Ever dreamed of being able to program your own DSP hardware as easily as you can connect custom effects on your computer? Earlier this summer, we saw the open source OpenStomp effects pedal. Then, information was scant and we hadn’t seen an actual unit. Now, the box is going into production for North America at US$349, available for purchase right now.

The magic inside is Parallax’s Propeller CPU core. If anything kick starts a DIY revolution for DSP hardware, this could be it. The software is Windows-only, but Mac users, could be a good reason to install Windows dual-boot; there’s a graphical interface for programming custom effects, vocoders, or whatever you like.

Effects so far, which come GPL3-licensed as open source patches:

  • Tremolo
  • Chorus
  • Distortion
  • Delay
  • Tunstuff (Layered repeat loop)
  • Test Tone
  • Pong w/source

And it gets better: because of its use of the Propeller, video features are possible, too. (Yep, this could be a video stompbox — I’ll have to unleash our Create Digital Motion readers on that.)

I hope to have a chat with the creators so we can cover this in more detail; if you have questions you’d want answered, leave them in comments and stay tuned for a full-blown CDM feature.

OpenStomp Project Page + Details
Online Store

Previous round-up: Guitar Pedals Go DIY, Open Source

Via MusicRadar.com and several of you who sent this in! (Okay, stop with the awesomeness, already! We’re going to have to run like a dozen stories today. I need to eventually get out of the house!)

  • sinsect

    I'd be interested if vst plugins could be ported to the stompbox. imagine your entire freeware vst fx library available in a stompbox..

  • Wheres the docs? It would be interesting to know what modules "ship" with the device.

  • @peter — oops, should probably have included that. It's in the tech specs, fwiw (lots more detail on the site). I'll see if they post docs soon.

    Story == updated.

  • dead_red_eyes

    sinsect, I've been dreaming about that for years now. It would be great to see someday.

    What really bums me out about the OpenStomp is that the editor is for Windows only. So this pretty much leaves Linux and Mac OS X users screwed.

  • @dead_red_eyes — you know, I think it can actually be best to start with one platform and get it right. Given the hardware they're using, I can't imagine it wouldn't be possible to port the software to Mac and Linux. And in the meantime as long as you can at least dual-boot, it is hardware, so you'd program, upload, and be done with it (and re-boot Mac / Linux if you wanted).

    I did include that in my questions to them, though, so maybe they'll have a more detailed answer. But having seen some of the other microcontroller tools, a lot of those used to be Windows-only and have gotten ported to both Mac and Windows.

  • dead_red_eyes

    @ Peter – I knew you were going to bring up Dual Boot! It's a nice option to have that, for sure, but you still have to buy a copy of Windows and that's $100 at the very least, just so you can use the editor for this (that is if you don't have Windows already, which would then bring the cost up to $449). When I see Open Source I think Linux, and not Windows XP or Mac OS X. Don't get me wrong, it's great seeing something like this, and I'm in total agreement with you that it's best for them to at least get one OS right …. but if we're going to go the full route for open source, I would've preferred the editor to work with something in middle of the road, like Linux.

  • I suspect I'd would actually find this much more useful as a cheap visualization rig than for audio use. What kind of support for that is built into the tools? How's the framerate?

  • Alex

    I wonder how this will compare with the line 6 tonecore sdk that is supposed to be coming out soon. It's at line6.com/tcddk/

    This looks more flexible, and probably more powerful, it says the tonecore will only be 200 though.

  • cubestar

    It looks like with this, you can either program new modules or put together new fx by chaining premade modules,whereas the Line 6 thing looks like you have to program it?

    I don't agree with the one OS makes it better thing, look at synthedit, it has gone so long on one OS that even though Jeff would like to port it, he's too entrenched in issues and todo lists to ever get around to it.

    Especially in a case like this, where it's just a programmer, like the open source Nord Mod editor.

    Actually, having Clavia remake the G2 in smaller and cheaper packages would be sweet!

  • Vanceg

    Those who want to run VST plugins on a pedal platform might consider the SM Pro V-Pedal.

    It's quite a different beast, and isn't Open Source, but I figured I should mention it becuase some folks might want to run their VSTs instead of program their own effects.


  • Probably worth mentioning that the image you have here is not how it ships, that's a naked one.

    It looks like this:

  • @Angstrom: good point. Fixed the image!

  • The one thing that gives me pause about this is the fact that the Propeller on which this box is based, although 32-bit and all, lacks a multiply instruction (which means 1 cycle per bit of coefficient) or direct access to more than 512 words of memory per core (which might make programming a reverb something of a challenge, although granted you wouldn't look to a stompbox to replace your Lexicon). Other than that, it's a fascinating project, and I'll be very interested to see what will follow from it – not to mention the ingenuity with which those limitations are overcome…

  • …which means you'll need 1 cycle per bit of coefficient to synthesise a multiplication, even…

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  • poopoo

    I hope this thing catches on. The diy guitar pedal crowd are pretty damn conservative with their endless rehashes of big muffs, sd-1, orange squeezers etc.

    Tonepad recently released a pcb based on the fv-1 dsp chip which is much more limited but can be reprogrammed..

  • And along the same lines, from a bit ago, there's the Miss Parker project too, based on the Wavefront AL3101 (the chip that provides a single Ion/Micron voice). The idea isn't particularly new, but that doesn't limit its attractiveness.

  • somosanto


    Not open source – http://www.smproaudio.com/index.php?option=com_co… – but definitely interesting or your purposes.

  • poopoo

    has anyone actually seen one of those smpro ones in the wild? I think it's vapourware..been that way for a long time

  • vanceg

    I have only seen the SMPro at a trade show. I believe they are not yet shipping.

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