ELK - Low Latency OS for Music

Started by mchad, January 24, 2018, 04:17:36 PM

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Seems significant.

From the makers of Sensus Guitar

We wanted to take the guitar to the 21st century. Along the way, we had to craft a Music Operating System – a MOS.

Ultra-low latency (1ms round-trip)
Linux-based, using single Intel & ARM CPUs
Support for VsT and JUCE plugins
Natively connected (USB, WiFi, BT, 4G)
Full MIDI support
Why call it ELK? Because it is a MOS...and we are based in Sweden. Get it? 😉

ELK is a Music Operating System (MOS).

It allows musicians to:

UPGRADE their instruments adding new sounds and features
CONNECT musical instruments to external hardware and to the broader Internet
SHARE instantly their performances online
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.

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Hardware manufacturers find in ELK a scalable and upgradeable platform allowing extremely high performances at a competitive price.
ELK is also the ideal platform for fast time-to-market development, thanks to its decreased risks in product development and to a broad range of professional software partners readily available.
On top of this, ELK is the only solution allowing hardware manufacturers to produce musical instruments that are easily upgradable and natively connected, opening up a potential new post-sales revenue stream from software, content and services for their devices.

Scalable (Intel & ARM SoCs from 10$ up)
Competitive Performance / Price
Faster time-to-market
Less risks in product development
Software partners readily available
[Technical FAQs]


Thanks to ELK, software developers and music service providers can easily develop products for different devices starting from existing code bases, essentially using the code originally written for desktop use in embedded platforms.
ELK allows software developers and service providers to enter the new, untapped markets of musical instruments and embedded technologies focusing only on core software – while ELK takes care of all hardware-related aspects.
ELK supports UIs running on different devices (mobile, desktop, embedded displays) and allows immediate porting of existing VsTs, also written in JUCE.

Easily build multi-device products starting from desktop code bases
Enter new, untapped markets
Focus only on core software
Easily develop for multiple UIs (mobile, desktop, embedded displays)
Easily port existing VsTs (also written in JUCE)
Easily run your apps and services in embedded environments
[Technical FAQs]


Whether your idea of music is to be shut in a studio that looks like the bridge of a Klingon cruiser or you are a minimalist that wants everything to sound exactly like in 1958, we think you will be surprised at just how much smartness is going to affect us as musicians. What we want to do is to make the technology so smart it is transparent.

The benefits to you are broadly going to be in three broad categories; sound, connectivity and sharing. And this is what we mean by that:

Instantly access unlimited sounds and plugins from different software houses.
Constantly evolve your instrument with new features and upgrades.
Take full control of your instruments' settings.
Store your presets in your personal cloud and carry them with you anywhere.
Use your presets across different platforms: desktop, mobile or embedded.
Easily add loops and backing tracks to your performances.
Easily record, edit and store your performances: on-board multitrack recording, editing and storage.
Easily merge HD audio recording with and video feed, also from your mobile.
Use all features from ANY Android or iOS device.
Take advantage of full USB, WiFi, Bluetooth and 4G support.
Stream background tracks from your favourite streaming platform or local files.
Easily share your performance data with music apps (learning, training, editing)
Easily share your perfomances on Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter
Share your settings and presets with friends and fans: Integrated online storage and community features
Interact with other musicians focusing on what really matters: music

2018 JAN 24

We wanted to take the guitar to the 21st century. Along the way, we had to craft a Music Operating System.

Why? Because without a MOS musical instruments would always be limping on, supported by computers. And we all know how unstable and laggy those things can be. Can't have that. Since we started, we have understood that many musicians and gearheads understand this, and riding on everyone's support we made the music operating system of our dreams.
Today we are very happy to announce – directly from NAMM 2018, the most important event of our industry – the launch of ELK, the first available ultra-low latency Music Operating System.

Developed from the technology we created for our SENSUS Smart Guitar prototype, ELK is an operating system designed for optimal audio performance and capable of making any musical instrument smart and connected – just like SENSUS.

All musical instruments Powered by ELK will allow musicians to:

Add new sounds and features to their instruments via online upgrades
Easily connect their instruments to mobiles, computers and to the broader Internet
Instantly share their performances online
ELK is also a revolution for the musical instruments industry: it allows musical instruments manufacturers to switch from complex purpose-specific systems to state-of-the-art computer architectures, with significant user experience and performance improvements: no more designing a new "brain" for each and every instrument. It also allows software developers to easily release software, sounds and effects originally developed for computer environments on Powered by ELK musical instruments.

ELK's capabilities will be demoed LIVE at NAMM starting tomorrow (you will find us at booth 14026) in collaboration with our first partners DVMark, MarkBass and Overloud (TH-U) (booth 5044).

Let the revolution begin!

For the audio part, ELK runs a fully featured, multitrack headless DAW, which can hosts plugins written following the VsT 2.4 API, VsT 3.6 API or the internal ELK plugin format.

On the non real-time part of your plugin, you have access to all the features of the underlying Linux system. Your real-time callback must be completely real-time safe, e.g. no memory allocations, system calls, etc., which most likely already is if your plugin runs fine on other platforms. Lock-free FIFOs can be safely used for the communication between RT and non-RT.

For the low-latency mode, ELK can run on any embedded X86 SOCs from the last 5 years, plus some ARM SoCs (NXP i.MX7/8, TI AM355X). With higher latency and lower performance, it can run on pretty much any CPU that runs Linux.

ELK plugin host currently doesn't host the UI part of VsT plugins, but you can run the UI in a separate process running on the same CPU (for embedded display) or in another device (e.g. for control with mobile apps). We provide an RPC framework that you can use for connecting the UI to the engine, with functionalities to control the system and the DAW as well.

We have a generic framework with a component library for many kind of controls: buttons, switches, analog potentiometers, rotary encoders, keyboards, etc. It is possible to customize the behaviour by simply editing a JSON file or with a real-time IPC system, saving lots of development time for your product. Alternatively, you can use other ICs of your choice and communicate to ELK with UART, I2C or SPI.

Yes! You can't use traditional Linux system calls for the synchronization between the threads, but we provide a wrapper to the facilities of the underlying RTOS, with a POSIX-like API and much better performance and deterministic behaviour.

Low-latency and deterministic behaviour are also very good if you want to use the maximum power available in your CPU. With a normal Linux system, lot of CPU time is wasted in waiting the audio interrupts to be served, and you need to keep a low CPU utilization margin for managing the occasional spikes in OS activity. In ELK, the audio code is run immediately when the audio interrupt is triggered, and is never interrupted by lower priority tasks.

Moreover, having such a low latency gives you other optimizations opportunity. For example, you can use buffer sizes of 256 frames and you still have only 5ms of MIDI-to-sound latency at 48kHz. Or you can compute a serial audio chain by pipelining it into multiple cores. In few words: you get the best DSP bang for the buck that you pay for the CPU in your product.


ELK Music Operating System (aka "the Android of Musical Instruments") Coming to NAMM

Some news that might be interesting to the makers out there.


The Music Operating System, named ELK, allows musicians to add unlimited sounds and features to their musical instruments and seamlessly share their performances online. It also allows manufacturers and developers to move away from system-specific chips and software.

January 24 – Anaheim, California

MIND Music Labs is presenting its ultra-low latency Music Operating System at NAMM 2018. ELK - this is the name of the technology - is an operating system for musical instruments, designed for optimal audio performance and seamless connectivity.

Musical Instruments Powered by ELK allow musicians to:

• Add new sounds and features to their instruments via online upgrades
• Easily connect their instruments to mobiles, computers and to the broader Internet
• Instantly share their performances online

ELK allows manufacturers to move away from dedicated chips and use standard off-the-shelf CPUs, with significant improvements in terms of user experience, performance and scalability - combined with unprecedented time-to-market advantages and potential new post-sales revenues from software, content and services for their devices.

ELK also allows software developers to easily release software, sounds and effects originally developed for computer environments on Powered by ELK musical instruments.

Key technical features:

• Ultra-low latency (1ms round-trip)
• Linux-based, using single Intel & ARM CPUs
• Support for JUCE and VsT 2.x and 3.x plugins
• Natively connected (USB, WiFi, BT, 4G)
• Full MIDI support

"ELK is the evolution musical instruments have been waiting for a long time, and is ready to disrupt the musical instruments world in the same way Android disrupted the mobile world ten years ago." is how Michele Benincaso, CEO of MIND Music Labs, announces ELK's release.

ELK's capabilities will be demoed LIVE at NAMM in collaboration with industry leaders DVMark, MarkBass and Overloud (TH-U), the first brands that will support ELK in their new products.

About MIND Music Labs:
MIND Music Labs (http://www.mindmusiclabs.com) develops music technologies that change the way musicians create, record and share music. Founded in 2014, MIND has raised more than 1.000.000 Euros in investments from industry leaders in the music tech world. Among the people who believed in MIND Music Labs are Jacob Key - former VP at Warner Music - Ludvig Linge - co-founder of The Astonishing Tribe, bought byBlackberry in 2010 - and Jordan Rudess - Dream Theater keyboardist and music tech entrepreneur. MIND has been awarded as one of the most innovative music startups atMidem, Sónar Barcelona and San Francisco MusicTech Summit



This low-latency OS could change how music gear is made
Peter Kirn - January 30, 2018  1 Comment     
You want the flexibility of PC software, but the performance of standalone gear? A new music OS is the latest effort to promise the best of both worlds.

Sure, analog gear is enjoying a happy renaissance – and that's great. But a lot of the experimentation with sound production occurs with software (iOS or Windows or Mac) simply because it's easier (and cheaper) to try things out on an Intel or ARM chip. (ARM is the architecture found in your iPhone or iPad or Android phone, among others; Intel you know.) Some manufacturers are already making the move to standalone hardware based on these architectures – at AES last year, I saw Eventide's massive coming flagship, which is totally ARM-based. But they're typically rolling their own operating system, which provides some serious expertise.

MIND Music Labs this month unveiled what they called ELK – a Linux-based operating system they say is optimized for musical applications and high performance.

That means they're boldly going where... a lot of players have tried to go before. But this time, it's different – really. First, there's more demand on the developer side, as more makers have grown intrigued by off-the-shelf CPUs. And developer tools for these options are better than they've been. And hardware is cheaper, lower-power, and more accessible than ever, particularly as mobile devices have driven massive scale. (The whole world, sadly, may not really feel it needs an effects processor or guitar pedal, but a whole lot of the world now has smartphones.)

ELK promises insanely low latencies, so that you can add digital effects without delaying the returning signal (which for anything other than a huge reverb is an important factor). And there are other benefits, too, that make music gadgets made with the OS more connected to the world. According to the developers, you get:

Ultra-low latency (1ms round-trip)
Linux-based, using single Intel & ARM CPUs
Support for JUCE and VsT 2.x and 3.x plugins
Natively connected (USB, WiFi, BT, 4G)

That connectivity opens up possibilities like sharing music, grabbing updates and new sounds, and connecting to wireless instruments like the ROLI line. There's full MIDI support, too, though – and, well, lots of other things you can do with Linux.

(JUCE is a popular framework for developing cross platforms, meaning you could make one really awesome granular synth and then run it on desktop, mobile, and this platform easily.)

Now, having done this for a while, I've seen a lot of claims like this come and go. But at least ELK last week was demonstrated with some actual gear as partners – DVMark, MarkBass, and Overloud (TH-U).

1ms latency claims don't just involve the OS. Here, ELK delivers a complete hardware platform, so that's the actual performance including their (high-quality, they say) audio converters and chip. That's what stops you from just grabbing something like a Raspberry Pi and turning it into a great guitar pedal – you're constrained by the audio fidelity and real-time performance of the chipset, whether the USB connection or onboard audio. Here, that promises to be solved for you out of the box.

DVMark's "Smart Multiamp" was the first real product to show off the platform. Plugin Alliance and Brainworx have signed on, too, so don't be surprised if you're soon looking at a dedicated box that can replace your laptop – but also run all your plug-ins.

And that's the larger vision here – eventually ELK has its own plug-in format, and you should be able to move your favorite plug-ins around to connected devices, and access those gadgets from Android and iOS, But unlike using a computer or iPad on its own, you don't have to sweat software upgrades or poor audio performance or try to imagine a laptop or tablet is a good music interface live.

This leaves of course lots of questions about how they'll realize this vision and more questions if you're an interested developer or manufacturer. I'm hopeful that they take the Eurorack market as a model – or even look at independent plug-in and app developers – and embrace a model that supports imaginative one-person developers, too. (A whole lot of the best music software and module ideas alike have come from one- and two-person shops.)

I at least like their vision – and I'm sure they won't be alone. Best line: "Whether your idea of music is to be shut in a studio that looks like the bridge of a Klingon cruiser or you are a minimalist that wants everything to sound exactly like in 1958, we think you will be surprised at just how much smartness is going to affect us as musicians."

I'll throw this out here for now and let you ask away, and then we can do a follow-up soon. Loads more info at their site:


Tags: ARM, development, ELK, embedded, Hardware, Intel, JUCE, Linux, low-latency, mobile, OS, real-time, real-time operating system, Roli, SOC, trends



How Fishman, Arturia and MIND Music Labs Followed their MUSE To a State of the Art Synth Guitar in 30 Days

Fishman recently collaborated with Arturia and MIND Music Labs on a fast turnaround high technology project that led to the creation of a one of a kind wireless synthesizer guitar for Matt Bellamy of the British mega band MUSE.
British mega band MUSE is currently on tour promoting their latest album Simulation Theory performing in sold out stadiums all over the world. Each night front man and guitarist Matt Bellamy brings out a one of a kind guitar with a special history to play the song "The Dark Side." While Bellamy is happy with the result, reporting that "the guitar works great!" the story of how this guitar was conceived and built is just a few short weeks is very interesting.

Matt Bellamy, being the perfectionist that he is, wants the sounds he created in the studio on stage as much as possible. One essential part of his sound is the Arturia Prophet V synthesizer. Being a user of Fishman's TriplePlay MIDI guitar pickup & controller, both on stage and in the studio, he wanted to continue to use that to play the Arturia synth live, but without distance, range, cables and a computer getting in the way of his stage performance.

"When Matt told me he absolutely wanted to use the Prophet V softsynth live on tour" said Muse guitar tech Chris Whitemyer, "but still be able to move around the stage without any restrictions, I knew we had to find a new kind of solution that would take the computer out of the picture."

Chris Whitemyer was aware of Swedish music tech company MIND Music Labs and how their ELK MusicOS could run existing plugins and instruments on hardware. Thinking MIND might be the missing piece of the puzzle he approached them at the 2019 NAMM Show. Together with Fishman and Arturia, a first meeting was held in the MIND Music Labs booth on the show floor. That meeting, which took place just a few weeks before the start of Muse's 2019 World Tour, kicked off several hectic weeks resulting in the three companies producing a new kind of guitar just in time for the tour's first date in Houston, TX.

"Going to that first meeting at NAMM I didn't know what to expect," said Fishman founder and president Larry Fishman, "but as soon as we plugged in the guitar with our TriplePlay system in the Powered by ELK audio interface board, it was pretty clear that the Fishman and ELK systems would be compatible."

What was clear after the first meeting was that the reliability of the Fishman TriplePlay MIDI Guitar Controller in combination with ELKs ability to run existing plugins inside the guitar could open up a new world for performers like Matt Bellamy. And with the tour just weeks away, a plan was hatched to get the system finalized and ready for use in the most demanding of conditions – a world tour of arenas and stadiums.

MIND Music Labs CEO Michele Benincaso commented "Getting three different companies to join forces on a special project like this does not happen very often, so this was truly special. To go from a first meeting at NAMM to a functioning system in just weeks was a mind-blowing achievement. It required the special expertise and focused efforts of all three companies to pull it off – I can still hardly believe we did"

Only days after the closing of the NAMM Show, MIND Music Labs CTO Stefano Zambon flew to Fishman's Andover, MA headquarters to figure out how to get a powered by ELK audio board inside a guitar, that not only plays well enough to satisfy a world class performer but could also control the Arturia Prophet V at extremely low latency. In short, redefine the state of the art for synth guitars.

"To see one of our V Collection classic products like the Prophet V on Stage with Muse is very exciting," said Arturia CEO Frédéric Brun, "The fact that it is that same plugin running in the guitar as you use in the studio really makes all the difference. I mean, Matt Bellamy even uses the same preset in the studio!"

On February 22nd, just 4 weeks after the first initial meeting at NAMM, MUSE went on stage in Houston in front of a jam-packed Toyota Center. Seven songs into the show Chris Whitemyer handed Matt Bellamy the new guitar for the song "The Dark Side".

Chris added, "When all the guys got together to build this, we didn't tell Matt that a new guitar was going to be built or maybe not built. I just gave it to him for the first show and told him he could walk as far as he wanted on stage. He just said 'Oh, Cool!'"

"I had no doubt in my mind it would work and it performed flawlessly. When I first got the guitar one week before the first show, I tested it very thoroughly, leaving it on for four hours, turning it off and on fifty or more times, and jumping up and down with it and bouncing it off a mattress. It passed all the tests. The guitar is rock solid! Matt and I couldn't be happier. It does everything I hoped it would and it's on stage every night"

If you want to see this unique guitar in action it will be on MUSE's Simulation Theory World Tour in the U.S. through May, then in Europe all summer and in South and Central America this fall.

About Arturia:

Specialist in the development of music software and hardware for professional and amateur musicians. Makers of the Prophet V synthesizer part of the V Collection.

About MIND Music Labs:

Develops technologies enabling a new generation of connected musical instruments. Makers of The ELK MusicOS.

About Fishman:

For over 35 years, Fishman has been dedicated to helping musicians of all styles achieve the truest sound possible wherever and whenever they plug in. Our ongoing commitment to professional sound and quality has helped our company grow to become an industry leader in amplification, effects, and pickups for acoustic and electric instruments, MIDI control, and other product categories.

For more information about Fishman, go to www.fishman.com.

How Fishman, Arturia and MIND Music Labs Followed their MUSE To a State of the Art Synth Guitar in 30 Days



Elk, the developer of the Elk Audio OS, has announced that it has released an open source Audio Operating System and Development Kit for the Raspberry Pi.

Elk Audio OS a dedicated audio operating system, designed to make it easy to run existing VSTs and other plugin formats on hardware instruments and audio devices, in real time with ultra-low latency.

By bringing Elk Audio OS to general-purpose ARM and x86 CPUs, the company says that it hopes to open the platform up for 'a new generation of instruments and remote 5G network experiences'.

In the next few weeks, a beta version of the Elk Audio Operating System will be made available under a Dual licensing model (open-source & commercial). But already today, the Elk Audio OS SDK & documentation is available and is free for anyone to start using.

The company is also making an Elk Audio OS Development Kit for Raspberry Pi that includes a custom Elk Pi Audio Hat. They say that the Elk Pi Hat is one of the most advanced pro Audio Hats in the markets, with down to 1 ms latency, multichannel and support for Raspberry 4 coming up in the very near future.

"The idea behind the Elk Audio OS is to make a whole new generation of connected musical instruments possible," notes Michele Beninicaso, CEO at Elk (former MIND Music Labs). "Instruments that can connect people around the world and spur new kinds of musical creativity. We believe there are so many potential instrument makers out there who could create fantastic things if they just had the right tools, and it is for them we have created Elk. So today I'm very happy to announce that we have reached a major milestone in our company, when we can make Elk available to everyone through the open source release."

Elk Audio OS is officially endorsed by Steinberg, creators of the VST format. Elk Audio OS is supported in the VST3 SDK and is fully compatible with plugins written in JUCE, making Elk the a solution for companies and makers interested in developing new digital hardware instruments.

With VST being the defacto standard for software instruments and effects, there is already a vast library of existing plugins that can now be transformed into hardware. An example of this is the Retrologue desktop prototype synth built on the VST synth with the same name, debuted earlier this year at SuperBooth in Berlin.

Here's out interview with the company's Matt Ward at Superbooth:

Elk has also announced that developers attending the Elk presentation at the Audio Developer Conference (ADC) will get a hands-on workshop from the core team of developers behind the Elk Audio OS, and also have first access to the Elk Audio OS Development Kit, including the Elk Pi Audio Hat.

See the Elk site for more information.


Deep Dive under the Bridge

play together.
Connect your instrument to the Bridge.
Connect your Bridge to your router.
Connect to your Bandmates.
Connect with your inner Rock God.

How dows it actually work?
The latency problem
The main problem that Elk LIVE fights is called latency. Latency being the time it takes for the sound produced, to reach the ears of the listener. Since sound travels 1 meter/3 milliseconds in air, technically latency always exists, even when playing in the same room. But it starts becoming a problem when you introduce factors, like distance and digital processing in the audio path.

How did we solve it?
With the dedicated Elk LIVE Bridge, designed from the ground up to cut out that pesky latency. The Bridge is powered by the award winning Elk Audio OS and delivers an unmatched performance with less than 1 ms internal roundtrip. This combined with our unique latency perception tools cuts out all overhead latency, leaving you to play with just the latency of your internet connection.

Ok, but how much latency does my connection have?
It depends on distance and your specific internet connection, but in general you get about 100 km/millisecond (62 miles) on an average fiber connection (Approx 50% of what you can technically get from a pure fiber connection). This means that playing with someone 1000 km (621 miles) away will give you an overall latency of 10 ms. About the same latency you will get from standing 3 meters apart in the same room.

Can I use it over longer distances?
Of course you can. It's a matter of personal preference and, once again, your specific internet connection. With our unique latency perception tools we can actually compensate for much of the latency introduced by the internet, making it possible to play together over even longer distances. We actually have users playing over twice the "recommended" distance on a regular basis.

She's got the Look

2 analog inputs (XLR / TRS combo connector)

Line (balanced and unbalanced +22dBu max input level)
Microphone preamp (-12dBu max input level)
Instrument (unbalanced on TRS/TS connector only +13dBu max input level)
Selectable 48V phantom power per port (XLR only)

4 analog outputs:

2 unbalanced 1/4" line outputs, +2 dBu maximum output level
Stereo headphone output (selectable 1/4" or 3,5mm), +4dBu maximum output level
USB class-compliant (UAC-2) Audio/MIDI device
A/D and D/A conversion 24-bit up to 192kHz
Network - Gigabit (1000BASE-T)
Power - 5 V, 3 A(15W) USB type C
Dimensions - 140x140x45mm
Weight - 483 gr
Audio OS: Elk Audio OS - Ultra Low-Latency Audio Operating System



Just a few days after announcing ELK, we are back with more "smart" news straight from NAMM: DVMark – MIND's first partner in introducing our ELK system to the market – just announced the first Powered by ELK musical insturment: DVMark Smart Multiamp.

The system will be on the shelves later this year, and will allow all guitar players out there to be part of the smart musical instruments revolution – no matter their guitar, style or technical skills.

Based on real amp models behaviour and featuring Overloud's TH-3 suite, Smart Multiamp will allow you to load a limitless number of models and presets into the amplifier, change any parameter and get the same response of the original amp, also importing cabinet IRs and playing them into a hardware – something no other digital amp can do.

At the same time, you will be able to freely and visually insert models into the sound chain with no constraints – a way larger sound chain than any other digital amp on the market.

Smart Multiamp will also allow you to have your guitar tones always with you: in your amplifier, phone and computer – and to share them with your fellow musicians via a dedicated online community.

Here is DVMark's Stefano "Sebo" Xotta presentation of Smart Multiamp from NAMM 2018:



I don't think the Smart Multiamp ever entered production. Not a single dealer I know of in Italy has ever seen one. DV Mark produced videos with Kiko Loureiro and others, but my guess is that the project was bagged shortly thereafter.

If you or anyone has information to the contrary I'd be happy to hear.

That being said, Elk folks are dedicated full time to the Aloha OS, and the development of ELK OS has been slow. They hope to pick it up at a later time, but with the current price of hardware/processors, those dev boards will cost significantly more. I've been on the wait list for more than a year...


Quote from: Dalai_llama on October 07, 2021, 03:51:23 AM

I don't think the Smart Multiamp ever entered production. Not a single dealer I know of in Italy has ever seen one. DV Mark produced videos with Kiko Loureiro and others, but my guess is that the project was bagged shortly thereafter.

If you or anyone has information to the contrary I'd be happy to hear.

That being said, Elk folks are dedicated full time to the Aloha OS, and the development of ELK OS has been slow. They hope to pick it up at a later time, but with the current price of hardware/processors, those dev boards will cost significantly more. I've been on the wait list for more than a year...

I post developments of ELK OS, which evolved from the Mind Music Labs "Sensus" guitar

I also joined the ELK HARDWARE DEVELOPMENT wait list - only see one Raspberry PI based system available last year, and just cricket silence on all other hardware development systems.

I imagine Covid 19 impacted schedules, and prevented intended outcomes to manifest into reality.



Thanks for sharing the information you have.

These last 3 years have been terrible for hardware development -- specially those depending on microchips. Even before the pandemic the trade wars were adding immense pressure on manufacturers and distributors, and the shipping crunch has been coming for a long time. I have seen the rental price of 40-feet containers go from ~2200 USD in 2018 to about 9000 now. I am in close contact with a manufacturer in need of a microchip that went from $8.98 (bulk price for 100+ units) mid-2019 to more than $35 for a minimum order of 1000 pieces. They were able to secure an order at $18/piece with expected delivery in October of 2022. Then those two factories burned to the ground in South Korea and China, and traders with stockpiles saw the opportunity to make big bucks out of it.

Elk's Bridge box early bird costing ~400 Euros is already very telling when it comes to hardware prices.

So my guess is that we'll wait at least until late next year to hear something about the Elk Dev kit. But I'll hang in there. If I can host VSTs in an Elk OS box, that's probably the end of computer on stage for me.


This sounds very promising.
What worries me is how this would solve the variable latency that the net provides I experienced that with other soft alternatives and thats kills any musical activity.


It can't solve that problem. On their site website they explain how it's possible to have a connection spanning about 620 miles with only 12ms of total latency between 2 players, based on the theoretical  performance of a fiber-optic broadband link. All well and good if everyone in the "backstage" has fiber to the premise. However, for people on DSL, and ground-based wireless, and 5G cellular, it still won't be the panacea that everyone's hoping for.


Quote from: jassy on July 07, 2022, 05:37:41 PMWhat worries me is how this would solve the variable latency that the net provides

ELK reduces jitter as well as latency (and there's a tradeoff between the two).  It's not magic, they seem to be trying to get to the optimal, pragmatic experience that physics and networks will allow.

I'd love to see ELK take off and become ubiquitous. The need to buy dedicated hardware and the monthly fee pushes them more to the pro segment where it's a business expense ... and one that's cheaper than travel and studio time.

Digital Larry

I bought an Elk "Blackboard" based system about a year ago.  Immediately afterwards, they made the OS and everything up to that point open-source, which I now understand means "we are no longer trying to make money on this".  I checked out the supplied demos, which were actually kinda cool (MIDI synth/simple sequencer/guitar fx chain).  The form factor was not good for a pedalboard (it's a rather large development system).  As the requirements to use that specific thing include:

- write a plugin in C++ (I generally use Faust which can create C++)
- recompile it to work on the Pi
- come up with code to map sliders and pots and switches into your plugin

it really started to feel like WORK!  Something you would get paid for or have a hope of recuperating by selling something.

I watched the supply of the Blackboard system go to poot over the past few years (not least of which the Pi 4 itself) and was able to sell mine on Reverb last year.  Another one bites the dust!



It's like starting your own language. If you can't get anybody else to learn it, it won't last. You end up just talking to yourself.