Alexa Turn on the TV

December 20th, 2016 No comments


Turn your regular old TV into a Smart TV with this script that emulates a Wemo smartplug called “Fauxmo,” an IR led circuit hooked up to a GPIO pin and a Raspberry pi! This is a walkthrough for getting it setup on your raspberry pi on your home network and making it callable by your Alexa Smart Home assistant.



Install LIRC:

sudo apt-get install lirc

Add this to your /etc/modules file:

lirc_rpi gpio_in_pin=23 gpio_out_pin=22
Change your /etc/lirc/hardware.conf file to:
# /etc/lirc/hardware.conf
# Arguments which will be used when launching lircd

# Don’t start lircmd even if there seems to be a good config file

# Don’t start irexec, even if a good config file seems to exist.

# Try to load appropriate kernel modules

# Run “lircd –driver=help” for a list of supported drivers.
# usually /dev/lirc0 is the correct setting for systems using udev

# Default configuration files for your hardware if any
Now restart lircd so it picks up these changes:
sudo /etc/init.d/lirc stop
sudo /etc/init.d/lirc start

In the 3.18.x RaspberryPi firmware you must modify one additional file for the lirc-rpi kernel extension to be loaded:
Edit your /boot/config.txt file and add:
Reboot your RaspberryPi after making this change.




Here is my schematic for the IR LED











Get a TV Config File for LIRC:
# Copy over your new configuration file
sudo cp ~/lircd.conf /etc/lirc/lircd.conf

# Send the KEY_POWER command once from the shell


Install Fauxmo as a network switch for your TV:

Install the requirements: Python 2.7, pip and required Python modules
sudo apt-get install python-pip ; sudo pip install requests

Download the fauxmo files and the and Fauxmo script Here:

wget “”

Extract the zip file
unzip -d echo

Move to the newly created echo folder
cd echo/echo-master

Start the server – you should see some debugging text indicating the server has started polling.

Modify this line in the python script to have your IR command that you wish to issue on voice command:
os.system(“irsend SEND_ONCE Vizio_VX37L KEY_POWER”)


The Echo integrates with the WeMo home automation protocol – simply say “Alexa, discover my devices” and it’ll search the local network for WeMo devices. So let’s give it a device to discover!

Say to your Echo “Alexa: discover my devices”. She’ll take a few seconds to find the new device. If she doesn’t find it the first time, try killing and restarting the process and discovering devices again.

Say, “Alexa: turn off TV”, or “Alexa, TV on”. You’ll see an echo of the output Philips TV On/Off command from: IP of alexa.

Alternatively you could always think of other ways issue the IR commands through SSH to the raspberry pi from the command line. I have had some fun setting timers for volume mutes during commercial breaks.

Hope you have fun making this one





Categories: alexa, Android, Raspberry Pi Tags:

Launchpad + Raspberry Pi

January 20th, 2013 3 comments

Hi there. I got Novation Launchpad connected with the Raspberry Pi running the Raspbian installation and talking with Pure Data.

I wanted to be able to load PD patches on the Pi, let it run under the hood of the launchpad and output custom midi.






These were the steps I took:

1. Installed raspbian on the sd card and got the pi booted up. If you are having trouble check out the Raspbian FAQ

2. Got PureData installed and got PD talking with alsa.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install puredata

3. Got dependancies and configured the launchpad executable driver “launchpadd” on the pi.

$ sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev
$ sudo apt-get install automake

$ autoreconf -i
$ ./configure
$ make install

4. Installed other drivers for other perferials, I used the MidiSport Uno usb midi cable.

5. Loaded up my PD skeches on the Raspberry Pi and started them up.

6. To have the Launchpadd executable run at startup I changed the /.profile file in linux to start the “launchpadd” program at login.

Some of the things I would like to do to finish this project is to build an awsome enclosure to hold the pi and the launchpad also use the gpio pins for midi instead of the usb to midi converter.


Launchberry Pi from james on Vimeo.

I’m using a sketch that changes the output channel of the LP with the top row of buttons. its like having 8x launchpads.

Here’s a zip including all the readme files, launchpadd driver and a pd sketch to test the functionality of the launchpad.

also here’s a link to get pd-extended running on the pi PD_extended_on_RaspberryPi



Windows 8 Audio Compatibility List

November 18th, 2012 4 comments

I made this Windows 8 compatibility list for some clients of mine, and I thought I would share it with all of you.  This is an unofficial compatibility list, and is subject to change at any time.  I personally have not tested any of this stuff on Windows 8.  This list was compiled based off of companies compatibility statements and online user forums.  If you have any information on items on this list or ones not on the list, please let me know and I will update it as more detail come in.

Windows 8 compatibility list *:

Updated 11/20/2012



Ableton Live 8
Ableton Live 7.18 ***
Adobe Audition
Akai MPC Renaissance
Avid Media Composer
Avid Pro Tools
Avid Sibelius 7.1
Cakewalk Sonar 8 Producer
Cakewalk Sonar X1 and X2
Image Line FL Studio
Native Instruments Traktor ***
Native Instruments Komplete ***
Native Instruments Maschine
Novation FX Suite
Novation Bass Station 1.8
Novation Automap
Presonus Studio One 2.0.7
Presonus Capture 1.1.114868
Propellerhead Reason
Reaper 4
Sony Acid Music Studio 8 ***
Sony Sound Forge Pro 10
Sony Vegas Pro 11 and 12
Steinberg Cubase 6.5 **
Steinberg Cubase Artist 6.5 **
Steinberg Nuendo 5.5 **
Steinberg Nuendo 5
Steinberg Cubase 6
Steinberg Cubase Elements 6
Steinberg Cubase AI 6
Steinberg Cubase LE 6
Steinberg Sequel 3
Steinberg Wavelab 7
Steinberg Wavelab Elements 7
Universal Audio UAD-2 ***

does not work:

Serato Scratch Live
Serato Itch


Arturia Analog Experience
Arturia V Collection
Arturia Spark



Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Focusrite 2i4
Focusrite iTrack Solo
Focusrite Saffire 6 USB
Focusrite Forte
Motu Microbook ****
Presonus AudioBox USB
Presonus AudioBox 22VSL
Presonus AudioBox 44VSL
Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL
Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2
Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2
Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2
Presonus FireStudio Mobile
Presonus FireStudio Project
Presonus FireStudio Tube
Presonus FireStudio Lightpipe
Roland Duo-Capture
Roland Octa-Capture
Roland Quad-Capture
Roland Tri-Capture
Roland UA-101
Roland UA-1EX
Roland UA-1G
Roland UA-25
Roland UA-25EX
Roland UA-4FX
Steinberg CC121
Steinberg CI Series
Steinberg CMC Series
Steinberg MR816
Steinberg UR824
Steinberg UR28M

does not work:

Focusrite VRM Box
Focusrite Scarlett 8i6
Focusrite Scarlett 18i6
Focusrite Saffire Pro 14
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24
Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP
Focusrite saffire Pro 40
Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56
Mackie Onyx Blackjack
Mackie Onyx Blackbird
Mackie Onyx 820i
Mackie Onyx 1220i
Mackie Onyx 1620i
Mackie Onyx 1640i
Mackie ProFX8
Mackie ProFX12
Mackie ProFX16
Mackie ProFX22
Presonus FireStudio (2626)
Presonus FireBox
Presonus FirePod
Presonus FP10
Presonus Inspire
Presonus Inspire GT
Presonus FireStation
Presonus V-Fire
Universal Audio Apollo

M-Audio Delta Series
M-Audio FireWire Series ****
M-Audio USB Audio Series ****
M-Audio Legacy Series ****

Midi Interfaces:


Roland UM-1
Roland UM-1EX
Roland UM-1S
Roland UM-1SX
Roland UM-1X
Roland UM-1G
Roland UM-2
Roland UM-2C
Roland UM-2E
Roland UM-2EX
Roland UM-2G
Roland UM-3EX
Roland UM-3G
Roland UM-550
Roland UM-880
Roland UM-ONE


M-Audio Midisport Series

* this list is subject to change at anytime

** These can be installed under Windows 8 without any issues, as long as the PC is connected to the Internet. During installation Windows will download and install the Microsoft .NET 3.5 Framework, which is required for a successful installation.

*** Has reported issues with Windows 8

**** Users have reported the findings on online forums.  No official Windows 8 compatibility list.  Interfaces seem to be hit and miss with what works with Windows 8





Categories: Compatibility List Tags:

It’s a Trap! (Top 5 Audio Gimmicks / Scams)

July 14th, 2012 No comments

5. AudioPrism CD Stop Light Pen:


When I was a kid, I was once told that you could fix a scratched CD by coloring in the side of it with a Sharpie.  For me it never worked, but apparently the same technique can improve sound quality of the CD.  I never noticed any change in sound quality when I used a Sharpie to color in my CD’s, but that could be do to the fact that I was only doing it to the my CD’s that were scratched to hell or the fact that at that time I was listening to everything through a pair of Koss headphones.  I have not tried this in recent years on better equipment, but I am still not sold on this one.

Here’s what AudioPrism has to say about their pens.

“We discovered that during playback, that a significant quantity of stray laser light bounces around inside a CD. This stray light eventually finds its way back to the pick-up assembly, creating jitter. CD Stoplight was developed to passively reduce the the effects of stray light that ultimately causes jittar. By absorbing the stray light at the transport passively, rather than attempting to reduce it’s effects downstream electronically, jitter is reduced at the source-keeping it out of the playback chain.

Packaged with a special applicator, CD Stoplight is easy to apply. It is non-toxic, environmentally friendly and will not flake or peel. Compact Discs treated with CD Stoplightsound more neutral, less edgy and significantly more open.”



4. Genre Specific Headphones:

Fuse InTune

We live in a world where people are listening to Lady Gaga one minute and John Coltrane the next, so to make a genre specific anything, your already digging a hole for yourself.  I definitely have my moments of music ADD, and I am not the kind of guy that wakes up in the morning and decides what kind of music I am going be listening to through out my day.  So for me these are a pass, I’ll stick with my headphones and figure out the EQ’s for myself.

Here is what Fuse has to say about their InTune earbuds:

“MP3 players have built-in equalizers, but most folks never use them and listen to compressed music with a fraction of he original nuance, InTune earphones are smarter than your MP3 player, designed to play music the way it was meant to be heard – fully optimized!”



3. Frequency Alignment Cables:

Monster Cables

There is quite the debate on online forums about whether or not Frequency Alignment cables actually do something or not.  There are many people that swear they actually make a difference, but my first question for those people are; What kind of cables did you use before?  High quality cables will sound better then lower quality cables.  So I fall on the more skeptical side of things, but would love hear an electrical engineers take on this.  At the end of the day though let your ears make the choice.

This is what Monster has to say about their Time Correction technology:

“Monster’s way of compensating for something called “Velocity Propagation” or better known as the skin effect. An analog audio signal passing through a copper cable succumbs to this law of physics in which bass frequencies tend to gravitate towards the center of the cable; higher frequencies are forced to the outer portion of the cable. The higher mass bass frequencies create a magnetic field in the center of the cable while traveling through the conductor, which impedes those lower frequencies. This impedance forces those lower frequencies to arrive at their destiny (the speaker or amp) delayed, which causes a mild distortion in the waveform. Monster utilizes multiple gauge windings to help compensate for this distortion. Large, solid-core copper strands in the center for bass frequencies (containing higher mass) and smaller gauges wrapped around the solid core conductor to delay the mid’s and high’s ensuring that the entire bandwidth of frequencies arrive in uniform.”

Performer 500 Speaker Cable

2. Cheap Shure SM58’s on Ebay:


Ebay is a great place to find and purchase gear for a good price, but buyer beware some people want to scam you.  I have been working in music shops for a good portion of my life, and have seen lots of fake Shure SM58’s that people have bought off of Ebay.  The story is always the same, the customers comes into the shop with a 58 they bought off of Ebay for $20 – $30.  They usual have inclination that something is weird with the mic.  I can almost tell instantly if the mic real or not.  Some common signs that the microphone is fake are; the weight of the mic usually is the first give away.  Fake SM58’s tend to be noticeably lighter than the real thing.  The color of the mic is the next thing I check out when determining the authenticity of the mic.  Fake SM58’s will tend to have an inconsistent color or the color of the mic is a little bit lighter than a real SM58.  Finally, I check out the font and size of the text on the microphone.  A fake Shure SM58 will usually have similar but not exact text on the mics label.  The best way to avoid ending up with a fake SM58 is to by making sure you buy from a reputable dealer on ebay, or better yet most music shops usually have a handful of used Shure SM58’s that tend to sell around the $50 range.


1. Machina Dynamics BrilliantPebbles:

Machina Dynamica

Pretty much anything that Machina Dynamica sells on their website belongs at number one on this list.  At first glance Machina Dynamica’s website seems like it is a joke audio website, but the more research I do into the company says otherwise.

Here is Machina Dynamica’s description of the pebbles:

“What the heck is it? Brilliant Pebbles is a unique and comprehensive system for tuning the room and audio sytem based on special physical properties of highly symmetrical crystal structures. Brilliant Pebbles has been evolving since its introduction 6 years ago at the London HI Fi Show, especially the number of applications, many of which were discovered by our customers. Brilliant Pebbles addresses specific resonance control and RFI/EMI absorption problems associated with audio electronics, speakers and cables, as well as acoustic wave problems associated with the listening room boundaries and the 3-dimensional space within the boundaries. Brilliant Pebbles comprises a number of precious and semi-precious stones (crystals) selected for their effectiveness. The original glass bottles for Brilliant Pebbles have been replaced by clear zip lock bags, which have a more linear response than glass. We employ a number of highly-specialized, proprietary techniques in the preparation/assembly of Brilliant Pebbles to enhance the crystals’ inherent characteristics. The fundamental operating principle of Brilliant Pebbles involves a number of atomic mechanisms in the crystals. Brilliant Pebbles will enhance the performance of your audio system so your favorite music and even your experience playing online fantasy game will become a mind blowing auditory experience.”

Below is a link to an email conversation between the owners of Machina Dynamica and a potential buyer.



This is a known fake audio website, a little extra something just for fun.

Don’t get trapped!


Categories: Signal Processing, Top 5 Tags:

Launchpad Linux updates in ALSA

July 7th, 2012 No comments

So there has been a lot of work with getting the launchpad running on linux.

We talked about it a couple years ago and there has been some really cool advancements that I wanted to share with everyone.


ALSA has now supported the Launchpad since V1.0.24 so that’s exciting news! AlSA changelog, the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture is bundled with Ubuntu/Debian desktop versions of Linux.

A homebrew kernel for midi support in Ubuntu “by Will Scott” get the project at the Launchpadd Google code page.

Link of the month “Darwin Tunes”

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Music generated by computers with little input from humans


This is a great project I stumbled up on, it’s called Darwin Tunes. The website offers listeners some music that was generated by software and asks them to respond with an appeal level with a score of 1-5. then after calculations new performances are created with the bad scoring melodies thrown out.

here you can here samples of the different generations at Darwin Tune’s soundcloud.

Categories: Link of the Month Tags:

8bandEQ3.0 now for mac!

December 21st, 2011 2 comments

Here you go all you apple-heads an update to 8bandEQ3.0 for launchpad now on MAC OSX








Download 8bandEQ3.0 for MAC
Download 8bandEQ3.0 for Windows

8bandEQ is a standalone max/msp application for the Novation Launchpad. It monitors an incoming stereo audio feed and displays the frequency data on the Launchpad’s buttons. can be used alongside any other launchpad programs.

Android App Music Favorites 2

December 4th, 2011 2 comments

It’s been awhile but its time for another round of android music making app favorites and it has recently come to my attention that there is currently a fundamental flaw with android in the respect of live performance.  Some of you may have already noticed this while playing around with some of the multi-touch keyboards and synthesizers with surprisingly long attach and release times while switching keys and notes…oh the horrors of latency.

I wont delve into the exact figures released in this article for lack of more specific data on which phones performed best, but the article still states that the more sophisticated android handsets still have almost twenty times the latency to IOS devices.

I always hate starting off on a bad note, so here’s some good news. Android is still open source and developers are working on integrating API’s like OPENSL_ES into their applications which will further cut the latency so we can rock our android tablets and phones live. One of my favorites which I reviewed last time Mikrosonic SPC has already implemented this in their newest update. I can only hope that developers will continue to optimize and cook this into their music applications.

Now then…on to the music favorite picks.

1.Su-Preme MPA

Ever since I’ve acquired an android tablet I have been Su-premely jealous of Ipad owners applications like the Beat Maker series. I love pads and buttons and was absolutely ecstatic to see someone finally emulate an MPC in the android environment.

The application runs great and with a dual core tegra 2 tablet, I cannot say the same for my dated Nexus One 1ghz snapdragon, but I almost forget about the aforementioned “latency” issues while messing around with it on my overclocked G Tablet.

I highly recommend trying the lite version first to make sure that your device will run the application smoothly.

– Analog UI emulating the classic devices
– 12 low-latency pads for drum/one-shot sounds
– A piano keyboard (the number of keys depends on your screen size)
– A basic sample editor that allows you to cut your MP3s and WAVs
– A Song Editor to build full songs from sequences
– Ability to record tracks with 1/8, 1/16 or 1/32 quantization and swing


Nanoloop is another cross platform favorite of mine available on IOS, Android and even your gameboy, and I must say it easily became one of my favorites. This sequencing application has a very easy learning curve and could easily be one of the most fluid options for those of us stuck with smaller screen real estate, not to mention it doesn’t require a whole lot of processing power so it can run smooth as butter on your mid to low end devices as well.

The sounds you can make with this nifty little application are pretty diverse using just the microphone sampler and sequencer to pump beats and sounds out of your handheld. I only have one gripe about it and that is GIVE US LONGER PATTERNS and DIFFERENT METERS! 4/4 is great but I like having options…also I wouldn’t mind some filters and effects overlays.

– Six channels, each can be synth or sampler
– Load samples from SD-card
– Sample via microphone
– Re-sample, export samples
– FM-, noise- and filtered wave synthesizer
– Fast and easy to use step sequencer
– 8 patterns and 2 instruments per channel
– Song editor with loop function
– Send and receive projects via e-mail
– Files compatible with the iPhone version (via iTunes only)
– Export songs to device’s music library (Ogg Vorbis format)

Nanoloop Market Link


Categories: Android Tags:

Portland Synth Meet Up 2011

November 21st, 2011 No comments

Illuminated Sounds took a trip down to Portland to go check out their synth meet up. Here are the pictures we got.


Pictures from PNW Synthfest

November 12th, 2011 No comments

Here’s the pictures we got from the PNW Synthfest 2011. Just heads up the Portland Synth Meet is taking place on November 20th. Anyone going?