Synthesia Pipes

Developed by the same company that rolled out the Mandala Drum several years ago. Here’s what I’ve been able to gather from their site:

It is a stand-alone hardware unit that is something akin to a really, really fast touchscreen sampler with an onboard library. Here are some of the specs from their site:

  • 64 voice capability

  • Sample formats: WAV, AIF, EXS, SFZ, GIG, NKI or MDA

  • Connections: WiFi, Bluetooth, 5-pin MIDI, USB

  • Storage: 32GB or 128GB

Instead of just sample playback, there seems to be a unique workflow with what they call ‘tweakers’. Here is the routing:


It’s open source and programmed in the Pd (Pure Data) format, which was created by the same gentleman that created Max. So, users can build their own Tweakers and route the connections (i.e., Pipes) however they see fit.

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It was a Kickstarter campaign back in the late autumn of 2018:

I considered backing it, but then decided to concentrate on other things, but I do know at least one person that did back it.

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Interesting, seems to be Raspberry Pi based. A little sample centric by default perhaps(?)
Thanks to the Apples and Samsungs of this world, “all for less than the cost of a current smartphone” isn’t that hard to reach anymore :wink:

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I almost backed it because of the manufacturer’s (Synesthesia Corp) development of the Mandala Drum several years ago. That being said, even thought this isn’t the same thing, I was never a fan of the infamous Open Labs Neko, no matter how much I really wanted to be. :wink:

Yeah, the “early-bird” pledges on the Kickstarter were very favourable, but the “full retail price” if it actually goes on sale at that starts to get a little steep I feel.

I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m in the process of saving up toward a Continuum and have very little issue working with software, so I’m not 100% sure what the benefit of Pipes would be for me.

yeah, I saw this on kickstarter and considered it… its quite neat.
what put me off was its wasn’t really ‘open source’, and was a little unclear on how much access developers would have to it at the outset e.g. this sounded a bit vague…

anyway, there’s quite a few of these devices now, based around rPI (more likely CM3) or other similar hardware - and I think its cool, the fact that its a rPI or whatever is irrelevant, as long as it feels like an instrument ( like say the Organelle) … also this with a (cheap or not) midi controller, means you now have a proper standalone synth/sampler whatever :slight_smile:

as a developer , I love these things, with a bit of hacking you can repurpose them to whatever you like. this one in particular is nice, as its got a decent colour touchscreen, audio, midi - so lots you could do with it… only thing missing is audio input!
… of course, i can do all the same with a rPI/PiSound + touchscreen - but its nice to have it in a nice enclosure.

lol - very true

$699… seems steep, kickstarter was better - but Organelle is $495 Norns $800, GR-1 $999, so seems about the right ballpark for these things.

I think we have to remember these are all small companies, and whilst the hardware is relatively cheap - takes time to develop the software, and then you have pretty high support costs.


A cursory look over the comments section on KS will show just how much of a car crash this is turning into……tudio/comments

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To be fair, I don’t think there’s a crowdfunded project out there who hasn’t had their community turn on them over the course of the pandemic. I wouldn’t read too much into that.

yeah, I think its a tough time of all manufactures, both Osmose and EraeTouch are also quite delayed for similar reasons.

(though, I think Pipes was quite delayed before the pandemic)

anyway, lets hope Pipes get it back on track…

on a postive note - I backed ripcord, a ‘simple’ USB to DC power solution, it was something like 2 years later in delivery (I think inital delivery target was 6 months, and took 2.5 years) due to alot of manufacturing issues.
but in the end they delivered, and it is a great product… so lets have hope :slight_smile:

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So, two years late, and here’s the ‘manual’ !…and_Manual.pdf


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And from the original pitch where they said it was “Fully compatible with MPE”, now, two years later the manual says…

So clearly NOT fully compatible with MPE then.

Yet another of the flat our BS they touted to this thing backed…

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Holy f**k. I am SO angry right now, I don’t even know where to start…

So yeah, the Kickstarter has been a complete fiasco, with delay after delay, deflection and radio silence from the devs. One of the worst KS I’ve heard of, but hey, I was a day 1 backer, for the ‘Founders edition’ and I’ve been waiting nearly 3 years for that damned thing.

Well, they’ve finally been shipping a few weeks and people have been receiving theirs in dribs and drabs, but still no sign of mine, and yes I’ve been pretty vocal on the KS comments, then this evening I get this…

I mean seriously, WTAF??

I never once asked for a refund. I didn’t WANT a refund. I just wanted the damned thing I’ve been waiting nearly 3 years for!!

Even though it’s been getting some pretty scathing reviews from those who have received it, and it’s clearly fallen far short of what they pitched, I was still looking forward to getting it and at least having a noodle with it.

I’m sure this is just to shut me up and stop me commenting on Kickstarter, but all they’ve done now is make me SO angry about the way I’ve been treated I’m going to make it my mission to tell everyone just how badly they treat their customers.

I’m not even that bothered about the device any more. I have plenty of other options for simple sample playback, but having been in since day 1 I was still pretty invested in the project, and having waiting three years and knowing it was finally imminent that just feels like a massive kick in the teeth.

Seriously, THREE YEARS WAITING and they pull a stunt like that…

Absolute scum

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Ouch… that’s not on!

I guess, you might have dodged a bullet, if they are crappy at this stage… its unlikely it will improve much when they get inundated with bugs and feature requests when users get it in their hands.
… then a bad reputation, means selling it wouldn’t be much of an option.

even so, you committed to them with your investment, unbelievable they do not reciprocate that commitment!

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I think it’s good form they at least gave you a refund. 95% of product development projects fail, I’m sure they did their best. There’s also a chip shortage and covid that they’re dealing with.

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thats not the ‘issue’ here…

the project is actually delivering to backers, right now…

however, a few (like @RiK ) have been critical of the project (and its management), and so Synthesthesia decided to unilateral cancel these ‘critical’ backers pledges.

so people like Rik have waited nearly 3 years, and just as they about to get thier units - they were cancelled.

we can only assume, that Synthesthesia were concerned that these backers would give poor reviews of Pipes, and so decided to cut them out… or, they were just being ‘spiteful’ - but frankly, neither is very professional.

delays and issues are very frequent on KS projects, its the nature of the beast - and this will inevitably means backers get concerned, and possible critical (esp when a project runs very late, as this has) .

Most often these escalates when either projects go ‘dark’ and stop communicatig and/or get defensive.
but as a buisiness that has accepted investment (!) , you need to accept and listen, and most importantly communicate … and also, however hard it is (and it is very hard) to NOT take critcism personally.
you have to remember, that people will have different opinions and perspectives, and indeed sometimes this valid, sometimes its harsh, or even invalid… so you do your best, remain calm and professional.

If you cannot do this (and developers are not always the best at this :wink: ) … then get someone else to do the backer/social media engagement - that detachment, and also ‘buffer’ can be really helpful.

Unfortunately, many projects on KS are one band bands, delivering personal dreams - many have little or no commercial experience - so this does happen :frowning:

whats a little surprising here, is usually the worst happens in the middle of the project cycle… since this is when things start going wrong, and stress on developers is immense… and its hard to see any end in sight.

in this case, they were on the home straight …
sure, there may still be disappointed users, and critcism due to bugs - again ‘take it on the chin’
but with the hardware delivered, they’ll have time to work on that… build up the reputation.

so this really feels like an ‘own goal’ in extra time!


And the real kicker… and I can’t even believe I’m writing this, but on the Kickstarter page yesterday they posted an update to say they’re pleased to say they have just finished shipping to all backers…

Yep, that’s right, they literally pulled this stunt on us on the very last day of shipping…

What an unbelievably shitty way to treat people. Honestly I’m shock at what a bunch of spineless c***s they are.


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You’re missing the point. They’ve been shipping for two months. They just cut me off after three years wait just to prevent me from posting on KS about it…

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ooh gotcha, that’s different, I understand

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I have a few comments about PIPES and Synthesia Corp.

Out of all the MPE hardware synthesizers I have ever kept track on in my list, this product has the worst history by far:

  1. Mentions full MPE-compatibility on the Kickstarter campaign, but after shipping to backers, is mentioned in the manual as under development.
    • Relies on suggestions on how to implement MPE from backers instead of simply implementing the published official MPE specification.
  2. There is still no retail version of PIPES in either 32GB or 128GB capacity.
  3. After the Kickstarter campaign concluded, a Facebook group was created for support as it was the “fastest, most secure, reliable method to get the ball rolling”, with plans to migrate to a forum type setting in the future. This has not happened yet.
    • You can alternatively contact them for support at:
      techsupport at synesthesiacorp dot com

Sometime in the near future I will inquire Synthesia Corp via email about the status of MPE on PIPES, along with retail availability.