Open Source Audio Synthesizer Design Collaboration

By Danielle Roof

Believotron is an open source sound creation platform that seeks to bring together the talents of many different people, elements and ideas to improve collaboration and creativity.

Daniel Lindmark used to work at startups, but there was something missing. He wanted to work on something more creative, artistic and collaborative. So he set out to create the Believotron, an open source synthesizer platform (based on Axoloti Core) that is designed to be infinitely flexible and expandable.

By designing the Believotron as an open source project that anyone can adopt and adapt, Daniel hopes to foster innovation and encourage people to embark on their own technological journey. In fact Daniel won't finish this project, he's relying on a community of designers to build upon his work. Daniel wants people to be able to "take a look at [his] controller board and say wow, if somebody else can make that, I can use that to make something even better."

The range of possibilities for users of the platform is as wide as their imagination. For example, Daniel has created a circuit board made up of ICs that process the capacitive field from a person's fingertips, cueing different samples and allowing for sound manipulation. The Believotron website imagines the future possibilities could include new music performance, music teaching, artistic installations and experimental sounds. Visitors to the site are greeted with the promise of "Endless Sonic Journeys" and a diverse menu of categories as a starting point.

Daniel operates on a very small economy of scale, and therefore he has to consider the most cost-effective and efficient way to use his hardware. For example, in creating the circuit board he chose to use capacitive touch sensors rather than buttons, in part because of their durability and the smaller chance that they will need to be replaced for mechanical reasons. Each decision that Daniel makes in the design process reflects a desire to trim manufacturing costs wherever possible, to maximize limited resources.

Whenever he runs into a design problem, Daniel knows that there are multiple communities he can turn to for a solution. He is part of the Axoloti online community where people share ideas, troubleshoot, and help other users of the platform be more successful. Daniel is also part of a community based in Chicago that supports people in a variety of tech fields and aims to show off their projects whenever possible.

Daniel hopes that his recent exposure and sharing of his project will help widen the reach of Believotron. He firmly believes that "you can't design in a vacuum" and wants to continue collaborating with and gaining inspiration from people of all backgrounds. He hopes to bring Believotron to more users, so that they too can follow their imagination and combine outside resources with their own creativity to take the project to new heights.

This can happen in many forms – Daniel envisions someone could use the existing product to create an entirely new type of sound, and someone else could start with the existing product and engineer and modify it to create something else altogether. The goal is to provide users who know nothing about synthesizers, access to this sound-making technology, and give those who are passionate about creating something new a technology to allow them to follow their passion. Believotron does what we all hope technology will do for our world – it combines the drive and creativity of many different individuals, allowing anyone to be a part of the journey.

For more information, please visit or email Daniel Lindmark at [email protected].
Danielle Roof is a senior at Tulane University originally from San Carlos, California. She is studying Political Economy and Education, and hopes to go into teaching. Her favorite things to do when she's not studying are dance, yoga, and traveling to new places.