[Ardour-Dev] Funding: Build and Sell Hardware

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Tue Jan 20 19:09:53 PST 2009

Dan Mills wrote:
> On Wed, 2009-01-21 at 04:09 +0700, Hans Baier wrote: 
>> My idea is building a piece of hardware like that:
>> Take expresscard, put in a number of ICE1712
>> and some nice DAC/ADC together with a MIDI chip,
>> (perhaps make it modular to being able to add more ICEs, if needed),
>> find someone in China, Malaysia (or I can find one here in Indonesia)
>> who assembles it.
> Funny, I actually have a similar project for another application in the
> works, but the day job keeps getting in the way. 
> If doing things with PCI-e and envy24s you will need a PCIe->PCI bridge
> to convert to a standard pci bus for the chips, so it might be that a
> FPGA is a better approach. I ended up going down the PCI 104 and Envy24
> route, but am thinking that the next prototype will use a computer on
> module instead. PCI 104 only has 3 bus mastering circuits which puts
> quite a crimp in channel count unless you do the PCI bridge thing (Which
> is a pain in the arse). 
> I am not sure that hardware for the low end market is really viable
> unless you can move huge volumes, so you pretty much have to go after
> the sort of niche that the IZ Radar II occupied (And that means more
> then just 'good' AD and DA). 
Speaking from my experience of manufacturing large quantities of audio 
and multimedia devices it's not as simple as it's is being laid out 
above. It generally requires a large up front investment of time and 
money. We would be looking at a minimum order of $100,000 to get most 
established manufacturers attention just to talk to us. Most 
manufacturers in Asia are not really interested unless the contract is 
worth more than $500,000 and ongoing. For a one off contract they 
usually expect it to be worth something in the vicinity of $2,000,000 
before they will start the machines.

However if we were going to make a few prototypes and sell them to a 
larger established company we might have a better chance of making some 

It would be worth approaching the existing hardware manufacturers who 
have used Ardour in the past with a pitch to see if we can get them on 

I'm sure they would be interested in our ideas if we were able to 
present them effectively. Of course getting them to give us money for 
our ideas is another story.

We might even be better off by offering a very competitive rate to 
assist the existing manufacturers with the software skills they need in 
exchange for continuing support of Ardour.

If we can offer them a well oiled and efficiently managed team of 
developers and not just the over worked and underfunded Paul then it 
could make a big difference for everyone.

There would need to be very clear lines of communication and authority 
if this kind of system was setup around Ardour. I think we have a lot of 
the building blocks in place now though so it's definitely a possibility 
if the will is there.


Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd.

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