Apple may have started the conversation about the “post-PC” age. But part of what this means is that a “computer” doesn’t necessarily have to be something costing hundreds of dollars, in a conventional desktop or laptop form factor. It could look more like the Raspberry Pi, at US$25 and squeezed into a tin of mints.

Suddenly, all those years of music software development are liberated from the big, pricey boxes on which we’ve run them all these years.

The Raspberry Pi Synthesizer blog documents a project dedicated to this particular device, with a clever UI and yes, even polyphony. There’s a terrific phase distortion demo above.

Of course, you can add this to the many AVR-powered synths, which get component cost even lower. (We happen to know something about that.) The difference here is, software conventionally associated with desktops can run on the Pi. I’ve been watching experiments as people try running the free patching software Pure Data on these gadgets, among other tools; watch for a CDM hands-on once we get our shipping hardware. (Sadly, today we got notice that’s delayed again, but stay tuned.)

The Raspberry Pi is likely the tip of a very small, low-powered, inexpensive iceberg, but there’s a nice write-up of some of the hacks:
Music hacks, Raspberry Pi synthesiser []

And some Pd resources via our friend Ted Hayes:
Running Puredata on the Raspberry Pi
How to build Pd-extended on the Raspberry Pi

Are you hacking on the Raspberry? Let us know what you’re finding. I know some users still prefer devices like the pricier Beagleboard for their more versatile processor and ample I/O, so we should look at those options, as well, soon.

Thanks, Andrew Cordani!