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zenmasterbrian 29th July 2006 08:53 AM

Open Source, Open Architecture!
I think digital audio has to be approached in an entirely different way, otherwise it is just consumerism. Digital technology offers great potential in its lossless copying, transmission, and processing. But we, the users, have to have control over what the equipment does, not marketeers.

Digital equipment offers this possibility too, but only if we can control the software.

Lets step back a bit here. Look at personal computers. These came on to the market in the 70's. Everyone liked them because they can do anything, so long as you can write or obtain a program. Over the decades, largely due to M$, personal computers have become less and less flexible, and more like fixed function appliances. Yes, more people use them, but as appliances.

Look at digital audio. It has never been flexible. It should be.

Imagine the following: You have a published architecture. It has a box, with battery backup for software, or Flash for software. It has an interface. It is your digital control preamp, or your 5.1 or 7.1 reciever. You decide what it does! You decide how it does tone controls. You decide about Dolby and THX. You decide what it does with the surround and center channels. You decide everything about bass and subwoofer management. You can change all this with just a few buttons. The only limit is its computational power.

Sometimes you want to use delay on the surrounds, to simulate a big room. Sometimes you want bandwidth limited surrounds. Sometimes you want to be able to shunt LF back to the Left and Right. Sometimes you want it to go to a global subwoofer. Sometimes you might have a full range cener speaker. Sometimes you might want two tiers of bass management. Sometimes you might want room compensation.

Sometimes you want complex eq. Sometimes you want the Lucas THX compensation. Sometimes you might want sound compression, there really is no way to watch these movies now without having some of it be real real loud, without either compression or subtitles.

The point is, we should be in control!

Marketeers have been selling us menu options, things that we should have a much much greater deal of control over! These various approaches are things we should be inventing, not marketeers. Digital audio is turning us into cell phone bimbos!

The technology is good. The implementation has not been.

Open source, open architecture is the solution. PCs only took off because it worked out that way. All kinds of user groups, then third party commerical sources jumped in, once there was an open standard. It lasted until M$ was able to lock it up.

With digital audio, especially these control preamps and surround decoders, we have to be incharge.

You won't have to write the software yourself. Its a combination of third party commercial sources, and user and hobby groups, as well as individuals

This is how it should be! It should not be fixed function gimick boxes.

Once such a standard exists, we can presure industry to only sell that which is compatible. This will cover pro and home gear.

The fact that many consumers do not care is irrelevant. Once a standard is established, only cheapie junk will deviate from it.

As an example, look at midi. No one owns that. It works because manuf. were forced to comply by pressure.

Digital should give us more capability, more control, more options, not less.

Is anyone doing anything like this? Any ideas about this?

Of course this also applies to digital musical instruments. And to digital home recording.

A PC can be used for software writing and compiling and loading. Said PC could also handle play lists and much more.

Once the hardware and software are open, there really is no limit!:D

rfbrw 29th July 2006 10:29 AM

Feel better ?

zenmasterbrian 29th July 2006 01:21 PM

I might ask you the same. But rather, lets talk about open source for digital audio!:D

rfbrw 29th July 2006 02:36 PM

Another PC Evangelist. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
I say lets not. Things are fine as they are. The last thing needed is the bloated PC mentality. If you want excess by all means build your audio PC but have no illusions that it is about audio. It is all about the PC.
What is it about PC people that drives their need for one thing to do everything and not particularly well at that.

zenmasterbrian 29th July 2006 06:18 PM

I didn't say that an open source and open architecture audio system had to be built around a Personal Computer, PC.

At best, I don't think it should be. It should be some other kind of box with no hard disk and no fan.

It should also have its own primary controls.

The PC comes into play as a way of loading new software into it, like from the internet, or that you write yourself.

I'm saying that digital offers lots of potential, but audio hobbyests need to be in charge of their own systems, not the corporate marketeers.

The sound quality will be not better and no worse with what I am proposing. Its just that we each get to control exactly how the system works for ourselves.

rfbrw 29th July 2006 06:29 PM

Consider the chain from cd to spkr and tell me how I am not in control of my options.

Ulas 30th July 2006 12:39 AM

Re: Open Source, Open Architecture!

Originally posted by zenmasterbrian
Lets step back a bit here. Look at personal computers. These came on to the market in the 70's. Everyone liked them because they can do anything, so long as you can write or obtain a program. Over the decades, largely due to M$, personal computers have become less and less flexible, and more like fixed function appliances. Yes, more people use them, but as appliances.
I think you have it backwards. It is because of the standardization and backward compatibility enforced by Wintelís dominance that personal computers can do anything. That wasnít the case in the 70ís when there were dozens of incompatible disk formats, memory managers, and I/O interfaces. Every software vendor had their proprietary user interface and programming language extensions.

I just updated one of many programs I created years ago to do whatever I want it to do with regard to digital audio and M$ has not hindered me in any way. In fact, it is because of M$ that I have powerful and inexpensive software development tools and standardized interfaces that allow my software to run on any 32- or 64-bit Wintel computer.


Originally posted by zenmasterbrian
Look at digital audio. It has never been flexible. It should be.

How is digital audio inflexible? The data formats are well known. I can read the contents of any digital audio media or intercept its data stream and manipulate the data to my hearts content. Aside from DRM, which can always be cracked or circumvented, there is nothing closed, secret, or inaccessible about digital audio. Whatís stopping you from doing what every you want to do?


Originally posted by zenmasterbrian
lets talk about open source for digital audio!
OK, What are you going to contribute to digital audio open source? I think youíre one of those open source advocates who wants other to do the work just so you can get free software.

zenmasterbrian 30th July 2006 03:52 AM

rfbrw, you are not in control of the digital processing. This is most important after the basic decoding is done from you CD or DVD.

The kinds of things you could have better control over, but do not, are equalization, surround channel synthesis, how low bass is routed through front speakers or your .1 channel, how the Lucas Film THX compensation is done, use of center speaker when listening to 2 channel sources, even synthesis of stereo when you have your own recording mixed down to mono.

With digital you could do darn near anything, just by selecting the options. You could have a 13 band graphic eq one minute. You could have a tone control only the next, you could then have nothing, then you could have the Lucas film THX compensation.

You could have compression, which as the dynamic range of digital sources has expanded, is sometimes necessary to keep it listenable.

Right now, you get what ever the marketeer's put into your box. Its an overly simplistic user interface, designed for a price range. If its cheap, its targeted to girls. If its expensive, it does more, but not that much. You rarely have control of the actual parameters, just fixed options, surround modes.

Next year they will sell you a new version, with different gimcks.

We should be in charge, not the marketeers.:D

rfbrw 30th July 2006 07:55 AM

If I want digital eq, I can build it. There are other forms of processing also open to those with the ability but just because one can doesn't mean one should. Fortunately for me, I care not a jot for compressed formats and have no need for surround sound. But if it bothers you that much, don't let us naysayers put you off building your own SDDS codec.

zenmasterbrian 30th July 2006 09:37 AM

The whole point of open source is that you don't have to do it all yourself. Its information. Its a collaborative project.

Once the precedent is set, once some manufacturers start to open up, then pressure can be put to make all but the low end go along with it.:cool:

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