An open-source, Arduino-compatible, ESP32-based audio development board

Feb 10, 2022

Project update 9 of 12

Production Progress

by Andy Wilson

Hi everyone,

For the past couple of months we have been working with our manufacturing partner to try and pin down a production date for PICO DSP, and, this process is pretty difficult at present due to the global shortage of components.

We’ve been through another round of design changes since our last prototype and around 30% of the original components in the BOM have now been changed. For some components, alternatives are available and relatively easy to substitute into the design, but for others, the design change needs to be carefully considered, and physically tested on a prototype board.

To give you an idea of the type of component lead times we’re looking at, one component in the project BOM currently has a shipment date of January 2023, but, we were able to make a final routing design change to the PCB design this week before it goes to production to facilitate a component substitution, and the final Gerber files for the board have gone to fabrication.

With component supply availability dates changing so rapidly, it’s impossible to give a certain shipping date, however, some components have already been ordered to secure supply and the rest will be ordered very soon, so we hope to be on track for a production date of somewhere between April and June 2022, with shipping a few weeks after this. When we have a confirmed production date, we’ll post an update here.

We’re also dealing with with PCB costs, manufacturing costs and and component supply costs all increasing by over 20% and in some cases up to 60% this year, so if you backed this campaign early, congratulations for picking up a PICO DSP at a bargain price!

A freshly soldered MIDI adaptor expansion board, ready for testing. The PCB is from OSH Park.

Development work is also still ongoing on the Eurorack module and the MIDI adaptor, with hardware design verification complete on the MIDI adaptor and 90% complete on the Eurorack module. We’ll have some more details on these in our next update, but in the meantime, be well, and we’ll leave you with a couple of quotes. The first is from someone who has been working with a prototype PICO DSP for the last few months for a biopotential interfacing application;

"Note that on the AC101 (ESP32-Audio-Kit) we were getting WiFi noise in the audio chain, but in the picoDSP this is not an issue - clear signal when running the WiFi."

And the second is from a wonderful book by Oliver Burkeman titled "Four Thousand Weeks" on the nature of time, and the pitfalls of convenience;

"But smoothness, it turns out, is a dubious virtue, since it’s often the unsmoothed textures of life that make it liveable, helping nurture the relationships that are crucial for mental and physical health, and for the resilience of our communities. Your loyalty to your local taxi firm is one of those delicate social threads, that, multiplied thousands of times, bind a neighbourhood together; your interactions with the woman who runs the nearby Chinese takeaway might feel insignificant, but they help make yours the kind of area where people still talk to one another, where tech-induced loneliness doesn’t yet reign supreme."

Beir bua,


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