Ronald Stewart, creator of the mobile, Linux-powered Trinity DAW device, writes to tell us the prototype had its first public appearance at the recent Linux Audio Conference:

We ran the device for 7 hours (3.5 hours battery/3.5 hours on wall power supply) with zero hangs and everything worked under various multiple applications running. USB device such as Oxygen worked great and even controlled the Amsynth’s filter knobs.

Cute little mobile setup there. And yes, that’s the open-source audio program Audacity running on the Trinity. The device will ship with Audacity 2.0, not the current version, plus some additional software thanks to the help of 64studio.com. For more detailed specs, and a sense of what the board will look in its proper case (lovely as that plexiglass looks), see our previous story:

Portable, Linux-Based Trinity Recorder Development Continues; New Specs

  • http://www.bradfuller.com/ Brad Fuller

    And, if you can't make the Linux Audio Conference, you can watch the streams live. More info at my site: http://www.bradfuller.com/

  • http://blog.whats-your.name carmen

    the mind boggles..that they went thru all this effort to come up with a nice portable PC with high quality (AD|DA)Cs and then used Audacity as the default editor and limit it to 2 chans.

    unless it was completely rewritten in 2.0, audacity is unstable, resource-hogging and breaks up the files every few seconds into a new chunk on disk – so youre left to piece together the mess. not to mention the performance overhead of creating new files during recording, and the 'wait while we read/write every bit in your audio sample to/from disk while we try out this filter' issue that doesnt affect apps that merely record the edit decisions like Live and Samplitude..

    but i think the fatal flaw here is theres no breakout box with a 15 chan interface, and no PC Card slot so you can attach your own RME/Echo/whatever, and furthermore no firewire port so you can plug in one of the two interfaces that actually work right with FreeBob. this thing is only slightly smaller than my 12.1" notebook folded up, and is considerably less powerful. and it also costs the same amount.

    love to see them taking the plunge, but it seems like a mighty risk, i hope there is demand for this in the day and age when Korg and Maudio have 2 channel PCM/DSD recorders for a quarter of the price of this, the only thing they really lack is the editing of audacity on-the-go, but who does that?

  • http://www.trinityaudiogroup.com ron stewart

    Carmen wust work for one of our competitors!

    We are not competing against a laptop but supplying alternate solutions for musicians and audio engineers. Laptops are not built with audio as the main priority.

  • http://www.milezero.org Thomas

    Laptops are not built with audio as the main priority.

    Depends on where you buy your laptop.

    I tend to agree with Carmen, and I do not work for one of your competitors. It is hard to see how this is better than the little flash-based multitrack recorders that have become so widespread lately, like the Boss Micro BR, or a cheap laptop stripped down and paired with a good USB interface. Either one would do the same job for much less dough.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Technically, I agree, in that laptops are designed by definition as a general purpose machine, and thus all the processing that takes place goes through an architecture built for that purpose. Of course, none of that means anything if a laptop is doing what you want it to do, and perhaps more than this.

    Ron, I would like to hear more of your thoughts on these questions. Obviously, the Trinity requires some trade-offs of its own. What's the payoff? And maybe this will come from software flexibility? (I'm no Audacity fan, either, so I'd love to see something else on it.)

  • http://64studio.com Daniel James

    At 64 Studio we are working on software for the Trinity, and I have to disagree with Carmen's criticism's of Audacity. Firstly, it is neither unstable or resource-hogging – I've been using it for many years, and it will run on a Via C3 or a Pentium II with no trouble at all.

    Secondly, the reason Audacity project files are broken into chunks is so that edits on one part of the audio do not require the rest of the track to be rendered, which has a big performance advantage. There is absolutely no need to piece together audio manually unless your project file is corrupted, and even then you can still recover the audio.

    The comments about a lack of non-destructive editing and realtime effects aren't particularly valid in this case. The non-destructive approach has its benefits, but it isn't very disc-space efficient, since you have to store all of the audio that you don't need. Real-time effects require more CPU power too. So for a portable device where storage space and battery life are constraints, Audacity is actually a good choice.

    That's not to say a user can't load whatever software they like on the Trinity – it is an open device. We have a modified version of Ardour with an 800×600 display which provides non-destructive editing, real time effects and so on – although new users may still prefer Audacity for its ease of use.

    I'm not sure where Carmen got the idea that the device is limited to two channels. There are two mic pre-amps with phantom power on board, sure – something you won't find on any laptop I know of – but there is no reason why a FireWire port could not be added to the Trinity baseboard. Remember, the photo shows the prototype, not the production model. (FreeBoB supports far more than just two interfaces, by the way).

    Finally, the advantadges of the Trinity over conventional field recorders will become obvious once the device is launched – it really can do things that no other product on the market can do. You could achieve the same results with a laptop, but you would have to set up the software yourself, and the resulting system wouldn't be as portable. Can you track with your notebook folded up? I think not ;-)

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