Raspberry Pi 4 and Rack for ARM64

I know similar questions have been asked in the past but the #RasPi4 is a very significant upgrade.
Is anyone able to test development on that board in the near future?


I’m very curious about this. Particularly wondering what performance would be like using sonaremin, in or out of the rather nifty-seeming headless mode. @hexdump

i’m currently in the progress of upgrading my arm 32bit and 64bit builds of vcvrack to v1 - i have everything running fine here so far (even the surge-rack modules), just need to polish things a bit before uploading it. besides that i’m in the process of upgrading the sonaremin to v1 as well and have added a lot of useful features like rtpmidi to connect to it via the mac builtin network midi function and jack network support. should all be ready in a few days. i also plan to do a build of vcvrack for raspbian - but in general i would recommend to use the 64bit sonaremin raspberry version instead, as the 64bit armv8 instructions alone give about 25% better performance on the same hardware and raspbian is still 32bit. so in the end i expect the 64bit sonaremin on a raspberry pi 3b+ to be not much slower than the raspberry pi 4 with raspbian - in real life i expect the pi 4 to be only about 25-40% faster than the 3+ on the same hardware and bitness.

vcvrack on arm can work reasonable well if the modules are written efficiently (and there are many of this category) and you can be quite lost with inefficient modules due to the lower cpu power. so stay tuned for the upcoming vcvrack arm builds and sonaremin release. that upcoming new version will then also work well on the raspberry pi 3 (as the first version was only working well on other arm boards and was hard to use on the raspberry pi).

best wishes - hexdump


just in case anyone wants to play around with vcvrack on a raspberry pi running the latest raspbian buster desktop image: here is a build of vcvrack for it (vcvrack-v1-rpi.tar.gz)

i gave it a short try on a raspberry pi 4b with 1gb ram and it seems to work. my raspberry pi 4b has no cooling and there are no audio optimizations, so i’m getting audio glitches from time to time on my sonaremin sample patches. this means that on an untuned and 32bit raspbian vcvrack runs much worse on a raspberry pi 4b than the 64bit sonaremin on a raspberry pi 3b (not even plus). in case you want to play around with it anyway, use jack and have a look at https://github.com/hexdump0815/sonaremin/raw/master/files/extra-files.tar.gz (unpack it somewhere and look at etc/rc.audio) for some linux audio tuning inspiration. for jack i’m using 44.1khz and 512 frames / 3 buffers, realtime priority, forced 16bit mode and no duplex (playback mode only) and the vcvrack settings.json should be set to 2 threads, framerate limit 5.0, sync false, autosave every 60 seconds, 32000 sample rate. sample patches, which will run with this compiled version of vcvrack v1 and its included plugins can be found here: https://github.com/hexdump0815/sonaremin/tree/master/files/data/vcvrack-v1

if you wait a bit longer, the sonaremin v1.0.0 should be ready very soon as well (i’m right now building the images and will post them as a new v1.0.0 release soon on the sonaremin github repo)

best wishes - hexdump


just a little update: a new version (v1.1.0) is ready and based on vcvrack v1.1.0 - as usual available at https://github.com/hexdump0815/vcvrack-dockerbuild-v1/releases … lots of changes, a lot more plugins, some notes about running it on raspbian (https://github.com/hexdump0815/vcvrack-dockerbuild-v1/blob/master/readme-raspbian.txt) and so on - the changelog speaks for itself i guess:

changelog for version 1.1.0

  • upgraded vcvrack to version v1.1.0
  • more included plugins (all 51 currently available open source plugins plus 21khz, bidoo and lindenberg research - resulting in a total of 686 vcvrack modules!)
  • added notes for running vcvrack on raspbian
  • bring back support for building on and for x86_64 linux (64bit), i686 linux (32bit) and macos (64bit, tested on sierra) - please be aware that the linux intel builds start iconified like the linux arm builds by default (for possible low cpu usage automation scenarios)
  • add support for building on and for windows in 32bit and 64bit mode
  • given up on the bridge module - it is no longer developed and one can use the one from the v0 builds if required
  • known problems:
    – it looks like that the windows 32bit version simply does not work - it gives an assertion when loading the template patch in jpommier-pffft (the first assertion in pffft_transform_internal in case anyone wants to debug and fix this)
    – the FrozenWasteland plugin does not load (plugin.json not matching), some others not on macos and on windows (see readme-macos.txt and readme-windows.txt)

on the officially supported platforms please use the offical versions of vcvrack - my builds are just here in case someone wants to have the same environment when developing patches for the sonaremin and for the officially not supported arm platforms.

a new version of the sonaremin based on this version will follow in a few days …

have a nice weekend and best wishes - hexdump


@hexdump - thanks for all the RPi hard work - the build for RPi 4 works for me. Was it tricky to build all those modules or ‘just’ leg work?

Hopefully a quick question before I go off on another voyage of discovery. As I think you can install Ubuntu on the RPi4, can we use that and the standard Rack build for linux?

hi @Soxsa,

thanks a lot for the good feedback.

the modules sometimes compile and work out of the box and sometimes need more or less work to get them compiling and running on arm - all in all over time quite a bit of effort went into that.

you should be able to just run my arm builds on a normal ubuntu too - you just need to do all the jack setup etc. by hand then … i’m sometimes using it like this for testing too, so its even confirmed to be working :slight_smile:

best wishes and good luck for the first steps on arm - hexdump

just some information about what is possible when running vcvrack on a raspberry pi 4b or a similar arm64 device - i did some experiments inspired by this post: Apple Silicon M1, first system-on-a-chip for Mac computers - which resulted in this post: Apple Silicon M1, first system-on-a-chip for Mac computers

the result was that i was able to run test-04 on the rpi4 at the default 1.5 ghz cpu freq on two cores with 85% cpu usage on each of the two (see my above post for some more details)

today i did another test with an nvidia jetson nano 2gb overclocked to 1.9ghz (4x arm cortex a57 - usually clocked at a bit below 1.5ghz and in general about as fast as an rpi4) and was able to run test-05 from the above link on that one with 3 threads, each using about 80% of its cpu core … i think the same should be possible with an overclocked rpi4 too - all this just fyi …

best wishes - hexdump


Interesting. The future looks bright…

My new Pi400 would be a perfect companion to my mobile Eurorack on a cart. I have been considering an M1 Mac too. The question will be how the Pi400 compares to say a new M1 mini or MacBook Air. The Pi400 is what, like a fifth (or a tenth) the cost, and can clock pretty readily around 2ghz with its huge heat spreader.

Thoughts? I image a lot of people are thinking the same thing.

i think the price ratio pretty well reflects the performance ratio between an m1 and an rpi4 - so if you really need highest performance then the rpi4 is maybe not the way to go, if you can live with ok performance then the rpi might be worth a try - its main advantages are: its very small, silent, power efficient, you do not need a full computer and its very cheap - but if cheap is the main point then a used thinkpad from a few years back (or something similar) running linux is a very good option too …

best wishes - hexdump

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I started the comment to hear from people who may have actually tried it. I read a few people are already testing the Pi4. And the Pi400 is a bit higher performance. In the end I may go M1, and use it for my main office brain with part time duty in Eurorack. Apparently even in Rosetta mode it runs VCV really well. The question is the plugins.

I am currently testing / using the Pi 400 for VCV overclocked to 2.2 Ghz. The main advantage for me is the noiseless setup, the minimal space it requires and of course the price… (I had two Macbooks (2013 / 2016) used with VCV and their fan started making noise after a few seconds with VCV open. )

I have no performance data, since i am new to VCV , but it runs “two rows” of modules quite well (Plaits , Plateau , Foundry etc ). It suits for a small setup , but I wouldnt expect it to run like on a modern M1 Mac.