The world of PMCs – Linnstrument

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Wired introduces the world of PMCs (polyphonic multi-dimensional controllers) as ‘revolutionary’ MIDI machines that

can sense finger movement in three dimensions simultaneously—in addition to controlling volume, a musician can also change a note’s pitch and timbre in real time.

The article details the Linnstrument; others cited include the Roli Seaboard, the Haken Continuum, the Eigenharp and Madrona Soundplane.

Fifty years from now, the 1970s to 2015 will be regarded as a strange period in history when people played musical sounds with secretarial input devices: on-off buttons, switches, sliders, and knobs. Controlling numbers by pressing keys. That’s a horrible interface. – Roger Linn

Over at Youtube you can check out what Roger had to say at NAMM 2015, and this well-played Linnstrument using a classic guitar patch.


Building a monosynth using WebMIDI API

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Browsers are only beginning to be able to play audio triggered by MIDI. This tutorial shows how that can be done today using the Chrome browser and Angular.js … javascript code included.

Not only does the Web MIDI API allows us to build synthesizers and audio effects, but we can even start building browser-based DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) similar in feature and performance to their current flash-based counterparts…. In this tutorial, I will guide you through the basics of the Web MIDI API, and we will build a simple monosynth that you will be able to play with your favorite MIDI device.

Raspberry Pi 2 now available

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4 32-bit ARMv7 Cortex-A7 cores … 3 to 6 times faster! And 1G of RAM.
That’s about all that needs to be said … except that, yep, still $35.

Oh yeah … one more thing: “Raspberry Pi 2 runs the full range of GNU/Linux distros including Canonical’s Snappy Ubuntu Core – the new spin of this popular Linux distro that has been deliberately shrunk by Canonical to work in SoC in IoT.”

Now what reason don’t you have to go forth and Csound???

Quick notes 2014

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2014 Mar 12 Seems we need to go through this every few years. Xiph’s technical reasons why 24/192 music downloads make no sense.
Instead: “The most dramatic possible fidelity improvement for the cost comes from a good pair of headphones.” (Links to several good sources are included. If you want to get way into it, here’s a 27-page PDF by Dan Lavry.)

2014 Mar 3 FACT magazine details 14 synthesizers that shaped modern music. And addicts fans at MeFi have a few things to say about that list. Of course we all do, but caveat: having been important once doesn’t make a synth worth big $$$ any more.

2014 Feb 27 A couple of posts on Brad Fiedel’s original theme music for sci-fi film Terminator, released 30 years ago this October. Synths included Prophet and Oberheim models; they didn’t include MIDI – which led to some interesting timing problems!


Quick notes 2013, September to November

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2013 Nov. 27 Vice magazine offers an article about ‘Algorave’ – it includes a 70-minute video. ‘Live coding’ is hitting some clubs … at least, the ones where “glasses, walking boots, and backpacks form the universal dress code.” ;-) Overtone is one example of the code being used; Extempore is another.


Quick notes, 2013 July-August

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2013 August 29 CDM has an interesting look at the 6-operator, open source PreenFM DIY synth. Or go straight to the Preen website.

2013 August 24 A Zouk Bass primer.

2013 August 23 Dr. Blankenstein, the Mad Scientist of Analog Synthesizers and Atari Punks.

For techno musician Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, Blanke made the Sonic Crusher, which he describes as a “vocal processor, audio scrambler, robot box.”


Quick notes, 2013 May-June

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2013 June 10 – Over on the Things I Made blog, there’s a interesting, quick RasPi project called The One-Button Audiobook Player. This might make a great gift for young or old, or be an idea starter. Linux User UK says the author is Michael Clemens; he shares his Python code, and he sure has a tasteful eye for project packaging.

2013 June 10 – An Historical overview of Harald Bode’s instruments is a long, excellent Canadian Electroacoustical Community article (they have more!). It carefully details most of the  electronic instruments created by largely-overlooked, pioneering German engineer Harald Bode. (His first instrument was 1937’s Waabo Formant Organ.)
• Blogroll add: Synthfind “Celebrating and tracking down classic synths”.

2013 June 8 – Jan of buranelectrix.com has published a description of a home-made synthesizer controlled by a recycled toy keyboard. The synth uses an Atmel ATmega8 on a 3x20cm PCB and a handful of components to produce 4 oscillators, 4 parameters, and  5 patch memories. Inspiring!
His writeup includes a schematic as well as C code for the Atmel. Throw in a number of pictures, and you take it from there. Video included. [via Hackaday writeup]

2013 May 22 – The FAS has a nicely-written, short article to explain the differences between AM and FM modulation, for both audio and radio frequencies. (FM synthesis, you’ll recall, was introduced in consumer synths by the Yamaha DX-7.)
A great book covering this and many more modulation and synthesis techniques in depth  is Dodge and Jerse 1997 book Computer Music. (Link may show where you can borrow a copy.) ISBN 0028646827.

2013 May 20 – A new addition to the Blogroll today is Controllerism.com. Hard to tell where/who, but it goes back at least 2 years.
I also want to mention (2) this mouthwatering collection of 50-75 minute HD video performances at ursss.com. (Who wouldn’t rather just be there?) And (3) this article on laptop performances.

2013 May 11 – Learn about TOPLAP, Live coding, and altoraves. (Guess that ChucK software I played with 10 years ago has led to A Thing!) See the Wiki for history etc. Which leads to questions like: What is Supernatant? UrMus? (Ever get that can’t-keep-up feeling?)

2013 May 11 – Researchers at SFSU are studying using GPUs to accelerate realtime sound-synthesis with a latency under 11ms. (ACM) (Slashdot story/comments) Readable not-too-technical article starts with principles, then describes their experiments.

Our software synthesis package, FDS (Finite Difference Synthesizer), was designed to operate on Mac OSX and Linux. FDS simulates a vibrating plate, similar to a percussion instrument…. The audio callback thread communicates with PortAudio, a cross- platform audio driver that coordinates the interface between FDS and the operating system’s audio layer.

You can find the PDF of the paper and more here. BTW, the idea for PortAudio (Wiki) came from Ross Bencina, the man who created AudioMulch (PC/Mac only) … see his Code section for some useful into.

2013 May 4 – London’s Attack Mag lists Top Ten Most Underrated Synths.
And while I’m thinking of it, after I ran across an SSM2030 chip in my junk box,  I then found the Analog Heaven mailing-list archive for the first time in years. On-page search of 870 pages!

2013 May 2CDM reviews newly released Reason 7, which adds external MIDI support, and audio slicing. (Part 2!)
Plus: alla you hardware freaks will probably grok CDM’s look inside this Minneapolis-made Meganome. Not to mention the wood case, or the robotic drums.

……………….. Quick notes, 2013 Feb – Apr

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