Author Topic: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?  (Read 3676 times)

Sarkreth

Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« on: February 09, 2013, 04:32:36 PM »
Hey guys, I'm in a class called Embedded Microcomputer Systems and as the topic for my course project, I've chosen DSP-based stompboxes.
I'd simply like to know what models of microcomputers are common in modern big-name stompboxes, so I could look into how those do what they do.
I'm not asking for full schematics, just the part numbers you'd see on those many-pin chips inside a digital delay/reverb/etc.
I'm particularly interested in the TC Electronic toneprint enabled pedals, since those are the only pedals I know to be somewhat re-programmable, but any specific examples would be great.

I'm also new here, so if asking about what's inside stuff that other people sell isn't acceptable, I apologize.

tl;dr What does it say on the biggest chips in your digital pedals?

Thanks in advance!

earthtonesaudio

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 11:56:18 PM »
To clarify:
DSP is one type of embedded device, along with microcontrollers and microprocessors.
Typically DSP is optimized for floating point multiply/divide/exp/log operations, RAM and speed, whereas microcontrollers are optimized for i/o flexibility, power consumption and cost; microprocessors are optimized for I forget what.

So when you say DSP do you mean the particular class of device or just you want to operate on signals using digital techniques?

TC Electronic is doing something unique by allowing the USER to reprogram the pedal, via audio no less.  Making an audio serial programming interface for a chip is no small feat.  I considered trying something like this for my embedded systems class.
My guess is TC is using two separate systems: a powerful DSP for audio processing, and a microcontroller for intercepting user programs and turning them into code the DSP can use.

Does your class stipulate what languages you can use?  If assembly is okay then definitely check out the Spin Semi FV-1.  It's programmed with something very close to assembly language.

Sarkreth

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 12:27:12 AM »
Quote
So when you say DSP do you mean the particular class of device or just you want to operate on signals using digital techniques?
I guess I want to learn about the class of device.

Quote
If assembly is okay then definitely check out the Spin Semi FV-1.
Assembly is actually what's being taught in the class, so I'll definitely look into that chip.

I think I should also add that the project is a research/report thing, rather than a make-and-show-the-professor thing. Thanks.

earthtonesaudio

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 08:54:01 AM »
Ah cool.  There is also the dsPIC line from Microchip, and probably countless others that I don't know about.

mhelin

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 02:45:47 PM »
I'd say these days it's the ARM Cortex-M4F microcontrollers which fit the bill best. This kit from Element14 (meaning Farnell/Newark) contains LPC4357 204 MHz processor (actually a dual-core one) with an audio codec (low-quality but good enough for electric guitar use) on board, and there's even 256 Mbits (32 Mbytes) SDRAM chip on board for all possible delay-based guitar effects.

http://uk.farnell.com/nxp/lpc4357-evb/eval-brd-lpc4357-cortex-m0-m4-core/dp/2148863
http://www.farnell.com/datasheets/1682114.pdf

FunkyGibbon

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 03:35:02 PM »

SISKO

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 05:22:04 PM »
--Is there any body out there??--

mhelin

Re: Common Industry-Used Microcomputers?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2013, 03:44:41 PM »
Analog SHARC is being used by Behringer and other companies, Behringer and Line6 also use Freescale 56k DSP's which are quite old and difficult to use like SHARC. Difference between dedicated DSP chips and modern digital signal controllers like Cortex-M4 for an example isn't big. For an example see this presentation by DSP concepts (some assembler examples included):

http://www.dspconcepts.com/sites/default/files/white-papers/2011%20AES%20-%20DSP%20vs%20Micro%20rev%202.pdf
http://www.arm.com/files/pdf/dspconceptsm4presentation.pdf

Also don't forget XMOS processors.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 03:50:45 PM by mhelin »