[LAU] embedded devices for audio

Florian Schmidt mista.tapas at gmx.net
Fri Dec 19 05:37:20 EST 2008

On Wednesday 17 December 2008, Josh Lawrence wrote:
> hi everyone!
> I'm *very* out of my league here, but I'm curious...
> I've been looking around at busybox, uClibc et al, and was wondering
> if anyone has tried to build an "embedded" device that supports some
> Linux audio software.  For example, imagine taking a cheap/old pc,
> equipping it with jack and a synthesizer of some sort (dssi?), and
> taking it on a gig.  It would need to be an "instant on/instant off"
> device.  I think this sort of project would be fun and would also be a
> great use of old hardware, not to mention a real benefit for people
> who gig regularly and need the random synth (and don't want to spend
> the $ on hardware).
> Of course, not being a programmer, there might be some major obvious
> reason as to why it won't work that I'm not aware of.  What do you all
> think?  Is this idea worth looking into?


i'm planning to build my own guitar multieffects box, since i looked at all 
the ones available and they all sucked, since there's no way to 
customize/extend what's already packaged [well, they have some nice stuff in 
there, but ultimately i want to experiment with, erm, unusual stuff]...

I searched and searched, looked at Blackfin, AVR, and other DSP/embedded stuff 
and finally came to the conclusion that an Intel Atom board [mini - itx] with 
a tight fit case (18x24x5cm) is what i want. I will need some extra hardware, 
like an IO board for adding switches and swellers. I was thinking about using 
an Arduino for this, especially as i still have one lying around here. Also i 
need a way to get the guitar signal to line level, and back to guitar level. I 
have a friend who's good with electronics, so he'll build a little preamp for 
me. I don't need a harddisk. I think a 32Gig USB stick will be totally fine 
which will get attached to one of the internal USB connectors.

My choice of program for creating the effects will be ingen, due to its nice 
remote controllability via OSC (so i can write a little program or even just a 
script that listens on the virtual serial ports representing the Arduino's IO 
and fire off the nessecary OSC commands to ingen). But hey, it will be a 
standard linux (though i guess i will compile a custom kernel withouth initrd 
and all nessecary modules built in and a very stripped down selection of 
sercices) so everything goes.

The CPU isn't nowhere as powerful as a modern desktop CPU, but it will be 
enough for the experimental stuff i have in mind. It does have a fan though, 
but whether that will be needed or not depends on the load on the system..


Palimm Palimm!

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