I’s been my experience that when setting out to design a custom PCB on a new chip it pays to have some known board to debug off of. This can be useful even if there’s no relevant peripherals on there. Either add them, or simulate them, or maybe even double check that that pin actually is tristated when it’s supposed to!
One of the many important choices when starting a hardware project is to choose the part that is going to be what everything else revolves around. Namely the Microcontroller.
I knew my minimum requirements were something like this:
- 1 SPI
- 2 I²S with master clock out
- 1 I²C
- 1 U(S)ART
- LCD 8080/6800 parallel peripheral
- USB FS (pref HS) Device
These all need to be accessible at the same time, so I don’t want to keep reconfiguring pins and all that jazz. I want a chip powerful enough to comfortably do what I want it to do. Comfortably for me, that is.
Specifications I know. I usually get them from other people. At least I did. Just like those sentences, I can with this project – do whatever seems appropriate. Like ugly long sentences, that are hard to read because I make you look for that period until you mind is figuratively (and even make unnecessary asides just to let you know that “literally” would be entirely wrong in this context; and you already knew that) exhausted.
Specifications are easy!
I’m pumped about this project, so today I got hold of a CAD file for the slightly larger version of the enclosure. This is where I’m at:
Not quite there yet with any requirements or anything, but this is my current thinking.
Who is this fellow you may ask? He’s my long time friend and colleague working on the Wiring Framework! Don’t know what I’m talking about? If you know what Arduino is then please read The Untold History of Arduino, you’ll find it interesting!
That’s enough information from me, he can introduce himself later on here if he feels like it. I’m just happy I have someone to really get into the detail with.
A real person is much better than a Rubber Duck and this guy infinitely more so!
This is Assimilate:
We in Assimilate play live with a backing track that has a few musical additions we do not have the manpower to reproduce live. This is common practice and I’d say most bands, at least in our genre, does this.
Enter: The Problem
There’s a slight inconvenience though. We have to bring:
- A laptop
- A laptop charger
- An audio interface with 4 outs
- Power and USB for the audio interface
- Hopes and prayers that the engineer remembered to get us a stereo DI box
I work part time as an audio engineer and I know first hand how fast DI lines gets exhausted. All that’s needed to fix this last issue for everyone, is to call ahead and make sure there’s enough DI lines for your lineup.
As for the first four items on that list though. They’re all a pain in the neck, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had USB driver initialization faults, ASIO buffer size reset and errors. Of course, the worst time for these inconveniences to occur is live.
Thank you Murphy!
Welcome: The Solution
There should be two items on the previous list:
- The liveARMADA
- A power supply
Though, if you’re prepared and know your liveARMADA is charged. Then just step onto stage with one single unit!
Let’s just take a minute to appreciate this.
You only need one device on stage, for backing track and clicks!
liveARMADA has stereo XLR to the audio engineer. This is where the backing track will be playing. No pesky DI needed. Awesome huh?
It also provides stereo XLR or a headphone jack for the click track. This can either be monitored by the drummer in his egotistical headphones, or by the entire needy band if it’s sent back to the console first.
So that’s it. The idea is born.