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Index > Projects and Ideas > A genuine PRO platform for audio/music on PC

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PCpowers



Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4
PCpowers
'Idea'
i wish to design a dedicated platform for audio and music that is optimized and dedicated to this use.

history : one day i realized that my 16-track midi keyboard (KS32) was doing everything perfectly without any noticeable latency, powered by a processor clocked at 40MHz. i would expect a PC to run 10 such instruments at only 400MHz or 20 such instruments at 800MHz... if only the platform was DEDICATED! a large problem with commons PC platforms is that they are NOT dedicated to audio/music, i.e. the processor spends way too much time doing other things that are not necessary to your sound.

My aim is to design a platform that transforms the PC into a dedicated machine for audio/music, like the usual studio gear (hardware) machines. This means namely bringing the user-interface down to a minimum like the studio gear (this time with a splendid graphic resolution), so that as much processor power as possible is used for the audio/music, thus making an efficient use of the incredible hardware power available today in the "modern PC" (compared to microcontrollers used in some studio machines). That platform should be as simple and as intuitive as any piece of studio gear. eg: the first Cubase midi-only on atari ST. The platform would comprise a kernel (probabily) and a very simple graphic environment, use real-time H/W possiblities i.e. interrupts when necessary.

My background : sound techniques/engineering, music (classic+electro), electro-acoustics, audio post-production and mastering, assembler programming for microcontrolers -> MIDI interface/visual art programming, PC pgm with pure basic/some max/pure data, electronic design incl. modular synth modules, ....

Who is interested to join me ? Great potential !
Please post me anything, your opinions and design ideas are all welcome!
...and i will explain more details later.
Post 04 Mar 2008, 00:44
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asmhack



Joined: 01 Feb 2008
Posts: 431
asmhack
when you say 'platform' you mean a personal computer with a custom oparating system optimized only for sound processing/composing only ?
with the custom operating system you could save only some cpu and ram that are always needed especially when using many instruments in the same time but the hardware will remain the same and you will use it like in the other operating systems (windows for example).. you can't take more benefits from the use of hardware.. and something else.. what about compability ? i mean redesinging all the audio formats (wave for example) ? and how about porting vst-dx instruments ?
there is a lot of work for that...
my advice is just to use a personal computer with a good cpu, ram and a good zero latency sound card.. with cubase, fl studio or whatever you want..
Post 04 Mar 2008, 01:24
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asmhack



Joined: 01 Feb 2008
Posts: 431
asmhack
i mean you will still design the dsp for example with the x86 instruction set..
Post 04 Mar 2008, 01:36
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 17663
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution
PCpowers wrote:
the processor spends way too much time doing other things that are not necessary to your sound.
My processor or spends less than 0.5% of it's time doing other things when idle. These is plenty of spare CPU speed available to run MIDI instruments and videos and web browsers etc. all at the same time.
Post 04 Mar 2008, 02:22
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PCpowers



Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4
PCpowers
Quote:

My processor or spends less than 0.5% of it's time doing other things when idle.

This sounds excellent ! what computer and system do you use ?
Would 64studio from linux do the same when you run rosegarden+jackctl+alsamodular+H2+zynadd on your machine ?
Post 04 Mar 2008, 02:47
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PCpowers



Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4
PCpowers
Quote:

a good zero latency sound card..

Please tell me more about such a soundcard. i can't believe the "zero". how many milliseconds or samples is that? which OS do you use?
Ta!
Post 04 Mar 2008, 02:49
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PCpowers



Joined: 03 Mar 2008
Posts: 4
PCpowers
to ASMHack:
yes, it's only about saving cpu time and ram size. less mouse operation for more key-functions. a decent clear patchbay for all signals routing. i dont want to use a new audio format, it's complicated enough so far.
i want something that behaves like a true studio machine, at the "pro" grade, not like a multi-purpose-for-large-public GUI, where there is so much to think about like closing-resizing-opening-shifting windows, etc , the kind of hassle you never have when you use an integrated keyboard-sequencer for example. you switch it on and after 3 sec it's ready for operation with strictly nothing to have in mind but only your musical project. (yes i will get a korg triton sometime!)

an adapter for vstis is necessary, yes.
Post 04 Mar 2008, 03:07
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 17663
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution
PCpowers wrote:
Quote:

My processor or spends less than 0.5% of it's time doing other things when idle.

This sounds excellent ! what computer and system do you use ?
Standard run-of-the-mill WinXP SP2. Nothing special.
PCpowers wrote:
Would 64studio from linux do the same when you run rosegarden+jackctl+alsamodular+H2+zynadd on your machine ?
I have no idea, but if it needs a 64bit CPU then it can't run on my Pentium M 1.3GHz. But if you find those processes are using all of you CPU bandwidth then I think it might be time to 1) examine to see if they are written inefficiently, or 2) buy a dual/quad core or faster clocking CPU. I don't think that writing a special OS will give you as much speed up as you seem to be implying. The OS overhead is almost trivial with modern CPUs.
Post 04 Mar 2008, 03:11
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edfed



Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Posts: 4242
Location: 2018
edfed
just look at this. it shows a beginer overview of sequencing patterns. it's true that many computers are slow down by some expensive applications.

render a 1024*768*32 3D scene with blender. it will take a lot of time... but it is possible to make it faster if applications like this are self managed applications.

i want to make a multifunction sequenceur since a lot of time.
i tryed with hardwired components (┬ÁP, ram, leds, buttons, resistors...), and then, as i don't have the materials for, i have a pc.
and i want to make it on a pc now.
but with sound generators based on spectrums.
it will be usefull for fast mix and effects.
and just before to send to sound card, the sound is recomposed.

and with so many tracks and patterns, that it is incredible. as a dream Very Happy

a "simple big alone program" can be very usefull and secure. no problems with OS bugs.


Description: BAR for "Boite A Rythme"

UFONOSS

Download
Filename: BAR.zip
Filesize: 26.82 KB
Downloaded: 488 Time(s)



Last edited by edfed on 07 Mar 2008, 23:58; edited 1 time in total
Post 05 Mar 2008, 00:19
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Dex4u



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 1601
Location: web
Dex4u
It's nice for mode 13h, did you code it edfed ?.
Post 05 Mar 2008, 03:39
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edfed



Joined: 20 Feb 2006
Posts: 4242
Location: 2018
edfed
yes, it is an old , very old code.

it is what inspired me to develop the FOO lib, a lib that premits to handle screen zones, bytes, and bits like electronic components.
Post 07 Mar 2008, 23:53
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akilaa



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 3
akilaa
I would be very interested to join this project. This one could be the one that has physical models of almost any past and present musical instrument (including hardware synths) and revolutionize computer music completely. I would want to write instrument plugins that sound like their paragons.
Post 24 May 2009, 19:32
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 17663
Location: In your JS exploiting you and your system
revolution
This thread was over a year ago, so don't hold your breath waiting for the OP to respond. Wink
Post 25 May 2009, 12:55
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akilaa



Joined: 03 May 2009
Posts: 3
akilaa
Would it actually be better to write it for KolibriOS? That would have more than enough speed for that purpose.
Post 25 May 2009, 14:15
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Borsuc



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 2466
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Borsuc
KolibriOS seems interesting, although the only problem with small OSes is lack of driver support Sad
Post 25 May 2009, 23:47
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