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Manual and tutorial for PC/PSP/PSVita/Pocketchip can be fetch here :


Picoloop is a synth and a stepsequencer (a clone of the famous nanoloop). The step sequencer play 4 tracks simultaneously, by default each track are 16 steps long, you can set the track to be up to 128 steps. Each track has a synthengine which can be a Virtual Analog, a Drum Synth, a FM synth. Each of the step can be edited on the 4 tracks. So for example, you can set a C4 note on step 0, nothing on step 1 and 2, then a D+5 on step 3 until the step 15.

A pattern of 16 steps is played repeatedly while these notes can be edited in various respects like volume, pitch, filter, lfo etc. All parameters are set step-wise, so you can make huge variation of sound on the same pattern. Each channel's patterns can be saved to file slots and are then available for new combinations. Finally, saved patterns can be arranged in a song structure.

Besides the song editor and manual loading of patterns, there are 3 different ways to modify each channel's patterns so that they form longer structures:

  • 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 speed
  • Different pattern lengths by track

Picoloop is targeted for linux/SDL compatible system. It uses SDL to render graphics. It uses RtAudio or SDL to render audio out. It uses RtMidi to send and receive midi message, today only clock

How it works

There is two pane :

  • the 16 steps ;
  • the menu which is above the 16 steps ;

On the 16 boxes, there is a moving cursor which displays the current played step. And another cursor which displays the current selected step. There is a text menu, which allows you to select channel and edit parameter. All notes in the sequencer can be edited simultaneously.

The menu mode

The menu mode changes the selected textual menu at the bottom of the screen. This allows you to choose what kind of parameter you want to change, for example, the NOTE, the OSC, the Filter... In menu mode, when you press left/right, it changes the textual menu in the bottom of the screen

</>             move backward/forward in the menu
^/v             select the track from 0 to track 3
B               do nothing
A + </>/^/v,    edit all steps at once
A               enter the edit mode
L               go to the next     16 steps on the same track
R               go to the previous 16 steps on the same track
SELECT          call menu2 or menu1 ( it cycle between the two menu )

The edit mode

The edit mode changes the current step on the 16 steps display. In edit mode, when you press left/right, it changes the current step in the sequencer.

</>             select next step
^/v             select step+4, step-4
B               enter a note in a step, it works as a cut/paste
A + </>/^/v,    edit the current step
A               do nothing
L               go to the next     16 step on the same track
R               go to the previous 16 step on the same track
SELECT          call menu2 or menu1 ( it cycle between the two menu )
START           cycle between the different parameter


The menu 1 is the first menu. It allows to modify the parameter of the synthengine of the current track. Each synth engine has different kind of parameter.

You can:

  1. A/R : the enveloppe of the synth
  2. Note : the value of the note trigged
  3. OSC : the oscillator of the synth
  4. VCO : the vco parameter for example a osc1 and osc2 mixer
  5. LFO : the lfo parameter
  6. FLTR : the filter parameter.

Here is the global overview of the most common parameters you will find by synth engine.

  • A/R :

    • Amp Enveloppe
      • Attack/Release Amp / FM operator1
      • Decay/Sustain Amp / FM operator1
    • Filter Enveloppe
      • Attack/Release Filter / FM Operator2
      • Decay/Sustain Filter / FM Operator2
    • Trig/Amplification
      • trig time/Volume
  • Note :

    • Choose note with "C3" "C4" "D2"
    • Choose note with "dot"
  • OSC :

    • Choose the two OSC shape of the synth, the drumsynth, the FM synth
  • VCO :

    • VCO mix in synth mode, OP1mult/OP2mult in FM mode
    • OP1amp/OP2amp in FM mode
  • LFO :

    • depth/speed in psynth and drumsynth mode
    • pitchbenddepth/pitchbendspeed in psynth mode
  • FLTR :

    • Cutoff/Resonance
    • algo/mode ( lp/bp/hp )

menu 2

The menu 2 is a more general menu. You can:

  1. L/S load and save a pattern track or the 4 pattern track ;
  2. BANK change the current bank which allow you to have more pattern.
  3. PSH shift left or right the pattern of a track and add bunch of 16 step ;
  4. MAC change the current synth engine, synth, drumsynth, dbopl (adlib fm)
  5. FX apply fx on the current track delay
  6. BPM change the BPM and swing of the 4 track and the step diviser of the current track
L/S menu

The top menu shows the tracks and patterns.

  • Save your current track by selecting an empty slow, then B+down.
  • Save your current pattern (group of 4 tracks) by selecting a column, then A+down.
  • Load a track with A+up (it will replace your current working track).
  • Load a pattern with B+up (il will replace the 4 current working tracks).

You can clone a track by loading it into memory, then saving it to another track.

The menu below (song position) allows you to order your tracks. You can enter it with Start key.

  • Define Loop start position with A+up
  • Define Loop end position with A+down
  • Change the values with B+up and B+down.
PSH menu
  • Increase the track size (16 steps block) with A+UP
  • Decrease the track size (16 steps block) with A+DOWN
  • Increase the track size (1 step) with A+RIGHT
  • Decrease the track size (1 step) with A+LEFT
  • Navigate into the new steps (move the position by -16 or +16) with the LEFT and RIGHT SHOULDER (or TAB and BACKSPACE on PC)

What you need to know

Every pattern is stored in the bank/bankXXX/file so if you backup this directory you should be fine.

You can write pattern on OpenDingux and push it on your laptop, unfortunately, it could sound little different. The OpenDingux a320 lack FPU so every thing is done in fixed point. On PC and PSP it's done in floating point...

You won't be able to push pattern from PC to PSP/Opendingux, it could work but it depend if the Machine is available on the PSP. Today ( picoloop 0.75c ) only Picosynth, Picodrum, DBopl and PBSynth are available on slower platform : PSP, opendingux.

The combo Select+UP, Select+Down allow you to raise or decrease the internal volume of the apps

If you plug on Windows/Linux a midi cable you can use it with midi sync in or midi sync out. The MMC message ( "play", "stop" ) are received by picoloop, but it doesn't transmit this kind of message. It understand the "stop" and "play" MMC message.

You can use midi delay to fine tune the sync between midi hardware and picoloop software.

The MDA Drum synth works with file patch ".ds" file. So if you have a laptop with a harddrive which is not an ssd, you should work with a PSU and not the battery to avoid disk spinning down. The automatic disk shutdown will block audio for 10ms and it became really audible. Will be fixed in a latter version.

Package dependency, build from source

This section describes the dependency for building picoloop. On most platform in 2016, you will need this kind of package.

 - libsdl*      => version 1.2 with the "ttf" and "gfx"
 - libasound2*  => alsa
 - libpthread*  => pthread for multiple thread
 - g++          => I use the g++ 4.7.2  
 - make         => I use the make 3.81
 - libjack-dev  => I use jack 2.0, and the jack dependency is needed today 


You can always update to the lastest source. But, you should then switch to a tag.

# git clone
# git tag
# git checkout picoloop-0.75b

Tag are safier. And today, there is a known issue, the build of PatternPlayer need two build. The issue come from the "mkdir" which is launch after the other command, so every thing seem to fail on the first make... Unfortunately I have not fixed this issue because you fall into this issue only when cloning the software from the repo.


 # cd      picoloop
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_debian_RtAudio clean
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_debian_RtAudio


You have to build it on the pocketchip.

 # cd      picoloop
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_pocketchip_RtAudio clean
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_pocketchip_RtAudio


You have to build it directly on the raspberry. If you have a raspberry 2 or 3, you should go to the "debian" section. This build type is a light version like the opendingux one.

 # cd      picoloop
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_raspi1_RtAudio    clean
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_raspi1_RtAudio    


On debian you need the /opt/opendingux-toolchain/ directory. you can fetch fetch it there :

 # cd      picoloop
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.RtAudio_opendingux               clean
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_opendingux_RtAudio clean

 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.RtAudio_opendingux
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_opendingux_RtAudio
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_opendingux_RtAudio


On debian you need the /opt/open2x/ directory. you can fetch it there : I don't have build it month ago, so at your own risk.

 # cd      picoloop
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.RtAudio_opendingux               clean
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_opendingux_RtAudio clean

 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.RtAudio_opendingux
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_opendingux_RtAudio
 # make -j 64 -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_opendingux_RtAudio


On debian, you need the mingw32 package. Picoloop provide the header and binary for SDL 1.2 on windows. So here it is a "cross build" you build on linux for windows.

 # cd         picoloop
 # make       -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_windows_mingw_RtAudio          clean
 # make       -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_windows_mingw_RtAudio 


you need to have the sdk, the toolchain and the external lib. All can be fetched here :

 # cd      picoloop
 # source ~/local/pspdev/env_build
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_psp_SDL        clean
 # make -f Makefile.PatternPlayer_psp_SDL 


# ./PatternPlayer



- ESC               : Select key : go back to the global menu/switch menu
- ENTER             : Start  key : change sub menu
- L-CTRL            : A      key : insert note/delete node/copy note
- L-ALT             : B      key : change the value on the screen of the selected step
- ESC+ENTER         : quit
- TAB               : LEFT Shoulder
- BACKSPACE         : RIGHT Shoulder

Depending on the current menu selected : A/R, OSC, VCO, BPM, LS, etc.

- L-ALT + up        : change value up
- L-ALT + down      : change value down
- L-ALT + left      : change value left
- L-ALT + right     : change value right


- SELECT            : enter menu and move between menu
- ENTER             : Start key/enter a menu
- A key             : insert note/delete node/copy note
- ESC+ENTER         : quit

Depending on the current menu selected : A/R, OSC, VCO, BPM, LS, etc.

- B key + up        : change value up
- B key + down      : change value down
- B key + left      : change value left 
- B key + right     : change value right


file named dataP<%d>T<%d>.pic store information about saved pattern. This file will be created when you store file in the "L/S" menu.


You need two file font.bmp and font.ttf which are located next to the source.


You need your psp gcc compiler, the library and psplinkusb.

  1. Launch psplink on the psp this is an EBOOT.PBP.

  2. as root, launch usbhostfs_pc ( you need to be root to access the psp by usb and you need to be in the somewhere/psplinkusb/usbhostfs_pc/ folder ). You should see it is connected.

  3. In another terminal launch pspsh. Try to 'ls -l', to see if all is ok. Copy the prx file in the usbhostfs_pc directory, you should see it with 'ls -l'

If you want to launch PatternPlayer.prx, launch it with pspsh : ./PatternPlayer.prx In this case, you need the prx file ( not an elf or EBOOT.PBP ).

If you want to debug it with psp-gdb, you can do it by this command in two different window.

     host0:/> debug PatternPlayer.prx

In another window :

     $ psp-gdb ./PatternPlayer.elf
 (gdb) target remote localhost:10001
     Remote debugging using localhost:10001

In this case you need a prx and an elf file.


read you need to go to this website, then use the vita exploit on your ps vita at this url Here your ps vita should have the "beta exploit". You need to have psp2shell compiled from it's a from from but it should be at the right commit level. Compiled psp2shell so you have a psp2shell binary Compiled the kernel and user module and put it on your ps vita in ux0:/tai Then build picoloop for your psvita with -DDEBUG_PRINTF, it should work

grab your core file in the ux0:/data directory, the last core

use vita parse core from here : install it as root using the pip as root :

pip install -r requirements.txt

then $ zcat psp2core-1510435186-0x0000092601-eboot.bin.psp2dmp > psp $ python /home/peyrardj/build/vita-parse-core/ psp picoloop_vita.elf

You can also push the eboot.bin binary directly in the good location with this command

psp2shell> put eboot.bin ux0:/app/PICOLOOP1/



  • a : introduce lgptsampler for vita and raspberry pi
  • b : introduce lgptsampler for windows, stuck on psp
  • c : fix the crash on clang++, need to fix all int myfunc() { } without return 0; in the bracket...
  • c : lots of valgrind
  • c : move to RtAudio 4.1.2 to 5.0
  • c : update to lastest psp2shell on vita
  • d : avoid an insidious graphic bug on vita on display_graphic_loadsave()
  • d : avoid a weird behaviour in lgpt on vita with resonance which crash the app when it is tweaked
  • d : this version work on opendingux, psvita, windows, fail on psp


  • a : first port on psvita thanks to #henkaku team
  • b : re add polyrithmic in PSH,
  • b : fix bpm speed ( slightly higher )
  • b : STOP the sequencer with A+B in BPM and START the sequencer wih A+START in BPM
  • b : fix ps vita LTRIGGER and RTRIGGER
  • b : fix the SELECT+UP/Down to change volume, but not change the track
  • b : MAX_PATTERN_BY_PROJECT update to 128 for all platform, but not PSP, opendingux, gp2x
  • c : introduce a SELECT+RIGHT|LEFT to speed up reduce the tempo on the main menu a little like elektron box


  • remove a lot of duplicate code in XXXUserInterface, because it was really needed
  • a add the resid engine
  • b export DUMP_AUDIO=1 now export a wav file
  • c add SDL2.0 compatibility and keep SDL1.2 as default because it works


  • add pocketchip platform, which is a "kind of variant" of raspberry pi 1, thank to garvalf from
  • fix a PatternElement.cpp issue related to a value not initialized
  • shift track to the left and to the write in the song "orderlist"
  • fix a bug with the note tuning which appear from 0.71 to 0.74

V0.73 :

  • add a midi delta option in the [BPM] menu to move the sync signal in time, it is a kind of "midi delay" but doesn't work exactly the same way
  • add a 'osc scale' which allow to change oscillator one or oscillator two pitch to make basic chord with two note
  • rework a bit BPSynth on opendingoo to allow to remove some bad FixedPoint behaviour
  • fix first buffer audio generation of pbsynth which lead to an audio glitch

V0.71 :

  • improve realtime of mda drum synth, now quite useable, but need to be improved

V0.70 :

  • add a readme.html in the repo
  • fix some glitch on the screen from 320x240 to 640x480

V0.69 :

  • add midi in sync on linux/windows
  • add midi out sync on linux/windows
  • midi on windows add issue with latency
  • windows can run MDADrumSynth, still with issue with the latency
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