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Thread: Recomended DAC?

  1. #1

    Default Recomended DAC?

    Hi I did a quick search and didn't really come up with any concrete results.

    Is everybody home brewing their own DACs, or is there a recomended one that is useful through common software such as popelscan and Mamba?

    yaddatrance, what ever happend to your ultimate 16 bit DAC you had going in this thread: http://photonlexicon.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=153?

    I have found a couple of retail USB solutions, but they are quite spendy.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Default

    You can find more info here Gordo. :lol: http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=268 I believe the Photondream dacs will be released soon enough.

  3. #3

    Default

    The sad part is that there are so many standards to choose from...

    hear me out...

    Most, dare i say a blinding majority of the DAC solutions out there require you to use "their" software.

    Sadly, most of these dacs suck. and the hardware is definately in the hoover vaccuum awards right behind it. So that leaves "little old us" trying to figure out how much money we want to spend on a dac versus how shitty it really is or just building our own and then trying to figure out the software side of it.

    One of the big problems in the laser arena is that no ones talking. all the people that could really help you out by explaining the ILDA file structure or why x chip is better than y chip keep to themselves.

    Its not because they dont like the royal "we", its egotistical with a dash of product security.

    Say Bobby over there figured out how to make a dac. He likes his dac. He starts marketing his dac, and he gets a few sales catering to the "pangolin is too expensive this will do" market.

    He is very likely to have information you would like to have. however when you have it whats stopping you from taking over his teeny-tiny piece of the market.

    The smarter ones realize that their product contains no magic thats not directly reproducable anywhere else. The less than smart ones call the bugs features because of documentation and release statements like:

    "Anchor points are industry standard!, we pre-program in delays to allow the hardware to catch up with the scan set! Think of the time youll save not having to compensate for this anymore!"

    Yea. Thats pangolin there. And they have secured a captive audience. I noticed their chokehold getting stronger when they started hyping the new laser file format called LDB/LDA.

    Basically its what they created out of thin air to "minimize file size and increase throughput to the hardware"

    Ahem. Bullshit. Its a jacked up version of macromedia flash thats ONLY a "standard" because of the forced adoption process. They now call LDB/LDA a standard. A standard whos programming details are "deep dark secrets" that no one has been able to pop yet.

    Where was I... Hell, I dont remember anymore but now im angry.

    Ok... as far as a dac goes... I have no idea which one to choose but I can definately give you reasons why you should not settle with a given solution.

    Ive never been one to settle for "its good enough." and neither has Yadda judging by his work. And thats the primary reason why Im going to spend my money on his DAC and software instead.

    Something tells me I'll get meaningful updates instead of fluff buried behind hollow promises and pipe dreams backed with a used car salesman smile.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SoCal
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    Default

    Heh, I'll add to this... I've gone through lots of different laser systems...
    Here's someof my "lessons learned"...

    1) There's no right answer, which is why I'm building my own system from
    scratch... (At least I won't ever tell myself "that's not how we do things 'round
    here")

    2) I recommend homebrew if you have time or this is a hobby.
    If you have paying clients waiting, buy a commercial system.

    3) In our industry today, there is no "good" product... there are various
    solutions which may get you through the night with varying degrees of
    success. I strongly recommend downloading the "demo" software
    that various vendors provide to familiarize yourself with as many products
    as you can before buying anything... that'll save you a lot of trauma.

    4) Love it or hate it, the ONLY system which is currently on the market that
    will most likely get you through the night is Pangolin. (The Photon Dream
    system will be on sale in March, but isn't available right now)

    Pangolin works. It supports MIDI, SMPTE and DMX (for very loose definitions
    of support, don't even ask me about Pangolin's DMX "support")

    If you try varying from the standard Pangolin playbook, they will definitely steer
    you back on to it... so forget doing any revolutionary "mindblowing" shows to
    your exacting specifications... but Pangolin will pick up their phones when
    you call, which is dramatically different from a lot of other vendors.

    5) Pangolin has this habit of buying up any potential competitors... LA Studio
    being the foremost example... Utopia is another...

    6) Pangolin has never tried to buy out X29 or Laser Illusions, make your own
    judgement call on that. Caveat emptor... I do like the NML guys themselves
    though... nice folk. And Rick's a good guy too, just not into patching his
    software to be all it can be.

    7) Medialas has some fine software packages for the entry level user.
    They're very basic though...

    8) The homebrew hardware solutions are all very impressive. The
    software on the other hand leave a lot to be desired...

    Despite it all, lasers are very very pretty, so clients are willing to forgive
    a lot... So relax and whichever route you choose, you won't go too far wrong...

    One beef I have that I'll vent here while I'm thinking about other systems
    is the ILDA file format... COME ON GUYS! Is it so hard?

    The only two systems which generate ILDA files to standard is Pangolin
    (with the exception of how they handle 24-bit palettes which uses/abuses the
    mode byte.) Anarchy Editor is the closest second, they have a byte bug
    in their palette section... Illusions completely mangles the status bits and
    starts counting at frame 1... And Monkey tools does similar... gah, enough
    venting...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    UK
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    Default mmmm

    I wants me yaddas system...

    Im only a hobbyist for now, but i have a habit...

    If i do something, i want the best "bits". if its 8k / 12 / 30 /60 scanners i would want the top end 30 / 60

    IE if i didnt know of young spec / yadda / PL i would head towards Pangolin....

    Though im arranging something with spec at the min, i hope to have yaddas kit when it comes out too if i have the money lying around.

    Some of these people need some community sprit!
    Regards,

    Aidan

  6. #6

    Default

    What about the Easylase USB from http://www.jmlaser.com/

    They have a dev kit with dll's and some code to test the system.
    You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Default

    Hiya Groover! Thanks for the shot in the arm....I have 2 of these systems and after finding out how to use them and "work" it...I love it. Very user friendly after the initial concept of the package is understood. I have sent Spec a couple of ILDA files to share. He said something about putting up a share download page for us. I have been drawing more and things are getting smoother. Would be nice to be able to create in Corel Draw and then input into lase cad without digitizing it. Seems like Yadda's board is going to be the one to use!!!
    You are the only one that can make your dreams come true....and the only one that can stop them...A.M. Dietrich

  8. #8

    Default

    Wow! Thank you all for your frank responses. I am definitely a hobbyist. However having said that, I am pretty particular and generally won't accept a shoddy solution. Even if all I ever do is impress the neighbors on new years' eve. ;-)

    I found several DAC schematics out there and am not afraid to pull out my trusty soldering iron. I prototyped out the 8/12 bit solution found in the circuit cellar (http://24.200.192.31:81/LaserShow/Ga...86-prutchi.pdf) and the 8 bit solution found here (http://home.hccnet.nl/g.c.van.doorn/...n/laser/da.gif). I don't have my scanners as yet (they are on the way), but I am pretty confident both circuits will function properly. I did both to see the visual differences when between the resolutions.

    Software, as so plainly said by many who responded, is a weak point. Yaddatrance, with such significant effort going into your DAC board, what is your target for the software solution? Will this be home grown as well?

    Thanks for all the insight!

  9. #9

    Default

    A well working system for converting diffrent fileformats to ilda would be great but I just havn't found any. Well, to be honest I have found some but the pricetag on those as on many other things involving lasers are out of my range.

    It would be great to be able to create images in something lite Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD or any other vector based system and simply converting them into an ilda frame to use. Maybe a whole animation at a time.
    You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Groover
    A well working system for converting diffrent fileformats to ilda would be great but I just havn't found any. Well, to be honest I have found some but the pricetag on those as on many other things involving lasers are out of my range.

    It would be great to be able to create images in something lite Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD or any other vector based system and simply converting them into an ilda frame to use. Maybe a whole animation at a time.

    There are not many out there, and the ones that do exist, as you stated, are quite prohibitive in cost or system resources. There was something on alt.lasers recently about the laserboy package (free, linux) being able to take DFX cad files and being able to convert them to ILDA. Its definitely a step in the right direction.

    I have not personally used his package so I have no idea if he mangles the ILDA file structure like others do.

    Its getting to the point where we we need about a dozen different computers with different operating systems to make a "single" interoperable system work for laser show design.

    What I want to see, and if anyone here has the reverse engineering and coding facilities, is conversion from LDA/LDB files to correct ILDA files. Pangolin does this but you need to shell out the $4000 for the "Basic" system.

    I have invited James Lehman(creator of ezfb and laserboy) to the forum with a pointer to this thread, with luck he will respond and hang around for a little bit.

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