At the Winter NAMM Show, Line 6 introduced the ToneCore DSP Developer Kit, a programmable stomp box effects development platform that lets anyone with a PC and an interest in Digital Signal Processing become a hardware effects developer and distributor.
For the first time, anyone with an interest in DSP software development can write, develop, test, and manufacture digital effects hardware without needing any hardware expertise or developing or tooling any electronics or enclosures. This is made possible by the combination of Line 6’s ToneCore modular effects platform and Freescale Semiconductor’s software development tools.
Thanks to its unique modular design, every ToneCore pedal can be transformed into any other effect by inserting a new ToneCore Module into the ToneCore Dock. The ToneCore DSP Developer Kit (TCDDK) provides everything a developer needs to create their own Modules that contain any effect that they create, and can then be used in any existing ToneCore pedal. No hardware development or expertise is required, since the ToneCore platform already provides all the hardware needed.
Included with the TCDDK is a new ToneCore Programmer Dock. This Dock contains all of the functionality of Line 6’s existing ToneCore Stereo Dock, but adds a mini-USB connector that is used for programming and testing development using a PC. The TCDDK also includes a new ToneCore Programmable Module that can be programmed via a PC through the Programmer Dock to produce any effect that the developer creates for download. Since the Programmable Module is Flash memory based, it can be used over and over again while experimenting with different algorithms. Once the desired algorithm is complete, the ToneCore Programmer Dock can be used to program additional ToneCore Programmable Modules (available separately) that can be resold directly by the developer.
The ToneCore Developer platform makes use of two powerful Freescale Semiconductor devices. The Programmer Module contains a product from the Freescale JM family of USB microcontrollers, a versatile single chip solution that handles all of the DSP firmware storage and downloading, user interface (including A/D channels for the pots), Flash memory, and a USB port for downloading and debugging of software.
The ToneCore Programmer Dock (and every Dock and ToneCore pedal Line 6 has ever produced) contains a Freescale Symphony audio DSP56364 signal processor, a 100 MIPS, 24-bit device ideally suited for high performance, low power consumption products like ToneCore. This Symphony DSP provides more processing power than the solution in Line 6’s original POD, making it powerful enough for a wide range of audio applications.
Thanks to Freescale’s new Symphony Studio Development Tool, everything required to develop software with the TCDDK is available online. By using the extensible development platform Eclipse, Symphony Studio provides DSP users a fresh way to develop, debug and simulate through an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The software can be downloaded for free at www.freescale.com/symphonystudio.
In addition, the source code for a fully functional stereo 2-band state-variable filter is provided that demonstrates the complete functionality of the user interface and the audio processing. With this code, the developer can immediately start modifying the example to create their desired effect.
“The ToneCore DSP Developer Kit begins a new era in audio effects creation,” says Marcus Ryle, senior vice president of research and development at Line 6. “Now anyone with a PC and the aptitude can aspire to develop the new effect that becomes a ‘must have’ sound for musicians.”
The ToneCore DSP Developer Kit will be available directly from Line 6 in the Spring of 2008, and will sell for $199 (USD). Additional ToneCore Programmable Modules will also be available for direct purchase.