[LAU] [OT] hardware sound module with digital output

Niels Mayer nielsmayer at gmail.com
Thu Oct 7 13:16:13 UTC 2010

On Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 7:00 PM, Paul Davis <paul at linuxaudiosystems.com> wrote:
> "Newer, high-end synths and samplers FROM YAMAHA have mLAN16E2 outputs (
> http://www.yamahasynth.com/products/tone_generators_samplers/motif_rack_xs/"
> fixed that for you.
> i don't know of any company other than Yamaha that makes anything with
> mLAN anything anymore.

True. Roland has their own standard, but it appears strangely absent
from their synths, which just have SPDIF outs. CobraNet seems to be
garnering support, even w/ linux compatible soundcards:
But of course, no CobraNet-ports on any synths I know of.

As I mentioned, due to patents and such, there's the usual
sony-betamaxisms that need to be worked out first in order to do the
sensible thing -- be able to get four, eight, or even 16 channels of
digital audio out of a synth. That way you could have each channel of
MIDI "voice" assigned to it's own 24 bit digital output...

Maybe the reason why roland doesn't have such multichannel out
capabilities is they don't want to make it easy to copy it all into a
computer and leave their proprietary hardware out of the loop.... they
certainly seem to protect a lot of their other gear, like their drum
machines only putting out a single channel of midi at a time so you
have to reassemble all 16 manually to copy a sequence out of 'em....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MLAN just screams for open-sourcing the
whole thing -- so what if you have to assign a whole "firewire bus"
for audio -- RME does it:  (
http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_hdsp_cardbus_interface.php )  :

///// ///// ///// /////
mLAN, short for Music Local Area Network, is a protocol for
synchronized transmission and management of multi-channel digital
audio, video, control signals and multi-port MIDI over a network. It
exploits several features of the IEEE 1394 standard, also known as
FireWire, upon which it is based, to afford isochronous transfer and
intelligent connection management. Interconnects are made with
standard IEEE 1394 cables. With the proper software, a digital audio
workstation may interact with mLAN-compliant hardware via any
OHCI-compliant FireWire port.
The protocol was originally developed by Yamaha Corporation, and
publicly introduced in January 2000[1]. It is now available under a
royalty-free license to anyone interested in utilizing the technology.
As of 2005, over 100 manufacturers are part of the mLAN Alliance.[2]
The transport layers of mLAN have been standardized as IEC 61883.[3]

Version 1 operates on the S200 type connection, Version 2 on the S400
type. The latter version supports synchronized streaming of digital
audio at up to 24 bit word length and 192 kHz sample rate, MIDI and
wordclock at a bandwidth up to 400 Megabits per second.


Caveats and Product End

This section needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding reliable references.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2010)

mLAN, being a Firewire bus protocol of its own, consumed an entire
Firewire bus' bandwidth, making the mixing of mLAN and non-mLAN
devices on the same Firewire bus impossible. For example, it was not
possible to use hard drives, optical drives or other sound devices on
the same Firewire bus when mLAN Manager software was running. It
effectively took over the bus with a proprietary management system
that was incompatible with standard Firewire bus devices.

As of early 2008, mLAN appeared to have reached the end of its product
life. The third party developers previously mentioned have since
discontinued or retracted their mLAN supporting products from the
market as has Yamaha itself. Yamaha has had no indication of new
releases of mLAN hardware or updates to the software in several years
and mention of mLAN is notably absent from new product announcements
and driver updates over the last few years.
///// ///// ///// /////

-- Niels

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list