Very-small fully-functional systems?

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
12 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Very-small fully-functional systems?

Adam Thompson
I'm looking for a very (physically) small (embedded) platform that can
run OpenBSD properly, including at least:
     USB 2.0,
     ethernet,
     MIDI (presumably via USB),
     OK-to-good-quality analog audio out (can be USB),
     some kind of decent storage (i.e. not USB!),
     and enough CPU horsepower to run a soundfont-based softsynth like
timitidy or fluidsynth (so ~500MHz+).

All preferably for no more than ~C$100 per board.

Locally, I can get RasPis, BeagleBone Blacks, and MinnowBoards cheaply.
The RasPi isn't supported at all, the BeagleBone Black doesn't have USB
yet, and the MinnowBoards don't have ethernet yet.

Looking at the OpenBSD platform list, I see these options
     Wandboard, SABRE Lite, Nitrogen6X, Pandaboard (armv7): all too
expensive, although the wandboard comes close on price (~C$110 to $125 +
S&H).
     SH-4 (landisk): not fast enough
     RB600A (socppc): not available anymore.

That leaves i386 and amd64 platforms.
There are a few Intel J1800 boards available for <C$100 (not including
RAM), but I have no idea how well they run OpenBSD, and most of them
seem to have UEFI boot only.

If you know of a small, cheap, fanless, x86-compatible board available
in Canada *that runs OpenBSD reasonably well*, please let me know.  
Otherwise I'll probably have to give the Wandboard a shot despite the
slightly-too-high price.

(In case it's not blazingly obvious, I want to try creating a
replacement for a hardware MIDI synthesizer, but that can choose between
soundfonts.)

Thanks,
-Adam

--
-Adam Thompson
  [hidden email]

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Bertrand Caplet
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA512

Hey there,
What about Raspberry Pi2 ? It's really cheap, nice CPU, ethernet and USB ! And I think oBSD would be alright on it :)

>I'm looking for a very (physically) small (embedded) platform that can
>run OpenBSD properly, including at least:
>     USB 2.0,
>     ethernet,
>     MIDI (presumably via USB),
>     OK-to-good-quality analog audio out (can be USB),
>     some kind of decent storage (i.e. not USB!),
>     and enough CPU horsepower to run a soundfont-based softsynth like
>timitidy or fluidsynth (so ~500MHz+).
>
>All preferably for no more than ~C$100 per board.
>
>Locally, I can get RasPis, BeagleBone Blacks, and MinnowBoards cheaply.
>The RasPi isn't supported at all, the BeagleBone Black doesn't have USB
>
>yet, and the MinnowBoards don't have ethernet yet.
>
>Looking at the OpenBSD platform list, I see these options
>     Wandboard, SABRE Lite, Nitrogen6X, Pandaboard (armv7): all too
>expensive, although the wandboard comes close on price (~C$110 to $125
>+
>S&H).
>     SH-4 (landisk): not fast enough
>     RB600A (socppc): not available anymore.
>
>That leaves i386 and amd64 platforms.
>There are a few Intel J1800 boards available for <C$100 (not including
>RAM), but I have no idea how well they run OpenBSD, and most of them
>seem to have UEFI boot only.
>
>If you know of a small, cheap, fanless, x86-compatible board available
>in Canada *that runs OpenBSD reasonably well*, please let me know.
>Otherwise I'll probably have to give the Wandboard a shot despite the
>slightly-too-high price.
>
>(In case it's not blazingly obvious, I want to try creating a
>replacement for a hardware MIDI synthesizer, but that can choose
>between
>soundfonts.)
>
>Thanks,
>-Adam

- --
CHUNKZ.NET - dodgy DIYer and computer technician
Bertrand Caplet, Flers (FR)
Feel free to send encrypted/signed messages
Key ID: FF395BD9
GPG FP: DE10 73FD 17EB 5544 A491 B385 1EDA 35DC FF39 5BD9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=XWi9
-----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Alexandre Ratchov-2
In reply to this post by Adam Thompson
On Sun, Mar 08, 2015 at 07:09:52PM -0500, Adam Thompson wrote:

> I'm looking for a very (physically) small (embedded) platform that can run
> OpenBSD properly, including at least:
>     USB 2.0,
>     ethernet,
>     MIDI (presumably via USB),
>     OK-to-good-quality analog audio out (can be USB),
>     some kind of decent storage (i.e. not USB!),
>     and enough CPU horsepower to run a soundfont-based softsynth like
> timitidy or fluidsynth (so ~500MHz+).
>
> All preferably for no more than ~C$100 per board.
>
> Locally, I can get RasPis, BeagleBone Blacks, and MinnowBoards cheaply.

> The RasPi isn't supported at all, the BeagleBone Black doesn't have USB yet,
> and the MinnowBoards don't have ethernet yet.

The RasberyPi is said (search linux audio lists) to be unusable
because of the poor quality hardware.

> Looking at the OpenBSD platform list, I see these options
>     Wandboard, SABRE Lite, Nitrogen6X, Pandaboard (armv7): all too
> expensive, although the wandboard comes close on price (~C$110 to $125 +
> S&H).
>     SH-4 (landisk): not fast enough
>     RB600A (socppc): not available anymore.
>

IIRC OpenBSD arm-based boards have no audio drivers yet (but it'd
be not too hard to add). The pandaboard seems promising as a synth,
but I'm not sure about the quality of the audio input/outputs.

> That leaves i386 and amd64 platforms.
> There are a few Intel J1800 boards available for <C$100 (not including RAM),
> but I have no idea how well they run OpenBSD, and most of them seem to have
> UEFI boot only.
>
> If you know of a small, cheap, fanless, x86-compatible board available in
> Canada *that runs OpenBSD reasonably well*, please let me know.  Otherwise
> I'll probably have to give the Wandboard a shot despite the
> slightly-too-high price.
>
> (In case it's not blazingly obvious, I want to try creating a replacement
> for a hardware MIDI synthesizer, but that can choose between soundfonts.)

I failed to find this kind of box (tryed to build my synth as
well). Most platforms I've found seem to be designed either for
networking or to serve as TVs (i.e. inexistent or poor quality
analog input/outputs).

For now my best option is to get and old PC from the bin and to add
a good pci sound card. Unfortunately this doesn't qualify as small.

Another (unsolved) problem is how to control the synth. Unless you
have a screen and a keyboard, you'll need few buttons to adjust
parameters or at least switch between presets. For now I use a
bulky MIDI control surface but I get no visual feedback about what
is going on.

Let me know if you find interesting platforms, even if they don't
seem perfect.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

peters-12
Alexandre Ratchov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > (In case it's not blazingly obvious, I want to try creating a replacement
> > for a hardware MIDI synthesizer, but that can choose between soundfonts.)
>
> I failed to find this kind of box (tryed to build my synth as
> well). Most platforms I've found seem to be designed either for
> networking or to serve as TVs (i.e. inexistent or poor quality
> analog input/outputs).

Have you looked at something like the Alix 1e or the Alix 3d3 from
http://pcengines.ch/? The quality of the analog inputs/outputs is
quite decent, and despite the slow CPU they are powerful enough to
handle soundfont based synths like fluidsynth. You would need an
additional USB MIDI cable.

> For now my best option is to get and old PC from the bin and to add
> a good pci sound card. Unfortunately this doesn't qualify as small.
>
> Another (unsolved) problem is how to control the synth. Unless you
> have a screen and a keyboard, you'll need few buttons to adjust
> parameters or at least switch between presets. For now I use a
> bulky MIDI control surface but I get no visual feedback about what
> is going on.
>
> Let me know if you find interesting platforms, even if they don't
> seem perfect.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Alexandre Ratchov-2
On Mon, Mar 09, 2015 at 10:02:23AM +0100, [hidden email] wrote:

> Alexandre Ratchov <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > > (In case it's not blazingly obvious, I want to try creating a replacement
> > > for a hardware MIDI synthesizer, but that can choose between soundfonts.)
> >
> > I failed to find this kind of box (tryed to build my synth as
> > well). Most platforms I've found seem to be designed either for
> > networking or to serve as TVs (i.e. inexistent or poor quality
> > analog input/outputs).
>
> Have you looked at something like the Alix 1e or the Alix 3d3 from
> http://pcengines.ch/? The quality of the analog inputs/outputs is
> quite decent, and despite the slow CPU they are powerful enough to
> handle soundfont based synths like fluidsynth. You would need an
> additional USB MIDI cable.
>

They are nice, but they've 256MB of RAM (not enough for my needs)
and I'm not sure about the analog audio parts (dac/adc quality, the
line-out pins have no jack connected).

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Mikkel C. Simonsen
In reply to this post by Alexandre Ratchov-2
Alexandre Ratchov wrote:

>
>> If you know of a small, cheap, fanless, x86-compatible board available in
>> Canada *that runs OpenBSD reasonably well*, please let me know.  Otherwise
>> I'll probably have to give the Wandboard a shot despite the
>> slightly-too-high price.
>
> I failed to find this kind of box (tryed to build my synth as
> well). Most platforms I've found seem to be designed either for
> networking or to serve as TVs (i.e. inexistent or poor quality
> analog input/outputs).
>
> For now my best option is to get and old PC from the bin and to add
> a good pci sound card. Unfortunately this doesn't qualify as small.

If small rather than very small will work, a thin client with a PCI slot
would work. They usually have 800MHz+ CPUs, DIMM sockets for memory and
they are cheap on eBay.

Best regards,

Mikkel C. Simonsen

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Martin Schröder
In reply to this post by Alexandre Ratchov-2
2015-03-09 9:35 GMT+01:00 Alexandre Ratchov <[hidden email]>:
> The RasberyPi is said (search linux audio lists) to be unusable
> because of the poor quality hardware.

There's additional hardware that is said to work quite well:
https://www.hifiberry.com/

Best
   Martin

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Ville Valkonen
In reply to this post by Bertrand Caplet
On 9 March 2015 at 02:21, Bertrand Caplet <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA512
>
> Hey there,
> What about Raspberry Pi2 ? It's really cheap, nice CPU, ethernet and USB ! And I think oBSD would be alright on it :)
>
> >I'm looking for a very (physically) small (embedded) platform that can
> >run OpenBSD properly, including at least:
> >...
> >Locally, I can get RasPis, BeagleBone Blacks, and MinnowBoards cheaply.
> >The RasPi isn't supported at all, the BeagleBone Black doesn't have USB
> > ...
> >Thanks,
> >-Adam


Ahem Bertrand,

did you read Adam's mail, since he wrote "The RasPi isn't supported at all" ;)

--
Kind regards,
Ville

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Mikkel C. Simonsen
In reply to this post by Martin Schröder
Martin Schröder wrote:
> 2015-03-09 9:35 GMT+01:00 Alexandre Ratchov <[hidden email]>:
>> The RasberyPi is said (search linux audio lists) to be unusable
>> because of the poor quality hardware.
>
> There's additional hardware that is said to work quite well:
> https://www.hifiberry.com/

This DAC get's I2S data through some of the GPIO pins. Is this possible
to achieve somehow on OBSD supported hardware?

Best regards,

Mikkel C. Simonsen

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

peters-12
In reply to this post by Alexandre Ratchov-2
Alexandre Ratchov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> > Have you looked at something like the Alix 1e or the Alix 3d3 from
> > http://pcengines.ch/? The quality of the analog inputs/outputs is
> > quite decent, and despite the slow CPU they are powerful enough to
> > handle soundfont based synths like fluidsynth. You would need an
> > additional USB MIDI cable.
>
> They are nice, but they've 256MB of RAM (not enough for my needs)
> and I'm not sure about the analog audio parts (dac/adc quality, the
> line-out pins have no jack connected).

The 1e supports a 3.3V PCI card, so in theory something like an
ESI Juli@ should work. That still leaves the restricted RAM, however.

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Bernd Schoeller-2
In reply to this post by Adam Thompson
On 09/03/15 00:09, Adam Thompson wrote:

> I'm looking for a very (physically) small (embedded) platform that can
> run OpenBSD properly, including at least:
>     USB 2.0,
>     ethernet,
>     MIDI (presumably via USB),
>     OK-to-good-quality analog audio out (can be USB),
>     some kind of decent storage (i.e. not USB!),
>     and enough CPU horsepower to run a soundfont-based softsynth like
> timitidy or fluidsynth (so ~500MHz+).
>

I am using a DM&P EBOX as print server and chat desktop.

Look at:

http://robosavvy.com/store/dmp-ebox-3350mx-x86-compact-pc.html

They are rather cheap and work with i386 OpenBSD. I never used audio,
but it is properly detected. This has 512MB.

It is not exactly the box that I have, but they all are similar. The box
I have is:

http://robosavvy.com/store/sbc-embedded-computer/dmp-ebox-3310mx-l3u4-mini-pc-auto-power-on-sata-rs232-3xlan.html

azalia0 at pci0 dev 14 function 0 "RDC R3010 HDA" rev 0x01: irq 10
azalia0: codecs: Realtek ALC262
audio0 at azalia0

Bernd

Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Very-small fully-functional systems?

Jan Stary
In reply to this post by Adam Thompson
> There are a few Intel J1800 boards available for <C$100 (not including RAM),
> but I have no idea how well they run OpenBSD, and most of them seem to have
> UEFI boot only.

On an Intel J1800I-C, I had to upgrade the BIOS for a non-Windows boot.
current/amd64 runs just fine since a few snapshots ago. There is no gfx
accelleration for the Intel graphics on this board,
but that shouldn't matter uch for your audio application.

http://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&w=2&r=1&s=J1800&q=b
http://stare.cz/dmesg/

        Jan