Reason SSL Mixer Hardware Controller

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amcjen
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Post 02 Jul 2019

Another quick update: I've got the eval boards on order to test this new faster control protocol feature--I want to see it work with my own eyes before modifying the module brain to support this new chip/transceiver layout. Good news is the footprint doesn't really change, so should be minimal effort. I ordered them today, so hope they show up this week still, given the holiday. Maybe Friday.

Big next step once new chipset is confirmed, making the brain one-sided instead of two. While this would mean a re-layout, this also means the brain would be much cheaper to manufacture than having components on both sides. Trying everything I can to reduce cost where possible given this new focus. I'll start laying out the new brain given the chip change above before they arrive, as I'm optimistic it'll work, and then can parallelize some time to get ahead of the schedule.

Once that's done, I'll build a little test breakout board for the brain so it can be tested, programmed, and, well, prototyped into modules like the channelstrip.

Not a lot to show right now, but hopefully something soon!

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wendylou
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Post 02 Jul 2019

Awesomesauce! We're lucky to have your brain in this group :puf_smile: So many of us have stared at the Reason SSL-style mixer and wondered if there was any hardware out there to run it effectively. I think the fruits of your labor will be beyond amazing. Do you want to crowdfund or are we headed straight to taking orders??!!
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Aktivistmusik
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Post 03 Jul 2019

Have you thought of a kickstarter situation?
Then when you make it you send them?

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Creativemind
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Post 03 Jul 2019

Aktivistmusik wrote: ↑
03 Jul 2019
Have you thought of a kickstarter situation?
Then when you make it you send them?
Good idea. Crowdfunding.
:reason:

Propellerhead Reason 10.4 / Cockus Reaper 5.978 / Cakewalk By Bandlab / Steinberg Cubase LE 5
http://soundcloud.com/creativemind75/iv ... soul-mix-3

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selig
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Post 03 Jul 2019

amcjen wrote: ↑
02 Jul 2019
I mean--that would be pretty sweet wouldn't it Selig? πŸ‘πŸ™Œ
Count me in!
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amcjen
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Post 03 Jul 2019

wendylou wrote: ↑
02 Jul 2019
Awesomesauce! We're lucky to have your brain in this group :puf_smile: So many of us have stared at the Reason SSL-style mixer and wondered if there was any hardware out there to run it effectively. I think the fruits of your labor will be beyond amazing. Do you want to crowdfund or are we headed straight to taking orders??!!
Thank you Wendy! And regarding crowdfunding--yes, likely that's how we'll do this. Designing and prototyping a product like this is more time than money--but doing a first run of production hardware is almost always more money than time, so crowdfunding is likely the best approach. Also, first runs usually have a minimum volume, which almost directly correlates to the crowdfunding goal minimum. Should work well!

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amcjen
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Post 03 Jul 2019

selig wrote: ↑
03 Jul 2019
amcjen wrote: ↑
02 Jul 2019
I mean--that would be pretty sweet wouldn't it Selig? πŸ‘πŸ™Œ
Count me in!
Deal! I'll be in NYC in a couple weeks, want to grab lunch and discuss?

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selig
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Post 03 Jul 2019

amcjen wrote: ↑
03 Jul 2019
selig wrote: ↑
03 Jul 2019


Count me in!
Deal! I'll be in NYC in a couple weeks, want to grab lunch and discuss?
Yes, I'll be here (LIC).
Selig Audio, LLC

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DParris
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Post 03 Jul 2019

selig wrote: ↑
03 Jul 2019
amcjen wrote: ↑
03 Jul 2019


Deal! I'll be in NYC in a couple weeks, want to grab lunch and discuss?
Yes, I'll be here (LIC).
I'm grinning from ear to ear right now. Can't wait to see what you amazing people come up with.

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wendylou
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Post 06 Jul 2019

Get your SSL Mixer Hardware Controller Mission patch!

SSL-Controller-Project-Patch2-web.jpg
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brand
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Post 07 Jul 2019

:lol: that’s great. Ok. I need to print out one of these patches!

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wendylou
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Post 08 Jul 2019

wendylou wrote: ↑
06 Jul 2019
Get your SSL Mixer Hardware Controller Mission patch!
Well, this version is more akin to the NASA patches, e.g. just the names (no images). OK, now we're ready for this project collaboration! "SSL, this is Hardware Control, we are 'go' for launch!" :puf_smile:

SSL-Controller-Project-Patch-v2.jpg
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amcjen
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Post 09 Jul 2019

wendylou wrote: ↑
08 Jul 2019
wendylou wrote: ↑
06 Jul 2019
Get your SSL Mixer Hardware Controller Mission patch!
Well, this version is more akin to the NASA patches, e.g. just the names (no images). OK, now we're ready for this project collaboration! "SSL, this is Hardware Control, we are 'go' for launch!" :puf_smile:


SSL-Controller-Project-Patch-v2.jpg
OMG, this is... ah-mah-zing! I love love the NASA inspiration!

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wendylou
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Post 09 Jul 2019

You two are rock stars, just like the astronauts were back in the day! I think everyone here is excited to see the SSL project succeed. To build something from nothing, to will it into existence and make it happen, that's "The Right Stuff"!

(yah, I admit I'm going through my 50 year moon landing anniversary phase this month!)
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amcjen
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Post 14 Jul 2019

Received the new eval boards for this snazzy new blue CAN-FD-enabled microcontroller (called the SAMC21). Working now to get it spun up and talking to the green boards which are the CAN-FD transceivers. The "hello world" of this effort is to see it talking to itself loopback style, not unlike MIDI loopback.

If it can send and receive its own messages, then we're in business. Then will run a benchmark to see how fast it'll really go, and then compare it to the older chipset. I expect it to do much better.
Screenshot 2019-07-14 00.15.13.png
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Slappy
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Post 16 Jul 2019

Hi Allison,

Thanks for the update. It is so exciting to watch this project unfold!

Derek

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amcjen
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Post 18 Jul 2019

I had a wonderful lunch with Giles yesterday, and got to see his home studio as well (amazing setup, has me thinking about my own setup with all his midi controller integration!) Also, delicious burrito place near his home, highly recommended!

He gave me some really interesting things to think about in regards to making this project more sustainable--specifically around the enclosure design. Need to noodle on it a bit, but will do some work to determine if it's possible, and then get to work getting the first prototype completed.

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DParris
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Post 18 Jul 2019

amcjen wrote: ↑
18 Jul 2019
I had a wonderful lunch with Giles yesterday, and got to see his home studio as well (amazing setup, has me thinking about my own setup with all his midi controller integration!) Also, delicious burrito place near his home, highly recommended!

He gave me some really interesting things to think about in regards to making this project more sustainable--specifically around the enclosure design. Need to noodle on it a bit, but will do some work to determine if it's possible, and then get to work getting the first prototype completed.
So awesome! Really cool of him to lend his time and knowledge to this project.
I know there are lots of variables, but do you have a rough time frame for completing the prototype?

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Bonkhead
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Post 19 Jul 2019

Not sure why I missed this whole thread but I'm pretty excited already !
I was looking at/reading on control surfaces this last week, all where meeeeh.
Only thing that looks ok was the nektar p1. Nice to see it integrated in the mockup.

First thing I thought, if it is modular, would it be possible to skip modules ?
I never use the masterbus and channel compressors for instance.

jjrh
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Post 21 Jul 2019

amcjen wrote: ↑
11 Jun 2019


What I'm not confident on is how to make this a sustainable project. Lots and lots of projects like this are unsuccessful, and it's usually due to not thinking through from the start on how to make an ambitious undertaking able to support itself. Doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be wildly expensive or profitable even--but it does need to a) inspire those individuals who design, build, and maintain the product, b) able to pay for things like support, a little marketing, and other feedback loops necessary for a product to evolve, and c) serve a large enough market that it's not asking a ridiculous price from a tiny few--we call this Total Addressable Market (TAM) in the startup world. Very small TAMs require very wealthy customers--and exclude the product from the majority of people who may want to use it.

So, given these constraints on making this project sustainable--and I say sustainable, because I'm personally not interested in profitability, per se--more I'm interested in making this project stand on its own legs and a community and ecosystem to evolve around it--built and supported by a cadre of passionate individuals who use this platform to better express their creative outlets.

If we make this project open-source, we solve (c) above, no margin needed, sell at cost, but (b) is then not addressed. I'm sure some of you have dealt with the challenge of some open-source projects in getting support and updates in a reasonable time. I've crowdfunded open-source hardware in my past--it certainly comes at a cost somewhere. For us with that project, we bore the costs and paid for it with raising traditional venture money. So open-source isn't free, if you want to do it well IMO.

If we make this project a for-profit product, then (b) is addressed, but (c) gets tricky, because it will likely be too expensive for some people, and indirectly will be unaffordable/unvailable to those in (a). That sucks.

This is why I'm really leaning towards the modular approach. Not because it's necessarily more affordable. It isn't, and is in fact much more expensive long-term than an all-in-one solution b/c of all the interconnect support needed between modules. If you don't believe me, compare modular synth prices vs an all-in-ones. Dollar for dollar the standalone synths will crush the modulars. But here's the kicker--you can start your modular journey with just a couple hundred bucks (a chassis and an oscillator to start, for instance). Sure, it doesn't do much, but you can buy a new module every month when you get paid, and begin to evolve it as your creative endeavors mature.

This is the way forward I believe--not because modularity is more efficient--it's not. But you know what else isn't efficient? Evolution. Yet that's how we all got here today to be able to collaborate together on an internet forum about music making, and that's what it's all about after all. :)

This project is something I still would like to see happen. It's evolving, and that takes time. I hit a roadblock with the above dilemma for the past year or so--not certain that Propellerheads would add the needed features to Remote anytime soon--not sure the Reason TAM was big enough to sustain, and not sure I wanted to make it open-source for the concerns listed above.

But several of you on here (and my dear friend Holly) have convinced me that this effort is still worthwhile to attempt--only because I do fundamentally believe it has the ability to bring a new dimension to our music making. Hands-on is so visceral--why should we treat our mixing any differently than we treat our guitars or keyboards or drums or accordions?

I am expecting some additional time to allocate to getting the first prototype done the second half of this year. I would also like to do some customer validation (things around appetite for purchasing, desired modules, price sensitivity, etc) as well to ensure this project will be sustainable. I would love your help with those asks--likely to be done through surveys and/or informal interviews with me via phone or video. This customer discovery validation and product/market fit are essential to maximize the success of this project.

A long post for sure, but I believe it's warranted given the continued interest in this project and my extended absence.

Let's get this party started :)
Glad to see you back!

There is no reason you can't release everything, schematics, software, etc. Totally open and under a opensource licence (which license is another topic) while at the same time selling kits, fully assembled stuff, PCB's, etc. My suspicion is very very few people will opt to clone a git repo, order the BoM, get a PCB made, assemble it all and flash the firmware. The few who actually do that will most likely turn around and contribute back to the project.

If you're not interested in 'profiting' from this and really just want to have this thing exist and a community created around it, having folks take the work and sell kits, etc. isn't a bad thing providing they respect the license and release the source code, schematics, BoM, etc (assuming it's not under a BSD style do whatever you want license)

This is exactly how stuff like REPRAP (3d printers) Arduino, midibox ( http://www.ucapps.de/ ), mutable instruments ( https://mutable-instruments.net/ ) Turris (https://www.turris.cz/en/ ) etc. exist and I'd argue are a huge factor in their success. It's not like having cheap Arduino clones hurt the ecosystem, it just resulted in more folks giving them a try using them in projects, and contributing back with libraries and code.

You can always release some things to the world like footprints, prototypes, etc piecemeal and not release the final product. Something to let folks go off and do their own thing or learn.

Just my two cents, but either way i'm very interested to see where this project goes!

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selig
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Post 22 Jul 2019

Bonkhead wrote: ↑
19 Jul 2019
Not sure why I missed this whole thread but I'm pretty excited already !
I was looking at/reading on control surfaces this last week, all where meeeeh.
Only thing that looks ok was the nektar p1. Nice to see it integrated in the mockup.

First thing I thought, if it is modular, would it be possible to skip modules ?
I never use the masterbus and channel compressors for instance.
One idea being floated is to make the protocol open source, so in theory at least, anyone can make their own modules. Which would allow modules down to single knobs or fader or buttons, if anyone was so inclined.

Think more "eurorack for controllers" than specific all-in-one products. Maybe you like the EQ from one dev, and the faders from another, or you only want one channel strip, but you also want 24 faders. Ideally, any possible combination should be possible. :)
Selig Audio, LLC

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wendylou
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Post 23 Jul 2019

amcjen wrote: ↑
18 Jul 2019
I had a wonderful lunch with Giles yesterday ... .... He gave me some really interesting things to think about in regards to making this project more sustainable--specifically around the enclosure design....
With the debut of Record – before Propellerhead integrated the SSL console into Reason – I started modeling it in 3D using Sketch-up and fancied a sleek enclosure, as seen in my animation, below. Clearly, I was mesmerized by the SSL and already yearning for a real, tactile controller!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mb6fXdy04Y
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selig
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Post 23 Jul 2019

wendylou wrote: ↑
23 Jul 2019
amcjen wrote: ↑
18 Jul 2019
I had a wonderful lunch with Giles yesterday ... .... He gave me some really interesting things to think about in regards to making this project more sustainable--specifically around the enclosure design....
With the debut of Record – before Propellerhead integrated the SSL console into Reason – I started modeling it in 3D using Sketch-up and fancied a sleek enclosure, as seen in my animation, below. Clearly, I was mesmerized by the SSL and already yearning for a real, tactile controller!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mb6fXdy04Y
That looks absolutely STUNNING. I can only hope this project can approach anything close to that level of quality!
:)
Selig Audio, LLC

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jul 2019

DParris wrote: ↑
18 Jul 2019
So awesome! Really cool of him to lend his time and knowledge to this project.
I know there are lots of variables, but do you have a rough time frame for completing the prototype?
It's a great question--hard to give an exact date. I'm trying to give myself a working center channel prototype working by autumn. It's unfortunately slow b/c well, this isn't my full-time job (but oh how I wish it were sometimes!)

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jul 2019

Bonkhead wrote: ↑
19 Jul 2019
Not sure why I missed this whole thread but I'm pretty excited already !
I was looking at/reading on control surfaces this last week, all where meeeeh.
Only thing that looks ok was the nektar p1. Nice to see it integrated in the mockup.
Glad to hear it! Control surfaces are sorely lacking in pretty much the entire music space IMO.
Bonkhead wrote: ↑
19 Jul 2019
First thing I thought, if it is modular, would it be possible to skip modules ?
I never use the masterbus and channel compressors for instance.
That's the plan! It will mean each module is a little more expensive (like $10-$20 more if I had to estimate right now, but don't hold me to it!), but would let you then decide to just buy for instance, 8 fader modules, no channel compressors, and maybe a transport. It'll basically be like a modular synth, but for control surfaces.

I plan to design and manufacture all modules for the SSL mixer (except for maybe a few, like the input module--which is super small and rarely used). I hope to be able to design most of the master section as well, though likely not all. I won't lie, I think a stereo bus compressor analog meter would be pretty friggin slick--though I get most wouldn't want that.

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