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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Chameleon
Chameleon - any possibility of open source/GPL?
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mjkirk12



Joined: Jan 05, 2009
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Location: Chicago, IL USA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject: Chameleon - any possibility of open source/GPL?
Subject description: Let the hacking begin!
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Given that this is no longer produced, would the developers consider releasing the design (code and schematics) as GPL open source for the hacker community?

Cheers,
Mike
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DrJustice



Joined: Sep 13, 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Unfortunately the company (Soundart) has ceased to exist long ago, and the people who made the Chameleon hardware, firmware and software (the HW/OS support library) have moved on many years ago. Thus, it is not likely that we will see those bits open sourced.

However, do we really need that? IMO, it's not essential. As is stands it is as open as most of us need. I can't se any pressing reasons why the support library needs to be opened - it does the chores needed to support the development and running of soundskins. We have full access to everything else. On the hardware side there isn't any mysterious circuitry - it's a fairly standard 56k based DSP+CODEC+CPU architecture, and has the potential to be be hacked as such, even without the schematics. Datasheets and a multimeter is pretty much all that's needed to map out the details.

Is there any specific hacks you have in mind?

DJ
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Chameleon cloning? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Maybe 'hack' was not appropriate - I don't own a Chameleon. I am more interested in a
clone of the Chameleon - using commercially available Freescale evaluation boards.

I have access to Freescale/Motorola DSP evaluation (EVM) modules
(EVM56303/56309/56311/56321) or I could order the US$150 Symphony
Soundbite board.

On the controller side, Freescale has a US$ 100 1-day Rapid Prototyping Seminar.
By attending, you get a voucher for a free Tower system with a ColdFire board plus
a LCD touch screen module. The total value is over US$400.
http://tinyurl.com/2wh8yr7 http://www.freescale.com/tower http://www.towergeeks.com

So my thought is to combine the DSP EVM module and Tower (ColdFire) system to make
a Chameleon clone. Just need to add a front panel, MIDI interface and maybe some
DRAM/Flash memory.

This is why I would need the source code and circuit schematics. Otherwise I would
need some method to translate the Soundskin files into a download format for
the DSP EVM module (*.cld format for JTAG/OnCE?). These EVMs have flash memory
that could burn the Soundskin for stand-alone use.

Maybe instead of the ColdFire as a controller, a VSTi plug-in could mimic
the Chameleon front panel and send MIDI Sysex commands to the DSP EVM for
Soundskin control?

The Tower system could also act as a web-server. A web-application could be
designed to mimic the Chameleon front panel as well.

Last edited by mjkirk12 on Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah, I see - cloning the Chami. Yeah, it's a bit much to reverse engineer the complete system on a hobby basis.

If nothing else I can tell you how the loading and running of a soundskin hangs together:

The soundskin files are basically Coldfire object files which have the Chameleon support library linked in. The skins are downloaded to the host Coldfire by MIDI sysex or a tool which is part of the SDK. The Coldfire in turn writes the skin to FLASH or stores it in RAM for debug mode. The Coldfire bootloader then boots and loads the Coldfire object code. The object file contains an image of the DSP code in the form of a byte array. Your host code calls the library function dsp_init(...) to upload the DSP code and boot the DSP. All this is supported by the Chameleon host firmware and the host library. The Coldfire firmware contains the skin- and boot- loaders, and the host library contains the functions to talk to the DSP, the MIDI port and the front panel. The front panel is managed by a separate MCU which is connected to the Coldfire by a serial port.

So, reverse engineering all this to work with existing soundskins on a different hardware architecture would occupy a seasoned hacker for quite a few afternoons...

I would really recommend hunting down a used Chameleon if you want to run the existing soundskins. Of course it's also an exceedingly fun and friendly development platform Smile

DJ

Edit: typo.
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Last edited by DrJustice on Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject: Memory maps for DSP/Coldfire? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for this info Dr Justice. Smile

Is there any Coldfire or DSP memory map for the Chameleon? Specifically for the external DRAM/Flash on Coldfire and external DRAM on the DSP.

Perhaps I could find this in the SDK documentation or as part of the library header files?

-Mike
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The DSP has 4MWords of DRAM with a word size of 24 bit mapped into 0x400000- 0x7FFFFF. The rest of the DSP memory map is described in the 56303 manual (internal SRAM and registers). The CODEC sits at one of the DSP serial ports, ESSI0. There are no libraries on the DSP side, i.e. it is an open and blank slate.

The memory map of the ColdFire is not documented as such, but its has 12MWords of DRAM with a word size of 16 bit and 1MB of FLASH. The rest can be found in the 5206 manual. What's left can possibly be found by dissecting the host libraries, in particular the lib files "chameleon.a" and "rtems.a".

The complete SDK and docs can be found here (you probably know that already Smile).

DJ
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Freescale App note - with Chameleon Block diagram Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I found the Chameleon block diagram on page 7 of this Freescale app note:

http://cache.freescale.com/files/dsp/doc/app_note/AN3653.pdf

They are describing how to migrate to a new dual-core DSP from the DSP/ColdFire in the Chameleon.

Perhaps Freescale has some details on the Chameleon from the developers?
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:47 am    Post subject: Re: Freescale App note - with Chameleon Block diagram Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mjkirk12 wrote:
I found the Chameleon block diagram on page 7 of this Freescale app note:

http://cache.freescale.com/files/dsp/doc/app_note/AN3653.pdf

Wow - good find, Mike! They actually use the exact Chameleon block diagram, lifted straight from page 3 of this Soundart document Very Happy

To my knowledge, Freescale does not have any more info on the Chami than was originally published (I'm actually quite certain about that, having been in dialogue with the Soundart CEO until they closed down, unless Paul Maddox has any other info (Paul?)). My guess is that they used that as a case study since it probably is the only 56k based production synth/processor that has it's details published for anyone to see. Nice to see Freescale paying homage to it though - respect to Soundart! salut

DJ
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

While we're talking about variations on the Chamelon, this MK-II model was the last thing being worked on. Unfortunately (and sadly) there was little interest. The project was pulled and SA eventually closed down.

DJ
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:32 pm    Post subject: Chameleon MKII Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Never saw the mKII announcement before - thanks for sharing the link.

Unfortunately, to most people, the mKII would have been compared to an entry level Muse RECEPTOR. And the RECEPTOR would support many more VSTi ('soundskins') than the mKII.
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:54 pm    Post subject: Line6 ToneCore DSP Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is a product that also allows DSP programming for Line 6 effects pedals.

http://line6.com/tcddk

Now if these had a MIDI input port - you could generate sounds with effects. Very Happy
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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been meaning to check out the Tonecore hardware and SDK, but until now it seemed like you had to buy one to get the docs. However, I just found (at least some of) the docs posted in the Line 6 forum, here.

DJ
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:36 pm    Post subject: Line6 ToneCore DSP Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I downloaded and installed the ToneCore software over the weekend - it includes these manuals - with schematics!

Looking at the schematics, it occurred to me that any standard Line 6 ToneCore pedal is only lacking a USB connector, as compared to the ToneCore Developers kit. With some minor effort, any Tonecore pedal could be modified to add the USB wiring.

So, I think I may pick up a working ToneCore pedal (eBay used) for about US$50 and get the US$35 ToneCore programmable module from Line 6.
After modifying the ToneCore pedal to add USB, I think I would have the same setup as the $200 developer's kit. More in line with my budget... Smile

I will post again if I make the jump to try this out.

Cheers,
Mike
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

These are very good:

http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/prod_summary.jsp?code=SYMP_SOUNDBITE
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah reading the posts more carefully I see you already have it on your list!
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 11:24 am    Post subject: Success - Tonecore USB hack
Subject description: tonecore
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Received the ToneCore programmable module (TCPM) from Line 6 (US$40) and a picked up a used ToneCore (dock) pedal (Guitar Center $30).

Drilled a hole in the side for a USB cable to pass thru (may add a connector later). I soldered 3 wires: GND, USB+, USB- to the 'midboard' in the ToneCore dock.

SUCCESS! I am able to use the Tonecore DSP developer software tool to flash program a new effect to this pedal. Very Happy

So, it appears that any Tonecore pedal can be modified to add USB and serve as a ToneCore developers kit - but you must buy a TCPM from Line 6.
The standard ToneCore modules (e.g. Constrictor, Echo Park, etc.) can not be reprogrammed.

Now I may try to port one of the open-source effect/synth from Chameleon to the Tonecore and see how it works.

The Freescale microcontroller on the TCPM has 2 serial ports - wonder if I can add a MIDI input and do some basic note on/off generation? A Chameleon Stomp Pedal?

Cheers,
Mike
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice one.

Keep us informed of how it works out.

You may have it but a quality book is "Digital Signal Processing Applications with Motorola's DSP56002 Processor" by Mohamed El-Sharkawy. 0-13-569476-0 ( http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Digital-Signal-Processing-Applications-with-Motorolas-DSP56002-Processor/Mohammed-El-Sharkawy/e/9780135694763 )

This is quality book, well worth picking one up, especially at $2 on the link!

Andy
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Dougster



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PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EDIT: Nov. 8, 2010: Looks like the real cheap ones are gone, but there are still used ones from about eight bucks and new ones starting at twenty. Keep checking back, seems like it changes every day...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0135694760

http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?keyword=Digital+Signal+Processing+Applications+With+Motorola%27s+DSP56002+Processor

_________________
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Every DIY person should own a copy of Electronotes: http://electronotes.netfirms.com

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lordavon



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sorry, just found this thread.

I do have some more details about the Chameleon, but for what it's worth the architecture is very limited by todays standards.

The freescale Kinetis Tower kit offers more horse power than the Chameleon.

However, the Tower kit would be ideal if someone was to develop a DSP card for it. You'd have everything you needed to make an updated Chameleon.

I also feel that an updated OS, something *nix based, would be of huge benefit. Again the Kinetis CPU is ideal for this.

Paul
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:10 pm    Post subject: Chameleon on Kinetis Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey Paul
Great info. Is this the goal of your QIX synth project?
http://qix.synth.net

I am expecting delivery of a Kinetis Tower system later this month from a Freescale training class I took last year.

Rather than starting from scratch, I would prefer to start with what was known to be working and migrate it to the new platform - Kinetis (or Coldfire) with DSP EVM or SoundBite. This would allow reuse of the current soundskins.

Could any of the original Chameleon developers be contacted and persuaded to share the source code or schematics of the original design? Or is this still held private by the company's founders? Did someone buy the rights to the Chameleon design when they ceased operations?

Cheers,
Mike
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lordavon



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi,

yes, that was the goal of the QiX project, an updated and improved Chameleon.

I've got myself a K60, and soundbite and I intend to do some stuff with that, as I still feel the Chameleon concept is worth exploring more.

None of the current sound skins would work on the soundbite DSP without a lot of rework, the memory model is quite different, so you'd need to a lot of work, in short, it'd be quicker to start from scratch.

not wishing to open the flood gates, but, I do have the code and schematics. for the Chameleon. I'll warn you, a lot of it is in spanish, and a lot of it is uncommented.
And bear in mind that the K60 is a totally different CPU to the coldfire, so you'd have to re-write that code too.

I thought about just porting the code over, but I honestly feel you'd be doing the improved CPUs a great injustice by running old, outdated firmware on them.

Paul
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

As I never have owned a Chameleon, I would be very interested in seeing the schematics. It would give me a feel as to how things are hooked up and compare it to the Freescale Tower system.

I have picked up some Panasonic shaft encoders that may be useful with the Tower system as input selectors.

I also am looking to take a EVM56303/ EVM56321 or the Line 6 Tonecore pedal (has a 56364) and see if I could load an effects Soundskin (with fixed settings).

I understand your points on the code porting issue, perhaps it would be easier to start from scratch, but seeing how the original was put together would be instructive for the lesser skilled among us.

Cheers Smile
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Deftaudio



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Mike,
Have you got any progress with your Line6 DSP development outside Chameleon project? Is there any place there Line6 developers shares their work? I didn't find any community by quick look. And this project looks not popular. May be I'm not right, please confirm.
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mjkirk12



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No progress to report on porting a Soundskin to the Tonecore yet. Busy doing other things.

You are correct, there is not much Tonecore activity. The two sites I know about are:

http://www.tcddk.com/wiki ( site appears to have problems - some links are bad now)

and

http://line6.com/community/community/support/effects/tonecore_development_kit

Cheers,
Mike
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Deftaudio



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thank you,
I've found what I need to begin here:
http://audioartillery.com/projects/tonecore_dsp_dev_kit_guide?p=0
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