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SSLMixed Computer - Project FAQ

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Artur D'Assumpção:

In an effort to clarify the main goals and details of the SSMixed Computer project, I've compiled the answers for the most Frequently Asked Questions about this project. The idea for this FAQ is to provide a quick and clear reference to anyone who's now getting acquainted with it and wishes to know more without having to dive deeply into the section threads.

This FAQ is an ongoing task and it may not contain the answers you're looking for. If you have any questions that you believe to be important to be mentioned here please leave a post on this thread (preferred) or drop me a PM with your questions and I'll make an effort to have them included as soon as possible.

LAST UPDATE: 5/12/2015

Frequently Asked Questions:

* What is the SSLMixed Computer project?
The SSLMixed Computer is a community project to develop a new and modern complete computer replacement for the legacy SSL consoles.

The project was founded late 2013 and as of late 2015 is still very active and committed to develop a high-quality solution.

*SSLMixed Computer is the current codename of the project. When it's production ready we will produce it under a more catchy brand name.

* Who is supporting the development of the SSLMixed Computer?
The development of the SSLMixed Computer is being supported exclusively by the SSLMixed community members. No private or outside interests are involved whatsoever.

The project is exclusively being managed and maintained by a core team of members of this forum which are actively working to bring you this project. All members and outside parties are welcome to contribute to the project.     

* Who is the core team behind the project?
The core team is mostly comprised by the founding members, which since then have been working together and making a ongoing effort to develop the project:

Artur D'Assumpção (project manager & lead developer)
Steve Teal (retrocores) (lead hardware developer)
Pascal Verdet (pascal.verdet) (hardware developer)
Mattia Sartori (business & marketing)
Pedro Hortas (software architect & developer)

We've been also counting with the valuable help of the following distinguished members:

Andy Henderson (Sintech)
Paavo Kurkela (kilmister)
Mark Mozart
Nick Hepfer

Please forgive us if we forgot to mention someone.

We've been also having help from all the SSLMixed community which has been engaged and committed to the project giving their input and supporting us. Thank you all!

* What's the main motivation behind the project?
The main motivation behind the project is to provide the community a complete computer replacement for the legacy SSL consoles. Such project is meant to be continuously maintained and developed by the community into the future, without having to depend on private third parties and private/business interests which might well be incompatible with the community philosophy and best interest.

We believe that only a strong community, which has the ability to do its own research, learn, share knowledge and develop its own tools, will be able to assure that these consoles will be operational in 20 years from now and continue to be a viable option in a modern studio environment, either private or commercial.

It's also a motivation for this project not only to completely replace but also improve the SSL legacy technologies, through the development of better hardware, software and features, in a combined effort to evolve and adapt these consoles into modern studio standards and workflows. 

* Which are the main goals of the project?
- Design a complete plug & play replacement for the old and tired SSL Computer for the legacy SSL consoles.
- Provide an alternative for those which don't already own or have a broken beyond repair computer.
- Develop a more power efficient, less heat dissipation and smaller real-state requirements solution
- Provide and end-end solution, including optional hardware cards which complement the computer offer (ex: SSLMixed total recall cards)
- Develop the project mainly as a DIY project based solution (we might also offer an pre-built & tested solution)
- Develop hardware and software using modern technologies
- Develop and improve the computer design with new features and integration capabilities
- Maintain the winning SSL workflow (whenever possible & makes sense)
- Use opensource technologies (whenever possible)
- Offer an affordable alternative
- Guarantee that the solution will be maintained, supported and continuously developed for years to come
- Keep the project development, maintenance, support and intellectual property within the SSLMixed community
- Eventually offer professional specialized support to businesses.

* Why do you want to replace the old SSL Computer?
Let's be honest... the SSL Computer is late 70's-80's technology, and as good as it may be, it's getting very old, broken, expensive, and lacking the necessary integration with the modern studio environment and workflow: 

- Parts are getting hard to source , specially without breaking your bank.
- A full working computer is close to impossible to find and prices are ridiculous insane.
- The amount of electricity and heat dissipation necessary is something that's becoming quickly incompatible with modern green standards.
- Many consoles are now finding its home on private homestudios, which would rather live without the requirement of a machine room.
- Software can be brought out of the spectrum graphics era!
- Software can be much improved, along with modern requirements.
- and on and on...

* Will the new computer completely replace the legacy SSL computer?

The computer rack, floppy/zip drives and computer power supply will no longer be necessary. You will still need to re-use the console interface ribbon cables or get new ones from us.

If you own a SSL Ultimation system (moving faders) you'll also still need the faders logic and motors power supply, since these aren't part of the computer.

* Which SSL consoles will be supported?
Currently the SSL 4000,6000 and 8000 E/G/G+ will be fully supported.

There might be a possibility to also support the 5000 consoles in the future, but not in the current roadmap (we're still assessing the challenge).

* How will the new computer connect to the console?
The new computer is designed to be a true plug&play solution since it relies on the exact same console input/output interface cables already used by the legacy computer. No extra connections will be necessary.

* Will I need to modify my console in any way?
None whatsoever. We know how important is to maintain the console originality thus our solution will not require any modifications to the console electronics or aesthetics. 

* Which console features will be supported?
Our motto is "ALL OR NOTHING"  :o 8) But since saying "all" could be interpreted as being too optimistic, here's a summary list of the current confirmed support:

        * Consoles 4000/6000/8000 either E/G/G+

        * Full fader system and automation support:
              * VCA non-moving fader system
              * Ultimation moving fader system: MOTORs ON and MOTOR OFF (aka VCA mode)
              * Main fader automation
              * VCA groups
              * 6000 - A,B,C bus faders
              * 8000 - A,B,C,D bus faders
              * Patchable VCAs

       * Keyboard support (small and large)
       * Transport support
       * Total Recall system
       * Fail-over bypass (either for VCA and Ultimation fader systems) - AKA computer bypass
       * DAW sync (at this stage, Timecode + Transport)

Please address other forum threads for more specific details and discussions.

* What do you mean by a DIY computer?
The new computer will be provided in parts and you'll build it yourself (we mean, at the resistor level soldering built it yourself!). Now a bit of background...

First and foremost we wanted to design and provide a computer in the spirit of the DIY (Do It Yourself) community that we are. This had the obvious advantage that we could get a system which would then be much more affordable than any off-the-shelf pre-built & tested system, since you'll be the one building it. The deal is, we provide you the parts (at least some of them), the software, the instructions manual, the support and then you can build it yourself! Seems fun right?

On the other hand, this decision wasn't without its disadvantages. The most immediate one is that we were limited with the PCB and electronics technology we could choose from. We decided not use SMD technology since this could indeed be challenging and discouraging for most users, demanding specific tools and experience to deal with. This way, we decided to stay in the through-hole/DIP technology realm to keep things more easy and sane. Of course, using this technology we couldn't design hardware as smaller, as compact and as clean looking as using SMD, but we assure the solution is as good and as "performant" as any other, just looking "old school" and super awesomely geek!  8) ;D

* Will you be able to provide pre-build & tested systems?
We know there might be some of you which don't share the same DIY enthusiasm as we, or might even be less skilled/confident, lacking the proper tools, or just because you don't have the time do do it. For this reason we will also be selling this system pre-built & tested.

* Will be there an SMD version?
An SMD version is not out of the equation, but not at the current roadmap. 

* Will the new computer hardware be modular?
Yes totally. You'll be able to fit the computer size to your console size/configuration and specific studio workflow requirements.

Rough specifics: we can accommodate up to total of 128 channels (+1 master fader), installing module I/O cards which can handle up to 8 x inputs and outputs. There will be also a module for Total Recall+Keyboard+Transport, if you want any of these to be supported (why wouldn't you?).

The full blown system will be housed in 2 x 2U racks, each rack handling up to 9 module cards, 8 of which ca be I/O cards. Smaller consoles (48 or 56 channels depending on the configuration) just need 1 x 2U rack. 

* Will the new computer software be a modern clone of the SSL Computer?
Short answer, No.

We are fully committed to preserve the winning SSL workflow because we know this is something many engineers fell in love with and stick behind it.  With this said, we're are also committed to improve greatly the software in several many ways (not only graphically / UI), but also by developing more features, more integration capabilities, better interfaces, offer alternative workflow options, and so on... 

At this point this stage, this is an ongoing process, so any suggestions are welcome.

* Will the new computer software support all the features supported by the SSL Computer?

We will support all the features that makes sense in a modern studio environment and workflow, considering modern technologies advancements. Who the hell wants to deal with floppy drives in 2015?

Porting these features will be a long process and subject to prioritisation. One should expect not all features be available from day 0.

* Will the new software support new features?
As explained before, Yes. We are committed to develop new features throughout the course of the project life.

* Will the SSLMixed Computer specifications be open?
* Will I have access to the SSLMixed Computer hardware schematics?
* Will I have access to the SSLMixed Computer software source code?
* Can I contribute to the SSLMixed Computer project?
* Where can I find the SSLMixed Computer?
* How much will it cost?
* Can I build myself the SSLMixed Computer from scratch?
* Instead of making the parts myself will I be able to buy the parts from the SSLMixed community?
* Will I be able to buy a complete SSLMixed Computer from the SSLMixed community?

Artur D'Assumpção:

I will be filling the FAQ during the next days while the answers to these questions are sorted out.

Please leave your own questions you think are important so I can include them.




Great. We must write detailled specifications ...


Artur D'Assumpção:

--- Quote from: plimousse on November 06, 2013, 08:58:06 PM ---Artur,

Great. We must write detailled specifications ...


--- End quote ---

We will, but not in here! ;)

Hmmm ... any chance this is getting answers as well ?



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