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Flexible channel configurations in a module
Posted August 10, 2006 by Tim Place

For the last few years I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to make modules in Max that have flexible channel configurations (mono, stereo, quad, etc.).

At present in Jamoma (and Jade for that matter) a separate module is needed for every different channel configuration. Trond found an interesting alternative that I think he used in Jamoma’s ambisonic modules.

As a tangent I had also been thinking about making our own externals for remote communication of signals in a module, similar to how Jamoma’s remote communication for control data works. Then we wouldn’t neccessarily be tethered to inlets and outlets, which could be handy.

It dawned on me this morning that we could also use this signal sending/receiving mechanism to define the number of channels that are coming into or going out of a module. By using this new mechanism the module would know what channel configuration to use.

Some random thoughts on making it work:

  • When the object is instantiated, flag these special objects (we’ll call them jmod.send~ and jmod.receive~ for lack of inventive names at the moment) to be last in the dsp chain compilation.
  • When the dsp chain is compiled there is a count of how many channels are connected to the inputs and outputs of the module. This count is then used to determine the channel configuration.
  • Perhaps in poly each voice could represent a channel. The number of channels would be set by the aforementioned mechanism. We would use the voice number that was being executed in poly to route the audio to the correct outlet of the poly~ (in fact, maybe we could do this part now?)
  • voila, we have flexible channel configurations that are updated any time
    the signal chain is compiled (i.e. the dsp is turned on).

This seems do-able to me. I’ll need to keep brainstorming on it though, because I want to keep the inlets and outlets in the module too. So we’ll have to deal with that…

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