This month we look at the new rackmount DSP engine, the XITE-1 from SonicCore.  What is it and how does it stack up against competitive offerings?

The XITE-1 is basically SonicCore's Scope platform in a 1-unit high rackmount configuration allowing for greater portability and power based on a later generation of SHARC DSP processor than the Scope PCI cards.


In terms of portable DSP power using the SHARC ADSP21369 chip the XITE-1 really has no competition in its price range as it contains twelve new generation SHARC processors (plus six older generation ones for backward compatibility) and other laptop compatible products only have one or two.  Regarding desktop or studio-based solutions, the XITE-1 is the most powerful in a single unit and in fact the only rack mount one.  Competing products have to be mounted inside a computer and multiple boards have to be purchased to get anywhere near the power of XITE-1.

While these internal PCIe offerings are an attractive solution for studios wanting to deploy models of particular classic devices, they don't have any instruments or the huge choice of third party original device developers offered to the Scope community that the XITE-1 does.  These extend to a wider variety of mixers, effects and synths whereas the competing PCIe solutions tend to be restricted to effects/mixers only, no instruments or other routing type devices.

The XITE-1 benefits from the Scope routing environment, a way of connecting everything outside your computer and inside it as well.  No other platform offers this flexibility to become the communications 'HUB' of your studio as they must be run 'inside' your sequencer environment like a VST instrument.  Top DSP programmers acknowledge that it is the routing software inside Scope that makes it so special, it really is one of a kind when it comes to harnessing multiple DSP chips across a large project.  Scope/XITE-1 can be run 'inside' your sequencer (XTC mode) or outside it (Classic Mode).  Last month, 'Sound On Sound' magazine published this article about recent Scope/XITE-1 platform developments.

So what does the future hold for the XITE-1?  If it's so powerful now, are we at the end of the road?  Not at all.  The XITE-1 is only in it's first phase as there is still room for optimization over what was developed for the Scope PCI cards.  So what SonicCore have done is planned for the future by delivering a platform that can host releases of even more powerful devices fully optimized for the new SHARC processors.

From this perspective we really are only at the dawn of a new era. If XITE-1 is blowing away competition now, its a kind of 'you ain't seen nothing yet' blow away. Whereas competing boards are already running their SHARC chips at optimized top speed with nowhere to go power wise, and are relying on host systems (and associated latency) for interconnectivity across large projects.


SonicCore Xite-1 at NAMM, January, 2009 from Greg Hurley on Vimeo.

Download the Flyer SCOPE XITE-1 here



Dante September 2010