[sdiy] Nord Modular DIY

Johannes Taelman johannes.taelman at gmail.com
Wed Mar 2 21:50:20 CET 2016

The Nord modular and G2 used Motorola/Freescale 56K dsp(s), not SHARC.
The SHARC requires an expensive compiler.

Typical optimized DSP chip code is very unportable (while keeping some
performance) to any different chip architecture. And generic code will not
perform very well on a DSP chip.
But after the (substantial) effort, DSP chips are indeed very powerful and

I totally agree with the wifi integration concerns...

(Axoloti author)

On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 9:25 PM, <rsdio at audiobanshee.com> wrote:

> Hi Tim,
> I was going to suggest that an actual DSP chip, such as TMS320 or SHARC,
> would be a much better choice for a large modular. It's true that a generic
> processor like the STM32 can do quite a lot of signal processing, but DSP
> chips are designed to accomplish an order of magnitude more in the same
> amount of time and power. Seeing Rutger's comment that the Nord runs on
> multiple SHARC chips sort of makes my point.
> By the way, I'd recommend against combining WiFi (radio) and audio signal
> generation in the same product. It's doable, but seriously increases the
> challenges. Digital is already difficult to get right when it comes to
> generating analog signals. Having radio interference generated on the same
> board just seems to be asking for trouble.
> Brian
> On Mar 2, 2016, at 8:58 AM, Rutger Vlek <rutgervlek at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I've been thinking along the same lines. However, I've seen many similar
> projects get stranded half-way because it really really takes a lot of
> coordination, good UI design, debugging, testing, etc to get something that
> is as pleasant to work with as the Nord G2. Additionally, doing that in VST
> rather than hardware also solves many initial problems (though sacrificing
> playability IMHO).
> >
> > I'm also a big fan of the Nord! I wish Nord would make the system
> open-source such that we can further improve it, add addition modules, but
> benefit from the huge amount of work already done. I believe it runs on 4
> (or 8) Sharc DSPs by the way.
> >
> > The most important thing about your idea to me is: let's combine forces
> and make a monster of a synth! Something no one could ever pull off alone.
> Something that can grow for about 5 or 10 years (I'm thinking like the
> MidiBox platform did for quite a while). Personally, I'm more into the
> hybrid stuff, combining a modular DSP environment with analog voice-cards
> and effect chain options.
> >
> > While where at it, why don't we make a platform that also allows direct
> WiFi connection for patch sharing and rating (much like an App store on a
> mobile phone). Oh, and when we do something big and long term, it also pays
> of to put a decent keyboard in it with aftertouch, rather than the cheap
> mini-keys we get from the big corp's these days.
> >
> > On 2 mrt 2016, at 17:17, Tim Ressel wrote:
> >> I've always been interested in a software based synth that was
> configured through an app. I took a whack at it many years ago but never
> got very far. Then I found the Nord Modular and that seemed to fill the
> need nicely. Why re-invent the wheel?  But then they get discontinued, and
> used G2s go for $1000.
> >>
> >> So maybe its time for the DIY thing after all.  Anybody interested?
> >>
> >> I did some research. Someone out there has a clone for the app that
> configures the synth. If that code is workable then we just need the synth
> side.  On that front there are several excellent choices for a processor.
> I'm thinking a high-end STM32. We could start with a Nucleo board with a
> daughter board; nice and cheap. The code will be intense, but many hands
> makes work light.
> >>
> >> This would be an open source project for hardware and software. That
> way nobody's toes get stepped on. Or everybody's does, depending on your
> viewpoint.
> >>
> >> Thoughts?
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