Thursday, July 31, 2008

Indiamixx portable studio launched

So it's always nice to see linux and open-source tools being incorporated into, or used as the basis of, new commercial audio tools.

On July 21st, Trinity Audio Group (a Washinton State, USA based company that specializes in portable recorders) announced the arrival of Indamixx a portable studio running on a 64Studio-based linux OS called Transmission. Trinity Audio Group released a similar - but with less features - product back in 2006 called Trinity.

Indamixx looks very sleek with it's 7" 1024x600 touchscreen display, full qwerty keyboard, and 8-way joystick. It has a variety of software pre-installed (Ardour, EnergyXT, Hydrogen, Audacity, Mixxx, ALSA Modular Synth, Gnome CD Master, Rythmbox, Seq24, ZynAddSubFX, VSTHost, IDJC - a personal internet radio broadcaster, Mplayer, Virtual MIDI Keyboard, Audio CD Extractor, 260 LADSPA plugins, gFTP, Skype, Pidgin IM, Transmission BitTorrent, and Epiphany web browser) that all showcase the open-source software world (except for EnergyXT and skype). It's also nice to see VST support offered, though I wonder how complete that support really is.

As for hardware specs, it's processor is a Samsung Q1 Ultra, with 40GB hard drive space, Wifi (802.11g), 2 USB ports, VGA output port, built-in microphone, and speaker. I couldn't find any soundcard specs on the Indamixx beyond sample rates of 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit at 44.1Khz, 48Khz, and 96Khz. However its predecessor, the Trinity, used an Echo soundcard, so my guess would be that they've stuck to the same company. It would be nice to know if it has 1/8", 1/4", or XLR inputs/outputs, or for that matter if there are any inputs/outputs at all (the youtube videos of it do show a 1/8" cord plugged into the top).

Overall this looks quite nice, and I would love to get my hands on one to go sit at the park and write songs with. It is also a very competitively priced unit (at $999US special introductory pricing) in comparison to other hard disk recorders especially so if you consider the interfaces and built-in software of other hard disk recorders. Furthermore, with the wifi capabilities and internet radio software, this mobile computer really is an impressive beast. The only thing I wonder is if people would rather go out and buy a laptop with better performance, and more capabilities for the same price? I think this is a great looking piece of hardware, and would love to write a more detailed review if they were to send me one - hint, hint. ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anything you can do (in Max), I can do better (in PD)

Toronto-based Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre held Anything you can do (in Max), I can do better (in PD) a grudge match between Max/MSP and PD-extended this past July 24th. For those who have never heard of these two audio programming environments, this may not be that interesting, but you should know that the open source PD-extended was the victor. Mind you, the PD team were two people (complete with Mexican wrestler masks and bottles of beer) whereas the Max/MSP team was one guy (in a dress shirt).

The six tasks consisted of creating a buzzer, creating a scoreboard, creating an applause-o-meter, move a clip-art kitten across the screen, make the clip-art kitten dance(,dance,dance), and teaching a new user how to build a patch to make an on-screen image change. And, to directly quote from (since I read most of my info from there) :

The final event was a game of Pong, in which each team had to build a paddle powered by external input. Max/MSP's kitten-paddle was driven by a scream-o-meter. Pd-dextended's old-school paddle was driven by a piezo-enabled teletubby toy. Yes, someone had to spank Tinky-Winky in order to play the game.

It looks like it was a pretty interesting time from the clips, photos, and write-ups I found:

It's good to see that a collaborative open source effort like pd-extended can win in a competition of tasks ('cause who really cares how pretty your programming language is anyway) - even if it was 2-against-1.