This is a long term project

I have recently hopped back on the website and checked out the comments. People still are interested in this project, which is just great. However, I have slowed development for these reasons:

  • Powering off the unit requires some electronics that I am not ready to dive into yet. See the whole issue here. It’s just not stage ready until it can be turned off without corrupting the SD card.
  • Reliability issues. It’s actually very reliable, but not at the level needed to play for hundreds of people, often, like I do. There are complex hardware and kernel issues involved.
  • Building a legitimate physical interface for the AmpBrownie, real knobs and all, would bump the price up to any fancy pedal effects unit, and it’s hard to compete with those until I make serious advances. It’s a huge gap.
  • Idealistically, the idea is strong. Technically, it would require my full attention, a large budget and a strong team to finish.

This really is a powerful and open platform, potentially, but I am waiting for things to progress a bit more before I dive into this again. Maybe if I am able to sell a company soon I will put this on the front burner. If anyone is interested in getting AmpBrownie moving on Kickstarter, let me know. I am open to all these ideas, but I would need a good team around me to move forward quickly.

Actually, I guess the last reason I haven’t pursued this project too heavily is that I am really happy with my Zoom G3 effects pedal:

item_gallery_10008_2744It has a few solid amp emulators, a couple good distortion effects, and other strong effects to boot. I liked it better than the pricier Line 6 or Boss units that I carefully tested with mine-own-ears. Having played with the G3 through amps and direct through a great system, it’s proven a nifty little tool.

AmpBrown Demo Video – See it in action!!!

Writing The Raspian Image To USB

In order to get a image file to work properly on your Raspberry Pi, you will need to download an image writer. Here’s a popular one for windows that I recommend.

After you install that program, you can open it, and direct it to the image you just downloaded, probably from here. Make sure it’s unzipped before writing it. The file should end with a ‘.img’.

Then make sure your SD card is selected as the device, and write that foo!


Audio Sample!

Well it’s just too crazy in the house today to complete a video sample of the AmpBrownie, but I was able to put together this audio sample. I simply booted up the Raspberry Pi and used jack_capture to record the mp3 that you are about to hear. No further processing, other than cutting out some parts to shorten the clip.


I am adjusting the sound with my Korg Nano Kontrol of course. It’s really sweet how I can dial in the settings in real time. I can’t wait to put that on video so you get the idea.

This sample is made with my Schector Diamond Series electric guitar, straight into the Behringer UCG102 USB interface, right into the RapsberyPi. That means this great sound is dern cheap.

Why don’t you try it out yourself?

Recording Samples

I am moving along here and wanted to post my notes on how to easily record the output from the AmpBrownie to an mp3.  It’s very straight forward actually. Once the unit is up and going and you can hear the output from it, we know it’s ready to install:

sudo apt-get install jack-capture

Then we just need to tell Jack to record:

sudo jack_capture -mp3 test.mp3

That will create test.mp3 right where you are standing. You even get to see a nifty little db meter while recording so you know that it hears you.  Once the mp3 is created I just pulled it down to my desktop via scp and played it that way.

If you are getting buffer overruns and cracks in the audio, you might try outputting to a wav, which jack_capture will do by default. In that case just use:

sudo jack_capture

It will automatically create the .wav file and increment the filename for you.

Back In Business

Time to ramp things up again!

I just finished a short film which kept me occupied for the last few months. That gives me time to look back at the brownie to take things up a notch.   My next task is to make a demo video on the existing Ampbrownie.  Then maybe see if latest OS upgrades help things out.