[sdiy] Audio Weaver review (was Which proc for reverb)

John Speth johnspeth at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 28 18:21:52 CET 2018


I'm a little late to the party on this thread.  I have a considerable 
number of hours invested in evaluating Audio Weaver and I'll offer a 
review of Audio Weaver here.

The good stuff:

Audio Weaver is a highly developed visual design tool for audio 
processing.  If you have some knowledge of real time digital audio 
techniques, using Audio Weaver should be very familiar to you.  I bought 
the $50 STM32F726 Discovery board for my work and it works with Audio 
Weaver with no problems.

The audio processing chain is wired visually using a mostly intuitive UI 
that has the familiar selectable block palette on the left and the 
design workspace on the right.  There is a native emulation mode which 
allows the designer to run and test the design on Windows.  The design 
is then easily switched to a target board by flipping a software 
switch.  Switching is seamless although switching to the target brings 
with it the possibility that you'll run out of compute power.  There is 
a handy realtime CPU loading meter on the design server that is relevant 
when running on the target.

There is a reasonable and capable Audio Weaver design interface API that 
allows target application code to control the design in ways that seems 
to have no limits.  They call it "integration". All parameters of all 
blocks are adjustable in real time.  I'll even speculate that an entire 
processing design can be wired at run time.  I never tried that.

Licensing the ST version is free but must be licensed annually. There 
are at least several block processing packages that can be used.  The 
basic core module package is free and provides basic modules, and there 
are many.  The advanced core module package costs $1k annually and has 
many nice modules.  For what I presume is a lot more licensing cost, one 
can obtain advanced tools to write custom modules.  I found myself 
lusting for that capability but have no source of funds to justify it.

The bad stuff:

The documentation does not match the product that I evaluated including 
the scant Getting Started guide and that was a real frustration.  I 
followed my gut in the getting started process and eventually everything 
worked as expected.  Help is available via forums on the DSP Concepts 
web site.  The forums are monitored by vendor experts and question 
turnaround time was typically a day or two in my experience.  I never 
asked hard questions and the answers I received were usually accurate.

I found the basic module package to be too basic for me.  The advanced 
package has many nice advanced blocks that, in theory, one could make up 
for the lack of rich modules in the basic package to concoct.  It would 
be simpler just to spend the advance package $1k licensing cost than 
labor through the work.  DSP Concepts states "most users" won't need the 
advanced package.  I identified my need after a week of poking at it.  I 
doubt my programming experiments are more advanced than most users so I 
think DSP Concepts got that wrong.

You're on your own if you can't get a BSP for your DSP board. The BSP is 
probably easy to do though, of course, depending on your physical design.

Summary:

DSP Concepts has an excellent product in Audio Weaver.  The product 
works well and the learning curve is short.  Documentation is tragically 
deficient.  You'll need quite a bit of money to become fully provisioned 
to realize the tool's full capability. The free complement is fun to 
learn but not enough capability for my needs.  I plan to continue to use 
the free Audio Weaver for my hobbyist use but I would not recommend 
being armed only with the free complement before starting a professional 
project.

John Speth

On 11/15/2018 11:04 AM, Terry Shultz wrote:
> Hi Tim,
>
> Anthony Mazzacco of https://www.meris.us told me he uses the Arm 
> Cortex M4, but the Cortex M7 on a STM 32F746 discovery board
> works with our Audio Weaver tools for Free.
>
> https://dspconcepts.com/st , sorry for the shameless plug.
>
> DSP’s are becoming replaced more and more by Tensilica HiFi and ARM 
> type of devices.
>
> My bet is to build on something that you can get a proper tool chain 
> for free or near free.
>
> with kindest regards,
>
> Terry Shultz
> Shultz Products LLC.
> +1-562-355-4699
>
>> On Nov 15, 2018, at 10:50 AM, Tim Ressel <timr at circuitabbey.com 
>> <mailto:timr at circuitabbey.com>> wrote:
>>
>> Hey all,
>>
>> So if someone were to totally lose their mind and go down the road of 
>> implementing an IR reverb on a stand alone processor, which would be 
>> a good choice?  I don't think floating point is needed, is it? 
>> Obviously you need lots of cycles per sample and a fair bit of memory 
>> (6 seconds * 48K rate * 2 buffers = >1MB).
>>
>> I looked at the Blackfins, they seem to be a good fit. What else? It 
>> would be nice to start with an evaluation board. Not too expensive 
>> software tools is also a plus.
>>
>> Extra credit question: will this get me committed?  ;-)
>>
>> -- 
>> --Tim Ressel
>> Circuit Abbey
>> timr at circuitabbey.com <mailto:timr at circuitabbey.com>
>>
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>
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