Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?

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To: Niels Mayer <nielsmayer@...>
Cc: <linux-audio-dev@...>
Date: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 7:54 pm

On Thu, May 06, 2010 at 10:46:33AM -0700, Niels Mayer wrote:

> Certainly the firmware development time is costly, but it's also already

If RME is not using a FPGA in the babyface, then they are probably using
a 3rd party chipset.

> http://www.enterpoint.co.uk/moelbryn/raggedstone1.html indicates the

I don't know where they establish their prices from.

If you look on Digikey, you will see that you can get some quite capable
FPGAs for $15-20. FPGAs that can easily handle a 72x72 matrix AND a PCI
bus (directly connected to PCI), and some amount of hardware mixing.
Spartan3s can use a standard SPI PROM for configuration (a big
improvement over the Spartan IIs), which probably costs about $3ish.
You also likely need an oscillator, which might be about another $4.
And these prices are for single unit quantities. If you order $1000 at
once, you will start to see the price be lower still.

Keep in mind, what might really drive up the size of the required FPGA
would be the 8192 point mixer, which is something that no prosumer card
does.

A lot of cards with CME and Via VLSI chips also use normal off the shelf
ADCs, DACs, and/or digital audio recievers and transmitters, so clearly
these aren't the sole determiner of cost.

Now, I've never seen the insides of a device with a large number of
channels of IO that didn't use an off the shelf FPGA or DSP, so perhaps
some higher end products from Apogee or Avid do put everything into one
ASIC.

> Some business people will give a back-of-the-envelope calculation that a

I would venture to say that 5:1 might be a reasonable profit margin for
a company RME's size. I know that is what a previous employer who made
(among other things) multi-channel digital audio products aimed for.

> Just seems that since they've got the entire thing already programmed out in

Sorry, but switching to a VLSI is probably a very large incremental
cost. While the company I worked for was too small to make VLSIs, the
rule of thumb I heard was a minimum order in the millions of dollars
(usualy figure I see in EDN is something like $2 million). Going from
HDL to chip masks is apparently not entirely automated, and once the
masks are designed, actually making them and setting up a production
line is extremely expensive. After that, each chip made is very cheap.

> Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I've always seen FPGA as something to use for

Sure, but very low volume is probably anything under a quarter of a
million units.

Just for the heck of it, does anyone have any idea how many Protools
Digi units are sold in a year?
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Messages in current thread:
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Reuben Martin, (Wed May 5, 5:59 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Florian Faber, (Wed May 5, 10:00 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Reuben Martin, (Wed May 5, 10:56 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Florian Faber, (Thu May 6, 5:10 am)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Reuben Martin, (Thu May 6, 10:52 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Niels Mayer, (Thu May 6, 12:14 am)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Florian Faber, (Thu May 6, 5:17 am)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Niels Mayer, (Thu May 6, 5:46 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Florian Faber, (Thu May 6, 8:14 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Joshua Boyd, (Thu May 6, 7:54 pm)
Re: [LAD] Is RME HDSPe AES supported by alsa?, Joshua D. Boyd, (Thu May 6, 3:19 am)