The sonaremin v1.1.6 now supports the raspberry pi 4


after a few weeks of work and testing i would like to announce the v1.1.6_2 and v1.1.6_3 (= v1.1.6_2 plus rpi 4 support) 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 three modes: display mode - where it can be used like a regular standalone vcvrack installation to create or modify vcvrack patches with a hdmi monitor, keyboard, mouse and maybe a midi controller connected to it, virtual mode - is like display mode, but one connects remotely via the xpra tool to the sonaremin 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:

  • raspberry pi 4 support (v1.1.6_3)
  • more included modules (132 plugins = 1450+ vcvrack modules, status 08.04.2020)
  • rethought the operational modes: display, virtual, headless
  • the virtual mode now uses the gpu for rendering in all provided images
  • better virtual mode due to proper allowCursorLock setting
  • easier custom audio device setup for other usb audio interfaces
  • extra audio channels for jack in network mode
  • add some adapted tinyvcvpatches as sample files (thanks to their creator @tinyvcvpatches )

the documentation is not yet updated completely, but i plan to do this at some point …

you can get the latest prebuilt images for it from here:

in case you just would like to play around with vcvrack on a raspberry pi running the latest raspbian buster, there is now also a vcvrack build for it at and you can find some documentation of how to get it running at

my plans for the next sonaremin version in a few months: cleanup - i.e remove vcvrack 0.6.2 support, remove synthv1 and padthv1 support, maybe support odroid c4, updated plugins

good luck and best wishes - hexdump


how’s the performance on rpi4 in comparison to rpi3 and odroid c2?

cpu usage for vcvrack is about half compared to an rpi 3b and should be something like “a bit better” than a rpi 3b+ or odroid c2 … this is for the rpi 4 not overclocked, but you can overclock it by about 1/4 to 1/3 which should give you even a bit more power - but a good and big heatsink is then even more required … all in all the rpi 4 runs vcvrack quite well according to my first little tests … but of course it is by no means really comparable to a contemporary intel machine …

What is the difference between the aarch64 and the armv7I Going to try first with a Pi3B with a 5"touch screen than want to try it again with a Pi4

aarch64 is 64bit and armv7l is 32bit - on the pi3 and pi4 you can (and should) use the aarch64 version (the pi2 would need the 32bit version, but would be too slow most probably to be useable) … i’m not sure if it will work with a directly connected touchscreen, as it is built with hdmi in mind - worst case you can try the also mentioned raspbian build of vcvrack on raspbian …

Hi Hexdump! i am trying to get this image to run on a rpi4: sonaremin-raspberry_pi_4-aarch64.img. Do i need to do some things to make it happen? Seems to be getting stuck in the boot. i might be doing something wrong. Any help would be welcome.

it should work out of the box - just write the image like one usually writes such images to an sd card and power up the rpi … i would recommend to start with keyboard, mouse and hdmi monitor connected to make sure it really works as expected and it can be used just normally interactive then … if you want to start headless you should set the mode to headless in [data]/config/sonaremin.txt - but as said, better start with display mode, which is the default

addition: just to mention it - the image is compressed with gzip, so you’ll have to uncompress it first … and another note: it comes with a sample patch, so in theory you should already hear some sound it it boots up properly …

that sounds strange and should not happen usually … but of course it could be as i only tested it on my rpi4 (1gb model) so far … do you maybe have another rpi around - maybe a 3b or 3b+ (3b+ needs an adjustment of the dtb in [boot]/menu/extlinux.conf) to test with that and the regular rpi image?

a good test if the image has been written properly is that the card should have two dos partitions on it then: boot and data (and some more linux partitions) …

i reburned it out of the gzip, and same deal. i am running it on the 4gb version. Does this look correct:

looks quite good, but the third partition (1gb) should be FAT too, but that should not prevent it from booting … i’ll recheck the image myself and let you know …

i just downloaded the image (to make sure we are using the exact same image) and wrote it to an sd card and it works perfectly fine … do you have someone with linux near you? maybe try to write the image on linux: “zcat sonaremin-raspberry_pi_4-aarch64.img.gz | dd of=/dev/whatever_your_sd_card_device_is bs=1024k status=progress” (be careful to use the proper /dev/device to not overwrite something you do not want to overwrite) or try to use another program for writing the image … which rpi4 version do you have?

i just came across one of those new 8gb raspberry pi’s today and tried the sonaremin image on it and had to realize, that it does not boot properly … so looks like raspberry pi hardware is not much better than chinese tv boxes and it does not mean much if different devices are all named “raspberry pi 4” - the hardware seems to be incompatible at times between different revisions. i also tried the latest boot firmware files but just got a little further into the boot process which was hanging then again like described by @magneticstripper above … looks like there are some more fixes required to get it working well with all raspberry pi 4 … i’ll continue to work on this and will hopefully get it working on all of them at some point …

Thanks for looking into it @hexdump! Your work is greatly anticipated/appreciated. i have built some cv to midi hardware and want to take this into the meta-realm.

@hexdump, any luck getting your image running on your 8GB rpi4?

@magneticstripper - i do not have access to that 8gb rpi any more, so no progress yet - which rpi model and board revision do you have where it does not work?

Just the standard get it off Amazon RPi4 Model B w/ 4GB. Everything is broken down right now, but if i remember correctly, there were issues with the usb failing, and some other snags keeping it from booting. i will set it back up again and shoot some images from the bootup.

Same here, doesn’t boot on a RPIi4 B.

@hexdump Is there a way I can compile VCV from your source ?

@23volts sure - here is all you need: … and here are precompiled versions even for raspbian:

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Awesome thanks ! I assume I need a 64 bits OS to make it work ?

if you want to build for aarch64 then you need aarch64 - the build itself is running inside of a docker container, so a 64bit kernel might already be enough (never tested it this way)

oh and you need a lot of disk space 16-20g+ at least and time - on my slow build machine (android tv box running linux) it takes nearly a day :slight_smile:

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