Author Topic: Project Status Update (02-01-2018) - beta 3 is ready! ***HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!***  (Read 1359 times)

Artur D'Assumpção

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Hi guys!

Since we are entering a new year, we thought that we should finally give you an update on the project status and what we've been up to! ;D

A short beforeword...

As some of you might know, Steve and I have been working hard on the project for the last 3 years now. During this process we've been through several hardware design iterations (sometimes I think too many! :o) and some inevitable highs and lows in the project. It's true that the project not always evolved at the pace we all liked to, but we are getting there and coming out with even more clever designs at each iteration. Our love for music, SSL consoles and this awesome community is what drives us to embrace this challenge, and provides us with the will to bring you the best modern computer replacement, designed by and for the community always!

While we're at it, I think it is worth to make a small remark regarding the project nature. This project must be viewed in a totally different prescriptive of what it's normal in this industry. It is not meant to follow a strict commercial project approach, thus it's not bound to typical time-to-market and price-point constraints. It's a project driven to serve the community in the best way possible and with long term support in mind. It's also not profit driven (although some profit is necessary) and it will be delivered when we feel it reached a point that satisfies the goals and quality standards we set for the project.

Finally, at some-point we would love to see the community more involved in the project itself, contributing in several different ways for its improvement, especially when we start working in the user land software. The more involved the community is, the more enriched and strong will the project be overall. Without the support of the community the project just doesn't make sense to exist in the first place. Don't give up on us! We sure won't give up on you.  ;)


Now for the important news...

So, what have we been doing?

The beta 2 version for us was the pinnacle of what we could do on through-hole technology, and we were able to came out with a very decent design that supported all of our goals. Unfortunately, this came at the expense of size, cost and complexity. Although the architecture itself was a rather simple and powerful, the side effects of such design was that we ended up with a high number of components, making things more complex, expensive, harder to assemble and in the end.. .not very DIY friendly. For this reason we decided that the main reasons that supported a through-hole approach were no longer present and it was time to leave the through-hole technology and embrace the SMD technology.

Since then we've been working on an SMD revision of our VCA beta 2 card (through hole). The transition was not immediate, and it has taken more time and effort than we initially anticipated. This was the main reason why we've been so silent... 

This delay was because we had to go back to the design board, scratch the previous design, and try several new alternatives until we reached a final one that satisfied the quality level we had in beta 2, while taking real advantage of the SMD technology, reducing cost, size and complexity. It was not an exercise of simply replacing the through-hole components with its SMD counterparts, we've changed everything, while at the same time retaining the main architecture concepts! :)

Anyways, fast forwarding, we are now proud to say that we have finally finished the design of the new beta 3 card (now in SMD format) right in time for the new year and will be ready for sending to factory soon (just doing the necessary sanity checks before committing)!  ;D In attach you'll find some 3D renders of the new baby. It looks awesome doesn't it?

Despite the great news, it's not a victory just yet! Since we've made several radical changes to the original design architecture and used completely new components (inclusively we've changed the micro-controller architecture), we still have to test it out on a real environment and see how this design performs in a real life scenario. The good news is that we are much closer than we were 1 year ago, and we'll be ready to test it soon.  ;D

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a fantastic 2018 and much success to your projects and music!  ;D 8)

We hope to be able to give you more good news soon...

Thanks!

Artur & Steve

Clip6

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Thanks. So GUI software is finished? We will still use our keyboard on the console? Maybe I miss that part id you wrote about it already. Glad to hear.

marcmozart

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Hey Artur & Steve,
great stuff - very excited! Anything I can help with, let me know!

Happy 2018!
Marc
1992 SSL 4048 G-Series
Mix Engineer Blog
http://www.mixedbymarcmozart.com

Robert Wellerfors

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Nice good work happy 2018

Mosca

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Awesome news Artur and Steve!

Looking forward for it!

Wish you all a great 2018!

Ricardo Mosca
SSL 4040G+ Ultimate automation, total recall 1995

Artur D'Assumpção

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Thanks. So GUI software is finished? We will still use our keyboard on the console? Maybe I miss that part id you wrote about it already. Glad to hear.

Hi,

Thanks!

No we're still on the hardware development phase. Lots of work for just 2 guys. All the user end software we have is for testing purposes.

As soon as we have a stable hardware base we'll start with the user software. Most probably this will happen as soon as we test proof the VCA beta 3, assuming everything pans out as we planned and no critical changes necessary. If so, software development can occur in parallel with the remaining hardware (e.g.: ultimation, TR/Keyboard/Transport and backplane), but at this point we have some ideas and directions already lined up.  ;D

Cheers,

Artur

Artur D'Assumpção

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Hey Artur & Steve,
great stuff - very excited! Anything I can help with, let me know!

Happy 2018!
Marc

Thanks Marc!

Of course we count with your amazing help! You're a part of the dream, without your help this wouldn't be possible! :D

Cheers,

Artur


Artur D'Assumpção

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Awesome news Artur and Steve!

Looking forward for it!

Wish you all a great 2018!

Ricardo Mosca

Thanks Ricardo!!

Let's see if 2018 is the year of the XK System finally! :D We are very thrilled about it!

Cheers,

Artur

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Hello Artur :)

Congrats for the big news, great to see that this project has not been stopped ( I was scarry when I didn't see a lot of posts lately... ).

My SSL G+ is just powered up ( by Peter Higgs ), I have some solders to finish ( and own some TR Multiplexers cards on some channels, no computer ), if I can help ( South of France )...

Congrats again, can't wait to see the whole project finished ( and in my studio ;) ) !!!

Paul

pascal.verdet

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Hi Artur,

Happy new year ! Great work.
I still available to help you ...

Cheers,
Pascal

Artur D'Assumpção

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Hello Artur :)

Congrats for the big news, great to see that this project has not been stopped ( I was scarry when I didn't see a lot of posts lately... ).

My SSL G+ is just powered up ( by Peter Higgs ), I have some solders to finish ( and own some TR Multiplexers cards on some channels, no computer ), if I can help ( South of France )...

Congrats again, can't wait to see the whole project finished ( and in my studio ;) ) !!!

Paul

It is a slowwwww process! But we'll get there eventually! :D

Congrats on your SSL it looks gorgeous! Peter is a fantastic tech, you're in good hands!

Artur D'Assumpção

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Hi Artur,

Happy new year ! Great work.
I still available to help you ...

Cheers,
Pascal

Thanks  buddy! Happy new year to you to! You're always welcome to buzz in! :D

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Happy 2018 everyone!  This is such good news...well done to everyone involved!! Have been following this and will continue to follow with great anticipation.

Artur D'Assumpção

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Thanks!

I'll try to make posts more often for everyone's contempt! :D  ehehe

Cheers,

Artur


Artur D'Assumpção

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Hi guys,

Another quick update. We've made some small changes (added some leds, more filtering and regulated to reduce noise even further, etc.), everything should be ready to send to manufacture until the end of the weekend.

Here's some new photos, now also including the front panel for the rack enclosure slots which we'll be designing in the future.

Cheers,

Artur