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My next dabble in new gear...Zynthian


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This one has been around a while, so of the kits, I"d say it"s furthest along. Let us know what you think when u pick it up. Looks fun!

 

This one caught my eye too. But had only a limited run as part of a Kickstarter. https://www.pipes.rocks/

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Not sure I understand so check me on this.

 

It's basically a VST in a box for people who do not want to haul a laptop around? Each box only contains one VST or a small batch of VSTs?

 

I think it makes sense, as one of the most expensive pieces of gear that I haul to every single gig is my MacBook Pro, which I use for almost nothing else except music.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff

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Mmmm. I guess so. It"s more like a low cost rasberry pi kit. They"ve worked out the audio hardware that will work on it. And done the leg work on operating system and software instruments and FX that will run on it. But in a nutshell, yeah - it"s an alternative to a commercial laptop that runs Mac OS or Windows. But don"t expect to run Omnisphere or Kontakt on it.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Some of the "features" I guess?

General Features

 

Real-time audio processing, low latency & jitter

Multi-engine / Multitimbral / Multi-layer

Up to 16 independent Synth/FX chains

Snapshots

Step Sequencer, Arpeggiator, Chorder

Recorder/Player for Audio & MIDI

MIDI learning for controllers & programs

Web Configuration tool

Remote Control & GUI

MIDI filters & tools

Advanced Audio & MIDI routing

MIDI over Network / TouchOSC

MIDI feedback (motorized faders integration)

Experimental Audio to MIDI conversion

 

and this:

Zynthian is a new class of musical device. A powerful multitimbral synthesizer and audio processor, capable of managing up to 16 audio chains simultaneously. Also, it's a MIDI processor and router, equipped with standard MIDI ports, USB, WIFI & wired networks. It features:

 

Accurate Emulations of Classic Instruments: Grand piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, pipe organ, Hammond organ, combo organ, Minimoog, DX-7, Oberheim OB-X, JX-10...

Amazing Virtual Analog Synthesizers: ZynAddSubFX, Helm, NoizeMaker, Surge, AMSynth, SynthV1, PadthV1, ...

SoundFont support: SF2, SF3, SFZ and GIG formats are supported. A 4GB collection of soundfonts is included.

Lots of Effects: Reverb, delay, echo, chorus, distortion, EQ, compressor, wahwah, flanger, phaser, granulator, vocoder, auto-tune...

MIDI filters & tools: Map, chorder, arpeggiator, LFO, sequencer, quantization, split, velocity map, ...

MOD-UI & Pure Data

Step Sequencer, Audio & MIDI recorder/player, ...

 

You can use it for live performing, studio production or as a tool for sound exploration.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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About $500 AUD so a bit onb the pricey side, but it does have it's own screen for viewing whats loaded, and along with the "live-gig" features and connectivity...might be worth it...still umming and ahhing as I am going to try my Intel NUC8i7 with an Eyoyo Touch screen (gear I already have) and see how that works.

 

This one might be good for carting the small keyboard to rehearsals etc, or other activities (holidays EG) anyhooo, it looks really interesting :)

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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About $500 AUD so a bit onb the pricey side, but it does have it's own screen for viewing whats loaded, and along with the "live-gig" features and connectivity...might be worth it...still umming and ahhing as I am going to try my Intel NUC8i7 with an Eyoyo Touch screen (gear I already have) and see how that works.

 

This one might be good for carting the small keyboard to rehearsals etc, or other activities (holidays EG) anyhooo, it looks really interesting :)

 

You don"t have to get the kit from them. You can source parts yourself. But, I don"t think it would be much cheaper or come out as slick without some research and effort.

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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About $500 AUD so a bit onb the pricey side, but it does have it's own screen for viewing whats loaded, and along with the "live-gig" features and connectivity...might be worth it...still umming and ahhing as I am going to try my Intel NUC8i7 with an Eyoyo Touch screen (gear I already have) and see how that works.

 

This one might be good for carting the small keyboard to rehearsals etc, or other activities (holidays EG) anyhooo, it looks really interesting :)

 

You don"t have to get the kit from them. You can source parts yourself. But, I don"t think it would be much cheaper or come out as slick without some research and effort.

 

Yeah, totally! And no soldering everything is headers and pins :thu: I've sent an email asking about acquiring one down under :)

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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About $500 AUD so a bit onb the pricey side, but it does have it's own screen for viewing whats loaded, and along with the "live-gig" features and connectivity...might be worth it...still umming and ahhing as I am going to try my Intel NUC8i7 with an Eyoyo Touch screen (gear I already have) and see how that works.

 

This one might be good for carting the small keyboard to rehearsals etc, or other activities (holidays EG) anyhooo, it looks really interesting :)

I'd recommend you to try on a Raspberry Pi 4 and an USB audio interface first. The software is fully open source, so it's downloadable, usable and modifiable :D

If it works out for you, then you can buy the kit minus the Pi.

 

I've had some problems with both an USB audio interface and an USB master keyboard connected (i.e. MIDI messages would get lost due to the way USB is implemented on the RPi), but that may have changed on the Pi 4 which supports USB 3. I also guess latency would be much better with their audio interface which connects directly to the GPIO pins. Since the 4.2 kit it also has balanced outputs!

 

Not sure I understand so check me on this.

 

It's basically a VST in a box for people who do not want to haul a laptop around? Each box only contains one VST or a small batch of VSTs?

 

I think it makes sense, as one of the most expensive pieces of gear that I haul to every single gig is my MacBook Pro, which I use for almost nothing else except music.

Yes, it allows you to run plugins but mostly in LV2 format. VSTs are technically loadable on the platform but I don't know if they are supported by their software. All the plugins must also be compiled to run on ARM and sometimes they have to do a bit of tweaks to make them run. Check out the Discourse thread on their site about Surge for example.

Yamaha MODX7 | iPad Mini 2 | Raspberry Pi 3
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Pianoteq works on it. That will capture the attention of a lot of folks; it becomes one of the two most compact/portable solutions for a really good piano sound, the other being an iOS device running Ravenscroft or the Synthogy library in Module Pro.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

 

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job

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Pianoteq works on it. That will capture the attention of a lot of folks; it becomes one of the two most compact/portable solutions for a really good piano sound, the other being an iOS device running Ravenscroft or the Synthogy library in Module Pro.

 

Yes Dr Mike - that was what got my interest piqued!

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Pianoteq works on it. That will capture the attention of a lot of folks; it becomes one of the two most compact/portable solutions for a really good piano sound, the other being an iOS device running Ravenscroft or the Synthogy library in Module Pro.

 

Yes Dr Mike - that was what got my interest piqued!

 

Mine as well...

Yamaha: Motif XF8, MODX7, YS200, MX61, CVP-305, CLP-130, YPG-235, PSR-295, PSS-470 | Roland: Fantom 7, JV-1000

Kurzweil: PC3-76, PC4 (88) | Korg: N1R, X5DR | Emu: Proteus/1 | Casio: CT-370 | Novation: Launchkey 37 MK3

Former: Emu Proformance Plus & Mo'Phatt, Korg Krome 61, Roland Fantom XR & JV-1010, Behringer CAT

Yamaha Pacifica 112V & APX600 | Washburn WI64 | Ibanez BTB-675 | Alesis SamplePad Pro | Assorted organs, accordions, other instruments

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AFAIK, it's a Pianoteq Linux version (also available on the website). If I understand the (the Zynthian) tech stuff properly, it is running a Linux based OS.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Forgive the ignorance, but I barely know about this stuff.

 

So, isn't Rasperry Pi an under $100 chip that has been tried to be used for a number of years now for anything a computer can do, but cheaper and smaller?

How is a low powered chip like this going to run 16 simultaneous channels of fx and audio?

What exactly are they offering- sounds like you can buy a kit that comes soldered but not assembled (and one that needs soldering). What is unique about this kit, the way the components are chosen (for audio), or the software running it?

Would anybody except a techie attempt to use one of these?

Is it preset to run Linux, or do you install an OS yourself?

How do various VSTs run on it, or potentially run on it, aren't most VSTs running on Windows and Macs?

 

Like I said, clear as mud!

Kawai ES110 & ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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Forgive the ignorance, but I barely know about this stuff.

 

So, isn't Rasperry Pi an under $100 chip that has been tried to be used for a number of years now for anything a computer can do, but cheaper and smaller?

Correct. An under $30 computer which can run two 4K displays at 60fps simultaneously. It"s not the slouch it was.

How is a low powered chip like this going to run 16 simultaneous channels of fx and audio?

 

Pick and choose. If you want the computationally beefy synth just run one channel. If you need 16 layers of multitimbral orchestration pick the sample based stuff.

 

What exactly are they offering- sounds like you can buy a kit that comes soldered but not assembled (and one that needs soldering). What is unique about this kit, the way the components are chosen (for audio), or the software running it?

 

Nothing is unique. It"s all off the shelf stuff apart from the case but it is also open source. You can build one with stuff you already own, usb audio interfaces, source your own knobs. The kit is for convenience.

 

Would anybody except a techie attempt to use one of these?

 

Check out the forum, yes, non-techies use one of these.

 

Is it preset to run Linux, or do you install an OS yourself?

At least one person is dual booting Zynthian OS and Retrocade. Play Super Mario on your synth if you like.

How do various VSTs run on it, or potentially run on it, aren't most VSTs running on Windows and Macs?

Mostly open source ones using the lv2 plugin framework. Some have been cross-compiled

 

Like I said, clear as mud!

 

Have you heard of clicking on links and researching on the internet? The world is larger and weirder than Keyboard Corner.

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Pick and choose. If you want the computationally beefy synth just run one channel. If you need 16 layers of multitimbral orchestration pick the sample based stuff.

This. Also the RPi 4 seems more powerful than the previous gen but runs quite hot. Zynthian is passively cooled using the case itself but I would still build something that let me use the fan, even if I would have to connect the audio card using some kind of ribbon connector. Check this video out too about its thermals:

 

Nothing is unique. It"s all off the shelf stuff apart from the case but it is also open source. You can build one with stuff you already own, usb audio interfaces, source your own knobs. The kit is for convenience.

Actually I think the case is open source too: https://github.com/zynthian/zynthian-case

Yamaha MODX7 | iPad Mini 2 | Raspberry Pi 3
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AFAIK, it's a Pianoteq Linux version (also available on the website). If I understand the (the Zynthian) tech stuff properly, it is running a Linux based OS.

 

One downside to ZynthianOS is that it's still 32-bit. Pianoteq arm-32bit is only usable at very low settings on the Raspberry Pi (Zynthian recommends 22005 Hz, polyphony 32).

 

If you just want to run Pianoteq, you'll get a significant performance boost by running Pianoteq arm-64bit on a 64bit OS - so you'd skip Zynthian OS and install either Raspbian 64bit on the Raspberry Pi 4 or Ubuntu on the Odroid N2+.

 

The Odroid N2+ has a slight performance edge because it has 6x cores, 4x of which can be assigned to Pianoteq and 2x for the OS. Plus it comes with a robust heatsink and a very good-usable onboard sound chip. But it's also around US$40++ more than the Raspberry Pi 4.

 

The advantage of the Raspberry Pi 4 is that it's inexpensive and has a very active and large user-base - but you do have to add a heatsink/fan + external audio interface, and also overclock it, which gets it to around the same price as the Odroid N2+.

 

 

** I went with the Odroid N2+ for my "Pianoteq Sound Module" because I wanted more stuff built-in ,than not. Performance between the Raspberry Pi and Odroid N2+ is very close, with a very slim edge for the Odroid N2+.

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AFAIK, it's a Pianoteq Linux version (also available on the website). If I understand the (the Zynthian) tech stuff properly, it is running a Linux based OS.

 

One downside to Zynthian is that the OS/build is still 32-bit and Pianoteq arm-32bit is only usable at very low settings on the Raspberry Pi (Zynthian recommends 22005 Hz, polyphony 32).

 

If you just want to run Pianoteq, you'll get a significant performance boost by running Pianoteq arm-64bit. In that case, you have to skip Zynthian and install a 64bit OS for that device: Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi 4 and Ubuntu on the Odroid N2+.

 

The Odroid N2+ has a slight edge because it has 6x cores, 4x of which can be assigned to Pianoteq and 2x for the OS. Plus it comes with a robust heatsink and a very good-usable onboard sound chip. It's also around US$40++ more than the Raspberry Pi 4.

 

The advantage of the Raspberry Pi 4 is that it's less expensive and has a very good and large user-base - but you do have to add a heatsink/fan + external audio interface, and also overclock it, which gets it to around the same price as the Odroid N2+.

 

 

** I went with the Odroid N2+ for my "Pianoteq Sound Module" because I wanted more stuff built-in than not. Performance between the Raspberry Pi and Odroid N2+ is very close, with a very slight edge for the Odroid N2+.

 

Can you please give more info on how you built your module? Did the Odroid fit right into the Zynthian kit?

"This is my rig, and if you don´t like it....well, I have others!"

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Can you please give more info on how you built your module? Did the Odroid fit right into the Zynthian kit?

I didn't use the Zynthian OS or kit. I installed Pianoteq on an Odroid N2+ with a different OS and set it up as a standalone sound module - using a small HDMI touchscreen to operate Pianoteq. The "sound module" is just a box with the Odroid N2+ inside and the touchscreen mounted on top.

 

1. Zynthian OS is 32bit only. To run Pianoteq 64bit you have to run either Raspbian OS on the Raspberry Pi 4 or Ubuntu OS on the Odroid N2+.

2. Zynthian OS currently only runs on the Raspberry Pi 4 - not the Odroid N2+.

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So let"s say you pickup an Odroid N2+ and load Ubuntu and Pianoteq for Linux.

Do you use Pianoteq stand alone or what is there for VST host on Linux?

Can this hardware/software combination accept class compliant midi from a controller or do you need to be careful about what midi controller you choose so that they have Linux drivers?

Also what do you use for audio io? Class compliant usb interface?

Does the hardware have a PCIe slot for a sound card? What cards work?

 

Thanks!

Yamaha CP88, Roland VR-700, Crumar Mojo, rebuilt 1910 Chickering 5'2", Fender Rhodes MKI 88k, Casio PX-560

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Hi --

 

The ARM processor in the Raspberry Pi 4 is a much different design than the processors in the RPi models 1, 2, and 3. For an overview, please check out:

 

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/raspberry-pi-4-mini-review/

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/raspberry-pi-4-arm-cortex-a72-processor/

 

There are also super-deep dive articles about the ARM Cortex-A72 (Broadcom BCM2711, the processor in the RPi 4):

 

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/arm-cortex-a72-fetch-and-branch-processing/

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/arm-cortex-a72-execution-and-load-store/

 

Bottom line, the RPi4 processor is similar to and competitive with contemporary x86 processors (superscalar, out-of-order execution). It's a more powerful beast than the earlier Raspberry Pi models (1, 2 and 3).

 

Hope this helps -- pj

 

P.S. I used to do this kind of analysis as my day job. :-)

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Hi --

 

The ARM processor in the Raspberry Pi 4 is a much different design than ...

Bottom line, the RPi4 processor is similar to and competitive with contemporary x86 processors (superscalar, out-of-order execution). It's a more powerful beast than the earlier Raspberry Pi models (1, 2 and 3).

 

Hope this helps -- pj

 

P.S. I used to do this kind of analysis as my day job. :-)

 

I read quad core, 1.5GHz ...

That´s much better than the ancient V-Machine but also not as good as a Intel i7 mobile quad @2.5GHz or more.

And then, there´s the cache ...

6 or 8 MB L3 cache is better than only 1, 2 or 3 MB ...

Now the Pi4 comes w/ only 2 levels of cache and L2 is 1MB only.

So, I wonder what all the specs mean for polyphony and MIDI multi-timbrality,- or are these processors not comparable w/ Intel or AMD in any way ?

How many plugins run simultaneously and which ?

How many voices available when using PianoTeq AP, a Rhodes layer on same MIDI channel and w/ lots of sustain pedal usage ?

Do insert FX work in addition,- overdrive, ringmod, phaser, chorus, flanger and wah, the latter being controlled by expression pedal ?

 

To me it seems, it´s all optimized for passive cooling, not max. performance,- as always when the case is tiny.

In fact, that´s already the balancng act w/ today´s laptops.

 

And isn´t it the same it always was,- "you get what you pay for" ?

 

A.C.

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So let"s say you pickup an Odroid N2+ and load Ubuntu and Pianoteq for Linux. Do you use Pianoteq stand alone or what is there for VST host on Linux?

You can run Pianoteq standalone or use Carla (an open source host for audio plugins). There are also several DAWs that can act as hosts for audio plugins (e.g. Reaper). Modartt provides a couple of Pianoteq plug-in formats (I forget which ones).

 

Can this hardware/software combination accept class compliant midi from a controller or do you need to be careful about what midi controller you choose so that they have Linux drivers?

Yes to MIDI DIN class compliant controllers. For USB-MIDI, my Roland FP-30 was recognized immediately and I got it running over BLE-MIDI (though latency over Bluetooth was noticeable - Apple does Bluetooth better).

 

Also what do you use for audio io? Class compliant usb interface?

There is a very good onboard DAC (3.5mm/HDMI/SPDIF outputs). I also have a Mackie MDB-USB DI Box, SSL2 and Traktor Audio 2 MKII interface - all were recognized immediately.

 

Does the hardware have a PCIe slot for a sound card? What cards work?

No PCIe slot. You will have to use a USB audio interface or the onboard sound. As for which cards ... you need to check hardware specs to make sure it's compatible with Linux (more so than Windows/Mac).

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So, I wonder what all the specs mean for polyphony and MIDI multi-timbrality,- or are these processors not comparable w/ Intel or AMD in any way ?

Pianoteq maxes out the capabilities of both the Raspberry Pi 4 and Odroid N2+. You can't run anything else unless you significantly lower the settings. Generally, you will get clean solo performance at a sample rate of 41000Hz or 48000Hz with latency set between 1.3 - 4.0 ms - and a polyphony of 256 (though for live performance and/or heavy pedaling setting polyphony to Auto Optimistic or Pessimistic is a good idea).

 

I stress-tested Pianoteq on the Odroid N2+ with some challenging MIDI files at the MAX settings (192000/48000 Hz sample rates / 256 samples (1.3ms) latency / 256 polyphony)

- for demanding presets with 3+ mics, FX etc. - polyphony began to break between 128-150, with heavy pedaling 80-128

- for standard presets polyphony began to break between 150-200, with heavy pedaling 128-150

 

Keep in mind that was all at max settings on the Odroid N2+, you'll get better performance under normal settings (41000/410000 Hz, with latency set to 1.3 - 4.0, and once again Auto Optimistic/Pessimistic is your friend)

 

Pianoteq / N2+ Stress Tests

- you can watch the current polyphony in the lower right corner

- initial settings can be seen at beginning of video

- preset is the more demanding 'NY Steinway D Classical Recording'

* MIDI files are from the Yamaha Signature MIDI collection

 

Video #1

Despite the speed/frenzy of the music, this isn't too demanding, polyphony stays low. Some x-runs, but not noticeable.

 

Video #2

A bit more demanding with medium pedaling, polyphony hovers around 30-60. Some x-runs, but not noticeable.

 

 

Video #3

La Campanella. Pianoteq handles the majority of this piece fine, but when the polyphony + pedaling soars, Pianoteq crashes and burns - especially the ending (4:00 min onwards).

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Pianoteq works on it. That will capture the attention of a lot of folks; it becomes one of the two most compact/portable solutions for a really good piano sound, the other being an iOS device running Ravenscroft or the Synthogy library in Module Pro.

 

What kind of polyphony did you experience?

 

Kind of wondering after the other guy claimed it's only usable on Zynthian at very low settings.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Pianoteq works on it. That will capture the attention of a lot of folks; it becomes one of the two most compact/portable solutions for a really good piano sound, the other being an iOS device running Ravenscroft or the Synthogy library in Module Pro.

 

What kind of polyphony did you experience?

 

Kind of wondering after the other guy claimed it's only usable on Zynthian at very low settings.

Oh, I haven't tried the Zynthian and probably won't. Modartt has announced development of Pianoteq for iOS, and I'm content to wait.

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Janitor and Hall Monitor, Dr. Mike's Studio Workshop

 

clicky!: more about me ~ my schwag ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job

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Yes Mike, that was my thought too - after researching a bit more and THEN finding PT is iOS bound I decided I'd wait too.

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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It should also be said that the Raspebby Pi 4 have a USB 3 port connected thru a PCIe line to the CPU.

 

While of course this is not the thruput of a thunderbolt port, it make a difference.

 

I am playing with one of them with my 15 years old son; i have Ubuntu on a T7 Samsung SSD connected to the USB3 port, and the "feel" of the machine is that of a reasonable Desktop, using LibreOffice and Firefox.

 

It may end up in a Zynthian kit if my son give up :-)

 

Maurizio

Nord Electro 5HP, OB-6, Modx 7, Rameau upright.

http://www.barbogio.org/

https://barbogio.bandcamp.com/

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