Author Topic: Project Status - October  (Read 2763 times)

Artur D'Assumpção

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Project Status - October
« on: October 10, 2014, 11:48:29 AM »
Hi guys,

After a few requests here's an update of the current status of the SSLMixed Computer project.

We've been working hard on the computer design during the last months to make it a solid option and something that will best serve the desires and expectations of our forum user base. We've received lots of suggestions during these last months that lead to some redesigns and project shifts to accommodate all relevant observations. This has been a project that forced us to go very deep under the SSL console/computer hood, reversing all aspects of it. We are now confident that we have been able to reverse most of the hardest and relevant things such as, VCA, Ultimation, bypass support, Total Recall, keyboard, etc.

During the summer we did a small pause for vacations and enjoy some sun(??) and family, but since beginning of September we've been working regularly to produce a prototype that we plan to produce very soon. Accordingly to the last meeting we may have a first small prototype of the hardware during the next few weeks. This is a thrilling moment for us! We hope you share our joy after the end of this post! :D

To update you of the current project plans and what to expect. Please be free to give us any valuable input, now it's the time! :)

Console Support:

- 4000/6000 and 8000
- VCA faders + automation
- Ultimation faders + automation (including ultimation fader modes - trim,abs,alt)
- Total Recall (for everything the SSL natively supported)
- Transport support
- SSL keyboard support (small and large)
- All channel strip modules (including stereo)
- VCA Group support (VCA and Ultimation)
- 6000 and 8000 bus groups (A,B,C and D) - Automation + TR
- Patchable VCA support - Automation + TR
- Master fader support - Automation + TR
- Hard-bypass support (fail/computer off situations) + Software controlled bypass supports (VCA and Ultimation*)
       *still under evaluation and you will loose group capabilities, since group is computer assisted for Ultimation.

(I hope i am not missing something...)

SSLMixed Hardware:

- 1 x 2U box for systems up to 64 i/o / 2 x 2U boxes for systems up to 128 i/o
- PC based controller software (there is is plans to enable the installation of the software on a dedicated Beaglebone or similar cheap and tiny computer)
- Communication over Ethernet

- No modular I/O card support:
       - We reached the conclusion after several cost vs benefit analysis that will be much cheaper to have only 1 PCB for I/O that supports up to 64 I/O. A totally populated PCB will be much cheaper that a few couple modules of 8 I/O. You don't need to populate it entirely if you want to save some money on components.

      - Actually each box will support 64 I/O (attributed as necessary) + 1 for Main Fader (65 total).

- Project is DIY oriented:
        - The entire project will be DIY oriented using through-hole components (not SMD). This will enable us to offer the computer to our users under a DIY approach, making it really cheap! We plan also to offer pre-built computers at a higher cost of course. I will explain on a future post all the possible configurations and expected usages.

- TR + Transport support + S29 cable (tape remote) will be supported on the main motherboard (no extra card).  For the second box you can simply not populate this section.

- Keyboard will be also supported (we are still designing this part, details will have to come on a later stage)

- It will be plug & play using the same old interface cables. No mods needed.


SSLMixed Software:

- after talking with several people we came to the conclusion that it would be important to preserve the SSL workflow. This is why the SSL was so famous for and the major critic to the existent solutions. SSL users are used to the original workflow and work very fast and intuitively on it, using the DAW as a tape machine with "plugin" capability. It's like car that almost drives by itself, something that's totally opposite with DAW workflow. :D

So we decided we wanted to pursuit this goal and differentiate us from other solutions. Our objective is to fully support the SSL workflow, hence the keyboard support. Of course we will be updating it to modern times (no one one deals with floppy these days!). We will try to support all important features that make sense these days and add some extra in there that should have been there all along and that with nowadays computer's processor power are easy to accomplish. Of course we might support other ways of viewing automation/editing or other features that weren't there, but this will be our main goal. The idea will be that you can work similarly with the new computer (with modern graphics) as you did with old one, keeping the vibe intact as much as possible. You'll be a able to use the SSL keyboard or/and a standard PC keyboard (with clever shortcuts to mimic the SSL keyboard).


- The software will run on his dedicated computer (can be a mini-computer) and we are planing to do it all in Linux, so it's cheaper (free) to everyone and also it will lower that computer hardware specs greatly! This computer will communicate with the racks and the DAW computer through Ethernet.


- The display support will be very special. You can connect a standard HDMI monitor to it, for instance one that fits on the SSL screen place. But we will also support what we call remote displays + remote controllers, over Ethernet. This will be a very powerful feature that we believe will make many users happy and have a true SSL worship room filled with power screens! :D ehehe (more about this in the future)


- Timecode support is still under discussion, because we've been receiving several mixed messages. We eventually will have to decide after careful testing. But so far we think it will be easier to use the same approach as The KONNEKTOR which works perfectly. At this point we will sync the computer through MTC (Midi Time Code) and also use the Midi interface for MMC (DAW transport control).


We believe that MTC will be more that sufficient since it has exactly the same precision as LTC (it's just LTC wrapped in digital MIDI format). This will give us LTC precision which is bad if we use it only like that (which obviously we won't):


      - Ex: if you have 25 fps, you'l have a precision of 1s/25 = 40ms. - which is useless for fader precision.
     
      - What we will then do is partition each MTC/LTC frame in 8 subframes, this will give us a 25*8=  200 subframe precision. This will gives about 1s/200 = 5ms precision. - this is how SSL did it!


      - If we see that 5ms is still not enough we will double it to 16 subframes, which is about 2.5ms precision.


We believe this will enable us to use MTC without anything else.


Some of you might say they will also need SMPTE/LTC support... this is still under evaluation since it has some extra hardware implications as opposed to the MTC which will only need a cheap MIDI device connected to the dedicated computer. - it's not still off the table for us to build a dedicated SMPTE IN/OUT + MIDI IN/OUT card/mini box. At this point we are trying to make it as simple as possible.


I think for now it covers an overall overview of the project. If you have any questions or comments please be free to do it in this thread.


Thanks for all the support!


Cheers,


Artur and the rest of the Team!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 12:02:59 PM by Artur D'Assumpção »

marcmozart

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2014, 12:03:10 PM »
Very exciting!
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sintech

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2014, 12:55:57 PM »
100% Super Stoked! Can't wait.

KoleThomsen

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2014, 01:24:51 PM »
Nice!!!

jmstevens

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2014, 02:09:05 PM »
Dude!

ULH

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 02:17:19 PM »
Sounds like the perfect feature set and infrastructure. Very impressive!


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Clip6

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2014, 03:54:00 PM »
Well done. Sounds great.

Mosca

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2014, 12:16:15 AM »
Wow Arthur! That's amazing news! Cery impressive indeed.
SSL 4040G+ Ultimate automation, total recall 1995

Artur D'Assumpção

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 10:11:39 AM »
I might have some good news soon for the professional side. Those who need professional support and a professional looking unit. Working on this...

mikelleroy

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 11:31:18 AM »
Great news, thanks!
Would love to see SMPTE/LTC support.....(INPUT for sure)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2014, 11:37:45 AM by mikelleroy »

Artur D'Assumpção

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 12:58:38 PM »
Hi Mikel,

On your current workflow how are you generating SMPTE/LTC and using throughout your infrastructure?

Cheers,

Artur

waltzingbear

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 08:27:03 PM »
at my sites with SSL, they all (both) have independent means of LTC generation. the SSL needs are input only. It slaves along.

I am assuming that your current designs should work with a simple MIDI to LTC converter for timecode input to the new SSL computer.

 ?

Alan
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Artur D'Assumpção

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 10:03:17 PM »
Hi Alan,

Correct. At this stage we are only resorting to MIDI IN for Midi Time Code. This was, in our opinion, the fastest way to get us on track on the sync department. With a simple MIDI device we can read input for TC and at the same time use output for MTC (transport purposes).

We believe that MIDI can be enough for every workflow, since the DAW will always have to be synced and this can generate the MTC via a MIDI out port.

Please let us know if there is any scenario that we are failing to foresee that justifies developing SMPTE/LTC support.

Cheers,

Artur

Cheers,

Artur

mikelleroy

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 05:37:30 PM »
Hi Mikel,

On your current workflow how are you generating SMPTE/LTC and using throughout your infrastructure?

Cheers,

Artur

Hi,
i have striped LTC on track of 2" recorder or use SMPTE output from Digidesign Sync I/O.
On both Tape-sessions and ProTools-sessions i just feed the console-automation with this LTC only, never have to think about nothing,
always works.
I dont use Transport of the SSL.
Best,
Mikel

perfectsnd

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Re: Project Status - October
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2015, 04:47:07 PM »
Do you have any more updates on this project? I'd like to know if it is actually moving forward at all and what can be done to help out.