X-Bay the extendable digitally controlled analog patchbay.

by Dennis Bekkering

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About this project


X-Bay : Analog Sound, Digital Control

We from Anatal Electronics created X-Bay because we desperately needed such a device and were capable enough to make it.

Suppose you have an extendable digitally controlled analog signal matrix, would you use it 

  • as automated audio patchbay 
  • to automate your existing patchbays 
  • for storing and recalling modular analog synthesizer patches 
  • to make your existing fixed wired analog synthesizers modular, like the minimoog, the first fixed wired synthesizer 
  • to rapidly prototype electronics without manually connecting wires  
  • to rapidly automate electronics testing 
  • as multichannel cross oscilloscope without having to probe manually, no more shorts by mistake  
  • to plug in all your audio devices and speakers in the house so that you can send any sound source to any speaker by means of your phone, tablet, pc or anything else with an internet browser on board
  • as inhouse analog desktop telephone exchange, virtually impossible to eavesdrop on without physically entering the building.
  • for something we have not thought of yet, please let us know

If it sounds too complicated for you then realize that the essence is connecting wires to eachother without having to touch them, thats all there is to it. For all use cases it applies that connections can be splitted and mixed if needed. For instance the sound of your old record player can be splitted and send to all speakers in the house or only to one set of speakers. Or mix your old record player with the microphone in the babies room. Also music left ear, baby right ear is possible.

It is hard to imagine a device that is capable of all this but it is here and we call it X-Bay. It can grow too to suite your needs with extension cards. No need to buy something bigger and sell what is left, just add more channels to your existing setup and your good to go. Sounds to good to be true? You should think so but it is only half of the story.

X-Mods 

To use X-Bay to it's full capacity (and you want to!), plug in X-Mods. An X-Mod is an extension card that adheres to the X-Bay hardware plugin format and protocol. Today's devices can come in several formats and the X-Bay format is one of them but the only one that is internal. The absence of knobs and a casing saves huge on costs, space and weight. You can have physical knobs, you just don't need to. The knobs are on screen on as many screens as you like. So any device around can be an X-Mod. It is the developer's choice to make an X-Mod variant. The most basic X-Mods are the ones that provide an interface to external devices. We make XLR, jack and mini jack X-Mods for external connections.

Studio DNA

Many of you will be familiar with VCO, VCF, VCA and ADSR. These are all voltage controlled modules that can be found in analog synthesizers. We offer these as X-Mods so that your X-Bay can also play your songs without any external devices connected. That is the reason that by default X-Bay has no fixed audio connectors because there is no need for them if you work with our internal synthesizer X-Mods only. These four X-Mods can also serve as building blocks for making other studio equipment because a lot of gear is made with them. For instance

  • A compressor can be made with VCA and ADSR 
  • Equalizing can be done with VCF and VCA
  • Vocoders can be made with VCF,VCA and ADSR 
  • Mixing channels can be made with VCA and VCF 
  • Truly analog delays with infinite delay times on a synth sound can be made with VCO, VCF and VCA
  • And again for something we have not thought of yet, please let us know!

The synthesizer is the studio

Because the wiring is dynamic your X-Mods can be anything at any time instantly. Once you made a wiring configuration to your satisfaction you can save the device you made and recall it later when you need it again. In one song you can have a vocoder and a bunch of mixing channels while in another song you can use the same X-Mods for something completely different. That is why we call it studio DNA, they are the low level blocks for building up higher level devices just like the four DNA letters that defines us as beings. 

Beam me up Scotty ...

You can export your device configurations so that others can download them and import and you can download and import device configurations from others. Downloadable hardware, who ever thought that would be possible without teleportation.

X-Store

The idea about the X-Store came to our minds when we realized how hard it is to build a business around a good idea. Developers are specialists in their field and don't want to be bothered with anything else. 

When you are a hardware developer and made something that others would want to use too, then we can provide prototyping on production level, promotions, a webshop and an advanced payment system for free without any hassle. You develop your hardware, period!
Basically the hardware app store. Conceptually just like the ones with the software but now for hardware. X-Bay is the platform on which they all plug in so that anything can connect to anything at anytime.
We will ask a percentage of the revenues in return for the provided services.

Rapid production level prototyping

We partnered up with http://www.elecrow.com for providing prototyping services. We send a batch of approved module design files to them once every week.  Also once every week they send us back high quality and fully assembled pcb's. We distribute the populated boards back to the developers for testing. We also test every board that it lives up to the expectations. You as a developer don't need to invest a dime. We take care of everything and carry all the risk involved. If there is a fault in the board then we will have it made again. Just as long untill it is right.

When both the developer and we are satisfied then we will start promoting the boards. That can be done in many ways. When there is sufficient demand for them then we will take them in production and sell them through our website and that of our partnering distributors. Elecrow is also one of those distributors. We will constantly look for new ways to sell your modules.
In the meanwhile all you have to do as developer is make your next module and collect the shared revenues from your existing ones. We take care of business and you do what you do best, make wonderful exciting modules.

Risks and challenges

As with some Kickstarter projects it happens that eventually products could not be delivered because there are too many custom parts involved and it is underestimated how easy things can get out of control.

The only custom parts we have are the pcb's and a 19" frontplate. Those are not very exotic items. Making a pcb is not something new. It is a well established industry. It is our design that makes the end result very special. Since that has been ready for a while we don't see major risk involved.

Since we develop new exciting hardware there is a risk that we not covered every possible situation and set up with our tests. It might be possible that not everyone is completely satisfied with our delivery. That is why we include one hardware update in the price. When we come with improved boards then you also get those boards at no extra cost. The chips need to be transferred to the new boards, that's all. We place them in sockets for this reason. The chips can be taken out of those sockets at any time and plugged into the sockets of the new boards. A special tool is provided and an instruction video how to do this safely.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About

    You were here

    Pledge 5 euro or more and help us bring analog music back to you, you will also become famous on our online wall of fame.

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    Pledge €49 or more About

    The DIY Mini

    Pledge 49 euro and you will get the real deal : the DIY X-Bay mini. It’s the bare pcb version with an arduino and the AOS software.

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    Pledge €59 or more About

    X-Mod VCO

    The most compact discreet Voltage Controlled Oscillator around. A 70's design, todays compact implementation. A proven component from Hearn Morley that has been around for a while already but now adapted to the X-Mod protocol for plugging into X-Bay

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    X-Mod VCF

    The most compact discreet Voltage Controlled Filter around. An SSM2040 design, todays compact implementation. A proven component from Hearn Morley that has been around for a while already but now adapted to the X-Mod protocol for plugging into X-Bay

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    Pledge €59 or more About

    X-Mod ADSR

    The most compact discrete Envelope Generator around. A proven component from Hearn Morley that has been around for awhile already but now adapted to the X-Mod protocol for plugging into X-Bay

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    X-Mod VCA

    An SSM2164 VCA clone. A proven component from Cool Audio that has been around for awhile already but now adapted to the X-Mod protocol for plugging into X-Bay

    One hardware update included, excluding socketed chips.

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    X-Bay 32

    Extentable up to 256x256

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    Pledge €600 or more About

    X-Bay 64

    Extentable up to 256x256

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    Pledge €1,200 or more About

    X-Bay 128

    Extentable up to 256x256

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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    Pledge €2,400 or more About

    X-Bay 256

    The ultimate audio matrix

    One hardware update included, excluding crosspoint chips.

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