[sdiy] hobbyist hardware DSP - choosing a platform

rsdio at audiobanshee.com rsdio at audiobanshee.com
Thu Mar 23 09:38:06 CET 2017

Yes, nearly every significant product that has DSP is based on SHARC or TMS320. Even Pro Tools hardware has migrated from Motorola 56k to TMS320.

The BeagleBone Black is TI, but strangely enough it is not based on Texas Instruments' OMAP chips, which combine ARM and TMS320C6000 DSP. TI have $49 ezDSP boards with DSP and audio jacks, but I'm surprised that TI doesn't have a BeagleBone color with DSP - am I missing something?

It's possible to leave the DSP assembler to open source libraries - at least for the TMS320 - and write everything in C. Just make sure that the assembly libraries can be called from C and you're good.


On Mar 23, 2017, at 1:26 AM, cheater00 cheater00 <cheater00 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I've recently made a survey of dsp chips processing power. Check the
> archives. Basically it was between AD and TI. I don't know if any of
> them have the kind of point and click IDEs you hope for, so check.
> However, you might find it necessary to learn dsp assembler.
> On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 6:05 AM, Andrew Simper <andy at cytomic.com> wrote:
>> Also check out: http://bela.io
>> They are using a beagle bone black with a custom audio stack. It's not
>> the most powerful processor, but you can still be a bit done, and the
>> environment is really easy to use.
>> Cheers,
>> Andy
>> On 23 March 2017 at 10:47, Andy Drucker <andy.drucker at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I have followed Terry's announcement about Audio Weaver Lite with interest,
>>> as well as web discussions of related tools like SigmaStudio, because I am
>>> shopping around for something similar.  My question is quite broad and not
>>> so well-formed, but let me describe where I'm at because I think there are
>>> significant numbers of people in a similar place and there is a big
>>> opportunity to make rich sound projects more accessible for
>>> makers/tinkerers.  Any advice on choosing a framework would be greatly
>>> appreciated.
>>> I am ~1 year into the synths/DSP/DIY realms as a hobby---much less
>>> experienced than most commenters.  My best experiences so far have been in
>>> Max/MSP, where I enjoy the easy interplay between signal processing and
>>> logical control flow (although I would sometimes prefer a more
>>> imperative-programming style control).  I really like the potential for
>>> interaction and creative algorithmic music and synthesis.
>>> But on the use/performance side, I would rather interact with a fun physical
>>> device away from the PC.  Being able to stick it into a hardware-synth
>>> signal chain would also be a plus.  And most of all, I would like to be able
>>> to design and produce instruments and sound-toys that a wide range of folks
>>> could enjoy playing with.
>>> I am somewhat familiar with Arduino and R Pi.  However, it appears that
>>> plain Arduino is quite weak for DSP, and pi has weaknesses stemming from
>>> using so much of its juice to run general Linux.
>>> My main wish-list for a hardware platform + programming framework is:
>>> 1.  should have ready-made DSP primitives, at least sufficient to make a
>>> subtractive synth (osc/filters/LFO/ADSR).  Ideally want real-time
>>> frequency-domain stuff.
>>> 2.  should also allow for some patcher-style logical control flow, and, easy
>>> interaction with sensors, buttons, etc. producing control information.
>>> (This is where I am less clear how e.g. Audio Weaver or SigmaStudio would
>>> rate.)
>>> 3.  limited involvement in the details of hardware chips.  I am not opposed
>>> to learning more about hardware, in fact I'm enjoying E. Williams' book on
>>> AVR programming, but still want to be able to abstract away from too many
>>> details of this stuff.  Arduino and Axoloti seem like good examples of doing
>>> this well.  Other tools seem more aimed at professional electronics
>>> designers, which is a concern.
>>> 4.  finally, and no small thing, I would like to be able to make devices
>>> cheap enough to easily give away.  Let me not give a hard budget, but
>>> suggest that e.g. Axoloti is quite a stretch at 65 EUR (and also a bit bulky
>>> for toys).  A shame since I think it meets my other requirements.
>>> Again for reference, frameworks I've been reading about include:
>>> -SigmaStudio or Audio Weaver in conjunction with appropriate chips
>>> -various combos of Arduino and R Pi with sound cards and other peripherals,
>>> e.g. the pisound project, e.g. to run Pure Data on a Pi
>>> -Axoloti
>>> Thanks!
>>> Andy

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