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Elk: low-latency embedded music OS


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I came across Mind Music Labs' Elk while following NAMM, and am surprised it hasn't got more notice:



Elk is a low-latency, ARM or Intel-based, minimalistic Linux operating system for embedded applications (e.g. instruments, interfaces, effects units, etc.).


From their site:

"ELK also allows hardware companies to move away from dedicated chips and use standard CPUs with no compromise in terms of low-latency, performance and scalability. ELK makes it incredibly easy for software developers to port existing software for use in embedded environments, essentially allowing them to run the same code on desktop, mobile and embedded systems."


It may allow software and hardware instrument makers to develop their instruments and easily port them to run on DSP chips, mobile chips, and desktop systems. It might allow companies to take a Kronos-like approach to their instruments, and could allow the incorporation of cell phone technology into musical instruments faster. If music hardware could be "commoditized," the tech inside instruments might be able to advance at a much faster rate from generation to generation.


Between concepts like this and new MIDI, it seems we may be on the verge of digital instruments taking a big step forward in technology in the next year or two.

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It means that it makes it easier for VI developers to port their software to a dedicated chip. Crumar did this when they ported VB3, which is running on a computer MOBO in the Mojo to a DSP in the Mojo 61.


As an example Pianoteq could be ported to a DSP running inside an 88 note keyboard.


Only really of use to VI developers who aspire to be hardware manufacturers.

MainStage 3 | Axiom 61 2nd Gen | Pianoteq | B5 | XK3c | EV ZLX 12P

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It also means that developers that have software (VSTi, VSTe) running on dedicated DSP chips could consider moving their software to commodity embedded Linux chips. Perhaps Universal Audio notices that cell phone ARM processors are getting better every year by leaps and bounds, and they could switch from their SHARC chips to something like in a Galaxy S8 at half the cost?


I dont know the actual costs, but it sure seems that mobile is where the action is at nowadays, and mobile chip processing power is progressing faster than anything else.

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