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Krystal DSP Audio Card

Krystal and Microeditor are the heart of the Microsound digital audio workstation. Krystal runs all time-critical audio processing in ultra-fast DSP assembly language. Thus, segments with fades and gain changes in a Microeditor project are computed in real-time by Krystal whenever you play. It is uniquely designed to process audio samples and compute fade and gain changes for each segment at sample accuracy. It mixes segments free of distortion, pops or other distortion. Up to 34 fade/gain changed audio streams mix live, with more having to render to disk and then play. The resulting performance allows operating at thought-speed to create perfection.

This allows editing and mixing multiple sounds in real-time, with sonically perfect results. The final mixed audio sounds are noticeably superior to other audio cards. If using audio compression (MP3, Real Audio, etc.), the resulting compressed audio is cleaner because Krystal audio files have an extremely low noise floor. There is no underlying distortion caused by fades and gain changes that are always required to make commercial audio roducts.

I/O Features

  • Analog: 2 unbalanced in/out channels, distortion 0.006% THD+N, 1/4" TRS stereo connectors
  • Digital AES: AES/EBU digital in/out, 16/24-bits, 1/4" TRS stereo balanced connectors
  • Digital SPDIFSPDIF digital in/out, 16/24-bits, RCA phono unbalanced connectors
  • Connector for Microsound I/O Module for existing clients (no longer available)

DSP and Board Features

  • Motorola 56301 DSP high-speed processor
  • 284KB, 12nS zero wait state Static RAM
  • Sample Rates supported with Microeditor (kHz): 8, 9.45, 10, 11.025, 12, 16, 18.9, 20, 22.05, 24, 32, 37.8, 40, 44.1, 48
  • All processing is performed at sample accuracy for mathematically perfect computations that deliver artistically perfect sound
  • PCI-bus 13" long board

Krystal is not supported as the Windows 95/98 multimedia audio card. Thus, you will need to also install a multimedia card for other programs to use.

Krystal is engineered for professionals who demand instantaneous, sonically perfect audio processing.

The Krystal DSP audio card analog A/D and D/A converters provide excellent quality as shown below. This shows the distortion in BOTH the input and output analog circuits, making the figures twice as high. Thus, Krystal's THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion+Noise) of 0.0121% is really 0.006% for a single port that is usually seen on spec sheets.

MTU Krystal DSP audio card analog port test results

[Krystal DSP audio card results]

It is a well known fact that odd-harmonic distortion can be easily heard by humans. Notice that Krystal's 3rd harmonic (3kHz) distortion is -87dB, the 5th is -98dB and all others are below -100dB. Krystal's noise floor response below 1kHz is quite flat giving a very clear sound. Krystal is engineered for professional, quality audio processing. With Microeditor software, it delivers the highest quality at real-time processing speeds.

Release Versions

Version Released Requires
Rev-D 09/15/96 V2.7b or higher Current production release. This is a 6-layer PC-board.
Rev-C 08/01/96 Internal MTU This was never released as it had digital audio synchronization problems. This was a 6-layer PC-board.
Rev-B 06/01/96 Internal MTU This was never released as it had noise problems. This was a 4-layer PC-board.
Rev-A 04/01/96 Contract Customer Three shipped to first customer on custom contract. This was a 4-layer PC-board.
Setup/Test Failure of Krystal PCI MasterBus

Question: When running the Setup/Test Icon Krystal test suite, the PCI master bussometimes fails, but will run successfully the second time.

Answer: Krystal can exhibit this problem when powering up. It has on-board 3 volt regulators which derive power from the computer 5 volt supply. The 5 volts must stabilize before Krystal releases the DSP to execute its reset operation. If the Pentium trys to access Krystal before the DSP is reset and ready, the DSP will not answer correctly. Once the power supplies have stablized, the problem should disappear.

Moving Krystal to Another Motherboard Slot

Question: Will moving Krystal to another PCI-bus slot make it work in a motherboard that appears to be incompatible?

Answer: This is a valid fix for some motherboard. However, if the signal timing differences between the slots are that marginal, the resulting workstation reliability may suffer. Some of the PCI-bus signals have a variance range. If the Krystal timing for that signal is at the high end of the range and the motherboard is at the low end of the range, a conflict can occur. Moving Krystal to another slot can slightly alter the timing. As the computer parts heat up and/or age over time, the timing can shift and Krystal's operation can again fail. The safe way to handle this is to replace the motherboard.

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