[Ardour-Dev] Funding: Build and Sell Hardware

Quentin Harley qharley at wbs.co.za
Tue Jan 20 21:58:56 PST 2009

I also have a little project on the go, but mine is longer term ;-)

The second in a series of development steps is a tiny, modular but very 
high quality professional microphone pre-amplifier.  Ardour embedded is 
the way to go if you are going to make money with and for ardour.

Nice thing about DAW hardware is that most of it is developed already, 
and you just need to find the winning combination.  At least we know 
where to get the software for it


Patrick Shirkey wrote:
> 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 bucks.
> 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 
> board.
> 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.
> Cheers.

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