FAQ

License

You can run TILT!Audio for testing without any restrictions, but from time to time you will hear a “please register” announcement. Just write down the serial number and order your license here. Copy your license file into the data directory.

Files on sd card / usb stick

There are 4 types of files you can provide:

  1. License files
  2. Update files
  3. Config files
  4. Sound data

No matter if you use sd card or usb stick the directory structure is always the same. There’s 4 directories:

  1. data directory
  2. update directory
  3. data/sound directory
  4. data/sound/<soundset-name>

The license file has the name <serialno>.key and needs to be copied into the data directory.

The update zip file needs to be placed into the update directory with the name “update.zip”. For windows users make sure that you not name it update.zip.zip just because you have your explorer not showing file extensions.

The data/sound directory store the main configuration file “raspisound.ini” that staore all the soundset independent settings. It also holds up to 10 subdirectories containing the soundsets. Alternatively a soundset can also be in just one xsnd-File in the data/sound directory.

The soundset itself contains all the sound samples itself in a directory structure by effect category (music, sfx, voice …) and a soundset specific configuration file “config.raspisnd” (or config.ini for compatibility reasons). See config options below.

Networking

In order to access the fancy web ui, you need to activate networking. As TILT!Audio’s firmware is based on dietpi linux distribution, you need to edit the text file “dietpi.txt” and for Wifi access additionally “dietpi-wifi.txt” and then reboot the system.

Sound: builtin, usb, hdmi or i2s

Depending on the RaspberryPi model you are using there’s many options on how to generate sound.

Builtin

For all Pi3 models you can use the builtin sound device where amplifiers are connected to the audio jack on the pi board itself. When doing so, you normally don’t (and cannot use) the on board amplifiers but rather connect audio jack to an external amplifier.

Usb

Use usb sound cards like this one either because PiZero doesn’t have builtin sound, or because you want to remove noise or increase quality compared to builtin. Like with builtin you should than connect any external amplifier to the audio output, as the internal ones cannot be used with use sound.

hdmi

The hdmi output connector can also be used for digital sound output. In this case you need to connect an external amplifier via hdmi that is capable of decoding the digital sound. With TILT!Audio you can even use DD5.1 sound given you have a supporting sound pack and an av-receiver-amplifier / speaker set that can be used for output.

i2s (default)

I2s is the default configuration as the latest shield comes with a i2s DAC that directly connects to the amplifiers as default. The i2s interface is natively supported by raspberry pi and produces hifi level sound quality together with as 5102 DAC.

Configuration

The web UI is documented in an extra page.

For those who are more the console / text file guy here is the configuration file:

Per Soundpack configuration

In addition to the global config explained in the previous chapter there is also a “per sound pack” configuration the resides in the config.ini file in the sound packs base directory (not for altsound). Again you can easily setup all the configs via the web UI, but if you would like to look into the config file:

The first „ducking_xx“ settings controlling the „ducking“ or lowering of the background music when a sample of a specific type is played. e.g. if ducking_voice is set to 80 this means that background music volume is lowered to 80% while voice callouts are playing.

The „gain_xx“ settings control the overall weight of the sample types for this sound set.Gain settings range from 1 to 30, where 15 is the default. So if you want sample type sfx louder go above 15. So if you want to have voice louder compared to background music, you can e.g. set gain_music=11 and gain_voice=24. This was formerly achieved by putting a gain.txt (see below) file in the respective subdirectory itself, but its now consolidated in one ini-File.

As soon as the sample is over volume of background music goes back to 100%.

fade_sfx_on_music_change / -time controls wether on background music change a running sfx is faded out or not. Additionally you can also set the fading time in milli seconds. There are soundset that use rather long sfx samples, so it makes sense to fade the sample until the music track changes.

Altsound format

From the virtual pinball community there are a lot of sound packs available in the “altsound format”, which is basically just a csv file (a table) and a set of soundfiles. All the information about sound effect type, cmd number, ducking, gain and so one is store in the one csv file, therefore no additional config.ini (as above) is needed.

TILT!Audio has full support for altsound sound packs.

Shaker

If you like to attach an additional shaker in your pinball machine you can control it with TILT!Audio. For each sound effect you can switch the shaker on for a certain amount of milliseconds. Either you define just a one time switch on time or you define a sequence of times, where the output gets switched on and off.

The output pin itself and also the “polarity” shaker active on high output (or low) can be configured in the main settings.

The connector for shaker is in the latest revision of the shield on the right side, see connector info below.

Beside the shaker itself you need a PWM controller to limit the speed of the shaker motor and also one of these small relay moduls with enough power to control the shaker current.

Adding secondary media

Additionally the the shaker output pin there also a serial interface exposed at the extension connector. Using the configuration web ui you can define a serial command sequence of bytes that are send through the serial port when the respective sound effect gets triggered. Together with the serial-media-server you can play movies or display picture, which is only one application possible with serial commands. There’s a video that show’s how this works in a CFTBL with a holo replacement monitor under the playfield.

Which raspberry pi can I use?

Recommended is raspberry pi 3 (or 3 B+), but raspberry 2 (or zero) also works. Most common is Pi3 these days and this is also the best tested pi version. PiZero is a bit short in memory and cpu power, but is still confirmed from some users to work well with TILT!Audio.

Pi4 requires a new image (based on buster) and is not yet available in public. There’s a preliary image already for testing, but so far it was not running in a real machine, although it should without problems. Pi4 cpu gets very hot even in idle mode, so I would recommend an additional heatsink.

Also power consumption of Pi4 is higher than on Pi3, so the normal setup (at least for data east) is most probably not good enough and an external power supply is required.

Assembling

What do I need

  • TILT!Audio kit (or ingredients as listed in the BOM outdated, sorry)
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Speaker cable
  • optional: external amplifier
  • optional: additional power supply

See Assembly page. Also there is an new Quick Start page

Debugging

If nothing else helps, you can get the logfiles for the current session directly from the web ui and inspect in detail what is happening. You will see every sound command coming from the main cpu and all other logfile information.

You can even connect via ssh to the raspberry pi where TILT!Audio is running on. Networking needs of course activated for this. You then can simply connect via ssh pi@<your-ip> (or putty on windows), the default password is “raspberry“.

If everything is fine the should be a system service running called “tiltaudio”. You can check by “sudo systemctl status tiltaudio”. If you want to experiment and test for yourself you can stop the service with “sudo systemctl stop tiltaudio” and the switch to directory /home/pi/despi and discover the various options with “./despi -h”.