Wednesday, 16 August 2017

OSC compatible Firmware released for TMC-1-AMon. TMC-1-XMon and TMC-1-Penta

Released today the software includes a OSC Slave output allowing the TMC to pass through un-recognised OSC commands to other device. You can now control the DAW using Midi/Hui/Keyboard commands from the same screen as the TMC-1 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Open Sound Control for the TMC-1

After publishing my initial idea's for a tablet interface to the TMC-1 using HTML, one of our users (James Chappell) suggested that I look at TouchOSC. After investigating OSC I have shelved the HTML interface and spent the past week developing an OSC interface.

The main advantage of using OSC is that users can design their own interfaces incorporating only the functions that they need, simplifying the user interface. Multiple pages allow for different applications. OSC applications are available for IOS and Android I have not found any for OSx or Windows.

You can see the two test interfaces I designed below The first includes input selection (user keys), metering, output level control and Level indication. It has been designed fot the TMC-1-Penta which can select between 8 inputs. I was impressed with the meter performance using an old Android tablet.  A nice touch is the battery status indicator


The second screen below is a cue source selection page complete with level controls and enable keys, This design may be used as a template and unused input and output controls deleted.


I have now finished two more test pages and I will be releasing this software for the TMC-1-Penta, -XMon and -AMon later this week - I also found how to label the tabs!


For the TMC-1-Penta only - Note :the latest Penta software has 32 Palette entries instead of 16.



The images above were taken from the design s/w, the Tablet and my phone look the same or better.


TMC-1 with tablet in my workshop - designs for the 3d printed cradle are also available.

Initially I intended  to use OSC-Midi commands but then decided to use direct OSC commands to control the TMC-1, if the controls are named correctly they will connect directly with the TMC-1. The user can define the label names but it is recommended that the TMC-1 updates User Key labels as they can be dependent on the interface (Penta, XMon, A-Mon) and can change when the s/w is updated. All controls are updated when the page is changed, the interface is bidirectional and updated in real time. The meter block uses a multi-fader graphic.

I am currently controlling the TMC-1 from a tablet and phone simultaneously.  The first command on either will update the display tothe current TMC-1 status. The [TMC-1] key is used to re-sync the display without change. To reduce Ethernet traffic I meters are only activated after an initial touch, as not all designs will include meters. Ping should be enabled with a 10 second delay to keep the meters running.

Push keys are made from three elements, the key, the label and the LED for status indication.
The cue routing keys are Toggle buttons that include on/off indication. The meters are made using a multi-fader. SPL indication is simply a Label. TouchOSC is available to download for $5, the design software is free and available for both Mac and PC.

I envisage other stand alone applications the firmware outside of the TMC-1, for example controlling Mic Amp's, GPIO, or Older Midi instruments from tablets or even mobile phones. Next week I will be releasing OSC enabled versions of the TMC-1-Penta/XMon/A-Mon as well as at least two templates.

For those who may wish to check out the beta test software a design package which includes firmware for the TMC-1, 3d designs for a tablet cradle and templates is available here-
TMC1_OSC.zip

Thursday, 13 July 2017

TMC-1 web app for Computer,Tablet or Phone (Windows, Mac, Android or iOS)

I have spent the last week developing a web app for the TMC-1, I started because Toshiro Kobayashi from Tac Systems requested that we increase the Pallet size on the TMC-1-Penta, one of his customers needed to select from more that 16 inputs!   In the next software update I have doubled the size of the Pallet allowing a maximum of 34 inputs- Main, Alt and 32 inputs in the Pallet.

I saw a problem for users selecting the inputs from the pallet. Initially I thought to make a computer app as an alternative selection tool but on discussion with Daniel who works with me we decided that a web based app would be more useful. Daniel had mentioned if it was possible to add a tablet interface to the TMC-1 previously some months ago.

To implement the app the TMC-1 becomes a server, allowing one device to be connected. The web page is dynamic and both control the TMC-1 and display the current status. There main problems to implement this on the TMC-1, Memory size and Status indication.

Memory size:
A small DAW has 4 GBytes of memory, the TMC-1 has less than 1 MByte. To send a web page you must first know its length, as page is dynamic the software must first write the page in memory to calculate its length - the memory size determines how much can be displayed.

Status:
The best way to display the status is to use a web socket, however this requires a encrypted handshake and json on the server in this case the TMC-1. I decided that this was too much for the first implementation and to use polling, A new menu allows selection of 8, 4 and 1 second polling  as well as manual update. To reduce the overhead the TMC-1 will reply with no-change message unless a key is depressed.

Here is a screen capture of the output from a TMC-1-Penta

I may change the L/S keys for the TMC-1 User and Function keys, this will allow the user to select their function.

The next Blog entry will detail the Beta test version of the software

   

Friday, 26 May 2017

TMC-1 Ashly ne8800 DSP Monitor Controller Interface

In response to customer requests we have now interfaced the TMC-1 to the Ashley ne8800 DSP processors.

Ashley ne8800

The Ashly ne8800 is an interesting unit, limited by having only 8 inputs and 8 outputs with summing, but unlike the NTP digital router it has DSP on both inputs and outputs - Summing, Equalization, Delay, Crossover and Dynamics. Supplied with Analog in/out as standard  AES/EBU and Dante are available as an option.

The Summing allows  the TMC-1 to implement down mixing, I have included the standard TMC-1 set of formats:

  • Mono Sum
  • Stereo only
  • Stereo Down Mix
  • 5.1 Down Mix from 7.1    
  • 5.1 with side surround routed to both side and rear
  • 7.1 
  • Atmos (7.1.4 on this implementation).  

The first unit shipped with Ashly software is a PD-3 which combines a PD-1 with a TMC-1. The PD-1 is improved by adding a OLed display, ethernet port and the new PD-2 software.

PD-3 Film Monitor Remote

The limited number of inputs and outputs made designing systems with the ne8800 a challenge, however the TMC-1 is able to talk to multiple ne8800's increasing the possibilities.

The initial request was for a 7.1.4 film post production room which used two ne8800's. one for the 7.1 inputs and outputs, the other for the 4 overhead speakers, There were 4 unused inputs and outputs on the second ne8800, by routing the Left and Right outputs from the first ne8800 through the second ne8800 we were able to add a stereo input and a mini stereo output.


The initial design has a fixed configuration but if there are a requests for further systems I will write a system configuration program similar to the TMC-1-Penta2 program that will enable users to define inputs and outputs by their unit and channel number.

Using the AES/EBU and Dante inputs or adding a further ne8800 it is possible to select more inputs. To add Cue Inputs, Cue sends, AFL, talk back and listen back would require a third ne8800. It is possible to make a large ATMOS system from multiple ne8800's all controlled from a single TMC-1.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

A-Mon: Second 7.1 Input available as an option

As a factory option you can now chose between the following on the A-Mon

  • 5.1 Alt Input and 3 Stereo Cue inputs
  • 7.1 Alt Input and 2 Stereo Cue Inputs


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A-Mon Stereo Down Mix Revisited

Stereo Down Mix

The A-Mon Stereo Down Mix feature is used to monitor 7.1 and 5.1 on a Stereo system or to check how a 5.1 or 7.1 mix will sound in stereo. The A-Mon design allows for variable ratios but they are currently fixed as follows:



When using the Down Mix I realised that because the Solo and Mute were implemented on the outputs it is only possible to Mute/Solo Left or Right total when Down Mix is enabled. To overcome this I re-wrote the firmware on both the TMC-1 and A-Mon so that when Down Mix is enabled the Solo and Mute control the inputs instead of the outputs. 

Conns

The drawback switching solo and mute on the inputs is that this will also change the stereo feed to the cue sends. 

Metering

Stereo display

A new stereo display enabled when Stereo is selected or by menu choice shows Left, Right, Studio L/S feed and Headphone cue outputs.

External Metering

The 5.1 output may now be defined as a Meter output with level adjustment and channel trim.

XPand Metering

Whilst modifying the TMC-1 and A-Mon I also looked at metering from the XPand, whilst not possible when using the XPand with XMon, I have now implemented XPand Metering when using the XPand with A-Mon.

The meters on the TMC-1 will switch from A-Mon to XPand when the Mute or Solo keys are assigned to the XPand Outputs (Repeated depressions of the Mute and Solo keys will switch between speaker banks).  
  

Next .... 5.1 Down Mix

The current 5.1 key is used to switch the the rear speakers to the side signal when listening to 5.1 material on a 7.1 system. My next task is to add a 5.1 Down-Mix key that will monitor 7.1 on a 5.1 system, this will be more flexible than the current Menu setting.  



Wednesday, 5 April 2017

OSX Sierra - Drivers and Programs

I am currently receiving a lot of emails from customers about problems with OSX Sierra, I have upgraded my test Mac from El Capitan to Sierra, the original MacLow2p3 driver remained in place and working, I ran the TMC-1 and TMC-1-Penta2 programs without problems. I also ran the Latency test program, here is a screen shot.


As you can see latency is between 1 and 3.5 mSec using this very crude program with a maximum recorded of 7.175 probably when I prepared to make the screen shot!

Note: The driver has moved and is now called AppleUSBFTDI.kext and is located in /System/Library/Extensions
With Sierra Mac have added  System Integrity Protection (rootless), to rename or delete drivers, this needs to be disabled - I did not need to do this when I upgraded the operating system! For more details read the following articles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Integrity_Protection
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT204899
https://www.igeeksblog.com/how-to-disable-system-integrity-protection-on-mac/
http://osxdaily.com/2015/10/05/disable-rootless-system-integrity-protection-mac-os-x/

I am not sure why others are having problems that I have not, it could be that some directory names/drivers have changed  and they are present on my upgraded Mac but not on a clean install. Pleae let me know your experiences and I will try to work out what the problem is. When I have some time I will try to make a clean install on my test Mac, but first I have to check that there are no important files that I may lose if I wipe the drive!

Thanks to Jonathan Martins I have added a new pdf file to the USB-422 web page "MacSierra.pdf" with step by step instructions on how to disable the Mac Driver on MacOS Sierra.