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Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #19

  • devteam
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Hi Everybody,

This post is in a summary of the many questions we already received either via emails or asked on the diyAudio forum. We hope to clarify questions you may have and give you a better understanding of the community we're trying to build here.

Disclaimer: miniDSP isn't an IDE & eval board, we're not TI/Analog Devices, we're not a multi-national full of tech support able to troubleshoot C code and algorithms, nor a big audio manufacturer shipping products worldwide and ripping the benefits of economy of scale. We're a small team of dedicated dudes who love Audio! So bottom line is we can't give you what's so called: "Open architecture DSP" or provide a full IDE. If that's what you're looking for, you should be get a DSP eval board from TI/AD. Support of such product takes a lot of time, expertise on hand & money, and we unfortunately can't handle all that for a community project.

On the other hand, what miniDSP aims at is building a digital processor community to break the misconceptions about DSP being expensive. Not being a Beagleboard team getting the IC & engineering for free from TI, we actually have to pay to build these boards. :-( So we'll just have to build it ourselves, and make it happen as a community work.

Can we make the kits cheaper?
There is a big difference between building a few(as we did) and manufacturing in quantity. Cost just go down a lot as you order parts in large quantity. The question is, are we going to do it? It really depends on the interest we get. For us to take the leap of making such large order not knowing how many we can sell is a dangerous bet. So far we're getting very good support, so I'd say that it's getting more likely by the day. Should you worry that we are going to change the price every month? No, we're not that kind of fruit shape company. The day we can lower the price, trust me that we'll reward every early adopter who believed in us and made this community happen. Count on us!

Why plug-ins? Because we believe in flexibility of a product. Most of DSP products out there actually ship with a single DSP configuration (even very large companies). Whoever designed/debugged and supported such product will realize that this is a much easier path! With our plug-ins, we try our best to give you as many
options as we can think off. We won't be able to fit the oddest needs but certainly hope to cover 90% of cases. If we don't, why don't you participate in the community and get involved in building the plug-ins you need?

Can we make the plug-ins free? Good question which we already answered on a long FAQ post here . It's not a very complex concept to understand: Either we issue a one time product= one time engineering cost and we forget about it (and you ;-). Most software/hardware companies follow that exact same scheme. We're not interested in this option. We'd rather over time improve the plug-ins as per the community's suggestion. Un-limited upgrades isn't such a bad deal knowing how much work it will take us to control all these versions.

Plug-ins coming up early next year?
- FIR/IIR advance plug-in: You better understand what they are before trying that one
- 4 way Xover: Should be out in few days if all goes well
- and many other ideas we'll keep as surprise.. :-)

Can we give you Hifi specs at 1/2 the cost of other products?
We wish... however we gotta be realistic here and keeping cost as low as possible, so we're currently using the on-chip converters. Would we rather have 120dB DR? Hell yes! Thing is it would take the cost in the wrong direction and may not be what everybody needs. If you need more dB's, think of this board as the brain with I2S in&out (digital audio). Other boards on top will give you what you need when it comes to much better audio quality. Hope this makes sense.

Buddy boards coming up?

- Digital I/O cards, fresh out of the oven... will be out very soon
- All digital MiniAmp card (2x20w/4x10w),
Both are already in prototype stages and Early January release sounds about right.

Why do we call ourselves a community then?
Because that's really what we intend to do: Breaking misconceptions and cost barriers by making digital signal processing readily available. We're all DIYers and the day we actually start making money, it will either go back to our community (cheaper products) or we'll make donations to values we believe in.(Audio forums like DIY audio/Kiva/Charity Champs/local community...)

Want to get involved in the project? We're looking for some serious Audio DIYers who can inspire us on how we could better use our products. You'd actually have to include them in a project very soon(not in 10years.. :-), give us feedback and send us pics of your install. Contact us for more info and see if we you're a fit to get you on the A Team.

May the DSP fun begin! :-)

Tony,
Co-founder of miniDSP
miniDSP, building a DSP community one board at a time.

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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #20

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I see two uses for the miniDSP and they exist on opposite ends of the DIY spectrum.
First is as a complete audio preamp/equalizer/crossover/amplifier module system. This would be great as a car system or as an iPod extension.

Second you have the experienced DIYers that are really trying to tweak the high end systems they already have. The advantages of a DSP crossover are that all the issues of phase problems around the crossover points go away. Secondly, time delay issues are easily resolved. This is no small matter when you are dealing with horns that may have the physical drivers offset by 15+ inches. In this type of system the onboard ADC and DAC may not be suitable for the task at hand. This was one of my reasons for suggesting a SPDIF to I2S add-on board. A second add-on board using something like the CS4396 DAC may also be required.

I applaud your efforts to bring this product to DIYers. :laugh: I’ve waited a long time for this type of product to become available at a reasonable cost. At one point, I even looked at TIs DSPs to see if I could design it myself since I’m an embedded programmer. I decided that it was just too much to take on with my other programming duties.

My real desire is to rebuild my 37 year old Klipsch Cornwalls to use an active crossover. But, what I will probably do to start with the miniDSP is build an amp/speaker system for my iPod using the miniDSP after Christmas.

Bad time of year for extra $$$$ for projects! :(

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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #21

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Thanks for your comments and words of encouragements!

We like your suggestions and taking notes. SPDIF card is already designed with a Sample rate converter (SRC) so all types of interface will be compatible. Transformer isolated SPDIF and considering adding AES/EBU.

We initially selected a good set of B&B converters for the high performance I/O card but not sure how it will pan-out yet( 115 to 120dB DR IC is the target). Not yet the time now to ask us how we're going to do it since we're already very busy with the other cards.. :-) More to follow when we actually get time to work on it. (early next year).

Keep bringing up ideas to the forum!
miniDSP, building a DSP community one board at a time.

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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #23

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Hello,


i´m looking forward to reciveing my miniDSp in the net few day´s. As i mentiond this in the German hifi-forum.de, i got a lot of mails asking for details - so, there seems to be an great interest here in Germany.

Especially the crossover-function wich give a developer more freedom at the same cost as normal medium-quality passiv crossover.
I will try an us it for a pair of 2-way top´s with HiVi RT8 II with an Precision-Devices PDN 10MH25 at first.
I also ordered an 4x100 watt Tripath amp vom sure electronic´s, wich i hope will fit well with the miniDSP.
I will also try to use ist as an active crossover for my carhifi mid´s and teeters, where the delay will be especially useful.

Now, as i understand, the stereo crossover plugin does not allow me to filter the subbase-frequnecy of the mid/woofer section of the crossover. I think low cut for the lowpass branch of the crossover plugin would be really useful, especially in an carhifi use. Is there any possibility that this feature will be added to the stereo plugin?

Regards,

Daniel

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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #24

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Hello Daniel,

Good to hear that you're excited at the idea of getting your miniDSP and thanks for spreading the words to hifi-forum.de! :-) The more people we get involved with ideas on how to better the module, the better solution we will give to the community.

Your Tripath + miniDSP config sounds like what we're playing with at the lab... We've initially considered Tripath as an IC for our small amplifier, but although some companies in China seem to have taken over production of these IC, they are not so easy to source (or reliable sources), and ROHS compliance (ability to ship to Europe) isn't very clear from what we've seen so far.

Anyway, do keep us up to date with your project! Sounds like a very good setup in both configurations and we look forward to the pictures on the forum!

About the stereo plug-in, a bit early to say but I believe it would fit. We would have to modify a bit of the code of the plug-in, but I don't see any reasons why it wouldn't work.
Time frame for that new plug-in release? Not sure yet with the Xmas vibe coming up and we would maybe want to get a couple of very good ideas like yours together before we release a new version. The 4 way crossover & other cards are also keeping us busy to say the least! :-) I'll keep you up to date though..

As usual, fire us an email if you have any questions.

The DevTeam
miniDSP, building a DSP community one board at a time.

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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #27

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Hello,

my DSP-Board arrived just in time as early christmas present :)
I went to the Tax office today, payed my 17,90€ "Einfuhrumsatzsteuer" an finally got my parcel.
Everything was wrapped in lots of bubblewrap, and the DSP-Board was in an antistatic bag.
Here is a quick picture of what I got:



I hope to get my project started in the first weeks of January!
Will try to do some measurements and Listening tests then, too.

So long,

Merry X-Mas and a happy new year to the whole MiniDSP Team,
Daniel
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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 6 months ago #28

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Hi Daniel,

Glad to hear that the box got in Germany in time for Xmas! :-)
Have fun and let us know how your project goes.

Best Wishes from the miniDSP Team
miniDSP, building a DSP community one board at a time.

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Re:Building a DIY DSP community 12 years 5 months ago #39

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Hello again,

back from Holidays - i did first measurements an published them in German Hifi-Forum
here .

As i´m not an expert in audio-measurement the results may be incorrect, and are open for discussion.
So if you have any doubts or thoughts on the stats, please let me know.

anyways, i find the performance quite ok, with a THD of 0.008%below 500 Hz and rising to max 0.06% at 7 Khz.

So, the first listeningtest with a real minidsp driven speaker will take place next weekend, i hope.

greets,
daniel

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