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Open-source Sound Module
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Sharp
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:52 pm    Post subject: Open-source Sound Module Reply with quote

Hi Everyone.
I'm posting this in the latest news section with the intentions of moving it to the General Music section soon as there's some movement on this.

What I'm proposing here is to build an open source sound module that is not bound by the limitations of dedicated hardware. A totally future proof system. No matter what happens I'm going to do this for myself, but given the scope of this project, I thought I would first throw this idea out to the forum to see if there was anyone else interested in taking part in the development.

More people with the right skills involved, this project could far exceed my needs and also result in the perfect sound module for everyone involved.

I would also hope that we could come up with a design and software solutions that everyone else could benefit from. A Sound module that anyone with basic DIY skills and basic knowledge of computers could assemble.

I'd also like to see this sound module grow far beyond our community and become an open-source sound module that everyone will want to build and support.

What do you think?

Regards
Sharp.
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KJandKT
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the idea. I'm not sure what part I could contribute to - but it sounds like a fantastic idea!

God bless
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megamarkd
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a good idea. Again, like KJandKT, not sure what I could help with other than ideas and encouragement.
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Bachus
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A sound module? sounds great...
Just sounds?
IF i can help out somehow, i will...

Will it support just sounds..
Or will it be more of a flexible workstation
With features for backings
OR even added arranger features?

I think thats what i am looking for, dedicated software to replace the workstation and if possible even with pro arranger features.. I think the format ketron choose with their launchpad, would be appreciated by many pros...
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pjd37



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Open-source Sound Module Reply with quote

Sharp wrote:
Hi Everyone.
What I'm proposing here is to build an open source sound module that is not bound by the limitations of dedicated hardware. A totally future proof system.


Hi Sharp --

There is already quite a bit that one can do with Linux running on a Raspberry Pi -- all open source. Here are links to a tutorial series which I wrote some time ago:

http://sandsoftwaresound.net/get-started-raspbian-jessie-rpi2/
http://sandsoftwaresound.net/get-started-alsa-jack/
http://sandsoftwaresound.net/rpi-soft-synth-get-started/
http://sandsoftwaresound.net/usb-audio-raspberry-pi/
http://sandsoftwaresound.net/qsynth-fluidsynth-raspberry-pi/

Best wishes for the project!

-- pj
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Bachus
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems like everyone has its own ideas, of what to expect from an open source module..

Can this be archieved?

You talk about hardware independant?
But will it also be platform independent?
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megamarkd
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bachus wrote:
Seems like everyone has its own ideas, of what to expect from an open source module..

Can this be archieved?

You talk about hardware independant?
But will it also be platform independent?


I would hope that the software (firmware?) would be running on an open source OS such as Linux, in a similar manner to mobile phones but not a locked custom distro. Or even have the code running in C+ and letting users compile the code for whatever platform they are going to use. A dependency particular OS's would make it not future proof as it could get to a point where a redundant OS would be the only platform it ran on and users needing to stick to it in order to use the software. I might be wrong, I'm just applying what has happened to me with car computer software in the past which created a need to keep a copy of WinXP to fix my Peugeot 206 (which I've now sold, mumble grumble bloody id numbers).

I'm imaging something similar to what Open Labs is doing only with all the code available to the public for anyone to modify, add to or just plain old bugfix (and not running on a pay-for OS). It's the same ethic that Mutable Instruments use, which has created a fine little community of modders based on a couple of their projects.
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Stuff I'm using: Umm right now, well there's a Volca Drum, a Micro Freak, an ADX-1, a Pulse, a Blofeld, a UNO Drum, KeyStep/Beatstep Pro/Keystep Pro (one of each), a Circuit, a LiveTrak L-12 and this nonsense: The Brief-case as it was about a bit over a year ago (the the complete ridiculous GAS monster collection here)and here


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DjStiky
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What would be great is having it as an iOS app running on iPad. Convenient for travel. The new iPad Pros have some serious horsepower.
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Bachus
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Joined: 23 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

megamarkd wrote:
Bachus wrote:
Seems like everyone has its own ideas, of what to expect from an open source module..

Can this be archieved?

You talk about hardware independant?
But will it also be platform independent?


I would hope that the software (firmware?) would be running on an open source OS such as Linux, in a similar manner to mobile phones but not a locked custom distro. Or even have the code running on C+ and letting users compile the code for whatever platform they are going to use. A dependency particular OS's would make it not future proof as it could get to a point where a redundant OS would be the only platform it ran on and users needing to stick to it in order to use the software. I might be wrong, I'm just applying what has happened to me with car computer software in the past which created a need to keep a copy of WinXP to fix my Peugeot 206 (which I've now sold, mumble grumble bloody id numbers).

I'm imaging something similar to what Open Labs is doing only with all the code available to the public for anyone to modify, add to or just plain old bugfix (and not running on a pay-for OS). It's the same ethic that Mutable Instruments use, which has created a fine little community of modders based on a couple of their projects.


If you go for linux
Which is obvious
Then the only viable choice will be creating a custom distro and maintaining it as core of the module... this would best be done by a sepperate team of people..
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gjvti
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Joined: 13 Jan 2009
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 11:33 am    Post subject: Re: Open-source Sound Module Reply with quote

Sharp wrote:
Hi Everyone.
I'm posting this in the latest news section with the intentions of moving it to the General Music section soon as there's some movement on this.

What I'm proposing here is to build an open source sound module that is not bound by the limitations of dedicated hardware. A totally future proof system. No matter what happens I'm going to do this for myself, but given the scope of this project, I thought I would first throw this idea out to the forum to see if there was anyone else interested in taking part in the development.

More people with the right skills involved, this project could far exceed my needs and also result in the perfect sound module for everyone involved.

I would also hope that we could come up with a design and software solutions that everyone else could benefit from. A Sound module that anyone with basic DIY skills and basic knowledge of computers could assemble.

I'd also like to see this sound module grow far beyond our community and become an open-source sound module that everyone will want to build and support.

What do you think?

Regards
Sharp.


Although I very much welcome any portable multitimbral sound module - from your announcement I quite don't get the idea what you mean by open source hardware independent sound module.

I think there are number of examples of more or less hardware independent/more or less open source sound modules already
- http://www.axoloti.com
- http://www.seelake.com
- http://www.smproaudio.com/index.php/en/products/v-machines
- ...
so could you elaborate how your sound module idea is different?
In general - if it runs vst/au - it is open source as theoretically everyone can code for it...
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Sharp
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread. I've been travelling quite a bit with work. I'll knock up some designs this weekend to try show you what I'm thinking.

Basically think of this as a rack mounted PC but that the case is specifically manufactured for our needs. The front will have connectivity and an touch screen.

If we use Windows or Linux, for remote access you can use whatever tablet you own to remote desktop into the Rack. An iPad will make a nice portable screen for example.

So from a manufacturing point of view, a case designed to ATX standards needs to be built. Building one to ATX standards is critical as this will allow us to use any off the shelf computer components we like. 10 years from now when you want to throw away the CPU and stick in a new one, it will be no problem.

From a software point of view, I can build a sample based sound engine that drives everything
and streams samples. Or we could even use Linux Sampler as that's already a mighty powerful application. A Windows version is also even available.

Which is something to think about too. If we go with Windows, you can run pretty much anything you like on the sound module. Linux is not so widely supported for VSTs.

Windows also opens the door for those who want to use the module as an Arranger. Install Varranger, job done.

Regards
Sharp.
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Bachus
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Joined: 23 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sharp wrote:
Hi all.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread. I've been travelling quite a bit with work. I'll knock up some designs this weekend to try show you what I'm thinking.

Basically think of this as a rack mounted PC but that the case is specifically manufactured for our needs. The front will have connectivity and an touch screen.

If we use Windows or Linux, for remote access you can use whatever tablet you own to remote desktop into the Rack. An iPad will make a nice portable screen for example.

So from a manufacturing point of view, a case designed to ATX standards needs to be built. Building one to ATX standards is critical as this will allow us to use any off the shelf computer components we like. 10 years from now when you want to throw away the CPU and stick in a new one, it will be no problem.

From a software point of view, I can build a sample based sound engine that drives everything
and streams samples. Or we could even use Linux Sampler as that's already a mighty powerful application. A Windows version is also even available.

Which is something to think about too. If we go with Windows, you can run pretty much anything you like on the sound module. Linux is not so widely supported for VSTs.

Windows also opens the door for those who want to use the module as an Arranger. Install Varranger, job done.

Regards
Sharp.



Sounds a lot like the lionstracs project from a time back..
But this time open source?


For things like Varranger, you would want atleast a 12 inch display
wouldn't it be a better idea to work with an external display, so people can choose their won displays (or use an ipad/android) as the display? that would fit the open source standard a little better..


Linux would be perfect for designing a thing like this, as its open source and free from the go... it allows you to build custom interfaces and all those things inside Linux, it can be configured any way you want.. but then VST support is under the water line...
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Sharp
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Sounds a lot like the lionstracs project from a time back..
But this time open source?


Lionstracs is kind of a mixed bag. The concept was brilliant from the point of view of streaming samples. It was pretty much perfect in that regard. Even more so the XR Rack. It's a crying shame the XR was never released. It really was awesome in every way that relates to streaming samples.

Where Lionstracs was not so good is that the operating system was Linux, so Windows VST's had to be run through WINE. It simply wasn't as stable as you would need a musical instrument to be in this regard.

The X-R rack was far better though in this regard as the custom OS was better. But as already mentioned, it's a crying shame it was never released to the public.

Anyway..... moving on. What I'm proposing is for us to go it alone, no ties to any company that could decide to pull the plug. All work that goes into building this open source rack should go public to a level that anyone can build their own. There's not going to be an end product people can buy.

This will all end in a shopping list of parts you buy yourself from anywhere online, and you can tap into the software and sound libraries for free that drive everything.

About the only thing that may make sense for us to chip in on and buy together will be the actual rack unit casing. When we have the designs worked out, I will personally pay for my one to be laser cut and manufactured. The first one will be the most expensive as I will have to work with a local company to produce the CNC data for the laser cutter and press.

Ones that's done, your all better off pooling together and placing an order for a number of cases to be made. Where you get those made is up to you guys. I can help people in the EU if you want to run them off here in Ireland and have them shipped, but I will also obviously upload the CNC files so you all have the option to go to a local business in your country and run cases off locally to you.

For example, those of you in America might break off into your own group to have cases run off in your country, were here in the EU, we can probably break off into 3 or 4 groups in order to cut down on shipping costs to simplify things.

As for access to the software, sound engine and sounds, jointly all we need to do is cover the cost of a server to host the data. For example, if there's only 50 of us who build one of these racks, it will cost us only 24 Euro each to keep the server online for 1 year. The more people that join in over time, the lower the cost is to everyone until it will probably reach something stupid like a $1 a year for each person to have unlimited access to all the data and new sounds people keep uploading. This is all just an idea, we can work all that out later.

It's all going to be non profit anyway so we can setup something handy enough that everyone will agree on.

Quote:
For things like Varranger, you would want atleast a 12 inch display
wouldn't it be a better idea to work with an external display, so people can choose their won displays (or use an ipad/android) as the display? that would fit the open source standard a little better..


Yes, the way I see this in my head right now is that the Rack front panel has a screen big enough that you can launch the OS and access whatever you like. So you can use it without any external screen just fine.

But for convenience and remote access, people can simply use any Android or iOS tablet they like. Just run remote desktop on it.

It's also easy to go tethered as you can buy Touch Screens that connect directly to any USB port and are powered by that port. Not to mention simply using a standard monitor off the HDMI on the back.

in short, you would have many options as the system is not locked down.

Quote:
Linux would be perfect for designing a thing like this, as its open source and free from the go... it allows you to build custom interfaces and all those things inside Linux, it can be configured any way you want.. but then VST support is under the water line...


For the sake of $100 for a Win10 licence, it's probably best to go that direction given nobody is really writing VST's for Linux. I'd be reluctant to depend on WINE to get Windows VST's running on Linux. Same goes for anyone looking to use the rack as an arranger, there are no Linux options I know of that work, where there are windows options that work very well.

Regards
Sharp.
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Vadim
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amazing idea, as long as it works on macOS
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Sharp
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all.
I was doing some research on hardware and I found this by accident.
http://zynthian.org/

It's an open source Raspberry Pi based sound module that runs Linux Sampler. I've contacted the developers to get some idea of it's poly count and what's the largest size sample it can load.

It's seems to have 1GB of RAM, but the OS runs on that too. Given that Linux Sampler can load seamlessly on demand if you write an LSCP file to tell it what to do, 600MB of RAM could mean that at any given time you could load up to 5GB of samples.

Regards
Sharp.
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