This Raspberry Pi Pico Euclidean Drum Machine Rocks the House

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Agustin Bacigalup)

The Raspberry Pi community has a certain spirit about it and by that we mean—makers often find themselves creating what they want from scratch rather than buying new hardware outright. This leads to some seriously cool creations that stand out against the rest. Today we’re sharing such a project created by a maker known as Agustin Bacigalup. Bacigalup is using our favorite microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi Pico to power his homemade Euclidean drum machine.

This is a type of sequencer that can be used to produce your own electronic beats. According to Bacigalup, this is still a prototype but there are plenty of cool functions already built in that make it well worth sharing. It’s controlled using a rotary encoder along with a series of buttons to change the voice for the output. The idea is to create your own drum beats that can be recorded and played back in a sequence.

You’ve got 16 steps to take advantage of and can choose from up to 4 unique voices. All of the audio output is handled via PWM. It has optional MIDI USB output for notes and can store up to 16 unique sequences at a time. There are a few more features, as well, that you can read about on the project’s GitHub page.

Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: Agustin Bacigalup)

As this is a prototype, it should come as no surprise that the project is housed in an old soap box rather than a finished case. It’s also put together on a protoboard. The hardware currently consists of four buttons, 17 LEDs, a rotary encoder and two 74hc595 shift registers. Future iterations could consist of even more controls but this is all that’s necessary for its current state.

Bacigalup was kind enough to make the project open source so you can find the source code available to explore over at GitHub. Everything so far has been written in CircuitPython, however, there are plans in the works to port everything to Arduino C or maybe even MicroPython (CircuitPython is based on MicroPython).

If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project, check out the original thread shared to Reddit where you can also hear this cool rig in action. Be sure to follow Bacigalup for future updates.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.

  • bit_user
    Had to click, just to find out what the heck is a "Euclidean" Drum Machine. I'm not sure this helps, but the reddit link has the following description:
    "Euclidean means steps can be added/removed uniformely in the grid by rotating the encoder, and also shifted or reduced. You can save up to 16 sequences."
    I couldn't be bothered to dig any further.