pvision

OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« on: July 02, 2016, 07:03:13 PM »
This is an idea I had an hour ago, so make of it what you will:

There are lots of threads on here about plans to build analogue consoles. The standard reply is "don't bother, it's too much work" and I am sure this is correct. As well as electronic design there are considerations of metalwork, tolerances, finishes, electrical & EMI considerations, power supplies, cooling & etc.

I was thinking about the success of the 500 Series format. Many of these considerations are dealt with by the modular design leaving (mainly) the electronic design to take care of

So, why not have a modular console design based on standard dimensions, built in 8-channel buckets? With the adoption of a sensible multipin connector standard for the channel strips, a generic backplane PCB and standard dimensions it should be possible to design a neat one-board channel strip and have "standard" faders and a scribble strip like an SSL

Buckets would bolt together to make a console. A summing / bus compressor / master section / monitoring section would be required as well

It might be possible to make the console semi-modular with a plug-in 500 module in each channel like an SSL XL-Desk

The benefits of a standard would drive down costs for metalwork & etc and making it a non-proprietary standard (which I have cheekily dubbed Open Source) should make it more attractive

Comments please!



Nick Froome


ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2016, 04:39:17 AM »
How about basing it on the Toft ATB?

http://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/toft-audio-atb24

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

pvision

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2016, 08:46:09 AM »
Looking at current prices for the ATB, and comparing the 24-channel version with the 16, a bucket of 8 channels costs around £1250, or £156 / channel. The economies of scale of mass production are enormous!

Nick Froome

Rocinante

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2016, 11:12:12 AM »
While not exact Jeff at Capi is on this and should be releasing his 8 channel modular bucket designs this year. Possbly with vca controlled daw automation. Paul Wolfe (infamous sos writer and former Tonelucks and  API owner) has also released his prototype 8 -12 channel modular bucket design which include fader bucket, channel bucket and effects/preamp buckets. I dont remember how he plans on doing the armrest
https://goo.gl/images/3TTGnn
If there's a harder way to do this, I haven't found it yet.

ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2016, 11:13:56 AM »
Looking at current prices for the ATB, and comparing the 24-channel version with the 16, a bucket of 8 channels costs around £1250, or £156 / channel. The economies of scale of mass production are enormous!

Nick Froome

A rough rule of thumb is the volume price is not far from the cost of buying the components in one off quantities.

Another useful rule of thumb is component prices drop by root two over two for every two decades increase in quantity. 100 off pricing is roughly 70% of one off price and 10,000 off price will be roughly 50% of the one off price

Cheers

Ian
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 05:11:52 PM by ruffrecords »
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

pvision

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2016, 03:17:06 PM »
The Paul Wolfe design looks very clever, using the benefits of a modular approach to enable a customisable shape



I think it's a worthy project. Although I am not a fan of 500-Series, due to the tiny front panel size, I can see the huge benefits of the standard

Although I quite like metal-bashing it eats up time and very few of us have the facilities for large-scale metal fabrication

Nick Froome

Rocinante

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2016, 01:15:01 AM »
Paul Wolfe's design is awesome but one would say that several designers developed the same idea at roughly the same time.
Zeitgeist?
Purple audio has their 25
And Jeff from Capi should be releasing his stuff i imagine any month now even though the design is years old.
You can buy the 8 module buckets in anticipation for his modular diy mixer at capi now for instance.
Not a fan of the 500 series?
 Groupdiy member Pahstah has finished his very clever modular mixer (which I believe he plans on having a kit available for eventually) which features double height 500 series modules. So one can fit a mic pre and eq on a single pcb or two different pcbs on top of one another. 
This shouldnt discourage you or anyone. Really its at most 4 designers with Wolfe and Purple going the farthest. Affordable daw, knob, button select, fader, and plug in control is easily the most open and needed hole in modular diy consoles.  There's a huge market i am sure but the price keeps most of us buying daw controllers.  Figure a way to buuld one affordably (well there's a few diy daw controllers but none are very cheap) and they'll (we'll ) come knocking down your door. 
If there's a harder way to do this, I haven't found it yet.

john12ax7

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 10:14:16 PM »
A modular expand as you go console is something that has interested me for a while. The main issue I've always found is making the infrastructure flexible yet affordable. At a certain point a commercial mixer just makes more sense. But I'm still optimistic  :)

I thinking utilizing the DAW when possible can help with costs. My idea was to hack up  huis for automation. Also doing things like mute and solo in the daw makes sense too.

For many of us, myself included, access to cost effective metal work would be a huge plus.

ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2016, 04:47:22 PM »
For many of us, myself included, access to cost effective metal work would be a huge plus.

That is a key point. The mechanics of a mixer build, including front panels, can be a significant portion of the total.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Rocinante

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2016, 09:42:46 AM »
Ahh let us not forget Ian's venerable EZ tube console! Which not only incorperates a luscious tube gain make up (if one so wanted) but also uses the diverse eurorack format.    A great example of a finished product using the pcb's available through the Ian's 'pcb emporium' is  Holger's magnificent Krassemachine which is no less than breathtaking in its ambition and beauty.
If there's a harder way to do this, I haven't found it yet.


john12ax7

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2016, 08:19:38 PM »
I think this is a nice concept by Sterling Modular (not sure if it made it into production). Some of the ideas could be transferable into a DIY build and expand as go type setup.


pvision

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2016, 08:57:42 AM »
This has very much been inspired by projects on here, specifically Pahstah's modular console, Ian's EZ Tube console, Krcwell's console and the chap in Germany building using Euro card formats & connectors

They all share some attributes: all modular, using an established format, and lots of metalwork. I think the core of my idea is to tackle the metalwork

Something like this:



Nick Froome


ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2016, 04:59:24 PM »
I would like to make a suggestion. There are lots of low cost  panels ready punched for XLRs etc. These are usually meant to fit in 19 inch racks. There are lots of other useful ready built subsystems like patch panels in 19 inch format. So my suggestion si to make the basic bucket 19 inch compatible - either make it 19 inches wide or perhaps  half that.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

john12ax7

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2016, 08:36:18 PM »
I think having things both expandable horizontal (# of channels) and also vertical (# of features) would be the most useful.

A basic question would be what is the standard channel width, is it 1.5" like 500 series, or something else? I think 1.5" makes a lot of sense, cramped front panels can be solved by going to 4U, 5U, 6U heights.

Then its a question of bucket size, do you do 8 channels  or standard 19" rack width? 19" is attractive as Ian mentioned, but makes for an awkward design with 1.5" wide channels.

ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2016, 04:19:07 AM »
How about 2 inch (50mm) wide modules just like the classic Neve consoles of the 70s.  Enough space for complex channels without making them so deep you need the arms of an Orangutan to reach the farthest ones.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Holger

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2016, 08:28:42 AM »
I'm with Ian here. 2"=50.8mm=10HP.
8 channels would fit into a standard 19" rack, with 4 HP=10.16mm remainder.

ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2016, 11:58:01 AM »
I'm with Ian here. 2"=50.8mm=10HP.
8 channels would fit into a standard 19" rack, with 4 HP=10.16mm remainder.

I am toying with the idea of a 10HP EZTubeMixer module. What do you think?

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Holger


ruffrecords

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2016, 03:49:28 PM »
Funny: I've almost finished the PCB design...

Tubes on their sides so they fit in ? - how do you electrically and mechanically interface the tubes to the main PCB?

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

pvision

Re: OSCAR - Open Source Console for Analogue Recording
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2016, 04:35:24 PM »
I have started redrawing the bucket based on an internal width of 16.5" plus a bit for clearance. That's the width of eleven 1.5" 500 modules, the number that fits in most 19" lunchboxes. With that setup you could use a pre-punched 19" connector panel across the back of the bucket by adding brackets for rack bolts

Most 19" rack devices I've measured have cases about 17.5" wide so the maximum width for electronics is about 16.5"

The advantage of a 16.5" bucket is that you could sit a standard lunchbox on top of it and the channels would line up vertically. Also you could use standard-width rails & etc. Whether those are good enough reasons to adopt an odd number of channels I don't know

If you went for 2" channels the 16.5" option might work quite well (eight channels per bucket) but channel strips wouldn't align with 500 modules in the same frame

A 2" wide channel would give more room for aligning two rows of pots. I have found from painful experience that, even if a front panel design looks good, it may be impossible to achieve physically unless you go to the expense of using Grayhill switches. The normal alternatives (Lorlin, etc) take up so much space behind the panel. Clearance to the edge of the panel is also critical

I have laid out a couple of 1U front panels and the vertical space available is incredibly tight. And I prefer big knobs to small ones (as the actress said... etc)

The other consideration is that 500 Series modules are quite deep. The PCB is 5.89" to the back of the edge connector so the mounted depth is probably 7". That makes for a very deep bucket compared with the depth of the faders

I am trying to think in metric units but 19" racks and the 500 standard keep dragging me back to inches!

Please keep the ideas coming...


Nick Froome
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 04:44:50 PM by pvision »