NAB: "Proof of Concept" Linux system, plus tracks from Fox's "24"
Harrison Press
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#1
12th April 2007
Old 12th April 2007
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NAB: "Proof of Concept" Linux system, plus tracks from Fox's "24"

For those who are interested in post production and will be at NAB, please stop by the Harrison booth.

We've assembled a truly innovative "proof of concept" system based entirely on the Linux platform. 5 computers (a total of 12 cores) work together in this system, each contributing a part of the processing and control load, very similar to the way a renderfarm works in a graphics facility.

The Harrison products on display are:
  • Trion: a mixing control surface which simultaneously controls several DAWs along with Harrison DSP.
  • Xengine: a multi-Opteron, ultra-low-latency DSP engine with 64-bit I/O over gigabit ethernet cable.
  • Xrouter: a 1536x1536 audio router with (4) 64-bit Xrange ports, (8) MADI ins, and (8) MADI outs.
  • Xdubber: a recorder/workstation, optimized for stem recording and playback in floating-point.
Setup for this ultra-sophisticated system couldn't be simpler. The components are connected using CAT5 cable for both control and audio. All control cables are connected to a single ethernet switch, and gigabit audio is sent to our XRouter which provides signal-by-signal routing between the boxes at 64-bit depth. The XRouter embeds video sync in the audio stream which allows sample-accurate locking to timecode. The only connectors needed are a set of XLR connectors for outboard gear and monitors. For those of you looking for a drop-in upgrade for your mixing room, this is it!

In addition to the Harrison products, we are showcasing some "up and coming" products from the Linux Audio consortium:
  • 64Studio: an easy-to-install linux OS with a comprehensive selection of audio software
  • JACK: an inter-app audio routing protocol that allows multiple programs to share audio and a timeline
  • Ardour2: a digital audio workstation (DAW) with all of the post-production necessities
  • xjadeo: a video playback utility which synchronizes with sample accuracy to Ardour
While still in "beta" form, we've found that in many ways this software is more stable, more accurate and more powerful than similar products at any price point.

Come see a piece of the future of the audio industry. If you've heard about Linux but never really seen what it can do for your facility, this is your chance.


MIX A SCENE FROM "24"!

Additionally you'll be able to view and remix the stems from Fox's hit show, "24"! We'll have the audio and video from a crucial segment running in our booth. Trust me, this week's epsiode is going to be a big one! You'll hear people talking about it at the show. Come by the Harrison booth to try mixing the tracks.



For further information contact:
Claude Hill - Sales Director
or
Gary Thielman - Advanced Products Manager
Harrison Consoles
1024 Firestone Parkway
La Vergne, Tennessee USA 37086
Voice 615-641-7200
Fax 615-641-7224
Email info@harrisonconsoles.com
Internet www.harrisonconsoles.com
#2
13th April 2007
Old 13th April 2007
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Pics

Here is a picture of the Ardour workstation and the Xdubber showing tracks from 24:

#3
14th April 2007
Old 14th April 2007
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Ben

I'll see ya Monday at NAB.

Just make sure the damn thing works!!
#4
14th April 2007
Old 14th April 2007
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It works

#5
15th April 2007
Old 15th April 2007
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Not sure if it's you, but this guy is pretty much the first guy in pro-audio software worthy of his title:

Gary Thielman - Advanced Products Manager
Harrison Consoles

Most vendors would use the same acronym, APM, but the A would stand for archaic. This guy has my respect for actually stepping back and thinking before doing.

Call me crazy, but I'm gonna venture out and suppose there's not even a dongle that crashes my OS at random.
#6
17th April 2007
Old 17th April 2007
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After visting the Harrison booth at NAB I left with a good impression of a future proof stem recorder at a very nice price point. Adding Harrison's great custumer support and it looks like a product that will make inroads to quite a few Hollywood Mix Stages.
All the Best!!
#7
19th April 2007
Old 19th April 2007
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I am sure this was very nice, but with most of the studios dipping their toes into the ICON puddle, the costs of outfitting even a modest configuration of the system may be a prohibitive thing compared to a similar track count Digidesign system.

Of course Harrison knows well what is required for Feature film and TV dubbing, but with that universe seeming to never stop it's contraction and cost cutting, it seems it will be a challenge to get people onboard to this class of hardware.
And not to be negative, but it took a long time for Harrison to move off the MacII computer platform for the MPC- I am sure the software team has gotten much more burly since then...

charles maynes
#8
20th April 2007
Old 20th April 2007
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Harrison's software team

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
And not to be negative, but it took a long time for Harrison to move off the MacII computer platform for the MPC- I am sure the software team has gotten much more burly since then...
I don't want to downplay the significance of some of the I/O handling used in the X-Dubber, but realistically it can be said that Harrison took the wise move with the dubber of outsourcing the majority of the software development to the open source world (and more specifically, me and the rest of the Ardour team). We're fast, we're good, and the best part is: any body else can use the work that has been put into Ardour to make the dubber work. Even Reaper
#9
21st April 2007
Old 21st April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead View Post
I don't want to downplay the significance of some of the I/O handling used in the X-Dubber, but realistically it can be said that Harrison took the wise move with the dubber of outsourcing the majority of the software development to the open source world (and more specifically, me and the rest of the Ardour team). We're fast, we're good, and the best part is: any body else can use the work that has been put into Ardour to make the dubber work. Even Reaper
your comments are noted, but when you consider the numbers of possible installed units (which I would gather to expect would not exceed 250) the value of open source does lessen. If Harrison does abandon the platform, which is not an "if" but a "when" statement, the users could take over the software development. In past instances this does not generally prove workable. The system will be run until its core components suffer entropy and fail.

When you compare this to the installed base of an app like ProTools, you end up with many more user vested in the ongoing success of the product family. I hope it proves to be a successful product, I am concerned that it may prove to be too late though.

charles maynes
#10
22nd April 2007
Old 22nd April 2007
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Ardour's role in the X-Dubber

Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
your comments are noted, but when you consider the numbers of possible installed units (which I would gather to expect would not exceed 250) the value of open source does lessen.
I think you have reversed the link between Ardour (the open source component) and the X-Dubber. Ardour wasn't written to make the X-Dubber happen. The X-Dubber is a product that exists in part because Ardour exists. Ardour was under development for years before Harrison got involved (or SSL, for that matter), and its existence, functionality and future development are not based on the sales of some number of units of any particular hardware product.

Quote:
If Harrison does abandon the platform, which is not an "if" but a "when" statement,
I suspect that a little research will reveal that Harrison continues to provide support for products that are older than ProTools.

Quote:
the users could take over the software development. In past instances this does not generally prove workable.
I am not aware of any examples of a previous open source pro-audio oriented product. By contrast, there are at least a dozen major open source software projects in the world (just little things like operating systems, web servers, databases and so forth) that are effectively maintained by their user communities. If you're rooted in the pro-audio world it can be tough to see how deep and wide the impact of open source software really is, but if you read the IT trade press you will realize that these products are seen as more than viable alternatives to proprietary software, and in some cases are the market leader.

Quote:
When you compare this to the installed base of an app like ProTools, you end up with many more user vested in the ongoing success of the product family.
Its far from clear to me that the ProTools user community can do much one way or another about the ongoing success of Digidesign/Avid. I think you may also underestimate the size and vested interest of the Ardour user community.
#11
23rd April 2007
Old 23rd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawhead View Post
I think you have reversed the link between Ardour (the open source component) and the X-Dubber. Ardour wasn't written to make the X-Dubber happen. The X-Dubber is a product that exists in part because Ardour exists. Ardour was under development for years before Harrison got involved (or SSL, for that matter), and its existence, functionality and future development are not based on the sales of some number of units of any particular hardware product.

I suspect that a little research will reveal that Harrison continues to provide support for products that are older than ProTools.

I am not aware of any examples of a previous open source pro-audio oriented product. By contrast, there are at least a dozen major open source software projects in the world (just little things like operating systems, web servers, databases and so forth) that are effectively maintained by their user communities. If you're rooted in the pro-audio world it can be tough to see how deep and wide the impact of open source software really is, but if you read the IT trade press you will realize that these products are seen as more than viable alternatives to proprietary software, and in some cases are the market leader.

Its far from clear to me that the ProTools user community can do much one way or another about the ongoing success of Digidesign/Avid. I think you may also underestimate the size and vested interest of the Ardour user community.
your points are noted, but I do not know if we are on the same page as far as the useage of a system such as the x-dubber-

In Audio post, which is a market Harrison has been a leader in for 30 years, is a very small community- It also is about as vertical a market as one might find in an industry. Hardware and software being used in this has to be nearly "mil-spec" due to the critical nature of schedules and the high prices which are charged for the services.
The notion of "open-source" app development is a new one for this industry- but it is not one for other mission critical applications- There lay the rub, when software might have more twisted flow chart as to who is working on what module of an application and how it might be qualified in QA before being added to the build.

With Digi, It took literally a decade before ProTools REALLY was stable enough for that sort of application- And now it is being used in a similar capacity that X-Dubber is geared for- It is in use at Fox, Disney, Todd-AO, Warner Bros on a day to day basis-

I am not certain if Universal and Sony have switched to it, but they would be in the minorty as to the major film sound installations.

As far as the users having a say in PT's longitivity- they have some influence certainly- they have a direct effect however in buying the items which maintain the companies viability- I do not think Harrison does have a similar cash flow, so I would put my money on Avid/Digi being a stronger company on that front.

As to the size of the Ardour community, perhaps you are right, however in Los Angeles I know of no one using it in a professional context. That is not to say they aren't, but If the comunity were THAT big, I am sure I would hear of someone out there.

THis is not at all to imply that Ardour is not a great application, but at least in my experience, It has made no impact in the audio community that I am familiar with.

And since I do film sound as my day job, I am ALWAYS suspicous of new technology- It is a part of the job description.

charles maynes
#12
23rd April 2007
Old 23rd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
I am not certain if Universal and Sony have switched to it, but they would be in the minorty as to the major film sound installations.
Universal has, and they love it. I was just up there and they could not have had more good things to say about PT 7.3 as a dubber. Even considering all their mix stages have Harrison digital consoles, I expect they will be sticking with PT.
#13
23rd April 2007
Old 23rd April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric L View Post
Universal has, and they love it. I was just up there and they could not have had more good things to say about PT 7.3 as a dubber. Even considering all their mix stages have Harrison digital consoles, I expect they will be sticking with PT.
this is what i understand as well about Universal. in fact, the Dubbing function is the one new thing that they plead with Digi to maintain and continue to improve.

they have so many PT rigs and stations and on all the stages, it would take an earthquake for them to migrate. but i don't think they are giving up their Harrisons anytime soon either!

(just don't ask them about their luck with Expansion Chassis............)
#14
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
And since I do film sound as my day job, I am ALWAYS suspicous of new technology- It is a part of the job description.

charles maynes
And exactly why your opinion does not matter. You know nothing of open source software the power it possesses over traditional software. You are old and have no idea what a computer can do. You couldn't uses Linux or learn it if your life depended on it.

Also you make points about why proprietary software BLOWS. Yah if you can't code it yourself you have to wait for THEM to program it. At least in Linux and Open Source Software you have the power to fix the issue and a bunch of other motivated, intelligence people and the focus isn't based on MONEY and excuses to move forward based on profit margins; the only thing that matters to businesses.

Tons of people that make music are technical in nature. Hell to create music or record music you have to be technical. Almost a requirement for being an audio engineer today is being a computer hacker; since if you do not know the inner workings of the machine you are about as useless as an broken down car; for a DAW break often enough.

Most people in the Audio world don't work in a perfect world with high end audio equipment. The majority of people have lessen than equipment in small home studios that dominate the market place. Look at the numbers; how many people run >10K Protools rig vs. 100K Neve or SSL board?

And check this, while I don't code today, I plan too. That is why Linux users are superior the pathetic life forms that run Windows boxes or big fancy boards that they don't own because they sold their soul to a Corporate Job in the Music Business. Google is all over linux, almost everyone that works at Google uses linux; oh and they have random projects where they code awesome software for it.

Think of the cost savings alone for the software; $300 for Windows 7, $300 for Microsoft Office, blah blah blah. Linux is free besides some donations here and their, but it does require a brain to operate; which unfortunately most of the human race does not possess.
#15
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxburn View Post
And exactly why your opinion does not matter. You know nothing of open source software the power it possesses over traditional software. You are old and have no idea what a computer can do. You couldn't uses Linux or learn it if your life depended on it.
I'm not sure I'm up to fluxburn's standard, but I've installed ubuntu and debian on partitions of my system drive, run Ardour, Audacity and (even) Jokosher, insalled jackd, compiled gstreamer and flac from the sources and have written and distributed software tools, like Agent Orange, under the GPL and BSD licenses.

I also have credits on about 30 feature films, and as many shorts done in the non "perfect world" of miniscule budgets, on top of supervising two features in the last year with a combined budget of $25k

And god how I hate Pro Tools, but that said...

All of the open source solutions for DAWs are misearble.

- There is no OMF workflow, which we need as long as the picture editors continue to use Avid or FCP.

- The useability of Ardour is a joke, and it can't sync to quicktime movies (it can sync to Ogg Theora movies maybe, since the Ogg people don't have political issues, unlike the MPEG LA, which apparently are the sworn enemies of the freetards, thus your video workflow is basically decided by tht politcal whim of the gstreamer developers...

- Aisde from OMFs, there are no dialogue conforming or sound library solutions for Ardour.

- If you ever have a problem with jackd, and aren't under a service level agreement with some support vendor (like say Harrison), have fun over the next day trying to suss the problem out with google.

- No good mix surfaces. Even if you had the awesomest MIDI surface there was, it wouldn't be as good as an Icon.

I'm really unhappy about this situation, since I'd switch to OSS tools in a second if I could, but the interop with picture editors is broken and Ardour needs serious attention in the usability situation. It just ISN'T built for post in its current form.

Last edited by iluvcapra; 11th March 2010 at 07:33 AM.. Reason: sp
#16
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxburn View Post
And exactly why your opinion does not matter. You know nothing of open source software the power it possesses over traditional software. You are old and have no idea what a computer can do. You couldn't uses Linux or learn it if your life depended on it.

Also you make points about why proprietary software BLOWS. Yah if you can't code it yourself you have to wait for THEM to program it. At least in Linux and Open Source Software you have the power to fix the issue and a bunch of other motivated, intelligence people and the focus isn't based on MONEY and excuses to move forward based on profit margins; the only thing that matters to businesses.

Tons of people that make music are technical in nature. Hell to create music or record music you have to be technical. Almost a requirement for being an audio engineer today is being a computer hacker; since if you do not know the inner workings of the machine you are about as useless as an broken down car; for a DAW break often enough.

Most people in the Audio world don't work in a perfect world with high end audio equipment. The majority of people have lessen than equipment in small home studios that dominate the market place. Look at the numbers; how many people run >10K Protools rig vs. 100K Neve or SSL board?

And check this, while I don't code today, I plan too. That is why Linux users are superior the pathetic life forms that run Windows boxes or big fancy boards that they don't own because they sold their soul to a Corporate Job in the Music Business. Google is all over linux, almost everyone that works at Google uses linux; oh and they have random projects where they code awesome software for it.

Think of the cost savings alone for the software; $300 for Windows 7, $300 for Microsoft Office, blah blah blah. Linux is free besides some donations here and their, but it does require a brain to operate; which unfortunately most of the human race does not possess.
I can however make a living doing audio post production- the tool I use is frankly irrelevant. And professionals do not have the luxury of buying the dream and living the nightmare.

At the end of the day, work needs to be done - beyond f***ing with incomplete solutions.
#17
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxburn View Post
And exactly why your opinion does not matter. You know nothing of open source software the power it possesses over traditional software. You are old and have no idea what a computer can do. You couldn't uses Linux or learn it if your life depended on it.
fluxburn, I'm typing this post from puredyne carriot & coriander, and I'm an avid Linux user since 2000. I've done my share of programming in C++, perl and many other languages (starting back on C64 BASIC in 1992), have compiled Linux From Scratch, contributed code and error reports to several OSS projects, and set up many web and other media servers.
Charles is not in the least an old-fashioned type of guy - your impression is wrong, because you obviously don't read this forum too much. He's in fact an early adopter of new technologies, and always open for discussion and trying things out.
If you were serious about post-production, you'd know that OSS software is not ready for real-world work yet, and if you were serious about OSS, you wouldn't be flaming around here, because that is exactly the type of behavior that hurts the OSS community.
#18
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxburn View Post
And exactly why your opinion does not matter.
Really good first post fluxburn . . . way to introduce yourself.
#19
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimlongo View Post
Really good first post fluxburn . . . way to introduce yourself.

Sounds more like a troll. Digging up a post from three years ago to make your first post and the only point of the post is to tear into someone...

I'm just saying I wouldn't read into it too much...
#20
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Etch-A-Sketch View Post
Sounds more like a troll. Digging up a post from three years ago to make your first post and the only point of the post is to tear into someone...

I'm just saying I wouldn't read into it too much...
It's disappointing because the open source argument needs to be considered on the merits, and unfortunately there's a lot of fanboyism you have to cut through on all sides of the issue.
#21
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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troll post for sure BUT a couple of years on and what is the penetration of this product into the market?
#22
11th March 2010
Old 11th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSt0rm View Post
troll post for sure BUT a couple of years on and what is the penetration of this product into the market?
I remember some Sony people being vaguely excited about it at the time, I was having a convo with Bill Banjai and I was surprised he knew so much about Ardour, but this might have been more of a function of their total Harrison-centeredness and their hatred of their DADRs.

I don't think Harrison could have made a better choice to build a DAW on top of; Ardour supports timecode lock, tapemode recording and punchins, n number of tracks, and while it's editing features suck compared to Pro Tools, Logic or Nuendo they rock compared to the MMR track slipping program who's name I forget.
#23
12th March 2010
Old 12th March 2010
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I'm no fan of ProTools, but to get the greater audio post (and music) business in the USA (and elsewhere I'd guess) to migrate en masse would require the advent of a solution so amazing, so intuitive, so complete and so cheap that it would require the participation of highly advanced extra-terrestrials at this point (and in this economy).

Philip Perkins
#24
13th March 2010
Old 13th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
I'm no fan of ProTools, but to get the greater audio post (and music) business in the USA (and elsewhere I'd guess) to migrate en masse would require the advent of a solution so amazing, so intuitive, so complete and so cheap that it would require the participation of highly advanced extra-terrestrials at this point (and in this economy).

Philip Perkins
It's really more an issue of interoperability, you don't have to get an mass movement of people to do anything. The real goal is to have a system where people are able to use whatever tools they choose.

I do some software development, and in software development, you can use any text editor you want -- some have cool features for use in a certain language, some are optimized for the command line, some are optimized for use over the internet, whatever you like -- but they all are able to open the same files, because the format of the files, and for the most part the language in the files, is standardized.

Mixing "In the Box" really shouldn't be synonymous with "mixing in Pro Tools," it's not healthy for a single vendor to have so much sway over how we do our work... People might make the argument that it was just the same in the old days, but there were two or three dubber manufacturers, two or three console manufacturers, two or three splicer manufactuerers, and if all else failed, you could always switch one with the other.

Right now we in post find ourselves in a situation where one particular company is pretty much in control of the whole workflow, and has taken up the position of an rentier. What if you wanted to cut a show on three-perf, but Moviola was the only company that made flatbeds, and they refused to sell three-perf flatbeds because they were owned by Kodak?
#25
13th March 2010
Old 13th March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvcapra View Post
It's really more an issue of interoperability, you don't have to get an mass movement of people to do anything. The real goal is to have a system where people are able to use whatever tools they choose.

I do some software development, and in software development, you can use any text editor you want -- some have cool features for use in a certain language, some are optimized for the command line, some are optimized for use over the internet, whatever you like -- but they all are able to open the same files, because the format of the files, and for the most part the language in the files, is standardized.

Mixing "In the Box" really shouldn't be synonymous with "mixing in Pro Tools," it's not healthy for a single vendor to have so much sway over how we do our work... People might make the argument that it was just the same in the old days, but there were two or three dubber manufacturers, two or three console manufacturers, two or three splicer manufactuerers, and if all else failed, you could always switch one with the other.

Right now we in post find ourselves in a situation where one particular company is pretty much in control of the whole workflow, and has taken up the position of an rentier. What if you wanted to cut a show on three-perf, but Moviola was the only company that made flatbeds, and they refused to sell three-perf flatbeds because they were owned by Kodak?
I agree with the interoperability idea, but during the years I've been working I've watched Avid/Digi throw up road blocks overt or hidden to prevent that or make it difficult in an effort to control the market, which they have successfully done. They probably aren't the only ones guilty of this, either intentionally or by not putting adequate programming effort into the task. In discussions w/ some mixers who are PT users, I found that their point of view was that PT had won the war, and that the only interoperability that really interested them was PT session compato. Since they are busy working folks I can see their point--they don't care about the health of the software industry, they care about the health of their careers and businesses. I'm not happy about this but this is how I see the situation today.

Philip Perkins
#26
15th March 2010
Old 15th March 2010
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Wow, I can't believe 3 years have passed since this show!

It's funny to re-read the original post. Things which were "cutting edge" 3 years ago are now just "business as usual". Sony and Universal have long-since adopted our Linux systems. Our new Trion systems, like the one Paul Massey recently purchased, run on Linux throughout - the surface, router, mixing engines, and automation system. In the last 2 months we've sold 3 big Linux MPC4D systems: Wildfire Post in Hollywood, SAFC in Australia, and MosFilm in Russia (their 5th Harrison console in ~2 years). Sorry if it sounds like I'm bragging but ... I am

Some of those "proof of concept" ideas ( Ardour, Jack, xjadeo ) have manifested themselves differently based on feedback from that demo. Some elements are incorporated at an upcoming installation, the Miraverse. We've also introduced Mixbus since then. Mixbus is our second collaboration with the Ardour guys and it is a stereo-only music product for now. But it shows the level of customization that can be accomplished on an open-source platform.

Unfortunately the Xdubber hasn't been adopted in Hollywood (yet). The film/post business is a very slow boat to turn, but there is a long list of technologies that got abandoned when something better&cheaper came along. Open-source exemplifies better&cheaper ... especially for a niche market like this. Imagine a world where a full-featured DAW comes pre-installed (license-free) on your instant-boot laptop partition (Splashtop, etc). But a fully-supported, customized-for-post version is available for professionals. And a whole range of solutions in-between. I think that would be pretty cool.

-Ben Loftis
Harrison Consoles
#27
19th March 2010
Old 19th March 2010
  #27
Gear Head
 
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 50

*cough* Mixbuss for linux eta please ?
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