[sdiy] Looking for a specific sample-player/expander IC/module

Brian Willoughby brianw at audiobanshee.com
Wed Jan 12 01:18:59 CET 2022

In that case - low latency wave shaping - I'd still choose a DSP over an FPGA. Especially since the DSP could stream from an ADC directly into memory, and then out to a DAC, both by synchronous serial digital audio. You could either design for 1-sample latency, or if the load is heavier then a 16-sample buffer.

Granted, you can find an FPGA with any kind of interface that you need, or create one from standard IP, but the Digital Signal Processor has been evolving for several decades to hold exactly what is needed for these sorts of challenges, without having to piece everything together the hard way. Something like the TMS320 or SHARC has everything you need, streamlined for maximum utility.

When you open up something like the Nord Stage, you'll see 5 DSP chips in there. Probably each one focuses on a different type of synthesis.


On Jan 11, 2022, at 14:24, cheater cheater wrote:
> I agree, Arm is a better platform for a sampler than an FPGA, unless
> maybe you're doing something that requires the tiniest latency, like
> processing incoming audio via a waveshaper, or some special version of
> FM, or something like that.
> On Tue, Jan 11, 2022 at 12:18 AM Brian Willoughby wrote:
>> There are other options besides DReam. There used to be Ensoniq chips, but I suppose those are out of production. Seems like there would be others, but I doubt anyone has better features than Ensoniq, given their long experience with synthesis.
>> Has nobody released an ARM-based ROMpler? A decent ARM chip with synchronous serial port(s) for the DAC, DMA to streamline the audio buffer playback, external DRAM interface or even just ROM memory, plus some simple DSP support for mixing ... that should be all you need. An ARM solution might be a lot quicker than an FPGA solution (and you'd still probably need memory and certainly a DAC).
>> Brian
>> On Jan 10, 2022, at 14:54, Mike Bryant wrote:
>>> Agreed.  But as these devices are unobtainable unless you're a major player, an FPGA emulation would appear the only option.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Brian Willoughby
>>> Sure, FPGA can be used to recreate all manner of CPU and sample player designs. However, the FPGA will not be as energy efficient as an ASIC. This might not be an issue unless you want to run on batteries. FPGA has an advantage for prototyping, or for designs that absolutely must be changed in the field, but for something as well-understood and popular as sample playback, ASIC designs are superior. In other words, there's nothing inferior about an "old" ASIC design, nor is there anything superior about FPGA emulations of the same.
>>> Brian
>>> On Jan 10, 2022, at 12:03, Mike Bryant wrote:
>>>> Couldn’t the functionality of some of these devices be recreated using an FPGA nowadays ?   Not volunteering to try but these chips seem to be from about 10 to 15 nodes back.
>>>> From:Ingo Debus
>>>> Am 10.01.2022 um 12:45 schrieb Loscha:
>>>> I have a General MIDI / Controller keyboard, the CME u-Keys, Which
>>>> also has a Dream chip in it.
>>>> Here’s a picture of a PCB from the MalletKat:
>>>> <image001.jpg>

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