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Jeff Steigers CAPI automation system
Old 10th February 2016
  #1
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ARIEL's Avatar
Jeff Steigers CAPI automation system

Well this new development over at CAPI looks incredible!! Here is what Jeff posted at **************. This will add DAW control and automation to any mixer or summing unit.

"Hey guys, sorry for not popping in earlier. I had to get all of my open orders shipped today since I'm having a small outpatient surgery tomorrow morning. :-X Just a laparoscopic hernia repair. Should not be a big deal.

So, yes I have been busy. Actually its not me. This is mostly all above my pay grade. I am however lucky enough to be involved with some heavy hitter geniuses! Seriously, these guys have worked with some of the largest console manufactures in the world and have clearly made analog/digital/software integration their bitch. The project was started nearly 2 years ago and things have gone well and came a long way in that time.

We call it DAWtomation™. Its an analog level control system that is run by a DAW. At present, it will run in ProTools, Logic and Nuendo. The system has many different uses and tiers. All are based around a high quality 8 channel VCA (THAT 2180) board that communicates with a DAW. Level and mute automation moves can be written to your session file and will be carried out during playback. Level controls are made ONLY in the analog domain POST outboard gear so fader moves do not mess with your outboard!

The system runs on its own proprietary plugin. Connections from the DAW to the VCA board are via USB or Thunderbolt. This is not a HUI system.

On a 32 bit system the resolution is 1024 steps. On a 64 bit system it is 2048.

The first product release will be the 8 channel VCA board and the software plugin. The VCA boards will be fully assembled only. When you see them, you will know why. This board can be used in place of a fader or potentiometer gain control so high quality mute/level automation can be added to summing mixers or other DIY projects. You simply wire it in like a pot. 3 wires per channel.

Along with that release will be a balanced analog insert based automation system. A simple box with 16 inputs and 16 outputs. This box will house the VCA circuitry which will be parked between a INA137 and a DRV134. Clean and sonically invisible. These will also be fully assembled. A clever DIY guy could easily build an all discrete version of the same thing

The second product release will be a motorized moving fader system that can be used with nearly any analog mixing console. The faders will (most likely) be TKD motorized faders in a facia along with the 4 typical pushbutton switches for Mute, Read (safe), Write and Latch (update). These are the same controls that will be on the final version of the GUI. The plugin will fully interact with the physical fader and vice versa. In the long run, this will most likely be the easiest and most economical way for folks to upgrade their old MCI's, Studer's etc etc.

The third product release will be interactive linking to SSL's moving fader automation. The existing faders on your old SSL desk will read and write level/mute automation that will be stored in your DAW session file. This will require a daughter driver board along with the main 8 channel VCA board. In this situation, the VCA's will not be populated but that is where the daughterboard will connect.

Other old automation systems may be supported in the future but time will tell on that. Integration with FlyFaders can be achieved but it may be less expensive in the long run to just replace the faders with our moving faders.

As of now, we are nearing the end of R&D. My colleague is off to England for the final push. Soon we shall see an updated and more finalized GUI as well as some new faders that actually move!

Following are a few videos that we took over the weekend. We had the VCA box connected to the insert point of an SSL console so the full level audio was never changed within the DAW.

Keep in mind, this is a fast a dirty GUI that was written just for prelim testing.

Vid 1 is a pass while writing level control. This was done with a mouse.
http://www.capi-gear.com/catalog/ima...n/IMG_0434.MOV


Vid 2 is playback of what was written in vid 1:
http://www.capi-gear.com/catalog/ima...n/IMG_0435.MOV


Vid 3 is showing that the audio coming from ProTools into the SSL channels is always at full level despite what you hear. The level control is done fully in the analog domain.
http://www.capi-gear.com/catalog/ima...n/IMG_0436.MOV


As of now, we have no fixed release date. We also have no firm pricing but rest assured, you may gasp when you find out just how reasonable it is!!"
Old 5th March 2016
  #2
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cheu78's Avatar
this might be the future of hybrid mixing.. really cool!

subscribed!



Cheu
Old 15th March 2016
  #3
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funka's Avatar
sum.mation alternative?
Old 28th March 2016
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funka View Post
sum.mation alternative?
Hi

Funka !!! long time... je ne traine plus trop sur pragmatic :(

Yes it look the same as sum.mation which seems out of the game now.
There is also SSL with delta control.
It become "easy" to control VCA with DAC and embedded system today, there is few options available around, like MIDIbox.

Moving fader is little more complicated.

Best
Zam

Last edited by zamproject; 28th March 2016 at 03:08 PM..
Old 28th March 2016
  #5
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jsteiger's Avatar
The DAWtomation™ system is not a summing mixer. It is a dedicated DAW controlled VCA automation system. It can be a balanced in/balance out "insert point" automation system or a DAW controlled moving fader system. In the future we will offer control of previous VCA automation like for older SSL boards. Our plugin is a ground up build.

Our most recent R&D has led us to an ethernet only system. We have also developed a dedicate 2 channel control board for mix bus duties. Our base system can be expanded to 64 channels plus the 2-mix. We can go beyond 64+2 but it will be on a custom basis.

Besides me, we have a 4 member team that is handling the R&D. My friend who has spent his life in studios is behind the wheel. He has worked with every major console automation system ever built and knows all of their strengths and weaknesses. Our 3 main EE's have worked for some of the top console companies in the world throughout their careers. Our analog and hardware engineer has 40 years experience. Our digital hardware engineer has been doing this for 35 years. Our software specialist is part of the Avid Connectivity Partner Program with some 25 years experience. Combined thats a century of expertise!

More news will come shortly.
Old 28th March 2016
  #6
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Hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
The DAWtomation™ system is not a summing mixer. It is a dedicated DAW controlled VCA automation system. It can be a balanced in/balance out "insert point" automation system
That's also what sum.mation do, 16xVCA I/O insert.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
Our most recent R&D has led us to an ethernet only system.
Yes it's the way to go
What protocol are you using?

Best
Zam

Last edited by zamproject; 28th March 2016 at 03:08 PM..
Old 30th March 2016
  #7
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funka's Avatar
Quote:
Funka !!! long time... je ne traine plus trop sur pragmatic :(

Yes it look the same as sum.mation which seems out of the game now.
Off topic on
Tu devrais...
Où en est ton projet?...
Off topic off

I like the fact that the summation is(was) also a summing mixer, with the possibility of external preamp.
Old 30th March 2016
  #8
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jsteiger's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by funka View Post
....I like the fact that the summation is(was) also a summing mixer, with the possibility of external preamp.
Well, our thought there is why force folks who already own a summing mixer (of some sort) to buy another one?
Old 30th March 2016
  #9
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2Low's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARIEL View Post

The second product release will be a motorized moving fader system that can be used with nearly any analog mixing console. The faders will (most likely) be TKD motorized faders in a facia along with the 4 typical pushbutton switches for Mute, Read (safe), Write and Latch (update). These are the same controls that will be on the final version of the GUI. The plugin will fully interact with the physical fader and vice versa. In the long run, this will most likely be the easiest and most economical way for folks to upgrade their old MCI's, Studer's etc etc."

Question from an MCI 636 user

Will this system provide a control voltage to the MCI VCA´s thru the moving faders
or bypass the console VCA´s ?

thanks
Old 30th March 2016
  #10
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jsteiger's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Low View Post
Question from an MCI 636 user

Will this system provide a control voltage to the MCI VCA´s thru the moving faders
or bypass the console VCA´s ?

thanks
The idea/goal at this stage is that our main control board will run your console VCA's. We have discussed systems like this that will just not have our VCA's fitted on the main control board.

Development of systems with external control will come after our own moving fader system. Of course this could all change as things shake out.....
Old 30th March 2016
  #11
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2Low's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
The idea/goal at this stage is that our main control board will run your console VCA's
Superb !!!
Old 30th March 2016
  #12
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Lumbergh's Avatar
 

Very interesting. Presumably it wouldn't be difficult to drop this into an older console which was prewired to use Optifile?
Old 31st March 2016
  #13
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funka's Avatar
Quote:
Well, our thought there is why force folks who already own a summing mixer (of some sort) to buy another one?
And that is a good thing.
Maybe a passive summing network with only external preamp use(ALA Folcrom) could be very cheap to add, maybe not... Resistors, mix bus, output connectors.
But I understand, fair enough.
Old 8th May 2016
  #14
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So, could I just drop the new VCA's in my console (AMR 1600)? If so, I'm buying this when it comes out.
Old 9th May 2016
  #15
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hendo's Avatar
 

An answer to prayer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
Well, our thought there is why force folks who already own a summing mixer (of some sort) to buy another one?
Wow, this is awesome! Put me down for two 16 I/O units! (Had my sights set on a pair of sum.mations, then Greiner suddenly discontinued production.)

As far summing on the insert-based version, you hit the nail on the head, Jeff. I don't presume to speak for everyone else, but I personally don't want to pay for all the extra circuitry that I'll never use.

The info on the automated moving fader system is understandably vague - particularly whether the system uses analog or controller faders. Sounds like it has a lot of potential, though.

One thing for sure, what is sorely needed is a fully-automated, analog console with moving faders, 8 aux sends/stereo returns, 8 subs, and DAW/transport controls - but WITHOUT mic pres, EQ, and other extraneous circuitry.

One question: Can DAWtomation be integrated with EUCON-based DAW controllers?

Thanks,
Hendo
Old 9th May 2016
  #16
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Quint's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendo View Post
Wow, this is awesome! Put me down for two 16 I/O units! (Had my sights set on a pair of sum.mations, then Greiner suddenly discontinued production.)

As far summing on the insert-based version, you hit the nail on the head, Jeff. I don't presume to speak for everyone else, but I personally don't want to pay for all the extra circuitry that I'll never use.

The info on the automated moving fader system is understandably vague - particularly whether the system uses analog or controller faders. Sounds like it has a lot of potential, though.

One thing for sure, what is sorely needed is a fully-automated, analog console with moving faders, 8 aux sends/stereo returns, 8 subs, and DAW/transport controls - but WITHOUT mic pres, EQ, and other extraneous circuitry.

One question: Can DAWtomation be integrated with EUCON-based DAW controllers?

Thanks,
Hendo
My understanding is that it can be used with any daw controller because the daw controller only controls the daw and the automation only interacts with the daw, not the the controller itself. IOW, use whatever you want because the automation doesn't directly communicate with the controller.
Old 9th May 2016
  #17
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monkeyxx's Avatar
Very exciting! Seems like a much needed product.
Old 9th May 2016
  #18
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hendo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
My understanding is that it can be used with any daw controller because the daw controller only controls the daw and the automation only interacts with the daw, not the the controller itself. IOW, use whatever you want because the automation doesn't directly communicate with the controller.
Well, the VCA's need to follow the controllers in real time. Also, both the VCA's and controllers (motorized faders) need to follow the automation. So, the two protocols would have to work together, seamlessly. Of course, the DAW plays a big role, too.

MC Mix/Control <=> EUCON <=> DAW => Dawtomation => VCA's
Old 9th May 2016
  #19
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Quint's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendo View Post
Well, the VCA's need to follow the controllers in real time. Also, both the VCA's and controllers (motorized faders) need to follow the automation. So, the two protocols would have to work together, seamlessly. Of course, the DAW plays a big role, too.

MC Mix/Control <=> EUCON <=> DAW => Dawtomation => VCA's
As long as the DAW you use can handle the protocol for your chosen controller and that same DAW also is supported by CAPI's automation system, you should be good to go. That doesn't mean that the two protocols have to "work together" though. The DAW will serve as the "go between" for the controller and automation system and will communicate with each separately.
Old 10th May 2016
  #20
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hendo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quint View Post
As long as the DAW you use can handle the protocol for your chosen controller and that same DAW also is supported by CAPI's automation system, you should be good to go. That doesn't mean that the two protocols have to "work together" though. The DAW will serve as the "go between" for the controller and automation system and will communicate with each separately.
Yeah, perhaps I should've worded that as "the two protocols have to work simultaneously and seamlessly". With the DAW in the middle, never the twain shall meet.

Another question concerns what, if any, limitations DAWmotion might have concerning the Ethernet topology. For example, Avid - for no justifiable reason - specifically prevents EUCON from connecting to LAGG and VLAN interfaces.
Old 10th July 2016
  #21
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2Low's Avatar
 

any news ???
Old 11th July 2016
  #22
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jsteiger's Avatar
Yes we are getting closer. We are planning to have a number of the smaller standalone insert based systems floating around Nashville by the end of August. This system is already pretty solid so we are not expecting any issues but still calling these "beta" to be sure.

Just before that, a 64 channel beta system will be installed in an SSL in the midwest for testing in the trenches. A 32 channel moving fader system will be going into the B room at the same facility. We are expecting to have a few bugs in these two styles of systems so will work them out there before a full blown release.
Old 11th July 2016
  #23
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hendo's Avatar
 

That's great news! BTW, on the moving fader version, are the faders and VCA's separate (i.e. the VCA's in rackmount housings) or are they housed together? I suspect the former, but it's worth asking.
Old 11th July 2016
  #24
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I would love a 48 channel version!
Old 12th July 2016
  #25
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jsteiger's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendo View Post
That's great news! BTW, on the moving fader version, are the faders and VCA's separate (i.e. the VCA's in rackmount housings) or are they housed together? I suspect the former, but it's worth asking.
The system has been evolving greatly over the last 5 or 6 months. Options were weighed out and extensive testing has lead us to the following structure.

The moving fader version of our system does not pass audio through a VCA and just goes straight to the fader. We use our own proprietary DC motor drive circuitry on the side cards of the faders. For ergonomics, that has either an 8 or 12 channel control board, depending on how the desk distributes modules. Control signals come in via ethernet to the control boards and then to the fader side boards.

In addition, the fader buffer circuit for all of the 8100 through VR series Neves comes on the boards so no splicing of lines is required. The systems can be configured stock up to 64 channels and bespoke at an additional cost.

The only time in which a VCA would be present in a moving fader version of our system is if you were retro-fitting the computer cards on a Solid State Logic desk with Ultimation, as the VCA is present in the desk's circuitry at all times.

As mentioned, the standalone "insert" box will utilize VCA's.
Old 12th July 2016
  #26
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hendo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsteiger View Post
The system has been evolving greatly over the last 5 or 6 months. Options were weighed out and extensive testing has lead us to the following structure.

The moving fader version of our system does not pass audio through a VCA and just goes straight to the fader. We use our own proprietary DC motor drive circuitry on the side cards of the faders. For ergonomics, that has either an 8 or 12 channel control board, depending on how the desk distributes modules. Control signals come in via ethernet to the control boards and then to the fader side boards.

In addition, the fader buffer circuit for all of the 8100 through VR series Neves comes on the boards so no splicing of lines is required. The systems can be configured stock up to 64 channels and bespoke at an additional cost.

The only time in which a VCA would be present in a moving fader version of our system is if you were retro-fitting the computer cards on a Solid State Logic desk with Ultimation, as the VCA is present in the desk's circuitry at all times.

As mentioned, the standalone "insert" box will utilize VCA's.
That's even better news! I was hoping for analog faders, but assumed they were digital encoders.

Will the moving faders be offered in a standalone, insert system?

The moving fader system would also be ideal in a routing/summing desk that provides pan, pre/post aux send/returns, groups, & masters. No need for pres or EQ. The full monty could include automated VCA's on the pan & send/returns, as well as DAW transport controls. (Hey, this is Gearslutz, after all.)
Old 12th July 2016
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hendo View Post
The moving fader system would also be ideal in a routing/summing desk that provides pan, pre/post aux send/returns, groups, & masters. No need for pres or EQ. The full monty could include automated VCA's on the pan & send/returns, as well as DAW transport controls. (Hey, this is Gearslutz, after all.)

Throw in HUI rotary encoders for DAW control and I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Old 13th July 2016
  #28
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SAnthony's Avatar
Very Good News... I am hoping to wake up the old Automation circuitry in my Custom Harrison MR2. You will include an interface for the Valley VCAs as well? Ideally hoping to shake hands with Sonar as well as Pro Tools.
S.
Old 16th July 2016
  #29
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2Low's Avatar
 

so i guess there is no chance ,
to connect the system to MCI channel VCA´s .... ?
Old 17th July 2016
  #30
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jsteiger's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendo View Post
That's even better news! I was hoping for analog faders, but assumed they were digital encoders.
No they are motorized analog faders.

Quote:
Will the moving faders be offered in a standalone, insert system?
The moving faders are used to replace the existing faders in your desk. The insert system is a low cost version of the system to be able to be placed in the insert path of the desk. The insert system just goes channel for channel with the desk or summing mixer on the insert points or between the DAW and a summing mixer.

Quote:
The moving fader system would also be ideal in a routing/summing desk that provides pan, pre/post aux send/returns, groups, & masters. No need for pres or EQ. The full monty could include automated VCA's on the pan & send/returns, as well as DAW transport controls. (Hey, this is Gearslutz, after all.)
Well because our plugin does not affect the audio level coming into the input side of the desk and only controls either the motorized fader or VCA depending on the system, some of that is already possible. I don't want to let all of the surprises out until the release.
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