Floyd Steinberg shows us how to run 8 instances of the DEXED free DX7 plugin as MiniDexed on a Raspberry Pi with minimal setup and hardware accessories.
It feels like FM is everywhere at the moment. Just after the arrival of the Korg Volca FM2 comes a way to create a multilayered DX synth on the humble Raspberry Pi computer. You could think of it as the Yamaha TX816 that packed 8 DX7 soundboards into a featureless rack-mounted synthesizer. The editing was done via MIDI either from another DX7 or from one of those new-fangled computer things.
For MiniDexed the interface is a single clickable encoder and an LCD display. While the lack of control is a bit frightening it is workable. But, honestly, you’d probably do all your sound design in DEXED on a regular computer and then port your patches across.
To make this work you’ll need a few bits of hardware and some assembly is required and so it’s more of a DIY project than it is a simple Raspberry Pi mod. You’ll need a Pi version 3 or 4 plus an Audio+ V2 from Raspiaudio, a GPIO expander, breadboard, LCD Display and encoder. All the details and helpful links are in the video’s description.
The software runs completely dry on the bare metal of the Pi and doesn’t require an operating system. So it loads really fast. All the files you need are on the Github page. For the presets and patches you need to create a couple of folders. Then you can copy the SysEx files across from the DEXED plugin.
MiniDexed is an interesting project created by Github contributor probobopd. It’s capable of producing huge layered sounds in a nifty sized hardware format. You could have an entire setlist loaded on it to take to a gig or simply use it for the joy of playing with FM sounds. It’s undoubtedly more trouble than loading up 8 instances of DEXED in your DAW but when has that ever got in the way of a crazy idea? Floyd’s guide to the setup is excellent and makes you feel it’s completely achievable. I might even dig that Pi out of that bottom drawer and give it a go.
- MiniDexed Github page.
- MiniDexed: Floyd Steinberg