Percussa Super Signal Processor Eurorack Module KICKSTARTER

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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Percussa Super Signal Processor Eurorack Module KICKSTARTER

Post by bschiett » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:50 pm

CURRENT STRETCH GOAL


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pe ... ts/1956099

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KICKSTARTER LAUNCH (funded in less than 12 hours):


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pe ... ack-module

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LATEST IMAGES / CURRENT DESIGN (VERSION 3)

Compared to the original design (see below) the module will have an USB host and device port added, will have 4 rotary encoders instead of 8 and will have 18 buttons instead of 16. It will also be 60HP total wide instead of 80HP wide. Software wise it will come with a variety of software DSP modules in addition to the super wavetable oscillator, the main software module from the original proposal.

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LINK TO MODULARGRID:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/other-unk ... oscillator

VERSION 2 IMAGES

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OLD IMAGES (VERSION 1) AND ORIGINAL POST BELOW

Originally this was going to be two modules but they have been integrated to be one module now (see above).

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Bert here from Percussa. I'm considering creating a super wavetable oscillator / sampler eurorack module, and would like to see if anyone's interested in having one.

The module comes with a seperate "controller" module which connects to it via a flatcable (no power necessary for the control module). The main module is called the SWO (super wavetable oscillator) while the "controller" module the SWO-R (super wavetable oscillator remote).

The main SWO module will be based on the quad-core ARM cortex A17 platform I've designed for the Percussa ENGINE synth (see http://www.percussa.com).

This processing platform is one of the fastest ARM platforms available for synthesis. With its 4 cores running at 1.8GHz, it achieves about 28,800 DMIPS of processing power. Common processors in Eurorack modules are the single core Cortex M4 and M7 processors, which at their highest clock frequencies of around 200MHz stay below 500 DMIPS. Less common processors in eurorack modules are the single core Cortex A8 at 1GHz, which offers around 2,000 DMIPS of processing power.

Because of the processing power it offers, this "super oscillator" will actually support running around 64 wavetable oscillators in parallel, and with sample rates up to 192kHz with 32 bit resolution. All processing is done using 32-bit floating point precision with 64-bit precision where necessary.

You will be able to chop up the samples you load to create different wavetables on the fly. The software will support scanning the wavetables in various ways with of course modulation possibilities using the CV jacks. In the mockup you can see that the encoders are mapped to coarse/fine pitch, scanning direction, position, keyboard tracking, position noise, and mod A and B which can be additional oscillator parameters depending on oscillator mode. The pushbuttons can be used to choose wavetables, step through the oscillators, change presets, etc.

The module will come with a 1600x480 pixel IPS display, full colour, and high-end AKM ADC and DAC (stereo in and 6 channel out). The display tells you what the push buttons and encoders of the SWO-R module do. The modules have no printing on the jacks, buttons or rotary encoders because all that info is shown on the screen. The screen is NOT a touchscreen.

In addition to these high resolution/sample rate DAC/ADC chips there will be 16-bit ADCs to sample CV inputs (there are 24 connectors on the front site, 18 of which will be CV or gate inputs, configurable via the software to control pitch of oscillators or the various parameters of the oscillators). The stereo high resolution input can be used for sampling or to modulate parameters of the oscillators.

The SWO-R has high resolution endless and clickless rotary encoders (bourns) and high quality MEC switches (industrial type). The encoders have aluminium knobs on them, clear anodisation.

There will also be support for storing presets, and multiple oscillator modes. This way you can store many different routings between oscillators and input and output jacks and recall them with the press of a button.

The input signals will be routable to the oscillators however you want, and the output signals from the oscillators can be routed to other oscillators internally via software or sent out via the 6 output channels.

The SWO unit is 45 HP wide. It comes with a vertical microSD slot and a 16GB professional microSD card for storing samples. The software will support loading really long wavetables (think minutes long).

The SWO-R unit is 36 HP wide. You can mount the SWO-R above the SWO or below it, to the right or left, or whatever suits your rack setup. You could even have it outside your eurorack setup if you wanted, since it draws its power from the main module (the SWO).

Both modules are 3U in height. The depth of the modules will be around 1 inch.

Software will of course be upgradeable through the microSD card.

Cost wise I'm thinking this set of modules (SWO + SWO-R) will be around $1,500.

Power wise I'm expecting the two modules to draw around 300mA together but this still has to be confirmed when prototypes are built (which is subject to enough interest from the community). This number is based on my experience with the Percussa engine.

Right now this is just a preliminary design, so all comments and questions are welcome!
Last edited by bschiett on Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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Post by 2disbetter » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:52 pm

A precursory quick look notwithstanding:

YESSS!!!! Sign me up!

:yay: :hail: :yay:
:goo: :goo: :goo:
:sb: :sb: :sb:

Edit: Ok after a thorough read a few things to add:

This is exactly what I'm looking for. Specs are impressive. I'm very interested in specific OS features and functions. What all will the display be able to display?

Will the hardware support homebrew or alternate firmwares? Will the underlying OS permit plug-ins, for example? (Ie: open or closed platform)

Also a comment on the performance. I think given the title and the intentions of the module, the performance is totally justified.

2d
Last edited by 2disbetter on Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Hi5 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:17 pm

Quite a big one but with all things wavetable I would be interested.
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Post by starthief » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:36 pm

First impression: Too big, too much.

I can't see myself dedicating nearly a full row to one "thing" -- but that of course, depends a lot on flexibility.

The processing power also seems like overkill -- unnecessarily high sample rate and resolution, too many oscillators.

Now if...

-- "oscillators" can run at LFO rates
-- "oscillators" can act as envelope generators
-- "oscillators" can run at "0" rate and simply act as a lookup table for audio rate signals into the Position parameter
-- there are "VCA" building blocks that let one signal mediate the modulation amount of one block into another...

...then it could be an extremely powerful polyphonic synth and the computer power looks a bit more justifiable. Throw in some filter algorithms as well, perhaps.

(Though it would still be unlikely I'd get one... I'd rather see this as a VST plugin, honestly. Perhaps something 1/4 the size and 1/16 of the processing power could be useful in my Eurorack setup.)

Also, if it were 80hp total rather than 81, you could fit it in a row with a power module :hihi:

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Post by bschiett » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:06 pm

2disbetter wrote: What all will the display be able to display?
Will the hardware support homebrew or alternate firmwares? Will the underlying OS permit plug-ins, for example? (Ie: open or closed platform)
The display will show the current functions of the buttons/encoders as well as output/input scopes for signals, list of wavetables, etc.

I'm thinking about ways to allow other people to write DSP algorithms for the module.
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Post by bschiett » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:08 pm

starthief wrote: -- "oscillators" can run at LFO rates
-- "oscillators" can act as envelope generators
-- "oscillators" can run at "0" rate and simply act as a lookup table for audio rate signals into the Position parameter
-- there are "VCA" building blocks that let one signal mediate the modulation amount of one block into another...
Throw in some filter algorithms as well, perhaps.
All of the above is possible to add to the software, the platform is powerful enough.
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Post by windspirit » Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:12 pm

It looks super cool and while I prob cant afford it I look forward to hearing music made w it.

That being said I think the size is the biggest drawback. Would there be any way to trnasfer the controller module to be where the duplicate of the controller is on the screen and then make the screen half as wide? It would still probably be the biggest screen in euro and the size/ function ratio would probably be much easier for people to dedicate that much space to.

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Post by 2disbetter » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:13 am

I've been around enough to know that size is going to be a complaint. For me I don't mind. I already have my 12u fully planned out, but I'd happily make it a 15u for this.

My whole reason for getting into modular was to create my own version of a super synth. Something no other mainstream synth manufacturer could create.

When I see potential modules never come to fruition because of cost or size, I get it. But the best of anything cost money. I get that not everyone will want a $1500 super module (Even thought their total systems are easily 10-20k), but I sincerely hope the muff world / eurorack community has enough people trying to exceed the limitation that the eurorack format imposes on most modules.

What I can gleam from this module that makes it potentially so appealing is that besides it being exactly what I was asking for in the best digital oscillator thread, is that the underlying system is so capable. Modules like this, and the ER-301, and Distings (to name a few) are really bringing an increased vision of what it is to be modular in this modular world.

Maybe we aren't there yet, but I sure hope the possibilities continue to expand within the format of synths (eurorack for example) that trumpet those possibilities as one of its guiding lights.

2d

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Post by jtregoat » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:37 am

sounds nice but so far out of my price range
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Post by peripatitis » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:45 am

This looks great but has imo stand alone written all over it :)

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Post by 2disbetter » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:07 am

peripatitis wrote:This looks great but has imo stand alone written all over it :)
You mean the Percussa System 8? :hihi:

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Post by bschiett » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:28 am

windspirit wrote:That being said I think the size is the biggest drawback. Would there be any way to trnasfer the controller module to be where the duplicate of the controller is on the screen and then make the screen half as wide? It would still probably be the biggest screen in euro and the size/ function ratio would probably be much easier for people to dedicate that much space to.
The graphics on the screen change depending on what mode or menu you are in, so even though the above mockup shows the encoders and buttons on the screen with labeling, that might be replaced by a scope or list or something else when you are in a different mode. I'm thinking about using the first button in the 16-button row as a mode or menu button so you can step through the different modes/menus.
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Post by bschiett » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:31 am

2disbetter wrote:I've been around enough to know that size is going to be a complaint.
I don't know, there are other large modules on modulargrid, just browsing through the front pages I can find several examples including this one which is 56HP: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/addac-system-addac807a

or this one https://www.modulargrid.net/e/endorphin-es-shuttle which is 84HP.
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Post by starthief » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:49 am

bschiett wrote: I don't know, there are other large modules on modulargrid, just browsing through the front pages I can find several examples including this one which is 56HP: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/addac-system-addac807a
I'd bet they haven't sold a lot of those.

Mother-32 seems to be just about the only popular module that is bigger than a Rene or Metropolis, and it comes with its own powered case, costs less than half as much, and is a whole synth and not just a mixer. :hihi: (There's also Atlantis, but it's not much bigger than Rene.)

I'm looking at a 20hp Erbe-Verb and wondering if I can justify it; I consider my Synchrodyne+Expand a big expensive combination.

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Post by 2disbetter » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:50 am

bschiett wrote:
2disbetter wrote:I've been around enough to know that size is going to be a complaint.
I don't know, there are other large modules on modulargrid, just browsing through the front pages I can find several examples including this one which is 56HP: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/addac-system-addac807a
Yeah it is all relative. I for example don't have a problem with the size, and understand it is necessary for the module to accomplish what is suppose to do.

If it was possible to connect the SWO-R from the front panel and have that module external to the module that could save some space, and drop the module down to 40 ish hp rackspace. It would be necessary for the SWO-R to be kind of hot swappable, in that the connector is designed to unplugged and plugged back in. (For moving the rack, etc.)

Just a suggestion. I love this.

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Post by Shwaj » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:19 pm

Very interesting! :cloud:

For me, the openness of the platform is very important. I would be unlikely to purchase one if the software is completely closed. I wouldn't rule it out completely, but it would have to do a lot (modulate, sequence) in addition to being an amazing-sounding voice... it would have to be able to be the hub of a Eurorack system. Speaking of which...

More jacks please! For example, see the nw2s::c
http://nw2s.net/future-future/ :nana:

The main unit should be a USB host. This would be a natural way to both power and transfer data to/from the control module, and would also allow other USB MIDI controllers to be hooked up directly. Front-panel ports would be mandatory for extensibility, but an additional back-panel port would reduce clutter by allowing the controller to connect to the main unit inside the case.

Your target price-point seems reasonable. It will put it out of reach of many, but many more will be able to afford it (it seems like there are a lot of Cwejman collectors out there, for instance). If the platform is meaningfully open (whatever that means!) then I would certainly open my wallet (ignoring the possibility of even more capable/open competitors).

Thanks for sharing :tu:
Hopefully it makes sense to bring this to market!

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Post by Paranormal Patroler » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:53 pm

peripatitis wrote:This looks great but has imo stand alone written all over it :)
I can't help but second this notion. I was amazed when I saw this and my first impression was instantly "this would look nice on its own, on a nice, angled 6U"
starthief wrote:
bschiett wrote: I don't know, there are other large modules on modulargrid, just browsing through the front pages I can find several examples including this one which is 56HP: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/addac-system-addac807a
I'd bet they haven't sold a lot of those.
That's a hard thing to say for one of the coolest new mixers available. Size is not an issue for everyone, I don't get why people complain.
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Post by bschiett » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:08 pm

Paranormal Patroler wrote:I can't help but second this notion. I was amazed when I saw this and my first impression was instantly "this would look nice on its own, on a nice, angled 6U"
Have a look at the Percussa ENGINE if you want something standalone. The ENGINE+REMOTE are together about 6U in height and come with rack ears to mount them together.
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Post by bschiett » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:11 pm

Shwaj wrote: If the platform is meaningfully open (whatever that means!) then I would certainly open my wallet
I'll probably make a developer's guide available if and when this whole thing happens, so you can write your own DSP modules in C++ and compile them and put them on the SD card so they get loaded automatically.
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Post by bschiett » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:00 pm

Shwaj wrote:... but it would have to do a lot (modulate, sequence) in addition to being an amazing-sounding voice...
Well, it is totally possible to let the module run other algorithms besides oscillators. There are already about 10 different ones in the ENGINE synth. But in that case it becomes something else than a "super oscillator", it basically becomes a general reprogrammable module which is kind of a different thing.
Shwaj wrote: The main unit should be a USB host. This would be a natural way to both power and transfer data to/from the control module, and would also allow other USB MIDI controllers to be hooked up directly. Front-panel ports would be mandatory for extensibility, but an additional back-panel port would reduce clutter by allowing the controller to connect to the main unit inside the case.
The SWO-R (the remote controller module) is not a USB device. It connects via flatcable to the SWO, the main module. The SWO doesn't have USB ports or MIDI ports, unlike the ENGINE. Instead of the USB/MIDI ports it has CV jacks and the necessary signal conditioning and ADC chips to sample the CV jacks. If it would also have to have all the ports of the ENGINE the PCB would become pretty crowded and also more expensive... :-) It's just not possible to add every feature you can imagine to a module :-)
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Post by Shwaj » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:56 am

Thanks for responding in such good humor to all of my "shoulds" and "woulds". :tu:

Browsing through your website right now. Impressive! I have a lot of videos to watch...

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Post by Hirsbro » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:13 am

Paranormal Patroler wrote:
peripatitis wrote:This looks great but has imo stand alone written all over it :)
I can't help but second this notion. I was amazed when I saw this and my first impression was instantly "this would look nice on its own, on a nice, angled 6U"
starthief wrote:
bschiett wrote: I don't know, there are other large modules on modulargrid, just browsing through the front pages I can find several examples including this one which is 56HP: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/addac-system-addac807a
I'd bet they haven't sold a lot of those.
That's a hard thing to say for one of the coolest new mixers available. Size is not an issue for everyone, I don't get why people complain.
Agreed not everyone needs their modular to fit in a carry on case or their back pocket :mrgreen:

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Post by dysonant » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:04 am

I dunno. This is my impression based on very little. Please take my comments with a grain of salt and understand I am just being honest with my opinion.

Seems like a miss that the pads and sequencer part can't act without the other module. That screen is ridiculous to me for eurorack. A couple of years ago there was someone prototyping putting a touch screen PC, running Windows or something, into a module with a ton of patch points. This seems kind of the same to me even though the OS is custom. PCs are PCs and having one in a modular will be a shittier PC than one that is external.. There are plenty of ways to integrate really capable computers with eurorack that work really well. Extending the potential to integrate your existing machine with eurorack seems like a better way to attract this market.

I am guessing you are just jumping onto the eurorack phenomenon to see if it might be a new market for a product that is not selling well. It is a really well deigned stand alone unit that was meant to be stand alone. But this just looks like you built a walk-in refrigerator and want to install it in a 600q ft apartment.

Why not break this up into a bunch of smaller separate modules? Use the obviously huge amount of work that went in to it and convert that work into something that is meant to be eurorack. I would more likely buy multiple percussion modules and a killer sequencer from you than this.

I'm obviously not your target and I suspect the actual target will be really small. If you sold 10-20 of these I'd be surprised.

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Post by 2disbetter » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:28 am

I can see what you mean, but I think you also misunderstand the intention of the module. While it can do many things due to the architecture of its design, it does one thing especially well, and that is the role of the oscillator.

It being digital requires it to run a cpu of some sort. Every digital module in eurorack is a pc in a module. You are unfairly saying this one is trying to be a PC when all of them are trying ( by your estimations) to be a PC.

I imagine people questioned the validity of the original Porsche when it first rolled out there. Now a day, no one questions the existence of a 911.

The screen is large. On one hand you could see something that is unnecessarily large and not necessary, or you could see a screen that allows all of the pertinent data and information to be displayed and helps the module to reach it's full potential.

This is a no-holds barred super oscillator module, that by virtue of it's horsepower is capable of much more. However, that shouldn't take away from the fact that this oscillator can do anything in that space. What other oscillator can you say that about?

Is it expensive and big? Yep. Top of the line anything usually is. The market for this is not as small as you might imagine.

To me, this module makes total sense, and seems to really only makes sense across the modular crowd. We are a crowd that by our very nature are not looking for the next cheap clone of a Moog. One of our modules could by 2 of them alone. We typically understand the nature of sound, and the means to creating it.

A module like this seems like a modular synth enthusiasts wet dream.

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Post by bschiett » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:34 am

dysonant wrote:Seems like a miss that the pads and sequencer part can't act without the other module.
The SWO-R is not a sequencer, it's a control module for the main module, the SWO. You can think of it as a "keyboard" but with rotary encoders added to it. It doesn't have a full processor in it that runs on its own. All the processing is done on the SWO.
dysonant wrote:That screen is ridiculous to me for eurorack. A couple of years ago there was someone prototyping putting a touch screen PC, running Windows or something, into a module with a ton of patch points. This seems kind of the same to me even though the OS is custom. PCs are PCs and having one in a modular will be a shittier PC than one that is external.. There are plenty of ways to integrate really capable computers with eurorack that work really well. Extending the potential to integrate your existing machine with eurorack seems like a better way to attract this market.


Well, this is not a PC, and it all depends on what the final result is. It shouldn't matter what makes the module run, as long as it is will engineered, works well, well built, sounds awesome so you can make the best music and sound possible, and offers you great value for money.

Besides that, I can tell you that this screen is a high end automotive screen, so it's definately not a touch screen like from an iPad or something. It's made for industrial applications. Why do screens have to be shitty, by the way?
dysonant wrote: I am guessing you are just jumping onto the eurorack phenomenon to see if it might be a new market for a product that is not selling well. It is a really well deigned stand alone unit that was meant to be stand alone. But this just looks like you built a walk-in refrigerator and want to install it in a 600q ft apartment.


The ENGINE is a different product than what I'm proposing here with different connectivity. It uses the same platform, yes, but that is how a lot of synths are made, using the same technology. Otherwise it would all become totally unaffordable. But even then, there is significant engineering to be done to make this a eurorack platform. Adding CV jacks, signal conditioning circuitry, adding drivers for the ADCs, adding support in the software, customizing the software, changing the PCB layout so it fits in this format while keeping the analog part noise and interference free, etc etc.

The reason I spent several weeks (!) mulling over this design and working on this is because I talked to a few people in the community who expressed an interest.
dysonant wrote: Why not break this up into a bunch of smaller separate modules? Use the obviously huge amount of work that went in to it and convert that work into something that is meant to be eurorack. I would more likely buy multiple percussion modules and a killer sequencer from you than this.
Because the processor is so powerful that it can run multiple modules (like in the ENGINE), OR it can run a group of identical modules (like proposed for the SWO) at a really high sample rate/bit resolution with loads of features. There are also mechanical constraints of course, there a huge amount of hardware in this module, lots of high speed circuitry as well, so there is no way to fit this in a small module.
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