I was sitting on the toilet, reading a studio magazine issue when I stumbled over an interesting monitoring solution that offered the artist to have (and possibly make) individual headphone monitoring mixes, by distributing the signal over CAT5 using a proprietary format.
Hm... Whenever I hear "proprietary", I immediately start to tinker if there's an open alternative. And maybe there is!
Combining cheap but powerful embedded Linux systems like the ones offered by PCEngines in Switzerland and jackd, it might be possible to build such a thing myself.
I'm kind of worried about the latencies we'd get, but that's something to be tweaked and tried, I guess.
Here's the rough draft:
1) Studio computer with jackd enabled multi-track recording device.
2) one or more thin-client mini-computers from PCEngines, with a regular stereo audio output on board.
3) The separate channels from the mixer could be transferred from the studio computer to the thin-clients using something like netjack. It must be a faaaast solution anyhow.
4) How to control the mix on the client side?
It would require a small tool that would enable one to control the volume of individual jack signals. If that doesn't exist, I think it's trivial to write.
Currently, I'm thinking about 2 ways of controlling the mix:
a) from the studio computer
b) from the thin-client
(a) could look like this:
You access the volume controls of the jack channels on the thin-clients remotely and adjust them.
(b) could look like this:
Almost any thin-client or embedded system offers a serial port. It's trivial to build a small device that would offer rotary knobs and transmit the values over serial protocol.
It could either be build using ADCs and analog potentiometers, or a single button and an optoencoder dial to cycle between the channels.
Well, anyway... I'm just brainstorming and tinkering along here...
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