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ShadowAMD
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#1
3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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New Audio Interface

Been thinking about going solo for a while, but unsure about the actual financials of starting in the interface market as there seems to be a lot of saturation here already.

Would love to get some feedback from you guys!

So plan is:

8X8, Interface with two headphone outs.. Inbuilt DSP and a control console.

Chipset will be as follows:

PCM4222 (124dB ADC)
PCM1794A (129dB DAC)

Powered by a +4.0V analogue supply, hopefully should be able to keep it in a 1U rackmount with USB 3.0 control.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Be great if it was usb audio class compliant, so that the broadest base of operating systems could be supported. (eg Win, OSX, Linux)

The all-TI chipset would be very interesting. Would like to see a simple balanced line in / line out architecture with no on-board preamps.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRH View Post
Be great if it was usb audio class compliant, so that the broadest base of operating systems could be supported. (eg Win, OSX, Linux)

The all-TI chipset would be very interesting. Would like to see a simple balanced line in / line out architecture with no on-board preamps.
I don't see it being a problem to make it class compliant, but starting out I think I'd develop for Mac. There is also a reason why I'm using TI

Exactly what I was thinking on the in's outs, 8 LI's / 8 LO's and 2 Monitor outs..

Device can be used as an aggregate.

Now this is where I fall down a little, I want to make sure it is a class leading high end product at a reasonable price. Although weighing up cost's, it's going to be interesting.. There is support, warranties, back stock etc. to take account for.

So I think I would be able to do a 4X4 with one monitor out for $1000.00 and an 8x8 for $2000.00.. checking around for specs, there is nothing that comes close in this price range or above regarding specs.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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No preamps! I'd rather put that money into better conversion or other features!

8 in, 8 out.

Make it modular so one chassis could support more or fewer channels.

Separate stereo d/a for monitors so all 8 ins and outs can be used for mixing.

A good built in active monitor control with switching for using 2 or 3 sets of monitors.

Super awesome front panel - PM me if you want some experienced design consulting

Thunderbolt

In short, I think the market needs more options like the Metric Halo LIO that don't cost what the LIO costs!

Maybe consider selling it as a kit? I'd be all over that!!!
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ShadowAMD
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_allison View Post
No preamps! I'd rather put that money into better conversion or other features!

8 in, 8 out.

Make it modular so one chassis could support more or fewer channels.

Separate stereo d/a for monitors so all 8 ins and outs can be used for mixing.

A good built in active monitor control with switching for using 2 or 3 sets of monitors.

Super awesome front panel - PM me if you want some experienced design consulting

Thunderbolt

In short, I think the market needs more options like the Metric Halo LIO that don't cost what the LIO costs!

Maybe consider selling it as a kit? I'd be all over that!!!
Might take you up on that.. I like your suggestions, I really do.. Been speaking with a PCB manufacturer to cut the load. Sent them the design waiting for pricing.

Everything is possible bar the chassis, unless I put a considerable price hike on it.. It would require a daughter board with a slot module for the additional I/O. Adding to cost again, top of the class TI A/D D\A chips aren't cheap. I also need the correct Opamps and power supply to make sure it does what it says on the tin, it's all money.

So if I'm to make any profit at all (It seems not much) and meet the $1000.00 for the 4X4 and the $2000.00 for the 8X8 (Seperate monitor out's).. Than it might not be possible..

That being said, it cost's $4000.00 for a Lio - 8..

For around $3000.00 I could do an 8x8 flagship with clock and mainboard hot swap in an I/O chassis. So in the future you wouldn't need to start again if you needed to upgrade. Just slide in the new board?

This could be a random crazy Idea, but I might look into using lunchbox modules with the chassis. So if you already bought an API / Daking 500 series module for example you can just slide it in. Although really unsure if there is any licensing or legals behind that one.

Sound like a good Idea?

Also two headphone monitor out's with different ohms, one for regular headphones low ohm and one for the likes of Sennheiser's etc.

I could sell the chassis and mainboard PCB, then you fit your own PS and do the wiring etc. with a warning if you blow it up it's your own fault ..
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3rd February 2013
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Awesome ideas!

I thought one chassis for different configs would be cheaper but yeah there's more "stuff" you'd need to add to make that modular approach work.

I've wondered about a 500 series layout. I believe Millenia has one, but that way you save having to resig. And build and build a power supply.

I believe anyone can make a 500 series module, no licensing required. You can opt to get it VPR Alliance verified, but thats optional.

An 8 in 8 out model, with db25 on the front, and a companion monitor section with its own D\A (maybe you can link the two by hijacking the XLR jacks on the back, to send AES from one to the other; not sure if that's possible)?

I'd gladly work on branding, web, and front panel layout in exchange for a unit. I love bartering for gear.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_allison View Post
Awesome ideas!

I thought one chassis for different configs would be cheaper but yeah there's more "stuff" you'd need to add to make that modular approach work.

I've wondered about a 500 series layout. I believe Millenia has one, but that way you save having to resig. And build and build a power supply.

I believe anyone can make a 500 series module, no licensing required. You can opt to get it VPR Alliance verified, but thats optional.

An 8 in 8 out model, with db25 on the front, and a companion monitor section with its own D\A (maybe you can link the two by hijacking the XLR jacks on the back, to send AES from one to the other; not sure if that's possible)?

I'd gladly work on branding, web, and front panel layout in exchange for a unit. I love bartering for gear.
Well you might be the perfect volunteer for an alpha tester. I'd never release a product until it's fully tested, there will be AES and S/Pdif not sure about ADAT.. S/Pdif only on the 4X4, I was thinking about just having the AES / Sp on the back.. Not trying to completely re-invent the wheel here.

What I want to do essentially is give world class AD / DA at an affordable price. So all the interfaces will have the same components, just the higher price models offer more connectivity. Also thinking about the flagship, try and make it as future proof as possible.
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3rd February 2013
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I think the key to future-proofing is a certain degree of modularity.

That seems to work for Metric Halo and iZ. Even if it's a main or daughter board (which contains the potentially upgradable parts like the chips) that can easily pop out and attach with a few ribbon cables.

Would you add clock i/o?

Any tone shaping, analogue summing, metering?
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_allison View Post
I think the key to future-proofing is a certain degree of modularity.

That seems to work for Metric Halo and iZ. Even if it's a main or daughter board (which contains the potentially upgradable parts like the chips) that can easily pop out and attach with a few ribbon cables.

Would you add clock i/o?

Any tone shaping, analogue summing, metering?
Yeah for the flagship it's do-able as a modular I/O... You will have option to slave other devices to the clock, the clock should be good enough that it doesn't need slaving to another device. (Always more accurate internal usually)..

I can add LED's to the front panel for metering, that's not an issue. Analogue summing, interesting thought.. I'll have a think.

What sort of tone shaping are you thinking of?
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3rd February 2013
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Nice!

Also, if you have different levels, a non-upgradable but super affordable (500 series?) converter could be a great intro to the product line.

I was just thinking a tape emulation circuit on the A/D... but only if it was on par with the Anamod otherwise it'd just be a gimmick!
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_allison View Post
Nice!

Also, if you have different levels, a non-upgradable but super affordable (500 series?) converter could be a great intro to the product line.

I was just thinking a tape emulation circuit on the A/D... but only if it was on par with the Anamod otherwise it'd just be a gimmick!
I think I'll stick to my expertise !.. Plus I have to keep it within budget.

Ok, I think I have an Idea of where to start.. Thank you
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#12
4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD View Post
I think I'll stick to my expertise !.. Plus I have to keep it within budget.

Ok, I think I have an Idea of where to start.. Thank you
No effects or processing, please! Do one thing, do it well!

I also echo the "kit" sentiment...
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRH View Post
No effects or processing, please! Do one thing, do it well!

I also echo the "kit" sentiment...
Will do
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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I don't want to be a naysayer, but I question the possibility of such a project. Drivers alone can make or break a setup like this, and frequently require large teams many months to build. (And sometimes they end up with a Presonus product anyway.)
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4th February 2013
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Originally Posted by jrshaul View Post
I don't want to be a naysayer, but I question the possibility of such a project. Drivers alone can make or break a setup like this, and frequently require large teams many months to build. (And sometimes they end up with a Presonus product anyway.)
Drivers are already in existence, based on USB audio class 2.0. Luckily enough, it's something I do for a living and there are plenty of resources out there.. I can tell you it won't be quick and there will be some outsourcing, it's definitely doable. Hence the reason to start with core audio first, I already have templates to build on for Windows, but I'll tackle that when I come to it.

It may be a year after release until a Windows launch, I'm unsure at this stage. I'd still say it's exciting to have this amount of quality for the price. Would you not agree?

Worst thing that can happen is, it goes to hell the thread dies and I'm out of pocket.
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD View Post
Drivers are already in existence, based on USB audio class 2.0. Luckily enough, it's something I do for a living and there are plenty of resources out there.. I can tell you it won't be quick and there will be some outsourcing, it's definitely doable. Hence the reason to start with core audio first, I already have templates to build on for Windows, but I'll tackle that when I come to it.

It may be a year after release until a Windows launch, I'm unsure at this stage. I'd still say it's exciting to have this amount of quality for the price. Would you not agree?

Worst thing that can happen is, it goes to hell the thread dies and I'm out of pocket.
I'm not a USB wizard, but there's an awful lot of stuff running on the bus. 24/216 on two channels may be enough to swamp a USB2.0 connection on its' own. Writing drivers with the support of the OEM is a major project in the Linux arena - drivers for products with thousands of hours of testing that have been sorted out on the other end by the best in the business.

(And they usually run on FireWire.)
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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ShadowAMD,

Do you have a mixed signal engineering background? 'Cos I don't
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrshaul View Post
I'm not a USB wizard, but there's an awful lot of stuff running on the bus. 24/216 on two channels may be enough to swamp a USB2.0 connection on its' own. Writing drivers with the support of the OEM is a major project in the Linux arena - drivers for products with thousands of hours of testing that have been sorted out on the other end by the best in the business.

(And they usually run on FireWire.)
Well for a start, I'll be working on USB 3.0 and initial release is for Mac and then Windows..

I'm not overly concerned with the connectivity, keeping it on budget is a concern.
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4th February 2013
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ShadowAMD,

Do you have a mixed signal engineering background? 'Cos I don't
I work for a components manufacturers in audio and telecomms, the research and development team. I also in the past worked as an audio software developer..
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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I wish you every success with this ambitious project! If I start saving now, I might have enough to buy one when the product is ready
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8th February 2013
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Good Luck - drop me a PM if you need any assistance on the converter side. (I work at TI as the systems engineer for those parts...). I'll be glad to assist if I ever get spare cycles in the day
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8th February 2013
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Good Luck - drop me a PM if you need any assistance on the converter side. (I work at TI as the systems engineer for those parts...). I'll be glad to assist if I ever get spare cycles in the day
It would be nice if I could find a place to get the PCB's , I'm nearly finished with the design but minimum orders are too high for the bigger PCB manufacturers.

Doing them by hand would take forever.
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8th February 2013
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8th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowAMD View Post
I must be blind, some of them are excellent thank you so much
Let me know who you go with! I have a pedal or two I might want to get a PCB made for.

Also, I have a Metric Halo LIO coming my way, which is great because:

1) I can finally interface to other converters via AES
2) I can do a shoot out for you against one of the best interfaces ever made
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8th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben_allison View Post
Let me know who you go with! I have a pedal or two I might want to get a PCB made for.

Also, I have a Metric Halo LIO coming my way, which is great because:

1) I can finally interface to other converters via AES
2) I can do a shoot out for you against one of the best interfaces ever made
I'm on a breadboard at the moment so I'm not that far along. Its going to take a while, but things are looking promising so far..

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Gearslutz App
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9th February 2013
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You know what you take this thread to the next level?
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9th February 2013
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You know what you take this thread to the next level?
What?

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9th February 2013
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Pics!!! Someone making their own converter/interface from scratch more exciting than 99% of the stuff on here.
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9th February 2013
Old 9th February 2013
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Pics!!! Someone making their own converter/interface from scratch more exciting than 99% of the stuff on here.
Will do, not even got all the parts in yet.. So I'll give regular updates with piccies every couple o' weeks.
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