Axoloti Lets You Create Custom Synthesizers & Audio Processing Systems


Developer Johannes Taelman has introduced Axoloti, an open platform that lets you create custom hardware synthesizers and audio processing systems. 

It’s built around Axoloti Core, above, a circuit board with stereo audio in- and output, audio analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters and a microcontroller, suitable for digital audio processing.

All connectors are on one side to make it easy to build your own tabletop device, rackmount, stompbox or something else.


Axoloti Core is configured using Axoloti Patcher, above, a modular audio environment.

The Patcher’s object library currently offers oscillators (sine, alias-free saw, square, pwm, some noise generators, FM modulation), 1st order and 2nd order filters, envelopes, LFO’s, tables, Midi I/O, analog voltage input, PWM output, and streaming wave file playback from SDcard.

The Axoloti patcher is written in Java and works on Windows, OSX and Linux.

When you’ve created a patch you like, the Patcher a binary executable code and uploads the executable to the microcontroller, with one single mouse-click. After uploading, the patcher “locks” the patch architecture, and parameters in the patch can be adjusted in real-time on the screen (or from a midi controller).

Here’s the official introduction to Axoloti:

The next video demonstrates how to set up a synth patch:

Here’s a demo of a ‘Hoover’ style patch on the Axoloti:

And here’s an example of an Axoloti beatslicer patch:

Once you’ve created a patch and loaded it to the Axoloti, you can use the hardware ‘brain’ to create custom synthesizers and audio devices.

The Axoloti supports a variety of hardware controls, including:

  • pushbuttons
  • potentiometers
  • LEDs
  • LDR light sensors
  • FSR pressure sensors
  • Flex sensors
  • Sharp GP2Y0A* infrared distance sensors
  • Servo motors
  • Accelerometers

Axoloti is being developed as an IndieGoGo project. The project has currently €6,130 of a €25,000 goal. See the project site for details.

via matrixsynth, axoloti

36 thoughts on “Axoloti Lets You Create Custom Synthesizers & Audio Processing Systems

  1. “Compared to Arduino, Teensy, or Raspberry Pi, you do not need to deal with coding or a command line prompt. With Axoloti you can focus directly on what really matters.

    Many project use Arduino together with Pure Data to interface with other electronics. That works, but you have three things to worry about: the electronics, the program on the Arduino, and Pure Data patch. Axoloti simplifies such setups dramatically. ”

    This is awesome!!

    EDIT: Has this been done for MAX? If not… why not?

    1. It’s been done for PD (by Buchla’s son I believe). Anything like this supporting Max would likely have to come from Cycling74.

  2. At first, I was like… ???

    Then, I was like…. !!!

    So nice to see audio and MIDI i/o. The demo audio was pretty nice sounding. It’s exciting that it is open source and flexible like this.

    Cooly cool.

    Want to learn more now.

    I think ultimately I’d enjoy this much more than that RPi synth, Piana– which is taking its sweet time.

  3. what im interested in knowing is whether it has the capability to be expanded by adding additional analog ins/outs… could make a cool expander module for the microbrute if so 😀

  4. I love how this feels like a cross between PD and a Nord Modular. All those have been begging for a NM3 should get on this. Also I just learned that Syncrotek have a simple vactrol based voltage controlled resistor kit. That’d potentially give this thing 16 CV inputs!!! Even if the control sample rate is relatively low it still puts this thing into territory that little or nothing else can touch.

  5. this is actually really cool, like a hardware version of reaktor (NI get on it)
    I’m wondering how many of those modules you can fit onto the hardware, like how much it can handle
    this is like patchblocks pro

    will we be able to do fm or additive or wavetable, will we be able to connect hardware controllers to this?
    (not midi controllers but actual pots and switches)

  6. Oh, excellent! I was just thinking of getting a raspberry PI or an arduino for stuff like this but learning PD or processing would do my head in (max4life!). You could get a nice knobby midi controller and paste some labels on it for a DIY digital hardware synth with 1:1 controls. *droool*

    EDIT Oh dang, it has 15 dedicated hardware control inputs so you can do totally custom hardware? *drooling intensifies*

  7. Right now I am able to do this to a special degree with the shbobo shnth
    A wonderful self contained controller/programmer/brain
    Although the new versions offer audio in and I have an old one

    This looks great if the price is right I may have to back it

  8. fantastic idea… pretty close to the Nord Modular concept, but with modern software, and its also open source.
    Im definitely in!

  9. What CPU / processor(s) is this based on?

    I saw a similar technology posted here in Synthtopia before… designed as ‘cube’ modules linked together.
    They ran DSP type code which you designed on a PC/Mac then uploaded into the cube.
    – damn I had it bookmarked but cannot find it :-/

  10. I dont think a 12bit resolution would cause a problem for CV’s(so far as I know), i presume this must mean the CV input is not limited to the front stereo ins/outs. Very interested.

    1. I’ve driven CVs with a Teensy. Arduino is more of a problem, but doable with a capacitor smoothing things out. The spec of this thing seem fine for CV control to me.

  11. Lol I given up on the Nord Modular G3 hope, so this gives an alternative medicine for 🙂

    Hey foks, don’t forget to the goal can be funded 🙂

  12. Can someone tell me if this will allow single-sample feedback delays like Nord Modular and Reaktor? One needs this for FM, Physical models or custom filter designs. Of course there is always the route to design such things on the C side, but I would like to have small granularities in the patcher’s unlike as in Pure Data or Audio plugin standards like VST. Thanks

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