alesis fusion file data (.afn .afp .afa .afm .afs .afi)

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jook
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Post by jook »

Bazz, I am aware of what is and isn't possible. And the fact is, regardless of whether it is possible to create compressed AFS files or not, it will always be possible to extract WAVs from the AFS files if the format is suitably unprotected (e.g. no encryption) and if someone seeks out to do that. This fact does not change.

In fact, right now, I am wishing the format does support encryption so that it would actually be much easier to create AFS files than to go backwards, in which case, I would not need to be digressing on these points right now. We haven't actually gotten far enough yet to determine if this does or does not exist at this point, so I hope it does! In which case, HollowSun's work would not be endangered in anyway by what we do.

Frankly, if the above documented information is enough for someone to extract the data, then the data was unprotected to begin with, because we have merely made the simplest observations of the file. I know that, I myself, have only spent about a total of 10 minutes looking at the file format.

I'm sorry, and I mean well for Steve and Alesis, and I do understand where they are coming from (I am a software developer myself who have to deal with piracy on a daily basis! the amount of effort and money we have to spend on counter piracy measures is ridiculous and truely depressing - and at the end, quite futile) ... but I seriously believe there's a flawed logic in the above hypothesis.

To believe that if we find out how to create AFS files, means that it will assist in finding out how to extract from AFS files, and by not doing the former, we will protect this from happening - is simply not true.

If the file format is suitably designed that it is easy to extract the data, then someone who seeks to do that will be able to do it, regardless of what we do. The information we gather in doing the former may or may not assist in the latter, but it does not make it possible. And anyone who is capable of using that information to achieve the latter, should by all accounts be capable of coming up with that information themselves.

I urge Steve to take the time to read the rest of this thread to see that what we are doing is not the same as AFS -> WAV. You are of course, free to decide and have your own opinion on how this affects you, but IMO, the concern is equivalent to worrying that information on making a fire cracker can be used to make a bomb. Or that by learning how to train dogs, you can train them to kill ... or a receipe for a really tasty pumpkin pie might be used to make a poisonous pumpkin pie (surely, the ultimate weapon), or by making a car, someone can turn it into a killing machine... or, ... well, you get the idea.

On a personal note, if the Fusion Converter actually allowed me to specify compression when required, and was a bit more capable in bank and sample management, I personally would have no need for looking into any of this. So I'll be very happy if, like bazz said, Chickensys or Alesis came out with more updates that did what people wanted. But it does seem unlikely at this point.

There is the potential for the Fusion to become a much more powerful platform, if third party developers start working on it, adding functionality and utilities. This in turn will attract more people to the Fusion, especially since official support of the Fusion has seemingly grinded to a halt. But, I don't intend to tell anyone what to think or believe with something like this, so I leave it up to you to judge for yourself.

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bazz
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Post by bazz »

why do we need compression anyways? compression adds to the loading time of programs, even if it is just half a second per program. (the samples need to be decompressed when loaded into the memory, i think..)

it has no real value imo, it possibly even harms the community.. a tool that could go back and forth between "neno" samples to wav or akai or whatever would be great and enough for everybody. Right?
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Post by Roberto »

So good he said it three times !!! ;)

Listen, I don't mean to be devils advocate here, but I'm not entirely convinced of the purpose behind such an exercise as "debugging" the compression process.

I know many of you will say, "Ah, but you WOULD say that, wouldn't you", being that I have my connections, but hear me out.

Alesis has contracted Chicken Systems to produce a conversion program for free and Garth has also done a Pro version which covers most formats. This will suffice in getting most 3rd party libraries into your Fusion. If it's a large "bloatware" library from a software sampler, then I guess you could easily run out of memory in the Fusion, especially if you don't have the E3 upgrade. However, you will very quickly appreciate the utter waste that is inherent in these libraries. On the other hand, acquire any of the thousands of Akai S1000/S3000 libraries out there, and you will witness the excellent art of (as Steve calls it) "Bonsai Sampling". Getting the most out of as small a footprint as possible.

And let's face it, with a Fusion, we're not short on storage space are we ?

I don't normally hear anyone bitching about being unable to deconstruct monolithic Kontakt or GIGA libraries. It's just accepted that they are what they are. Why can't people accept that the compression algorithims used by the proprietary routines used by Alesis are just that; proprietary. It's not as if anyone can't get 3rd party samples into their Fusion.

I'm sure the uber geeks here will love to be able to "hack" whatever they can, motivated by the hackers paradigm of doing it because they can. But is it ultimately going to provide anyone with any major and significant benefit ?

Personally I think not.

And as for the argument that if something gets hacked in one direction, it can get hacked the other way too, well, I have to agree. I'm not saying people will, but the doors could be opened and then the community will lose what free support they have in the respect of sounds and patches and we will end up with people bemoaning that loss. Like certain people need something to bitch about the Fusion !!

I applaud the intellect and technical savvy shown here, but question it's benefits in the long term.
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bazz
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Post by bazz »

sorry for the triple post, just noticed it. using wireless with the palm tungsten c sometimes giives strange results.

as for the support from alesis or hollow sun, we haven't noticed much lately from either party. perhaps it's time that someone talks to alesis about this. it will only do them good imo.. just hearing one statement on the status of fusionn support from alesis will make a lot of users happy.
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Post by jook »

First, I appreciate the discussion guys, and thank you for adding your thoughts. Just as you asked us to hear you out, I sincerely hope that you will now take the time to read what became a ridiculously long post. I really hoped to clear up some misconceptions on this subject.
bazz wrote:why do we need compression anyways? compression adds to the loading time of programs, even if it is just half a second per program. (the samples need to be decompressed when loaded into the memory, i think..)
My interest in the use of compressed sample on the Fusion was just an example of one missing functionality that is technically possible but not made available to the end user at the moment.

I agree that if the samples are decompressed during load time (thereby not allowing larger samples to be loaded into memory that wasn't possible without compression) then the practical need for this is diminished.

I do realize that the CPU cycles required for lossless decoding are far too expensive to expect the Fusion to decode in real-time on playback. Nonetheless, I guess I'm the sort of person who doesn't rule it out until it's been proven otherwise and I haven't gotten around to testing that yet. But yes, I don't expect it to happen to be honest, so I'll go with the idea that this isn't of much practical value.
bazz wrote:it has no real value imo, it possibly even harms the community.. a tool that could go back and forth between "neno" samples to wav or akai or whatever would be great and enough for everybody. Right?
No? I personally have no interest in converting AFS samples to WAV or AKAI. There are a myriad of options if one wanted to do that (which I won't divulge on here because it is clearly a sensitive issue). The hard part is getting samples INTO the Fusion. The Fusion Converter is our only means at the moment, and it is not providing all the options possible. We can't even create a native AFS sample/program from the computer at the moment, we have to create an AKAI sample first, then convert it to AFS and hope Fusion Converter doesn't mess up the translation (and THEN fix things where they mess up within the Fusion). It seems to me like it could do with improvement, if not, an alternative.
Roberto wrote:If it's a large "bloatware" library from a software sampler, then I guess you could easily run out of memory in the Fusion, especially if you don't have the E3 upgrade.
Does this imply that compression actually helps the loading of large samples into memory, that otherwise wouldn't fit? Because it seemed unlikely from a technical probability perspective (but still, possible) and that's one thing I wanted to find out.
Roberto wrote:However, you will very quickly appreciate the utter waste that is inherent in these libraries. On the other hand, acquire any of the thousands of Akai S1000/S3000 libraries out there, and you will witness the excellent art of (as Steve calls it) "Bonsai Sampling". Getting the most out of as small a footprint as possible.
I appreciate that, believe me, but the fact is, I have some sample libraries that aren't available in "bonsai" form. And rather than wait for someone to create bonsai versions of these samples (which are unlikely to happen), and myself not having the patience or experience to do this personally, you oughto realize that it's an attractive possibility to be able to just load them in as is, even if it takes a bit longer to load.
Roberto wrote:Why can't people accept that the compression algorithims used by the proprietary routines used by Alesis are just that; proprietary.
That's because it's not proprietary. That's stated on the Legal page of the Reference manual quite clearly. It's an open source compression algorithm that Alesis licensed for use.
Roberto wrote:I'm sure the uber geeks here will love to be able to "hack" whatever they can, motivated by the hackers paradigm of doing it because they can. But is it ultimately going to provide anyone with any major and significant benefit ?
...
I applaud the intellect and technical savvy shown here, but question it's benefits in the long term.
On the contrary, long term benefits is exactly what this is all about. There is absolutely no interest on my behalf to do things "because I can", I have enough coding work in my day job that I really would rather NOT code given the option (I'll rather make music!) so I think you are misunderstanding our intentions and purpose.

First of all, I'll emphasize again that I understand where you're coming from and sympathize with the concern over protecting your material. Yes, by making certain technical information on the file format available to the public, we may unintentionally help less considerate individuals develop tools which assist in extracting WAV data from the AFS files. However, as stressed before, this is already technically possible with the current situation. If someone seeks to do something like that, there is already nothing stopping them. To suggest that by keeping the file format obscure, we will protect the files is simply not true. Anyone who is capable of creating this tool with the little information gathered in creating AFS files, is just as capable of coming up with that information themselves.

If you do not understand the details above, I can elaborate in private messages, but I am purposely leaving out specifics since I don't want to be accused of publishing information on extracting the data - this is obviously a sensitive issue for some people here.

As to what I mean about long term benefits; the point is that these small steps in working out the specifications of the Fusion's file formats will open up a world of third party development possibilities that are not currently available. You ask why Kontakt and Giga has less of this need - and partly, it's because those products are continually being updated and there are clear signs that they are progressing and will have more features added. The best people to do the following are the original developers, with the proper documentation. However, we have very few signs that indicate there will be continual official development for the Fusion, so given that we do not have "the best people to do this", we are left to look to the "other people who can do this".

Some possibilities:

1) Editor software: Allowing users to edit programs, samples, mixes, and everything from the convenience of their computer. Kinda like an ak.sys for the Fusion. Often with something like this, the developers will find new options and possibilities that were not previously made available by the official interface. For example, the Kurzweil PC-series keyboard has a user developed application known as the "PC2 Editor" which allows people to edit the patches from their computer instead of the built-in interface of the keyboard. This made it more convenient for users to edit programs and patches but also extended beyond what the official interface allowed, and opened up a world of editing (eg control over some of the internal patches) that weren't even possible before.

2) The ability to create native AFS samples or programs, as opposed to the need to create AKAI programs and converting to Fusion (as mentioned before). As seen with the compression option, there is already one configurable option that is not available to the public at the moment. There may well be plenty more settings and options that we do not currently have access to.

3) The possibility of adding "Save as Fusion Program" options to a variety of sample editing and creation programs out there.

4) Lots of little tools and utilities that can make batch processing more convenient.

For example, off the top of my head, I was thinking of creating a tool which would simply convert the AFS/AFP output created by Fusion Convertor to the corresponding compress format. Something which just takes an existing program and basically compresses it. Again, the usefulness of this is up in question depending on how or when the Fusion decodes the compression.

Another tool off the top of my head would be something that converts a "bloatware" library by breaking it up into two programs, and automatically creating a mix which uses the two programs, thereby creating programs which will utilize the memory for both VEngines.

I know, you will quesiton why anyone may want or need such tools, but that is the beauty of having the choice. You may not need it, but someone else might. For example, I know of at least several Linux users that would like to be able to create Fusion programs and samples from their Linux machines. It's not even possible, and there is no choice at all to do so at the moment.

5) Ultimately, and this is by all means quite out there, but all small steps lead somewhere - and an active development community can grow to a point where it becomes possible for people to look into developing alternative firmware. This is how projects such as Rockbox came about (a very active and successful replacement firmware for iPods and many other MP3 players, which includes a host of new features and capabilities not provided for in the official firmware). Now can you imagine that? It mightn't need to be replacement firmware, perhaps it can be patches to the existing firmware. People could be adding in the physical models they have been hoping to see, fix any existing bugs or quirks, completely rewrite it to do something else... the possibilities are endless.

I am not saying, of course, that by simply working out the file format, the above will happen (and I am definitely not volunteering for the monolithic task of engineering new firmware!) But, to discourage even looking into the simplest understanding of the Fusion's file formats, then you are most definitely closing the door on any of the above possibilities.

So that's the value of all this nerdy poking around within the Fusion. And as with anything of value, there is a risk as well. But please look carefully at the positive benefits before you dismiss it as careless, irresponsible geekery.

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Post by GuyDenruyter »

I second Jook's remarks. Let's not think negatively (a wheel could lead to high speeds that could kill someone, so let's not invent this wheel), but about the possibilities. Besides, there's no support from Alesis anyway, so if something is going to save the Fusion's future, it'll come from this community.

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Post by bazz »

I agree that third party development should be made easier, and an editor such as described by jook would make quite a few people happy. But if that implies that e.g. Hollow Sun, Alesis or any other provider of resources for the fusion stops providing novelties [because of possible harm to their IP (intellectual property)], then I think we should wait for an official statement of Alesis or HS if they are going to keep supporting the fusion before this community develops or even releases such a tool.

If they want to keep supporting the fusion and its community, which they have seriously omitted for quite some time, now would be a good time to make a statement on the status of development, their further intentions with this product and whether they will support third party applications development that will most likely also improve sales just because it makes it a more usable product.

It is inevitable imo that people start creating tools with "reverse engineering" if Alesis keeps going this way. That will, in some cases probably, stop people like HS from contributing to the community and we'll have a loss for quality sounds on the regular (not so regular lately as well), but on the other hand we'll win a great tool that can expand our horizons..

It's all up to Alesis...
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Post by EdgardSQUARE »

Hy everybody,

I actually think like jook, if someone coded those things, then a person with time and motivation can do the same, with or without the help of those file descriptions.

I've already started to work on some R.I. (reverse engineering) of files and especially firmware, but I really have neither time nor motivation nor knowledge on FPGAs/DSPs for now, so I'm giving up for now.

I think that it's a good thing to see if Alesis will react to those possibilities by releasing the (far more) expected OS 2.0 or showing us, at least, some interrest... Personaly I'd not do anything until 1st Q 2008.

Let's see if Alesis cares about us or at least about their fusion... ;)

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Post by wildbill »

Being a non-techie, I kind of muddled through this thread. I guess it's a dead issue now, but this is all I would have liked to see for the Fusion:

the ability to directly import .wav files into the Fusion without having to use the converter program.

I'm thinking that computer OS's change fairly often, there's no guarantee that the program will be kept up to date in the far future, and there's a good possibility that the Fusion might physically outlast both future computer OS's and the converter program.

What then?

I have a few other pieces that can directly use .wav files, but I'm really growing to like the Fusion.

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Post by Mastropiero »

bazz wrote:I've been trying some stuff a few days ago to create a CLI .wav to .afs converter, I might as well share it since it doesn't work anyways :)
Here goes: http://bazz.nl.eu.org/fusion/fusion_wav2afs.tgz
It's very clumsy ansi C, I have almost no knowledge of this language but tried anyways. Probably some tweaking and it'll work (calculate sample size and number of samples should still be done). Just type make in the folder where you extracted it (tested and "programmed" in linux armeb)

a wav file can be very complicated, dunno if chickensys' stuff uses all that stuff but check out this link: http://www.sonicspot.com/guide/wavefiles.html
In fact, the Chickenshi.t Convertor doesn't convert the WAV files properly :x

I'm working on a new library and it's frustrating since the loop points aren't converted as they should and it takes a lot of extra work to adjust all the loops again.

Does your C program convert the 'smpl' chunk information as well?
It would save me a lot of work!!
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Post by electRiq »

When I create WAV files with Samplitude including loop points I have no problem. The Fusion uses the set loop points without any trouble.
The factor of cpu power and user brain is always constant
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Post by Mastropiero »

What version of Fusion Convertor do you have?
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Re: alesis fusion file data (.afn .afp .afa .afm .afs .afi)

Post by Jesse »

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=6049&p=37991#p37991

I just received all the files from jemap except for the Fusion_afp_fm_structure.pdf

I have copied a file (jemap Alesis Fusion afp file reader with 3 afp programs.rar) on my Media file web site that contains all 5 of these files :)

http://www.mediafire.com/folder/0sjzg5q ... _Utilities

******************************************************************************************************************
Hi Jesse,

Here are new links to try :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5gelgg1glibk1 ... 4.exe?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wzwc5ogchbqu7 ... e.exe?dl=0


https://www.dropbox.com/s/3etypeifwdx40 ... n.zip?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qxb6vfq09ghao ... n.zip?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rq7953ki9wd64 ... p.zip?dl=0

I don’t find Fusion afp fm structure.pdf

Jemap

*****************************************************************************************************************
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Re:

Post by Jesse »

Mastropiero wrote:
Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:47 pm
What version of Fusion Convertor do you have?
https://www.chickensys.com/products2/fusioncreator/

It is now called Fusion Creator and is version 1.2, Build 49
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