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Thread: Ideal sound card for multichannel scan and modulations.

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Ideal sound card for multichannel scan and modulations.

    Layla 24, by Event/Echo Audio.

    There might be others.

    Pros:
    8 outputs
    Very easy DC capacitor removal/bypass.
    Freely variable sample rates when driven by the WDM driver (won't work in W9X though, only the wave driver works there).
    High linearity and accuracy.
    Sample rates up to 96 KHz, meaning point rates faster than any current galvo.
    Output voltage can be up to +/- 10V or more, and set by software, so no hardware level matching required.
    VERY nice rack mount unit, free of induced noise that could degrade a scanned image.

    Cons:
    None that I can think of, bar cost, but lasers cost anyway, the real problem with these things is their rarity. They're damn cool, people usually keep them instead of selling them...

    M-Audio and other firms make similar tools, but try to get schematics for I/O before shelling out for one cos most use a 2.5V ref voltage to centre the signal on zero, and while Layla 24 does this in a way that leaves the DC offset at zero BEFORE the output cap, allowing the easy modification, the Layla 20 (earlier model) does not, and many other units won't either.

    So, given that these things are an ideal way to get hardware control to scan drivers and such, shouldn't there be more support for wave drivers in Windows and other OS's for sound cards? Pro audio firms have to be good at their drivers, so why not leave it to them, and make the laser scan software output as wave data? LaserBoy does this, but as far as I know, few if any others do. They all seem to need expensive dedicated hardware, with all the interfacing problems that can cause. I think taking advantage of audio multichannel capability, something most computers have in the OS, is a good basis for standardisation. It's just a matter of testing a few pro audio multichannel rack units for easy modification. A lot of new ones have rates to 192 KHz too, with specs way beyond most custom built DAC's, and at far less cost.
    Last edited by The_Doctor; 03-22-2007 at 10:26.

  2. #2
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    Im still waiting for some laser interested programming demon to write up some code to port Mamba/Mamba Black to a soundcard.
    Im no programmer or I would have a go myself - anyone know any reasons why this would not work?
    To my mind this would be the simplest solution as you would just need to communicate with the WSS and the sound card driver would do the rest. This would give us greater flexibility than anything and output could be turned into DC by modding the card or by an small ammount of external electronics. Obviously some sound cards are better suited than others as the doc points out but surely this would be a neat soultion. If anyone could write such an interface I would certainly invest in it for the right money - and Im sure there would be quite a few takers.

    Rob

  3. #3
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    There is a program called LaserShow program called Heathcliff that allows use of a soundcard. It is a free program on the internet. You can search and find it yourself.

    I mentioned in another thread that I am developing some LaserShow software of my own and I wrote a soundcard driver for it already. It works. I'm sure I could create a Mamba driver out of it but I don't have Mamba so I don't have any plans to do that.

    As far as the sound card goes, I am using a $35 USB soundcard from Fry's. Can't beat it for the price. It required a little op-amp work, though.

  4. #4
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    My day job is pro audio repair, so i see quite a few sound cards, amongst a whole heap of other stuff...

    The layla 24 is quite an old card.

    I would look into some of the maudio stuff for value for $$$, the firewire410 is a interface that comes to mind,,,
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  5. #5
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    I know about heathcliff but I'm not on about doing something like that. I think Mamba is unbeatable for price/performance there is a great amount of flexibility in the open hardware concept and the interface is very intuitive - though there are still bugs and some anoying things it does it currently represents the best for a hobbyist or aspiring semi-pro, and so the logical way to implement its output would be through a sound card and the availibility of the source from Medials lends itself to implementing this. I am amazed nobody has had a go at this.

    Go on any takers

    Rob

  6. #6
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    I'll do it if you pay me.

  7. #7
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    Layla 24 is not that old. Buying new isn't the best plan anyway, it costs too much. Layla 24 cost a grand, in GBP, I think, but you can find one for 150 to 250 now. If you get it cheap enough, it beats trying to argue with your computer about which IRQ's your 4 cheap sound cards are going to use.

    What is really needed is some nice legal hack, under the interoperability clause of the DMCA, to make Pangolin talk to a sound card driver.

  8. #8
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    Considering that all the processing is done in hardware on the Pangolin board, a hack to make the software talk to a sound card driver would be useless. The sound card won't have the necessary hardware that the Pangolin software expects.

    Now, the idea of a sound card driver for Mamba Black is interesting. Not sure how hard that would be though. (Gotta be easier to write one for a sound card than to write a driver for the Pangolin board, and someone's already done that...)

    Adam

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carmangary View Post
    I'll do it if you pay me.
    if you read my first post I said I would.

    Anyone who did this would get many takers I reckon.
    Mamba for Euro 99 plus a sound card and a driver by you or someone else would be a cheap but reasonably powerful hobby system.

    Rob

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffo View Post
    Considering that all the processing is done in hardware on the Pangolin board, a hack to make the software talk to a sound card driver would be useless. The sound card won't have the necessary hardware that the Pangolin software expects.
    True, was forgetting that. I didn't realise how much Pangolin puts the emphasis on hardware not software. A bit like the DSP Factory audio card from Yamaha, maybe. Still, given that a show should easily be within the task of any machine faster than a 486, I'd favour a system that put the emphasis on software, no matter what the hardware people offered. Most of the serious problems with that idea have been solved by pro audio programmers. Look at the synthesizer Reality by Seer Systems, or CakeWalk Pro Audio and Sonar, for examples of how good coding can work with the OS rather than fighting to overrule it.

    I guess the real reason that such general access hasn't been done is a fear of software piracy and loss of income. A lot of firms could recover that though, by buying bulk orders of rack unit sound cards fit for easy modification, and selling them on at some profit, especially by looking at end-of-line items held as stock by music shops, and offering to take ther lot off their hands. If issues of responsibility for guarantee are solved, this could work. My Layla 24 is still fit for original purpose, so it's a tempting thought, I imagine.
    Last edited by The_Doctor; 03-23-2007 at 11:54.

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