BEBDigitalAudio

The NG and the DSP...

83 posts in this topic

Hi Colm,

my best wishes for 2016

I am almost happy to know that I am not the only one experiencing issues with the notifications :decayed:

Yes, they are using the AT in parallel with CC (and not only for the effects), because they went over the limit of 128 parameters... More precisely, they split the parameters betwen CC and AT even when there are still empty slots in CC (look for the B4000 parameter table, it's a typical example)

Officially, UseAudio still exists, but their website did not change since 2011 or 2012. I contacted them one time two years ago, and they forwarded me to inDSP (the designer of the card in India), because they simply sell the boards. They did nothing in terms of software development (as far as I understand). And at this time, the contact I had at inDSP explained me that there was only one guy remaining who know the details about the ASX/Plugiator/X-Synth (which are exactly the same devices). I think that now, there is no more people at all working on that. I submitted them some work I did (like a VST plugin to control the ASX in place of their ugly and buggy Flash applications...), they thanked me and told me that all development were stopped.

Apparently, it is still possible to buy vouchers and download new synths from the UseAudio website, but simply said, nobody sells the vouchers anymore. I can tell it still works, because I have been able to use one of the vouchers I have here to download a synth I lost.

Technically speaking, the ASX is completely running over the 21364 DSP. The microntroller (ATMega32) does nothing at all in the sound synthesis control (compared to many other synths where envelopes or LFO are typically computed on an external processor while the DSP deals with the audio). On the ASX, the ATMega32 only receives MIDI from the expansion connector (true MIDI current loop at 31250 bauds) and the MIDI from the USB chip. It also reads the SPI Flash sector per sector and uploads the binary data for the program into the DSP via SPI. Period.

The pain is that inDSP has encrypted everything within the Flash and also on the MIDI USB, probably to protect their intellectual property (however, this protection is incredibly easy to defeat with a simple logic analyzer which costs 30 euros... :cencored:).

Personnally, I do not want to steal their software, I am also a programmer who sells programs and I see no reason to give for free somebody's else work (that's why I said earlier that I will not transmit the binary images I have made). I use this as a backup (I already lost two ASX in the past because of the microcontroller, becoming suddenly unable to reload the DSP). As I said, I started also to tweak one of my ASX, to load DSP images over RTP-MIDI (it takes 2 seconds to load the DSP on RTP-MIDI while the USB takes more than 3 minutes :love:)

It's not an easy task to do (and you need a Visual DSP license to create the SHARC program), but if somebody is interested, I can give the details.

Benoit

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Nobody sells the synths anymore either :wink: So i guess your solution will be the only way to use this, once the Useaudio software stops working on current Windows/OSX.

Offtopic: i am looking into the notification problems.

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I just checked the UseAudio website... it's even older than what I wrote : the last news is from 2009 :cry:

About getting the synth, it still appears as an active product within iCon catalog (http://icon-global.com/product/x-synth/). I can still find some on Amazon and from some vendors in France. Nnow, they are probably selling all they have in stock, nothing else (but the price is incredibly high : 185 dollars each on Amazon, 80 euros for the French vendor - I got mine at 30 euros :rolleyes:)

And iCon never, never provided any link to download the optional plugins (I think they never got the license from inDSP or something like that), so the X-Synth will live and die with the three base plugins.

Of course, if one day, all of them disappear (or as Shuriken said, if their software does not work anymore on the last OS... which basically the case already : just look to the OS compatibility list on the iCon webpage... it's scary : only supported by XP and Vista 32 bits...and they forget to say that it also requires an obsolete version of the Flash player which is not supported at all)

, then I will consider these boards as abandonware... and do what is necessary to share what I have :doubt:

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All the Icon stuff seems to be going EOL. At most places i looked the expansion cards and the master keyboards they go with are on sale.

Offtopic: i got a notification off your post :wink:

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13 minutes ago, Shuriken said:

All the Icon stuff seems to be going EOL. At most places i looked the expansion cards and the master keyboards they go with are on sale.

You really want me to reveal the secrets of the DSP loading or what... :innocent:

14 minutes ago, Shuriken said:

Offtopic: i got a notification off your post :wink:

Got it too this time

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I have 5 X-Synth board, bougth 19€ to 24€... :innocent: (and 1 G-Synth board)

I try one with 9v power supply and MIDI in DIN, it work, and MIDI USB too

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14 hours ago, pasbel said:

I have 5 X-Synth board, bougth 19€ to 24€... :innocent: (and 1 G-Synth board)

I try one with 9v power supply and MIDI in DIN, it work, and MIDI USB too

Excellent

I was pretty sure that it would work with 9V, but I did not make the test.

But I think 9V is really the maximum. When I look to the datasheets of the Intersil regulators used on the board, they say 10V max on input.

The CME keyboards have a 7809 regulator, so there is no risk, but I would be very cautious with chinese "regulated power supplies"... (I have one here which is a killer : there is a slider on it to choose 6V, 9V, 12V output... but it's delivering 15V on the 9V position :angry:)

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On 6/1/2016 at 7:53 AM, BEBDigitalAudio said:

Hi Colm,

my best wishes for 2016

I am almost happy to know that I am not the only one experiencing issues with the notifications :decayed:

Yes, they are using the AT in parallel with CC (and not only for the effects), because they went over the limit of 128 parameters... More precisely, they split the parameters betwen CC and AT even when there are still empty slots in CC (look for the B4000 parameter table, it's a typical example)

Officially, UseAudio still exists, but their website did not change since 2011 or 2012. I contacted them one time two years ago, and they forwarded me to inDSP (the designer of the card in India), because they simply sell the boards. They did nothing in terms of software development (as far as I understand). And at this time, the contact I had at inDSP explained me that there was only one guy remaining who know the details about the ASX/Plugiator/X-Synth (which are exactly the same devices). I think that now, there is no more people at all working on that. I submitted them some work I did (like a VST plugin to control the ASX in place of their ugly and buggy Flash applications...), they thanked me and told me that all development were stopped.

Apparently, it is still possible to buy vouchers and download new synths from the UseAudio website, but simply said, nobody sells the vouchers anymore. I can tell it still works, because I have been able to use one of the vouchers I have here to download a synth I lost.

Technically speaking, the ASX is completely running over the 21364 DSP. The microntroller (ATMega32) does nothing at all in the sound synthesis control (compared to many other synths where envelopes or LFO are typically computed on an external processor while the DSP deals with the audio). On the ASX, the ATMega32 only receives MIDI from the expansion connector (true MIDI current loop at 31250 bauds) and the MIDI from the USB chip. It also reads the SPI Flash sector per sector and uploads the binary data for the program into the DSP via SPI. Period.

The pain is that inDSP has encrypted everything within the Flash and also on the MIDI USB, probably to protect their intellectual property (however, this protection is incredibly easy to defeat with a simple logic analyzer which costs 30 euros... :cencored:).

Personnally, I do not want to steal their software, I am also a programmer who sells programs and I see no reason to give for free somebody's else work (that's why I said earlier that I will not transmit the binary images I have made). I use this as a backup (I already lost two ASX in the past because of the microcontroller, becoming suddenly unable to reload the DSP). As I said, I started also to tweak one of my ASX, to load DSP images over RTP-MIDI (it takes 2 seconds to load the DSP on RTP-MIDI while the USB takes more than 3 minutes :love:)

It's not an easy task to do (and you need a Visual DSP license to create the SHARC program), but if somebody is interested, I can give the details.

Benoit

thanks , same to you

I'm supposed to be working on an album so maybe its not a good idea to start this now! I have zero coding experience

 

I found these, but I dont want to buy the full package, just prodyssesy

 

https://www.jrrshop.com/use-audio-plugiator-plug-in-bundle

http://www.vasquez.de/webshophtml/html/1370.html

 

this might be of interest to someone, the cpu is pretty weak but might be worth it at this price 

https://www.jrrshop.com/sm-pro-audio-v-machine

 

JRR are usually great with pricing but the asx card is $399 there!

 

 

Ive been using 9v with mine, can I use regulated 5v supply? does that 9v get converted to 3.3v or 5v?

the physical  midi output, is that the usb midi out?

 

 

 

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(Got notification this time, but too busy to answer immediately :hypocrite:)

Interesting links, Colm. I stopped to look for the plugin packages since a long time, convinced that nobody were selling them anymore. Clearly not the case... 85 euros is a very good price for the whole package. I paid twice the price when I bought my first ASX a few years ago...

If I would need to give a personal evaluation to these plugins:

- Prodyssey : 9/10

- Pro12 : 9/10

- FMAgia : 7/10 (sounds good, but I prefer myTX81Z for this kind of sounds). Deserves experimentation and can give you good surprizes (the factory sounds are not good)

- Drums&Bass : 3/10 (clearly something they delivered in emergency, because they promised it). Easily beaten by a PC running ReBirth... (and I don't like ReBirth :pout:)

Now, I would recommend to be careful about these "packages". When you buy them, you just get a voucher code, not a file or something like that. You then need to connect to UseAudio website, create an account, provide them the voucher code and the serial number of the ASX or the Plugiator. Their server then sends the file to the plugin manager software. So first, you should check that the plugin manager works on your machine and is able to see the server. The plugin manager is based on a very, very old version of Flash, and it simply does not work anymore on recent versions of Mac OS or Windows (ok... it never worked on Mac...)

The last time I played with the plugin manager, I had to remove the last version of Flash and force an obsolete version to install... All of this manually... So rather funny to do... (but very cool to be busy for a whole rainy weekend)

On 9/1/2016 at 0:00 AM, colm said:

this might be of interest to someone, the cpu is pretty weak but might be worth it at this price 

https://www.jrrshop.com/sm-pro-audio-v-machine

I don't like this machine. It's a Linux computer with a Windows emulator (Wine) to run VST plugins. It fails with almost all commercial plugins (because it does not support the copy protection mechanisms) and many freeware plugins act buggy on it. The Receptor from Muse is much better... but the price is also much higher. And as you said, the CPU is rather on "low end" side... giving high latency (15ms is common)

On 9/1/2016 at 0:00 AM, colm said:

Ive been using 9v with mine, can I use regulated 5v supply? does that 9v get converted to 3.3v or 5v?

the physical  midi output, is that the usb midi out?

Yes, it can work with 5V too. The local switching regulator on the ASX turns it into 3.3V and 1.0V (needed by the DSP). As far as I know, there is no 5V component on the board

And, no, the USB and the MIDI OUT are completely independant. They did that clearly on purpose, to avoid "sniffing" the System Exclusive when you load a new firmware in the Flash

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I found another one board = 6 X-Synth !

V-Machine is a very cool machine, but there is inside a very noisy fan, and too big plugins, and/or unoptimized plugins (a lot) doesn't work well.

I don't know why, but during my test, all synthmaker plugins (not synthedit, they work fine) crashed.

But for this price.it's a wonderful machine.

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On 12/1/2016 at 7:49 PM, pasbel said:

I found another one board = 6 X-Synth !

Take care, you have only four MIDI outputs on the MBHP. You will run out of ressource if you continue :grin: (just joking)

On 12/1/2016 at 7:49 PM, pasbel said:

I don't know why, but during my test, all synthmaker plugins (not synthedit, they work fine) crashed.

Probably because of a missing DLL or something like that. Or the emulated DLL by Wine is not compatible with original one coming from Microsoft

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I knew that V-Machine worked with a linux, but I did'nt know with Wine too, I thought it use a vst host emulator only.On a "real" Windows and mini-ITX motherboard (ASRock E350M1) , I can't use correctly a lot of vst plugins witch worked with V-Machine...

I have an Axoloti board, but I'm waiting to make an enclosure to use it, I destroyed an arduino board with a teaspoon...

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11 hours ago, pasbel said:

On a "real" Windows and mini-ITX motherboard (ASRock E350M1) , I can't use correctly a lot of vst plugins witch worked with V-Machine...

That's very, very strange... and not logical at all. Maybe your Windows installation is corrupted or something like that (or typical in Windows world : there are many DLL missing if you made a "light" Windows machine)

A long time ago (2008), I made a VST host similar to that, called the Expandium. There a few running over the world (it was not a big success). It was a PC running a true XP, and I got a few problem reports similar to that. The reason I found was that many plugins are coded with a given Windows set of files (like the VC runtime). If you are lucky and the files have been installed by another application, the plugin start. If not, the plugin fail. And since the Expandium was not intended only to run VST host and not external software, the probablity to install such libraries "by accident" was low.

11 hours ago, pasbel said:

I have an Axoloti board, but I'm waiting to make an enclosure to use it

The Axoloti is a very nice design, I really like it. And the programming environment is wonderful. Johannes (the designed) made an excellent work.

I am working on my side on something similar but based on MIDIBox and Arduino "hosts" (with an external true DSP), I hope to be able to present something very soon (my plans are to present the prototype during the SynthFest in Nantes this year)

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Quote

I am working on my side on something similar but based on MIDIBox and Arduino "hosts" (with an external true DSP)

Cool

Quote

am working on my side on something similar but based on MIDIBox and Arduino "hosts" (with an external true DSP)

I live in Morbihan, I'il try to come

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1 hour ago, pasbel said:

Cool

I live in Morbihan, I'il try to come

Will be a pleasure to meet another french fanatic if you come

(By the way, I live in Valenciennes...)

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Great to discover now that there is quite some progress on the MIDIBOX / ASX combo !!!

I will come back to that topic as soon as I could find time for it.

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Hi guyz,

I read this topic from A to Z and found it very interesting.

I own a couple of CME keyboards with a NeoSynth board in one of them. I've been proposed the ASX Plugiator instead but, as I didn't know it much, I prefered the NeoSynth.

Now, i'd like to add an ASX board in the second keyboard but I can't find one for a decent price. I found some bargains on iCon x-synth. So, I wonder if I could install one in a CME VX controller.

The second solution is to purchase an ASX board. Is anyone willing to sell one of his own ?

Let me know ASAP please.

Regards... from Martinique ;)

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Hi (Salut)

Boards on CME and ICon are the same but connectors on them are different. On icon board, there is only one connector HE10 type.

If I remenber, on CME board, there are to connectors, one HE10 type, and another one.

Here Icon board...

Weather must be better in Martinique than in Brittany... ;-)

xsynth_01.jpg

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On 15/01/2017 at 5:17 PM, jelise said:

Hi guyz,

I read this topic from A to Z and found it very interesting.

I own a couple of CME keyboards with a NeoSynth board in one of them. I've been proposed the ASX Plugiator instead but, as I didn't know it much, I prefered the NeoSynth.

Now, i'd like to add an ASX board in the second keyboard but I can't find one for a decent price. I found some bargains on iCon x-synth. So, I wonder if I could install one in a CME VX controller.

The second solution is to purchase an ASX board. Is anyone willing to sell one of his own ?

Let me know ASAP please.

Regards... from Martinique ;)

Hi Jelise,

the ASX (and iCon) are very different from NeoSynth. The NeoSynth is based on DREAM chipset (DREAM is a subdivision from Atmel based in France) and is mainly a sample player (sample player followed by DCF/DAC chain). The ASX and iCon are based on SHARC DSP, and they run "virtual analog" synthesizers (not based on samples)

The sound you get from each of them is then very different, since they use completely different synthesis algorithms. In my humble opinion, they complement nicely each other.

Now, about the fact you can't find ASX anymore, the iCon X-Synth is exactly the same board except from the connectors used to interface with the keyboard. In other terms, you need just a an adapter (just connectors and wires, no electronic components). I can give you details about the wiring you need to make. So, if you find a X-Synth rather than ASX, do not hesitate, they do the same thing.

Benoit

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On 16/01/2017 at 2:24 PM, pasbel said:

Here Icon board...

Weather must be better in Martinique than in Brittany... ;-)

xsynth_01.jpg

Thank you Pasbel.

I guess weather is better than in Brittany... But, if people live there, maybe they like it...

BTW, would you sell one of your (6) X-Synth boards ? ;)

 

21 hours ago, BEBDigitalAudio said:

Now, about the fact you can't find ASX anymore, the iCon X-Synth is exactly the same board except from the connectors used to interface with the keyboard. In other terms, you need just a an adapter (just connectors and wires, no electronic components). I can give you details about the wiring you need to make. So, if you find a X-Synth rather than ASX, do not hesitate, they do the same thing.

Thank you for the precisions Benoit.

I would appreciate the details about wiring the X-Synth board. Thank you.

Joel

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Hi guyz,

I received the iCON x-synth I ordered at amazon.de (curiously, it ships from Italy).
The user manual says to connect the 8 pin FRC connector from the keyboard to the 16 pin FRC connector located on the board.
The connector from my CME VX is 8 pin but it's a JST type.
I wonder if I can just connect the keyboard to the x-synth...

Regards... from Martinique ;)

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11 hours ago, jelise said:

Hi guyz,

I received the iCON x-synth I ordered at amazon.de (curiously, it ships from Italy).
The user manual says to connect the 8 pin FRC connector from the keyboard to the 16 pin FRC connector located on the board.
The connector from my CME VX is 8 pin but it's a JST type.
I wonder if I can just connect the keyboard to the x-synth...

Regards... from Martinique ;)

Hi Jelise,

as somebody was saying still recently in USA : yes, you can :happy:

It's just a question of making an adapter between the two connectors. Look at picture from Pasbel, it tells how to do it.

I am not at home right now, but if you need a more detailed schematics, I can send it to you (since there is a risk that I completely forget this meanwhile, don't hesitate to send me a message as a reminder)

Benoit

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Hi

There are two X-synth board, Icon X-Synth for Icon hardware, with HE10 16 pins connector, and another one, similary to Icon X-Synth hardware (same name ?) with JST 8 pins connector for CME hardware. On my Icon board picture, you can see pinout for JST connecteur for CME.

I tested JST and HE10 connectors with ohmeter. I found GND and DIN4 and 5 on 2 connectors but not VCC. I tried to test all others pinout on my board where there are no physical connector, I don't find link too with HE10 VCC. Perhaps, the two boards use different input voltage for each hardware keyboard.

If I remenber, in the CME guide (I don't find it again), it used 2 connectors, JST and another one

Warning, I don't test it with power supply, only with ohmeter (with 0 ohm detection)

pb_X-Synth_CME connector.png

Edited by pasbel

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Thank you guyz,

I succeeded connecting the x-synth to the CME VX keyboard using your advices.

I don't know if the MIDI works from the keyboard (because the keybed isn't attached) but it works from the USB.
At least, it can be used as a stand alone device connected by USB.

Drivers, registration and installing vocodizer plugin worked flawlessly.

Joel

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Hello guyz,

I'm looking for a faceplate of the ASX board (the red one, for the VX keyboards, if I can choose).

If someone can give up one of his own, let me know please.

Thank you.

Joel

 

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