A few things
This is in my Top10 biggest projects.
For many years, I had been looking for a small portable inexpensive sampler that can be used to play a good 1 GB piano sample set (with many velocity layers and supporting sustain pedal), a 500 MB Rhodes piano sampleset, drums, etc. and all sorts of sounds.
There was nothing like this on the market, but instead:
expensive samplers or expanders (800€+) that can do all of that, but they usually are not very portable
- cheap samplers like the Korg Volca Sample or the Akai MPX16, but they only offer a few MB of sound, and usually support no velocity layers, the loading time can be very long, etc.
So I started brainstorming about this (this was my first sketch, I always search ideas with a pen + paper):
... and came to the idea that this could be possible with a Raspberry Pi. I then started to code a mixing engine in Python. Everybody told me "This is impossible, you won't be able to have a decent polyphony with Python, it's not fast enough...". The challenge was appealing for this reason and also because the only solutions available on Raspberry Pi at that time were 6-voice polyphony software samplers.
I spent days on this, and finally released both open-source code and hardware (rough) schematics:
Here is the blog: http://www.samplerbox.org/blog
I was happy to achieve a polyphony of ... nearly 100 voices at the same time, so my mixing engine in Python+Cython was not too bad ;)
Then it's a long story, many people contacted me, a commmunity growed on the forum (I should do a post about the software powering the forum, it's handmade too), etc.
(to be continued...)