Step on to the future

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Gianfranco
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Gianfranco » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:10 pm

ssj71 wrote:I didn't realize it would be so extensible with switches and expression pedals! Now I really want one! :\ Gotta still save up for my studio monitors though. Anyone know if the switches can be toggle or momentary? It would be nice to have both.

Best of luck!


That is very good question

They are physically momentary and the toggle behaviour is defined by software.

All this is part of the ControlChain protocol, our hardware communication based on the LV2 controls ports. The devices send to the host a descriptor of their actuators and which kind of ports they support and with this info the GUI decides what to offer in terms of ControlPort addressing.

http://wiki.portalmod.com/wiki/Control_Chain

Going to a practical case, In the case of the footswitch it supports:

- bypass (nowadays is not a port and is decided by the host but this is to change in LV2)
- toggle ports
- trigger ports
- enumeration ports (round robin list)
- tap-tempo - this is very cool . We have a chronometer built in the controller and thus it can receive parameters that have tempo based units (seg, ms, bpm, hz). This makes tap tempo possible without internal plugin implementation.

Kind regards

Gianfranco

ps: I've already uploaded some of your "Infamous plugins" to the MOD Cloud. I simply love the Stuck (yes, I'm a big Bill Frisell fan!!!)

ssj71
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby ssj71 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:06 pm

Gianfranco wrote:Going to a practical case, In the case of the footswitch it supports:

- bypass (nowadays is not a port and is decided by the host but this is to change in LV2)
- toggle ports
- trigger ports
- enumeration ports (round robin list)
- tap-tempo - this is very cool . We have a chronometer built in the controller and thus it can receive parameters that have tempo based units (seg, ms, bpm, hz). This makes tap tempo possible without internal plugin implementation.


That is really cool. You guys have clearly thought this out.

Gianfranco wrote:ps: I've already uploaded some of your "Infamous plugins" to the MOD Cloud. I simply love the Stuck (yes, I'm a big Bill Frisell fan!!!)

YAY! I'm glad you find some of them useful. I hope millions of others will too when they get their mod duo! ;)

P.S. I see Pualo posted about the MOD DUO back in may on gearslutz. Someone should post a new announcement there that the kickstarter is running, I think you'll get a fair bit of interest. I'm more than happy to post about it myself, but I don't know if it would be better to come from someone on the team or me. Let me know.
_ssj71

music: https://soundcloud.com/ssj71
My plugins are Infamous! http://ssj71.github.io/infamousPlugins
I just want to get back to making music!

motosega
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby motosega » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:38 pm

Gianfranco wrote:Since the Control Chain (our external peripheral system) is all digital and we did not want the peripherals to need and energy supply (the energy comes form the MOD and only one cable is necessary), we chose to use a 4 wire connection.

From all options that are available we figured the RJ-45 CAT cables would be the most interesting ones. They are cheap, very easy to get and can be crimped in the length you need.

Makes sense?


my main concern is that rj45 conecctors are very fragile.(apart from the really expensive neutrik ethercon variety) i've used them in various theater projects as a cost saving measure, (you can run dmx lighting over cat5) but they break all the time, and i had to be ready with my cat5 crimp tool every time i set up a show.(the USITT DMX standard alows them only for instalations, not for portable gear)


to have both cheap durable connectors AND a digital bus, maybe you could do it with TRS and 1-Wire protocol. as a plus you could use the same connector for simple foot switches and expresion pedals(which many people already have.)

Gianfranco
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Gianfranco » Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:12 pm

to have both cheap durable connectors AND a digital bus, maybe you could do it with TRS and 1-Wire protocol. as a plus you could use the same connector for simple foot switches and expresion pedals(which many people already have.)


That is good discussion topic. We've discussed a lot (and I really mean A LOT) within the team on both the hardware and software decisions for the Control Chain.

1 wire was designed to communicate with onboard devices, it follows the same idea of I2C. Besides, it works with low-speed communication, this being an issue for us. In some messages the control chain can transmit long chunks of data.

Other thing is that the communication happens between external devices and thus the cable will be exposed to interferences. To protect the signal from the interferences we chose to use the differential communication, which requires the minimum of two wires.

The control chain devices are bus powered so that adds up two more wires.

Needing four-wires the RJ45 connectors / ethernet cables pop-up as a good option because they are cheap and easy to find.

We concluded that all cables have mechanical susceptibilities. As you said, in the worst case scenario you need a cat5 crimp tool to fix your cable, and if it was a TRS you would need a soldering iron! And the ethernet cables are common, cheap and easy to find.

Kind regards

Gianfranco plus Crudo and Rafael :-)

motosega
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby motosega » Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:59 pm

gianfranco,

after reading about all the stuff that the controlchain does, i understand why you chose cat5.
and whilst fragile at least they are cheap enough to be disposable.

Gianfranco
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Gianfranco » Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:21 am

Forgot to mention this

The Arduino Shield Open Hardware code has been released.

https://github.com/portalmod/mod-arduino-shield

plus five cases os practical use.

And of course, the wiki page with more user-side information

http://wiki.portalmod.com/wiki/Control_Chain

Have fun!!!

calimerox
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby calimerox » Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:34 am

brilliant project, hope you will reach the goal!! :)

will there also be a way using commercial lv2 plugins like the linuxdsp ones? It s the plugins i use on a daily basis (also the open ir.lv2 convolution reverb..) and know very well

good luck again!

Gianfranco
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Gianfranco » Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:02 pm

calimerox wrote:brilliant project, hope you will reach the goal!! :)

will there also be a way using commercial lv2 plugins like the linuxdsp ones? It s the plugins i use on a daily basis (also the open ir.lv2 convolution reverb..) and know very well

good luck again!


Sure!!!

We want the MOD Cloud to be some sort of Plugin Store.

And even more interestingly, my first contact was exactly with Mike Start from LinuxDSP who gave me a positive answer in his interest to make their plugins available commercially at the MOD Cloud.

There is much to be done though. From bureaucratic to technical issues. And of course, it depends on the success of the Kickstarter campaign.

Kind regards

Gianfranco

ssj71
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby ssj71 » Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:35 pm

Gianfranco:

Just curious, is the headphone out really a TS connector? Looking at the pictures it looks like all the connectors are actually TRS. The technical specs section of the kickstarter page lists them all as TS.
_ssj71

music: https://soundcloud.com/ssj71
My plugins are Infamous! http://ssj71.github.io/infamousPlugins
I just want to get back to making music!

wolftune
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby wolftune » Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:13 pm

I didn't follow all the thread (just found this), but I have a simple request:

There is a formal and long-term building organization with international recognition, the OSHWA, Open Source Hardware Association, which has a very clear definition:
http://www.oshwa.org/definition/

Please do not use the term "Open Source Hardware" for things that do not fit that definition. Yes, "Open Source" is not trademarked, but we all understand what it means. If you have proprietary software where people can see the source code but not modify or share it etc. that is not Open Source, and if you make hardware where the source material (the plans and design details etc) are not available under an appropriate license, then it is not Open Source Hardware. I'm not saying who did or didn't make what claims or what the case is here, but clearly there's misunderstanding about this term, so I'm just clarifying that it does have a very formal and widely understood meaning that should be respected.

Thank you.
Aaron Wolf
Music teacher, scholar
http://wolftune.com

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tramp
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby tramp » Tue Sep 23, 2014 4:12 am

wolftune wrote:I didn't follow all the thread (just found this), but I have a simple request:

There is a formal and long-term building organization with international recognition, the OSHWA, Open Source Hardware Association, which has a very clear definition:
http://www.oshwa.org/definition/

Please do not use the term "Open Source Hardware" for things that do not fit that definition.
Gianfranco wrote:As I said, all Control Chain related stuff (Arduino Shield, controllers, Protocol, Arduino Library, etc) is fully open. You can go you our wiki and check it out. We even used an open source software for the PCBs - KiCad - in order to make sure that the community would have 100% access.

http://wiki.portalmod.com/wiki/MOD_Arduino_Shield

Also, the Coreboard, containing all the computing elements of the MOD, and on which runs our Linux distro, is going to be open hardware as well in case we come to use a custom made. This includes a baseboard with Audio Codecs and all necessary connections (video, usb, etc). With this material Linux developers will be able to create their own devices, sort like the CubieBoard and other related dev-boards, but totally geared to Audio use.


This point was cleared enough, I mean. Also the Link to OSHW was given by tatch already
http://freedomdefined.org/OSHW

So, please stop to hack on a little mistake I've made here,
- the MOD Linux related software is all open source but the hardware and the firmware are not. Not yet.

stop to hijack this thread for that, and lets stay on topic.

The MOD is a exiting project, which adapt the philosophy of the GPL very well.
GMaq wrote:Please note that there is opportunity to make a $5 donation and help get a MOD Duo into the hands of tramp, Harry and MANY other talented and generous developers of effects in our community!


Hi GMaq

Thanks for mention me therefor, but in fact, Gianfranco hands me over a MOD QUADRA at the LAC already (donated by the MOD for the guitarix project), so I guess that, if enough donations for the gift pledge, others (Harry, or David Robillard comes to my mind) have to be the ones.
Also, I guess it's worse to mention that backers for this gift, receive a link to download the MOD Live Distribution, to turn your PC into a MOD device without the need of install anything.

Gianfranco
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Gianfranco » Tue Sep 23, 2014 12:21 pm

ssj71 wrote:Gianfranco:

Just curious, is the headphone out really a TS connector? Looking at the pictures it looks like all the connectors are actually TRS. The technical specs section of the kickstarter page lists them all as TS.


That was a typo and is already fixed. Thanks for the notice.

They are all TRS jacks.

The Headphones is stereo so it uses all three connections.

The inputs and outputs are single ended and thus the R and S are short circuited. That is why we state they are TS, otherwise we could mislead the readers to think they are balanced connections.

Kind regards

Gianfranco

Thad E Ginathom
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Thad E Ginathom » Tue Sep 23, 2014 6:43 pm

Oh... RJ45 connectors :evil: :twisted: :evil:

They are worse than fragile. They are bound to get broken. I speak from being an IT Manager of the small-company hands-on kind. I spent more time under desks than at conference tables.

Please understand that you cannot pull an RJ45 (or similar: it's true of telephone connectors too) cable through a mess of other cables, because the connector acts as a hook ...and then it breaks. And repeated replacement, which is going to get inevitable in a rough, tough, mobile-use environment, is not going to be quick and easy. Nor is whipping out the crimping tool: they are actually quite tricky to make, although your usage might be a lot more tolerant than the high demands of networking.

Of the many, many different kinds of connector I had to deal with, these were, and remain, my most hated. They even haunt me in retirement as, of course, there is networked stuff in my home.

It's not about your product, of which I am but a distant onlooker, it is just a message from the computing side of life where these cables are oh, so common. Do some hard, real-world testing on this: you may come to agree with me!

And really, cheap and easy to replace is not a good reason for what might have been a bad choice.

Gianfranco
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby Gianfranco » Tue Sep 23, 2014 8:50 pm

One of the most interesting things in this experience of putting a new product available to the public is to realize that things that you care very little about are total blockers to some and also things that you believe to be crucial are not even noticed.

As it seems, the RJ-45 might be one of them :-)

The first ever MOD prototype came out in December/2011 and it already featured an RJ-45. Since then I've had ONE SINGLE problem with the ControlChain cables. I'm serious. I can't remember another situation. And on this particular occasion I was using an old cable I had lying around.

I believe that the bottom-line is: the cabling problems are directly related to the cable quality.

You can use a home made RJ-45 like this:
Image

And you can have a sturdy RJ-45 like this:
Image

Both of them are RJ-45, but they clearly withstand different levels of stress.

In this thread I have the impression that people are comparing the performance of high quality 1/4' cables with the performance of crappy hand crimped RJ45 ones.

Kind regards to all

Gianfranco

glowrak guy
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Re: Step on to the future

Postby glowrak guy » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:53 am

I have a few things with vulnerable connections, manufactured for reduced cost,
so I protect them by creating a secured loop, so no pressures can affect
the actual connections. Tripping roadies, clumsy drummers, or prancing guitarists
need not stop the show. Pretty easy to homebrew such solutions. Especially if
the mod's case is easy to pop the top off.
Cheers


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