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Old 02-12-2018, 11:09 PM
jim jim is offline
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Default Feb 2018 (Post NAMM) Vector Update:

Here's the latest. As before, if you want to be on the early-bird notification list for further info and pre-orders, drop an email to jim (at) five12 (dot) com.

HARDWARE REVISIONS:

Much of the work since the update last September has been related to changes in hardware (Revisions 2 & 3). I received the first batch of these just before Knobcon, and it took a fair bit of work to integrate and verify all the new and updated peripherals (aka 'inputs and outputs'). New on these boards are:
- USB A jack for connecting MIDI controllers.
- Much better Pitch CV DACs (with a much larger voltage range: -2 to +8 volts).
- Bi-directional trigger jacks.
- Selectable voltage ranges for the Velocity outputs (0-5V or -2.5V to 2.5V)
- The option of adding a Jack Expander module (12 hp) which greatly expands output (and input) options

Front Panel: The front panel design has been finalized, and I have some panels I will be using for beta units.

Bootloader : there is now a proper bootloader that can load new firmware from the micro-SD card. Not a very exciting item, but still very important.

Sync: I have DIN sync generation working through either a pair of the trigger outputs, or via the STG Sync Out connector on the back of the main PCB. I also have DIN Sync input working via the STC Sync In connector (also on the PCB). You will also be able to use an STG Soundlabs Time Buffer module or the Jack Expander module (more below) to send/receive DIN Sync. MIDI Sync in and out are coming next.

Run, Clock, Reset : In the Rev3 hardware, these jacks became bi-directional. They can all currently be used to generate clock at variety of rates (Sync48, Sync24, and a range of options fro 32nd notes to 32 whole notes). The first jack can also be set to output run/stop. Input mode options are not implemented yet, but will involve various trigger options for the individual sequencer parts. I will also be adding settings to use these jacks as the Gate Outs for parts -- very handy for drum programming.

Power consumption: I'm seeing an average of 115mA draw on the +12V line, and 15 mA on -12V, this goes up a bit depending on how active the OLEDs and LEDs are -- I'll say budget 140mA on +12 when not using USB. Since USB A jacks must provide power, consumption will go up when in use -- budget 200-400mA total on +12 in that case -- depending on what you plan to use. I'll have more detail on this once I've tested more devices. The most draw I've seen is 345 mA total when charging my iPhone.


BETA TESTING:
There are currently 5 units out for beta test, with a few more going out in a few weeks.

WHAT'S NEXT:

There's still a fair bit of work needed on the drivers for the USB ports: The USB B port -- the one that would go to your computer -- needs a combo mass-storage/midi driver, and the USB A port has a provisional MIDI driver that needs some work to integrate it properly into the sequencer.

Modulation Inputs: I have the first of these working, and should have the second working soon, just need to sort out some firmware details. You will be able to use these to modulate sequencer parameters via CV.

Projects, Scenes & Presets : Still a good amount of work to complete here, but all tasks that I am familiar with: Syncing preset changes to beat/bar boundaries, project file management, scene and preset naming, etc.

Rec Mode: I need to work out some details on how the Step Recording functions across parts, and I also want to add both local and global transpose modes.

The Jack Expander: This is a 12hp add-on module, it adds 4 more 'voice' outputs (Pitch, Gate, Velocity CVs), 8 bi-directional triggers, MIDI I/O on DIN jacks and DIN sync. I received the first prototype of this module right before NAMM, and had just enough time to get the gate outputs working.


PRE-ORDERS

I will start taking pre-orders once the hardware and drivers are finalized, and the sequencing firmware is finished. There will be one more hardware revision on the main board. So far the only changes are a couple of small things related to power management. I plan to put in a PCB order late February (in case any further feedback from beta test requires a hardware change) and should receive boards in late March.

On the driver font, all the bits related to the displays, front panel, MIDI, DACs and SD Card are working smoothly, so that just leaves USB. As for the sequencing code, the big things left are listed above, but there are also many other details to update as well.
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