it is using a 64bit linux (vs. 32bit on the regular raspbian = 25% slower) and i guess it will take a few more weeks until there is solid linux mainline support for the new broadcom cpu.

you may play around with this: on raspbian meanwhile, but you need to do some audio tuning on your raspberry pi to make it work well and you need good cooling for your cpu, as otherwise thermal thottling will kill performance quickly.

best wishes - hexdump


Do you think a pi B+ will be able to run a small patch with this in headless mode?
I also noticed the download sizes are huge (compared to VCV rack vanilla), is there a whole distro included or sth? :smile:

yes a pi b+ can run some small to medum size patch in both display and headless mode, but it needs a fan - the download size is that big as there are 20 plugins included and i left the debug info in, so that we get useful traces printed out in case of a crash …

best wishes - hexdump

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ah - i forgot: the sonaremin is a complete linux system image containing and optimized for vcvrack - this is the main reason why it is much larger as it contains a complete (stripped down though) linux system as well …

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I thought so when I saw the .img :stuck_out_tongue:
Maybe a smaller starting point distro would be interesting, like tinycore linux, get the total size under 100, maybe 200 mb? Even Raspbian lite is less than 500mb and it’s got plenty of things VCV doesn’t need like Chrome, VLC, Java, …

Hmm I downloaded the sonaremin-raspberry_pi-armv7l image and wrote it to a microsd, the partitions and all files are there but my rpi won’t boot from it.

The specific model is Raspberry Pi Model B+ v1.2 (2014)

oh sorry, i just noticed, that you seem to have a raspberry-pi 1b+ - this one does not work - i was guessing it to be a 3b+ - the minimum required would be a raspberry-pi 2b (although i have none here, so can’t really test it and it would be very limited in possible patch size) and more recommended would be a 3b or 3b+

regarding the size of the image: i wanted to keep it easily useable - it was a lot of work to even get it working properly this way :slight_smile:

hexdump, I necroposted this question elsewhere, but could you (or another kind reader?) point me to a resource for flashing the sonaremin images? They seem to be .tar files and I am accustomed to using .img files for SBCs.

I am excited to build some little generative boxes, but seem to need a small nudge… :sweat_smile:

hi @apophene, there are two things i have created: compiled versions of vcvrack on arm systems distributed as tar files (this is not what you want here) and the sonaremin distributed as compressed disk images (.img.gz) - they can be uncompressed using gunzip on linux (and i guess on macos too) and i think with many tools on windows as well (maybe even in the explorer - i’m not a windows user) resulting in an .img file, which you can then flash to an sd card just like you would do with a raspbian image for instance.

good luck - hexdump

Thanks for the quick reply, hexdump!

I must be blind, but I am just not seeing those .img.gz files on your repository on github. Could you point me to them?

sure - here they are:

Ah, too bad. Then I’m gonna wait it out and see what other people make with it, maybe upgrade to a pi4 someday :slight_smile:

Yay! :level_slider::control_knobs::musical_keyboard: Thank you…d/l now.