Lego is easy to use and allows creative types to build whatever is in their heads, or adapt something created earlier to fit new needs. The MPA Platform from MakeProAudio offers a similar experience for folks wanting to build custom audio gear – with nothing more than a screwdriver.
Instead of trawling through music store catalogs and settling for equipment that almost-but-not-quite meets your needs, the MPA Platform invites makers to create needs-specific audio gear, which can be further adapted or grown to changing requirements later on.
The application-neutral MPA Platform is made up of pre-built electrical and mechanical modules called Tiles. These are assembled into Blocks to provide music creation tools individual to each artist.
Tiles are divided into four categories: Control Tiles include faders, encoders and pads; Audio Tiles take care of the sound processing, conversion and USB/network interfacing; Connect Tiles let you plug things in over XLR, TRS, MIDI and so on; and Compute Tiles take care of network connectivity and processing.
The Compute Tile in the MakeKit shapes up as a network-ready Raspberry Pi running GLUE control software, which joins all of the fragmented dots from Tile components together.
"GLUE is the IoT-age control software running over the World's first truly agile Network Distributed Software Framework for All-Things-Audio," explained MakeProAudio. "With new found ease of access and control of your setup, the whole network becomes your instrument.
"Imagine your creative production setup with presets, configuration and automation data accessible simultaneously on all kinds of devices. Smartphone or tablet, or multiple smartphone or tablets with all functions accessible in real-time."
Once a fit-for-purpose Block is complete, it can be hooked up with external MIDI hardware, with the GLUE software controlling the show.
The first Maker boards and MakeKits are due to ship in June and, though MakeProAudio hasn't finalized pricing, it reckons that MakeKits will include everything needed to get started for less than €200. More Audio, Control and Connect Tile modules will follow later in the year.
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