Beginner advice and/or consultancy?

Pete Jones posted Feb 14, 21:57:

Hey guys, I’m a complete beginner to this, i have along (decades) history of music making with samplers etc but the coding thing with RPi is a totally new experience.

I love that this is open source and sharing the knowledge is awesome.

I wonder if we could come up with a ‘beginners’ page or doc for people like me? I’m of course happy to contribute, but i think it would open the gates for so many more people if we could?

Here is an example of my experience as a total beginner- and please do not mistake this for a complaint!! It's just to give you savvy people an idea of the entry point i started from!

  • Discovered SamplerBox via a Sound on Sound forum - looking for ways to trigger loops with the Rhythm Stick (as midi instrument i invented many years ago that is coming out now for fun jammin sessions!)

  • LOve the open source atitude

  • Have a history of electronics design (mostly hardware not coding etc)

  • Thouht fuk i can now integreate samples, into the Rhythm Stick (used to need external racks of expensive samplers back in the day).

  • Am prepared to try to do this.

  • Buy the RPi3 and kit for SamplerBox RPi3 version

  • My laptop didn't recognise the SD card so i had to buy a external USB micro SD card reader to download the latest RPi3 image.

  • Didn't know what an ‘image’ was before!

  • Found and used some great advice and instructions across the various SamplerBox contributor websites - but i found it a bit disparate.

  • Fiannly managed to get SamplerBox RPi3 image written on micro SD card (i’m impressed with my self that i’m even saying this!!!)

  • Booted my RPi3 to receive a prompt for login ?????????

  • Please bear in mind i had spent many hours reading the forums and documents - that are extremely helpful - but maybe more tilted to those who know like you.

  • Discovered (at Hams’ forum?) that the logins are root/root :)
    Tried that and it worked!

  • Then discovered a flashing prompt and welcome to SamplerBox but can not for the life of me work out what to do next (i did say a total beginner!)

That's where I’m at… totally excited and love this project so want to help but i think my help can perhaps be best to explain the bumps i’m going over to make it happen?

Also, I notice that people can buy PCBs for the SamplerBox very soon - this is excellent! - I would have done that but how about this?

People like me (i don't have much money but) I would pay someone to help/consult me one on one to help me achieve my aims and be able to create by steering and advising me through setting up SamplerBox for my project. I really do believe SamplerBox is a wonderful creative project and deeply thank all those involved :)

BiG LOve (we need a lot of that in our world right now), Pete :)

Nimbo77 posted Feb 17, 16:05:

Hi Pete.

Pretty noobish myself, but perhaps I can help you along a bit:)

You have the Pi booting, so well done on that part. In theory, the SamplerBox is now working. You don't even have to log in for it to work, assuming two things:

  1. There are samples available
  2. You have a MIDI device connected

Pretty simple huh? Unfortunately real life is usually slightly more complicated:)

First thing's first; you need to test the audio on your Pi. And to do that, you need some MIDI input, either over USB or old school DIN. For old school DIN, you have to build a MIDI in circuit; have you done that? Unless you've retrofitted the Rhythm Stick with USB somehow, you're gonna need that DIN socket.

If I were you, I'd just connect a MIDI keyboard that has USB for now. Play some notes and see if the Pi outputs audio. SamplerBox will have a basic sampleset loaded by default.

There are two audio outputs on the Pi; the headphone jack, and also audio through the HDMI. Make sure to try both outputs to rule out software issues. I BELIEVE the Pi is set up to output through HDMI by default, with the headphone jack overriding when headphones are plugged in. The easiest way to test HDMI audio is to just plug it into a TV or computer screen that has speakers. And make sure HDMI audio isn't muted on the screen/TV. That should be the default on any screen, unless you've turned on muting for some reason.

I have a bad habit when doing projects like this. I tend to try to do too many thhings at a time and gambling it will all just work together. Then when something inevitably doesn't work, I have to take it all apart again to identify the problem. It really is much more logical to add ONE thing at a time, and confirm each step before proceeding. Hence my above recommendation.

Let me know how you get on, and I'll try to make suggestions as to where to go from there.

You're likely going to have to put in some work to get this to where you want it, but I dare say it's worth it in the end:)

Pete Jones posted Feb 25, 13:36:

Hey Nimbo! Thanks for your help :)

I have two issues...

  1. after booting, i typed 'root' as login, but it would not accept root again from the keyboard! I tried several times and unplugged teh Pi several times, changed the usb port the keyboard was in. i got it to boot up SamplerBox finally, but thats worrying!?

So after that i get it to teh point where the hdmi screen says "welcome to SamplerBox" and that the program "should be up and running".

There is a flashing curser after teh line "root@samplerbox~#" and thast it.

I have a midi to usb converter - that i tested elsewhere - an am sending midi via usb to teh Pi. i tried all channels but there is nothing.

What confuses me - sorry begginer alert! - is there is no 'program' to use SamplerBox, ive not got the display or any GPIO stuff connected, do i need that to say change midi chanel etc. Like where does all teh setup action take place, via teh hdmi plugged in screen or via teh Pi itselk via the display?

Thanks for your help!!

Pete Jones posted Feb 25, 18:40:

Update: I connected the display and three switches, the display lights up but there is just a row of squares and the SB still doesnt work \:(

HansEhv posted Feb 26, 22:07:

Hi Pete,
Perhaps samplerbox won't start because of a setting in the script that needs to be adapted to your hardware.
Issue "systemctl status samplerbox" to see the state of the service. If it shows any error, then it is not started. Rest of the info there is not very helpful usually...
If it seems OK, you can stop it with "systemctl stop samplerbox". This will (obviously) stop it. You may check with the statsu command however.
Next you start the script manually with "Samplerbox/" and hopefully it will show you enough messages to grasp the problem or upload a next question to the forum so we can help you further. Stopping can be done by issuing ctrl-c.
There are too much possibilties now to try shooting in the dark hoping to hit the isue :-)
Also next commands can help in identifying important configuration items:

python -m sounddevice

amidi -l


aconnect -i


HansEhv posted Feb 26, 22:23:

By the way: which version of the samplerbox are you using now?
Considering "three switches" and the row of squares, it looks like my build (from Otherwise we have at least a crucial difference here as the original samplerbox has 2 switches and a 3-digit display (and obviously different gpio connections...).
...and ofcourse other functionality...

HansEhv posted Feb 26, 22:25:
HansEhv posted Feb 26, 22:33:

and oops again :-(
"Samplerbox/" should be "SamplerBox/".


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