TBC2 (aka : Bell Tower)

Support for 240p/288p for World Core as well as vintage game systems (SNES, NES, etc) is definitely on the development list, we’re just going to have to see what kind of behavior we get with these formats out of the decoder parts we’ve selected. So for right now, we can promise 480i/576i, and we’ll announce support for other formats (progressive SD, HD downscaling, etc) when we can confirm them on the hardware.

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Any experiments with higher resolutions? If it could handle 1080p, then four systems could handle a quadsplit 4K feed, run effects and then convert back to a 4K signal.

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I certainly enjoy the idea of a combinatory approach at the output…

I noticed there is a midi input on tbc2. What can you disclose about this modules midi implementation?

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Fantastic news about 240/288p! I’ve been struggling to get the Ming to work with the visual cortex and Pre-ordered the TBC2 as a hail mary. I probably should have read this sooner, since i’ve been stressing over weather that was the right decision. Sounds like it was!

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TBC2 and Memory Palace are both “Orion Class III” modules, which means they use the Zynq SoC and similar set of peripherals (SD card, USB, OLED display, MIDI, etc.) These modules will run a similar embedded “OS” that controls common peripherals and standards for the user interface, parameter mapping, etc. That’s a work in progress that will be growing over the next several months as we release firmware updates. A common feature though, will be MIDI input mapping capabilities of any internal parameters of the application and RTL running on the Zynq (which is the portion that is different between memory palace and TBC2.) So the intention for the MIDI is more as a common peripheral for all of these Orion3 modules, and you will be able to map MIDI controls to any of TBC2’s internal settings. All of this will be focused on options for tweaking input mode options in TBC2’s case, but we will see the parameter list grow over time.

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Regarding 1080p, I can’t guarantee that yet. We’ll just have to see. Likely case is yes, though. We’re about to build the first version of the production PCBs after a ton of work on the form factor over the Summer. Getting this monster in 16HP has been insanely difficult (it’s 4 stacked boards, but still < 42mm clearance!)

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@creatorlars , do you foresee the possibility of MIDI Control for fast switching on one of the existing or a forthcoming Orion Class III modules ala the Visionary Octal Video Quantizer & Sequencer?

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If it is a feature of the module, it will be controllable via MIDI mapping.

MIDI is not nearly fast or synchronous enough for image rate modulation like the 8 Stage Quantizer/Sequencer. Fortress & Topogram are great options (and different flavors!) if you want that kind of look. For sequential sampling and playback, that will be a function of the sampling module we’ll be developing next year.

One exciting detail I’ll share is that the same “image sequence/stills loader” object in Memory Palace will be accessible as an output source for either channel in TBC2. That will all be MIDI controllable. But it will not be able to stream video to and from an SD card the way the sampler module will.

The input mux will be MIDI controllable in TBC2, so you could do some frame rate sequencing between the two input sources (and internal stills.)

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This is going to be a great year!!! :slight_smile:

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Thanks Lars
This is exciting!

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I’m almost afraid to ask as I pre-ordered partly on the hopes TBC2 would sync to Ming Mecca. Given today’s announcement that TBC2 in the final phases. What’s the behavior with 240/288p?

Pretty bummed to lose the digital input ability. But, well, I’ll get over it. Multiple inputs is definitely the priority and we gained some nice features.

My question is how complex is that expander on the backend? Which is to say: any chance there could be a 4hp Cadet/DIY VGA-only version? (Or 6hp, if necessary? — which could still be adapted to 1u, which is what I imagine I’d do.)

Even if LZX doesn’t offer it, do you foresee any possibility that someone else perhaps could (like the Cortex expander project)? (Not asking if that is likely, but just whether it is technically feasible — or whether there are complicated things going on back there that would definitely preclude such a thing.) (And, for what it’s worth, don’t mean to complain, just curious.)

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I can live without direct DVI/HDMI input. This is what “outboard gear” (anything outside the LZX system) is for. E.g. DVI->HDMI, HDMI->Composite, HDMI->SDI and SDI->Component converters. Any chain of converters that ends with Composite, Component or S-Video will do the job. You can find all these on ebay very cheaply (compared to any Orion module, nevermind the total cost of even a small video synth).

Considering the choice between a module with a single digital input and this module, I think this is a reasonable compromise. So we should probably compare the cost of TBC2 + outboard gear with the cost of a pair of TBC2 modules with digital inputs.

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Sure, we can publish the pinout on the expander connectors if you want to make your own VGA/SCART panel. Is the goal just to save cost? The expander is pretty cheap as it is.

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We haven’t tested 240p yet, but support is likely. 525p and 625p should be fine. You can read up more on the capabilities of the analog decoder we’re using in the datasheet here:

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The price is totally fair, yes!

The idea is to save a little space. I just can’t foresee any possible use for SCART in my system, but those take up a lot of real estate. And kind of need to keep things as tight as possible for maximum portability — I don’t drive, so my system has to remain small enough to carry on a bus/train. I certainly recognize that this is somewhat of an edge use case scenario (depth problems seems to be a far more common complaint than width).

Of course, the more I think about it, it might be worth carrying the extra converter box (rather than a simple dongle for VGA) to save the space a breakout panel would take up altogether… But, yeah, having the pinout info would be cool to at least have the option.

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Ahh, I see what you mean. Unfortunately we have to keep our total number of SKUs down right now and avoid variants in general, or else I’d offer something separate. Expanders are generally something we never do, but we made an exception in this case because one big point of TBC2 is the “TBCs per HP” ratio. We can’t do a shallow depth TBC in less than 12HP-14HP, so we did a dual in 16HP (which brings the TBC per HP ratio down to 8HP.)

The expander connects via 14-pin ribbon cables on the rear, so it would be very easy to just cut a ribbon cable and solder the wires directly to the back of VGA jacks with solder cup pins.

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Hi guys just curious as to what is the hold up with TBC2? I really want some dual camera action happening in my rig and it feels like it’s been forever :open_mouth:

There was some trouble sourcing the parts required by the original front panel concept and trouble implementing that concept electronically. Those obstacles were surpassed with a new panel revision. TBC2 is moving steadily forward and is expected to ship next month. Thank you for your patience and support. I apologize that both have been thoroughly tested by the process of bringing TBC2 to life.

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