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Inside Digidesign 882
Digidesign's Digital Audio Engine; Inside Digidesign 882
Apple Notes
Published in SOS September 1996
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Technique : Apple Notes
MARTIN RUSS brings you the latest news direct from an Apple R&D gathering, and takes a set of Allen keys to some expensive digital audio hardware...


On a hot and sticky evening earlier in the summer, Apple held the Broadcast Solutions Event at BAFTA in London. A team of evangelists from the Apple R&D laboratories were on hand to answer questions from an invited audience of TV, news, broadcast and media people -- and me -- and there was a demonstration of how to put a broadcast-quality video together, from script to screen, in about 20 minutes.

I spoke to Jonathan Knowles, the Senior Product Manager for QuickTime, and he showed me QuickTime 2.5, which he claimed would be out by the time you read this. This is the version with the proper QuickTime Music Architecture built in, which means:

• OMS support is now included;

• You can now Drag & Drop AIFF soundfiles (and other formats) to provide sampled and synthesized musical instruments;

• 44.1kHz/16-bit sounds are now available (if your hardware can cope);

• Yamaha, Korg, InVision and other sound sets will be available (these can contain synthesized and sampled instruments);

• The QuickTime musical instrument editor has been greatly improved.

With this release of QuickTime, the MacOS (Macintosh Operating System) and Windows versions are finally synchronised, so developers can now provide moving pictures, audio and music across computer platforms.

I've been asked why I frequently mention QuickTime in this column. The answer would have been very apparent if you had been at the Broadcast Solutions gathering. Here was an event targeted at people who work in TV (not hi-tech music) -- and the major focus was to discuss the progress towards a universal digital media format -- as well as try and push Apple-based systems as a neat way to edit video. Acronyms and abbreviations were much in evidence: QT 2.5, QT3D, QTVR, QTTV, RAVE, 3DMF, AVI, OMF and more. With demonstrations of 'best of breed' ways of non-linear editing audio and video from MediaSpec and the Tyrell Corporation, it was serious stuff.

This brings me to the answer. I mention QuickTime because it shows the way that audio, video and music are becoming ever more convergent. When I learn that the BBC have over 70 Digidesign Pro Tools systems, and the demonstator for the Media 100 video editor happily edited his video material and his soundtrack simultaneously using the same program, then anyone using a MIDI sequencer with a few audio tracks who is also sync'ing to video players should be aware of it. MacOS musicians need to keep aware of what is happening out there, because the future is wider than just CDs -- the future is CDs, videos, on-line magazines, TV programmes that look like magazines...

Having mentioned the BBC, their new multimedia site is worth a visit; it uses a host of Macs and QuickTime VR. Check out the web site given in this month's 'On The Net' box.


Using a Digidesign Pro Tools system for a month or so (as I have done in order to write this month's Digital Performer review for SOS -- see page 124), you come to appreciate how daunting Digidesign's products can appear from the outside. I've always aspired to buying one, but I've never quite got around to it, and so I had only a sketchy grasp of how it all fitted together. On the assumption that I'm not the only one, here's a brief guide to some of Digidesign's wonderful MacOS computer expansion goodies.

Digidesign's Audiomedia cards are straightforward in concept -- they provide basic audio I/O capability with EQ as the only audio effect. But a Pro Tools system contains rather more. The underlying enabler is the Digidesign Audio Engine (DAE), which runs in the background -- you can bring it to the front, but it has only a splash screen and a simple 'File' menu. This provides a standard interface between the Digidesign hardware, Audio I/O and DSP processing, and the software that runs on the MacOS computer. The DAE has the advantage that lots of third-party software uses it, not just the stuff from Digidesign.

The other important piece of underlying technology is TDM (Time Division Multiplexing). This allows several different sets of audio information to be conveyed along a simple piece of ribbon cable by sending them at different times. Digidesign call this the Trans-system Digital Matrix buss, or TDM buss for short. Physically, it looks like a short piece of blue ribbon cable with some IDC connectors pressed onto it, but in conjunction with the TDM software, it actually allows up to 256 channels of 24-bit digital audio to be transferred between your computer and
plug-in cards.

TDM is also the key to providing software plug-ins that work like outboard effects units, but which use the hardware DSP chips inside the computer. There are a huge and expanding range of plug-ins, from the dynamics, delays and EQ that you might expect, through to some very complex and sophisticated specialist tools (for an overview of some of these, see Mike Collins' article 'Plugging Into Pro Tools', which ran in the February and March issues of SOS this year). Non-TDM hardware, like the Audiomedia cards, or the basic Pro Tools, still provide EQ.

TDM-based systems come with some useful software accessories. I used the DigiTest application to check the exact hardware lurking in the Power Mac 7100/80AV that I used for my Digital Performer review. The screen shot shown is a composite, because you actually need to click on each of the card slots to get the text report shown at the top of the screen -- but DigiTest still detects the model of MacOS computer, the number of slots, and the cards in the slots. In this case, there were two cards: the Disk I/O card provides a specially dedicated SCSI2 interface, which is for the hard disk that will be used for the audio files. Having a separate SCSI buss keeps the audio data separate from the computer's own SCSI buss. The Disk I/O card also has the socket for the 882 or 888 Audio I/O boxes. The DSP Farm is just a card full of Digital Signal Processing hardware -- and is used to provide the effects processing for TDM plug-ins.



Don't bother looking up Apple's share price. At the time of writing, the price was the lowest for many years, and this year's ongoing descent shows no sign of slowing. Repeated warnings that the recovery was going to be tough and would not happen immediately appear to have been correct. But don't write off this column just yet!

Roland's PMA5 music pad is yet another MIDI device with a serial interface, so it can be connected directly to the two major brands of personal computer. But the combination of a touchscreen user interface, an 8-track sequencer and a MIDI interface is something more unusual -- and might indicate the future direction of hi-tech electronics: purpose-designed gadgets for specific market sectors. When the next version has 32 tracks, audio tracks and waveform editing, your Mac can start worrying!

Apple and BMW may not seem the likeliest of partners, but check out this web site:

It shows how the two companies have joined forces to reinforce the links between two high-quality, well-engineered products by utilising the Internet.


ON THE NET The Beeb Digidesign Tom Cruise & the IMF! BMW via Apple MediaSpec UK Wallace & Gromit!



Also heavily featured by Apple at the Broadcast Solutions event was the TV advert for the Power Book -- even though the Impossible film itself has a Mac with the least Mac-like user interface I've ever seen! But to immerse yourself in even more Impossible material, you could try the web address shown in this month's 'On The Net' box.



Since I had a captive Digidesign system for the purposes of writing this month's Digital Performer review, I took the opportunity to have a closer look at it. I always open up hardware boxes, and the Digidesign's 882 Audio I/O box was no exception, even though I needed to find some Imperial Allen Keys to get inside!

The inside of an 882 is more or less filled with a large double-sided PCB. The design and construction is of a very high quality -- there were no visible corrections or modifications, and the audio/digital areas were clearly defined by the ground planes used for the audio sections. The majority of the board components were surface-mounted, with just a few through-hole components. The BNCs for the clock I/O were hand-soldered.

The main Analogue-to-Digital Converters (ADCs) were eight Philips SAA7360Ps, with PMI Op-amps buffering and filtering the audio inputs. On the output side, eight AK4318 Asahi Kasei Digital-to-Analogue Converters (DACs) were used, with PMI SSM2142 VCA, and an Analogue Devices ADG412BR DAC was used to control output level. An Actel gate array forms the bulk of the control logic; the remainder was made up of small gate-count DIL packages.

The umbilical cable that connects the 882 to the host computer is buffered using standard 26LS31 and 26LS32 line drivers, whilst the power cable to the external power supply unit has RF filters plus 2 large chokes and several 220µF electrolytic capacitors around the 5V regulator.

Overall, this is a very nicely constructed and designed unit. Having the audio inputs and outputs remote from the computer enables a much more flexible placement of the computer, and provides high-quality audio conversion.
In 1991, Opcode developed their own system (OMS, the Opcode MIDI System) which provides system services similar to the MIDI Manager. Although OMS and MIDI Manager differ only slightly, there are good reasons for running both systems at once to access their respective features. Professionals often need extremely powerful MIDI interface boxes with more than 16 MIDI channels (64 is common and 128 is possible and surely we'll be up to 1,024 channels someday soon!) and must synchronize their Mac to SMPTE time code (a protocol defined by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers for synchronizing various devices) on video or audio tape. Apple offers no solution and that's where OMS fills the bill.

OMS is an exemplary piece of software; it works solidly on PowerBooks, and is considered a must for professional MIDI users. Mark of the Unicorn has announced a rival to OMS, the FreeMIDI System - think of it as OMS with a Free Software Foundation source license. Although a few beta testers have proclaimed it to be OK, it will have to prove itself to be at least as capable as OMS to achieve a loyal user base.

Opcode fired the next few salvos in this MIDI battle. Since January 1993, Opcode has licensed OMS developer packs free to interested parties. In April, they announced an upgrade to version 2.0 of OMS (currently, OMS 1.2.1 is shipping). The acronym OMS will change from "Opcode MIDI System" to "Open Music System" to reflect the fact that future versions of OMS will incorporate source code from other developers (a move designed to bolster its acceptance as an industry standard for professional musicians). Among other enhancements, OMS 2.0 will add IAC (Inter-Application Communication) and will include serial port independence that will allow the use of serial cards like Applied Engineering's QuadraLink four-port NuBus card. The OMS bandwagon already includes companies such as Passport, Steinberg, Emagic, PG Music, Roland, and Digidesign.
Period correct:

286... Windows 3.0 & 3.1
386... Windows 3.11
486... Windows 3.11 & Windows 95 & WinNT 3.51
Pentium... Windows 95, NT4
Pentium MMX... Windows 98, NT4, 2000
Pentium II, III, IV... Windows 98, 2000, XP

386 will run Win95, but not much more then the OS itself.
(ISA) EGA/VGA / ATI VGA Basic 16 (1990)
«  by chrisNova777 on September 20, 2017, 05:21:39 PM »

Codename:28800 2
Bus:ISA 16bit
Memory Size:256kB
Max Memory Size:512kB
Memory Type:DRAM
Card Type:VGA
Made in:Japan
Owned by:Palcal
Outputs:15 pin D‐sub
Price $:99
Sold by:ATI
Intel made the first major jump into the chipset industry with the release of their very successful 430FX Chipset, commonly known as the Intel Triton I or simply the FX Chipset.
Although now impractical for most applications, the 430FX was a very strong performer and competitor during its time. Most of the original Triton's success came courtesy of its memory and disk controllers. The 430FX was the very first Intel chipset designed to officially support the, at the time, newest memory standard, Extended Data Out Dynamic Random Access Memory (EDO DRAM for short). This gave users, for the first time, the chance to get a taste of the high end market without shelling out the big bucks. The combination of high speed EDO DRAM with the advanced architectural features the original Pentium [Classic] had to offer made the FX Chipset ideal for most users, and that reign continued for quite some time as there was no real demand to replace the 430FX.

The Triton I also introduced the idea of using a technique called Busmastering to the enhanced IDE controller, which is the part of the chipset used for controlling EIDE peripherals (i.e. HDDs). These Busmastering capabilities were provided by the PIIX controller which in theory, and in practice, speeds up hard disk data transfers on either EIDE channel by granting EIDE peripherals certain SCSI like qualities. In spite of its strengths in memory support and hard disk access, the original Triton chipset had quite a few shortcomings. Although the 430FX allowed the use of up to 512KB of secondary Level 2 Pipeline Burst Cache (PBSRAM) and 128MB of RAM the chipset itself fails to cache any memory beyond the first 64MB. This posed a major problem to high end users expecting the maximum performance and power out of their systems.

Being the first member of the Triton family of chipsets the 430FX does not natively support any enhanced video features or caching schemes, the first introduction of such features came almost 2 years later with the release of the Intel 430VX chipset and its support for the Unified Memory Architecture. Power saving also isn't much of a strongpoint of the 430FX chipset, it fully supports the bare minimum requirements to be used in an "energy efficient" system, however features like Instant-On, and Suspend to Disk aren't included in this category. The performance of the original Triton isn't all that bad, however it is quite pointless to build a 430FX based system now since the torch has already been passed to the better designed 430HX and 430TX chipsets.

Intel 82430FX Chipset
Common Name   Triton I
Chipset Packaging   Number of chips   3 (82437FX, 82438FX, 82371FB)
Packaging Type   1 x 208-pin QFP; 2 x 100-pin QFP
CPU Support   Number of CPUs   1
AMD CPUs Supported   N/A
Cyrix CPUs Supported   N/A
Intel CPUs Supported   Pentium
Cache   Type   Asynchronous/Synchronous Pipeline Burst Cache
Maximum Supported Size   512KB
Maximum Cacheable DRAM Area   64MB
Memory   Maximum DRAM Supported   128MB
BEDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   N/A
EDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   7-2-2-2
FPM DRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   7-3-3-3
SDRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   N/A
Data Path to Memory   64-bits
ECC Support   No
Hard Disk Controller   Chip   PIIX (82371FB Controller)
Busmastering Support   Yes
UltraDMA Support   No
Max. Theoretical Transfer Rate   PIO Mode 4/DMA Mode 2 (16.6MB/S)
PCI Interface   Supported PCI Bus Speeds   25, 30, 33 MHz
Concurrent PCI   No
Async. PCI Bus Speed   No
PCI Specification   2.0 (66 MHz max.)
Power Management   PC97 Compliance   No
Suspend to Disk   No
HDD Power Down   Yes
Modem Wakeup   No
System Suspend   No
Video   AGP Support   No
Unified Memory Architecture   No
Peripheral Support   USB Support   No
Plug and Play Port   Yes
Write Buffers   CPU-to-DRAM   4 QWords
CPU-to-PCI   4 DWords
PCI-to-DRAM   12 DWords
Officially Supported Bus Speeds   50, 60, 66 MHz
Unofficially Achieved Bus Speeds   None

By this time, Intel had two titles under their belt with the success of the FX and HX chipsets, however something was missing. The market demanded a chipset to fill the void between the original FX chipset and the much more powerful and more expensive HX chipset, what was to be used in desktop computers for the home or low cost situations?
Answering this cry for help Intel released the VX chipset, commonly referred to as the Triton III which can be quite misleading since it is in no way superior to the Triton II when it comes to performance. The 430VX is plagued by the 64MB cacheable memory limit as well as poor performance as a direct cause of a lack of CPU-to-PCI buffers, something unheard of in the 430HX Chipset. However Intel made up for this by equipping the VX chipset with the ability to support SDRAM, a newer, faster type of DRAM as well as adding support for the Unified Memory Architecture, UMA for short. UMA can be thought of as a sort of pre-AGP which allows your video card to share your system memory with the sacrifice of some performance, about a 5% loss overall. Unfortunately with SDRAM and UMA support the 430VX still cannot compete head to head with the HX chipset nor VIA's line of Apollo chipsets, however it still provides excellent performance for the price.

Intel 82430VX Chipset
Common Name   Triton III
Chipset Packaging   Number of chips   3 (82437VX System Controller, 82438VX, 82371SB)
Packaging Type   2 x 208-pin lead QFP; 1 x 100-pin lead QFP
CPU Support   Number of CPUs   1
AMD CPUs Supported   K5, K6
Cyrix CPUs Supported   6x86 (M1), 6x86MX (M2)
Intel CPUs Supported   Pentium, Pentium MMX
Cache   Type   Pipeline Burst Cache
Maximum Supported Size   512KB
Maximum Cacheable DRAM Area   64MB
Memory   Maximum DRAM Supported   128MB
BEDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   N/A
EDO DRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   6-2-2-2
FPM DRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   6-3-3-3
SDRAM Read Timings (66MHz)   7-1-1-1
Data Path to Memory   64-bits
ECC Support   No
Hard Disk Controller   Chip   PIIX3 (82371SB Controller)
Busmastering Support   Yes
UltraDMA Support   No
Max. Theoretical Transfer Rate   PIO Mode 4/DMA Mode 2 (16.6MB/S)
PCI Interface   Supported PCI Bus Speeds   25, 30, 33 MHz
Concurrent PCI   Yes
Async. PCI Bus Speed   No
PCI Specification   2.0 (66 MHz max.)
Power Management   PC97 Compliance   No
Suspend to Disk   No
HDD Power Down   Yes
Modem Wakeup   No
System Suspend   No
Video   AGP Support   No
Unified Memory Architecture   Yes
Peripheral Support   USB Support   Yes
Plug and Play Port   Yes
Write Buffers   CPU-to-DRAM   16 QWords
CPU-to-PCI   5 DWords
PCI-to-DRAM   18 DWords
Officially Supported Bus Speeds   50, 55, 60, 66 MHz
Unofficially Achieved Bus Speeds   68, 75, 83.3 MHz




Intel/Advanced/AS (Atlantis) Motherboard
Intel/Thor Motherboard



Microstar / MSI/MS-5169
Microstar / MSI/MS-5164
Microstar / MSI/MS-5148
Microstar / MSI/MS-5156
Microstar / MSI/MS-5128

Tyan/Titan 1571s
Tyan/Trinity S1592S
Tyan/Trinity S1598C2
Tyan/Tyan Trinity S1598
Tyan/Titan S1573 Turbo ATX-2
(VLB) VGA Graphics / Diamond Stealth 64 VLB (1994) S3 Vision964
«  by chrisNova777 on September 20, 2017, 01:32:33 PM »
Codename:86C964 P
Memory Size:4MB
Max Memory Size:4MB
Memory Type:VRAM
Announce Date:Wednesday, 16 March 1994
Card Type:VGA
Family:S3 Pre&Vision
Made in:Korea
Owned by:Pirx
Outputs:15 pin D‐sub
Power consumption (W):1.75
Price $:599
Memory Bus Width:64bit
Memory Bandwidth (MB/s):240
Sold by:Diamond
(ISA) EGA/VGA / Cirrus Logic CL-GD5422 (1992)
«  by chrisNova777 on September 20, 2017, 08:13:07 AM »
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5422

Cirrus Logic
Bus:ISA 16bit
Memory Size:512kB, 1MB
Max Memory Size:1MB
Memory Type:FPM
Card Type:VGA
Made in:Korea
Owned by:Palcal, Vlask (chip/not working)
Outputs:15 pin D‐sub
Power consumption (W):1.5
Price $:179
Core Clock (MHz):80
Memory Clock (MHz):50
Memory Bus Width:32bit
Sold by:Cirrus Logic
VGA (pci) / Re: ATI Mach 32 PCI (1995?)
«  by chrisNova777 on September 20, 2017, 08:00:43 AM »
VGA (pci) / Tseng ET4000/W32p (1994)
«  by chrisNova777 on September 20, 2017, 07:39:37 AM »