Audiodevelopers was originally launched back in 2006/2007, as an attempt to establish a collaborative environment for audio buffs, engineers and die-hard hobbyists to help each other sell different parts of the audio chain. The site was intended to serve as a marketplace for selling amps, signal processors, cabinets, speaker design and so forth, where each vendor had their own set of pages to offer their wares.
One of the reasons for trying a collaborative effort like this was that audio technologies were undergoing some exciting changes that made high-end audio design much easier, especially for the serious hobbyist. IC manufacturers were starting to offer more complex and higher quality “mixed-signal” devices that combined A/D, D/A and signal processing, and the level of integration and quality kept improving, while the costs of the devices kept dropping. There were many exciting new products, such as the successor to the TAS3004 signal processor, the TAS3013, and the AD1953, and the break-through AD1994 class D amplifier that finally improved on the Tripath amps. And companies like Motorola were developing microprocessors that had built-in shadow emulation capability, so it was possible to write code to control these devices that was easy to debug.
Well, if you recognize any of those IC part numbers or followed Motorola’s microprocessor history, you know what happened: by the time anyone developed a design that could be sold at Audiodevelopers, the key parts had already become obsolete or else the part vendor had been sold to someone else. The pace of the technology changes was too quick, and there was also a flood of low-cost yet high quality amplifier and DSP boards from China that made it very difficult to sell custom audio products. So the original Audiodevelopers concept never had a chance to flourish.
But things are different now. Mixed-signal chip technology and microprocessors evolved quickly during the last 10 years, but now the technology is fairly mature, and the changes are going to be slower. And we know that we need solutions that can take advantage of those low cost Chinese-manufactured boards rather than compete with them. And we have a clearer idea how software is evolving, both for control code and user interfaces. So we are rebooting Audiodevelopers with a revised charter, and hopefully we are better aligned with how the audio world is changing.
Audiodevelopers is still embracing the original concept of providing a collaborative environment for designing and sharing audio products, but the focus will be more on software than hardware, and there will be less emphasis on selling and more on sharing. We’ll see how this works. And even if the collaboration aspect doesn’t work out, the Audiodevelopers website will be available as a source of information to the DIY’er who wants to learn more about audio DSP and enjoy the challenges of active speaker design.