April 6, 2011

adm02 - 2io...

by Chris Randall

Since the intrepid sleuths over at the Muff Wiggler forum essentially deduced what it is, and in order to at least have the facade of a certain amount of control over the information, we've gone ahead and released the highlights. That being the case, there's no harm in doing a "coming soon" kind of thing.

As most of you have figured out by this juncture, Audio Damage is about to wade hip-deep in to the Euro Rack modular market. The reason for this is that we wanted to start releasing hardware as the next logical step in the progression of the company, and the infrastructure provided by the existing Euro-Rack market makes an entrance in to hardware releasing less risky than, say, making a Jupiter 80.

Anyhow, market-speak aside, we've designated a new catalog line, adm (which is obviously "Audio Damage Modular"), and the first product released will be adm02, the 2io module. This is a USB1.1 class-compliant audio interface with two inputs and two DC-coupled outputs. Its main claim to fame is that it will be fully compatible with the iPad, enabling you to use any CoreAudio-compliant iPad app in a Euro-Rack modular environment.

Next, our reasoning was that in a Euro live performance rig, you might want to use plug-ins as send effects, and this would enable you to use a netbook or whatever, and a simple ASIO host, and have low latency insert effects or audio sources with your modular. (We might have a plug-in or two to recommend in that context.)

And finally, with DC-coupled outputs it can work with Volta or Silent Way as a method of controlling a modular. With only two I/O, this isn't its prime directive, but it'll work in that context, should you need it to.

Here are some pictures of the prototype:

It is a 4HP module, and is just shy of 40mm deep. And that's about all the info I have at this time. When we have panel art and videos and more pictures and all that, I'll drop info bombs left and right.

A couple points. First, you'll note that this is adm02. Yes, there is an adm01. Due to this being somewhat easier to make, it is coming out first. Second, this shouldn't affect the software side of things. We're not giving up plug-ins to make hardware. We hope to develop the two side by side, with a mind to eventual complete integration (and independence.) And finally, we don't know the price yet, nor the availability date.


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Apr.06.2011 @ 11:34 AM
welcome aboard and good luck.

Apr.06.2011 @ 12:44 PM
This is a wonderful, and very exciting move, congratulations!

Apr.06.2011 @ 1:06 PM
Adam Schabtach
Naturally I can't resist tossing in a comment here, since this is the first time we've said anything in a public forum about what we've been working on for quite some time.

First of all, thank you all for your enthusiasm and support. To address a couple of questions (or to say what CR has already said but with different words):

@xmodz: in the long run, sure, I'd love to be able to sell you a rack full of AD modules. For the near future, though, we'll be concentrating on things that other companies are not doing. This is partly because we are bootstrapping our way into the hardware world. While I have decent electronics skillz (majored in EE/CS in college, have both professional and hobby-level experience as seen on my blog), I've never actually taken a hardware product from design all the way through commercial production. Let's just say that it's more complicated than delivering a plug-in installer via a website. ;-) We're learning as we go. The first product is both incredibly useful and not terribly difficult to manufacture (we think) so it's an perfect place to start. As we gain experience with the entire process, our products will become more diverse. I think it'll be a long time before we start making things like VCOs and VCAs, though. There are other people in the market that sell excellent examples of these modules, and there's no benefit for anyone for us to compete directly with them. We'd rather complement their offerings. If you look at the major themes of the products that CR and I have created together over the last seven years, you can make some pretty good guesses about the sorts of things we're thinking about for hardware products.

@fussylizard: As he said and I touched on above, I'm doing hardware design and we've also brought in some new expertise. CR, as with the plug-ins, is a font of ideas and functional design. He does the parts the user sees, I do the parts the user doesn't see.

@Trackdriver: what CR said. Unfortunately the needs of commercial manufacturing processes are not the same as the needs of the average DIYer. The products we're working on (and envision) depend upon high-density surface-mount technology. This is mostly because the parts we're using (e.g. microcontrollers) come only in fine-pitched SMDs, and partly because the Eurorack market seems to want modules with both narrow panels and shallow depth. There are a number of other considerations, such as the simple fact that it's pretty difficult to put firmware into a microcontroller before it's soldered onto a PC board.

I'll also mention, because I don't think that it's been mentioned yet, that another application of the ADM02 interface is to turn your modular into an insert effect within your DAW...


Apr.06.2011 @ 2:04 PM
@Adam: "...insert effect..." Thank you. One for me.

Apr.06.2011 @ 2:09 PM
@CR - you're crafty. you're a developer. aren't you gonna make the iPad-CV app?

Apr.06.2011 @ 3:11 PM
this makes the post concerning the jupiter, and chris' analysis of its function in the music economy, more interesting. i could go fishing for this answer, but i don't feel like it; how many euro rack users are there? how big is this market? if roland has to face market capacity constraints in selling bitching upright bass sounds to the wedding band contingent there has to be a far-lower-overhead type of anxiety re: getting in to this party. i had never thought about what it might look like to start something like this up. fun to read about.

i'm excited to see you guys doing this, and it seems like your attitude and style will expand the horizons of the format some. congrats and good luck.

that said, does it hurt to have your testicles galvanized? does the sound of them knocking together scare the cat when you walk around the house?

Apr.06.2011 @ 3:25 PM
Chris Randall
After my conversations with most of the other builders, my general feeling is that there are about 10,000 people in the world that own some sort of Euro-Rack compatible system. Of those, about 2,000 are actively expanding their rigs and part of the community. Muffwiggler could probably provide more insight, as he has access to the demo and activity information of the only forum that really matters for this sort of thing.

So the numbers are about a third to a half that of plug-in buyers (note: I said "buyers," not "users." You can't pirate a Euro module.) It is a market size we're used to, and are able to deal with. If we were going to make a pedal, it'd be an entirely different set of economic considerations, I think. Way more guitar pedal users/retailers/collectors/whatevers.


Apr.06.2011 @ 3:38 PM
I think I am going to join in the Euro-Rack owners at some point. This new module looks amazing. Well done, Chris and Adam (and new expertise person).

Apr.06.2011 @ 3:53 PM
Adam Schabtach
(Thanks, Sean.) We had to join the Euro-Rack owners also to get started on this venture. Some of you already know that my own system is 5U format, primarily Synthesis Technology modules, as seen here: link [www.flickr.com]
I still prefer the 5U format for a number of reasons, mostly having to do with ergonomics. However, the Euro-Rack scene is where the action is, so to speak. It appears to be a busier market, so that's where we're starting. I'd like to some day be able to offer our products in both formats, but time (and the market) will tell whether that's viable.


Apr.06.2011 @ 4:00 PM
jeezuz, Adam, I just soiled myself....

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