January 18, 2018

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Recreating the Radio from Portal

If you’ve played Valve’s masterpiece Portal, there’s probably plenty of details that stick in your mind even a decade after its release. The song at the end, GLaDOS, “The cake is a lie”, and so on. Part of the reason people are still talking about Portal after all these years is because of the imaginative world building that went into it. One of these little nuggets of creativity has stuck with [Alexander Isakov] long enough that it became his personal mission to bring it into the real world. No, it wasn’t the iconic “portal gun” or even one of the oft-quoted robotic turrets. It’s that little clock that plays a jingle when you first start the game.

Alright, so perhaps it isn’t the part of the game that we would be obsessed with turning into a real-life object. But for whatever reason, [Alexander] simply had to have that radio. Of course, being the 21st century and all his version isn’t actually a radio, it’s a Bluetooth speaker. Though he did go through the trouble of adding a fake display showing the same frequency as the one in-game was tuned to.

The model he created of the Portal radio in Fusion 360 is very well done, and available on MyMiniFactory for anyone who might wish to create their own Aperture Science-themed home decor. Though fair warning, due to its size it does consume around 1 kg of plastic for all of the printed parts.

For the internal Bluetooth speaker, [Alexander] used a model which he got for free after eating three packages of potato chips. That sounds about the best possible way to source your components, and if anyone knows other ways we can eat snack food and have electronics sent to our door, please let us know. Even if you don’t have the same eat-for-gear promotion running in your neck of the woods, it looks like adapting the model to a different speaker shouldn’t be too difficult. There’s certainly enough space inside, at least.

Over the years we’ve seen some very impressive Portal builds, going all the way back to the infamous levitating portal gun [Caleb Kraft] built in 2012. Yes, we’ve even seen somebody do the radio before. At this point it’s probably safe to say that Valve can add “Create cultural touchstone” to their one-sheet.

by Tom Nardi at January 18, 2018 12:00 AM

January 16, 2018

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Fooling Speech Recognition With Hidden Voice Commands

It’s 2018, and while true hoverboards still elude humanity, some future predictions have come true. It’s now possible to talk to computers, and most of the time they might even understand you. Speech recognition is usually achieved through the use of neural networks to process audio, in a way that some suggest mimics the operation of the human brain. However, as it turns out, they can be easily fooled.

The attack begins with an audio sample, generally of a simple spoken phrase, though music can also be used. The desired text that the computer should hear instead is then fed into an algorithm along with the audio sample. This function returns a low value when the output of the speech recognition system matches the desired attack phrase. The input audio file is gradually modified using the mathematics of gradient descent, creating a result that to a human sounds like one thing, and to a machine, something else entirely.

The audio files are available on the site for your own experimental purposes. In a noisy environment with poor audio coupling between speakers and a Google Pixel, results were poor – OK Google only heard the human phrase, not the encoded attack phrase. Given that the sound quality was poor, and the files were generated with a different speech model, this is not entirely surprising. We’d love to hear the results of your experiments in the comments.

It’s all a part of [Nicholas]’s PhD studies around the strengths and pitfalls of neural networks. It highlights the fact that neural networks don’t always work in the way we think they do. Google’s Inception is susceptible to similar attacks with images, as we’ve seen recently.

[Thanks to Wolfgang for the tip!]

by Lewin Day at January 16, 2018 03:00 AM

January 15, 2018

MOD Devices Blog

Tutorial: LiquidCrystal and Control Chain

Dear MOD users!

Hi to all of you who want to use your Arduino Control Chain shield with an LCD screen.

We got the question on the forum some time ago, whether it would be possible to use LCDs on your Control Chain device and with the Control Chain library version 0.5.0 and up, it now is!

To help out, we thought that making an example of how to do this might come in handy. So let’s see!


  1. One Arduino Uno or Due
  2. One Arduino Control Chain shield
  3. Two 4×20 LCD Screens
  4. Four 10K linear potentiometers
  5. Some wire
  6. Some soldering tin
  7. Pin headers (recommended)


schematic arduino shield

Schematic for the UI extension build

The schematic for this build looks a little more complicated than the previous ones, but most of the connections are used for the displays.

Note that in the schematic there are two 16×2 displays used. The code, however, is meant for two 20×4 displays. Nonetheless, the pin-out is the same in both cases.

To keep this blog post from being extremely long, here is a link to a more detailed description of the wiring of the LCD screen’s made by Adafruit.

Because we are connecting 2 displays instead of one, we can connect almost all pins from one display to the other. For the contrast pin, however, it is still recommended to use 2 different potentiometers. The reason for this is that the 2 displays are almost never the same. This way it is still possible to set the contrast individually.

The big difference between this schematic and the one from the Adafruit tutorial is the ‘enable’ line of the displays (pin 6). In the Adafruit tutorial, this pin is connected to Arduino pin 8. In our case, however, we connect the ‘enable’ pin of the first display to Arduino pin 5 and the ‘enable’ pin of the second display to Arduino pin 6. Also, 4 potentiometers are connected. By default, they are connected to A0, A1, A2, and A3. But this is easily changeable, if desired.


For ease of use, the LiquidCrystal library was used. This library makes writing to the LCDs a lot easier. There is, however, a downside to this approach. This library is rather slow and uses a lot of delays internally. Because of this, the example code will only work with the Control Chain library version 0.5.0 or up. As it is right now, this library is only compatible with the Arduino Uno. This is due to the UART interruption that by default cannot be used on the Arduino Due. A while ago a Pull request was opened to change this. If you really want to use an Arduino Due, scroll a little down on the Control Chain library Github page where you can find an explanation on how to do this.

The code is structured in such a way that it mostly depends on the Control Chain Callbacks. Whenever a value or assignment changes, the display will be updated as well. The values of the potentiometers are simply read by an analogRead() function.


  1. Wire up the LCD screens according to the schematic (either by soldering them directly or as recommended with the use of pin headers)
  2. Connect the potentiometers outer pins to +5V track and GND track of the CC shield
  3. Solder the potentiometers inner pin to the corresponding analog input of the CC shield (by default A0, A1, A2, A3)


Follow the instructions on our Github page and install the dependencies then upload the code to your Arduino.

All done, time to test! Connect the CC shield to your MOD DUO. If everything went well you should see a new CC device popping up:

Control Chain device on MOD GUI


Also, when powered on, the device should display a message like this:

control chain device mod duo lcd screen

The startup message

The startup message

Then, assign the CC device to the actuator of your choice:

Control Chain device on MOD GUI

Address it like any actuator on the GUI

After assigning, the device should look like this:

lcd screen control chain accessory mod duo

The screens show the assigned parameters

All done! You should have yourself a working Hardware UI extender.


You can also put your build in an enclosure. For me, that meant looking up old prototypes and again I reused one of the XF4 prototype enclosures.

transparent enclosure control chain device mod duo lcd screen

The 4 extra potentiometers controller with the 2 LCD screens looking good!

Now, you have just finished your own Control Chain Hardware UI extender. Hopefully, this is helpful for all of you who wanted to see how to connect a display to the Arduino Control Shield. Don’t hesitate to come and talk to us on the forum if you have any questions about Control Chain devices, the Arduino or anything else!

by Jan Janssen at January 15, 2018 03:35 PM

January 12, 2018

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Printed PC Speakers Are Way Cooler Than Yours

On the off chance you’re reading these words on an actual desktop computer (rather than a phone, tablet, smart mirror, game console…), stop and look at the speakers you have on either side of your monitor. Are you back now? OK, now look at the PC speakers and amplifier [Chris Slyka] recently built and realize you’ve been bested. Don’t feel bad, he’s got us beat as well.

The speaker and amplifier enclosures were painstakingly printed and assembled over the course of three months, and each piece was designed to be small enough to fit onto the roughly 4 in x 4 in bed of his PrintrBot Play. While his limited print volume made the design considerably trickier, it did force [Chris] to adopt a modular design approach with arguably made assembly (and potential future repairs or improvements) easier.

The amplifier is made up of rectangular “cells” which are connected to each other via 3mm threaded rods. For now the amplifier only has 4 cells, but this could easily be expanded in the future without having to design and print a whole new case. Internally the amplifier is using two TDA8932 digital amplifier modules, and some VU meters scored off of eBay.

Each speaker enclosure is made up of 10 individual printed parts that are then glued and screwed together to make the final shape, which [Chris] mentions was inspired by an audio installation at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. They house 4″ Visaton FR 10 HM drivers, and are stuffed with insulation.

It’s a bit difficult to nail down the style that [Chris] has gone for here. You see the chunky controls and analog VU meters and want to call it retro, but it’s also a brass cog and sprocket away from being Steampunk. On the other hand, the shape of the speakers combined with the bamboo-filled PLA used to print them almost give it an organic look: as if there’s a tree somewhere that grows these things. That’s actually a kind of terrifying thought, but you get the idea.

If your computer speakers were assembled by mere mortals, never fear. We’ve covered a number of interesting hacks and mods for more run-of-the-mill desktop audio setups which should hold you over until it’s time to harvest the speaker trees.

[via /r/3Dprinting]

by Tom Nardi at January 12, 2018 04:30 PM

January 11, 2018

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Making A Headphone Amp Perform New Tricks

Hands up if you’ve had the misfortune to work in an office with a fondness for following the latest fads. Paperless office, how long did that last? Or moving from physical telephones to a flaky VOIP application on your Windows computer, that’s sure to be a resounding success! We’ve all been there at some point, haven’t we?

[Joshua Wise] found himself in that unenviable situation of the VOIP app move, and since he is a habitual headphone music listener the prospect of wearing his company-supplied headset was not appealing. His solution was to take his HeadRoom BitHead amplifier and plumb into it a microphone channel, and though he went through quite some work to reach that point the quality of his final work is very high.

He was in luck with the headphone amplifier, because the USB audio codec turns out to have an unused audio-in function as well as some HID input lines. His headset has a set of buttons as well as the microphone, which switch in and out a set of resistors to indicate which of them is pressed. Some work with a microcontroller to detect this resulted in a working interface, which he put along with the microphone circuitry on a beautifully done piece of protoboard.

Most constructors would have been happy at this point, but not [Joshua]. He proceeded to design a PCB to fit into the space around the headset socket, to contain the circuitry and better fit within the case. The result is an exceptionally high quality piece of work which he admits consumed a huge amount of resources but for which we applaud him.

So [Joshua] has a cool headset. But is it solar powered?

by Jenny List at January 11, 2018 07:30 PM

QmidiCtl 0.5.1 - An Early Winter'18 Release

Hi there!

Happy new year to y'all! I know I'm a little bit late on that, but can you feel the news? No? There's no fake news whatsoever! I'd let you solve the riddle by yourself as it's way more fun that way ;)

QmidiCtl 0.5.1 (early winter'18) released!

QmidiCtl is a MIDI remote controller application that sends MIDI data over the network, using UDP/IP multicast. Inspired by multimidicast ( and designed to be compatible with ipMIDI for Windows ( QmidiCtl has been primarily designed for the Maemo enabled handheld devices, namely the Nokia N900 and also being promoted to the Maemo Package repositories. Nevertheless, QmidiCtl may still be found effective as a regular desktop application as well.

See also: QmidiNet - A MIDI network gateway via UDP/IP multicast.

Project page:

Git repos:

Change-log (since last QStuff* End-of-Autumn'17 release):

  • A little hardening on the configure (autoconf) macro side.
  • A rather naive attempt to port to the Android-Qt platform; also introducing an (Android) Action Bar menu look-a-like.


QmidiCtl is free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.


Enjoy && keep the fun.

Flattr this

by rncbc at January 11, 2018 07:00 PM

January 09, 2018

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming

Millions of children worldwide use Scratch to enter the world of programming. Now there’s a new way to connect to music, as Roland teams up with MIT.

There’s a long, amazing history of teaching programming and creativity to kids. A lot of this legacy traces back to Cambridge and Wally Feurzeig, Seymour Papert, and Cynthia Solomon, with their late 60s introduction of the Logo programming language and accompanying Turtle Graphics, alongside a physical turtle robot. (Cynthia Solomon by the way has had an ongoing career contributing to this work and was one of the people instrumental in seeing this tool introduced to Apple’s 80s computer initiatives, which is how I grew up with it.)

If you understand topics like programming, logic – and machine learning, artificial intelligence, and related fields – as an extensive of how we think, then this is more than simply vocational prep. It’s not just making sure we have a generation of cheap coders, in other words. Learning programming, creativity, and media in this way can help how we think – so it’s really important.

Scratch is one of the latest to follow in these footsteps. It’s a free visual programming environment available on all operating systems and in 70+ (human) languages, built in its latest iteration with Web technologies. You can use it in a browser, and it has some surprisingly sophisticated interactive sprite and behavior capabilities, merging some of the best of past tools like Smalltalk, HyperCard, Director/Lingo, ActionScript, and others.

You know – for kids.

The GO_KEYS keyboard from Roland. Its price is a bit above the entry level (around $300). The main thought here is to reach new musicians by offering different ways of playing with loops and discovering music.

So now, where Roland comes in – now there’s an extension that lets you plug in a Roland GO:KEYS keyboard and use the GO:KEYS both as controller and sound source. Roland tell us “the SCRATCH X Extension combined with new firmware on the Roland GO:Keys allows for bi-directional communication via USB.”

You can program the GO:KEYS – and its musical capabilities – from Scratch. And you can control Scratch interactively using the keyboard’s notes and velocity, without any manual setup. So you can trigger animations or interactions from the keyboard, and Scratch can rely on GO:KEYS unique looping and sound generation facilities to add musical elements. Roland explains: “The GO:Keys Extension for SCRATCH X includes “blocks” which can select Loop Sets, play back specific patterns, determine the musical key, and so on.”

The SCRATCH X extension is the work of Roland; Scratch itself comes from the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Scratch programming interface with the new Roland module.

There’s some really cool potential here. HyperCard allowed kids (and adults) to create interactive storybooks and the like; with Scratch and GO:KEYS, you can imagine using keys to trigger story events, program logic creating musical events, and live control of music both from Scratch and the keyboard. Creative kids could turn this into a wild new instrument, complete with physical controls.

Now, of course, whether you specifically need the GO:KEYS for this or not is another matter. But it’s nice to see Roland even interested in this area. (And there’s an opportunity for the company to follow up with hardware loans and the like, and to work with other partners.) It’s also an excuse to look at this theme and where it could go.

Creative coding and teaching have long been a passion for me and this site, so I’ll be sure we follow up on this one!


The post Roland and MIT want to use music to teach kids programming appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at January 09, 2018 09:22 PM

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Eight SEGAs Singing

Way back in the dark ages, before the average computer could play back high quality recorded audio, things were done differently. Music and sounds were stored as instructions to be played back on audio synthesis chips, built into the computers and consoles of the 80s and 90s. These chips and their unique voices hold a special nostalgia that’s key to this era, making them popular to experiment with today. To that end, [little-scale] decided to wire up eight chips from the SEGA Master System to please your ears.

The chips, laid out on a breadboard with a Teensy LC running the show.

The chip in question is the SN76489, which we’ve also noted is used in the Sega Genesis as well. It packs 3 square wave tone generators, and a noise channel as well. With eight of these to play with, that’s 32 total channels. To drive these, [little-scale] decided to go the MIDI route. To get around the MIDI limit of 16 channels, he decided to split the frequency range in half. Each MIDI channel addresses two SN76489 channels, the top pitches being used for one, the lower pitches being used for the other. All this MIDI data is passed to a Teensy LC, which handles transposition of the note data to get everything back in tune, and addresses the eight chips to create a beautiful square wave symphony.

It’s a great way to create a cacophony of sound in a delightful vintage way, and code is available if you’d like to recreate the feat. What we’d like to know is this – what’s your favourite sound chip from yesteryear, and how badly do you want eight of them to sing in glorious harmony?

by Lewin Day at January 09, 2018 06:00 AM

January 07, 2018

Linux Audio Conference 2018

Call for Papers starts!

We are happy to announce, that the call for papers and works has started!
All relevant information on the submission process can now be found on this website.
Additionally, we're very pleased to have another institution (Spektrum) onboard in support of this year's conference.

by Linux Audio Conference Team at January 07, 2018 06:26 PM

January 04, 2018

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

How to make the free VCV Rack modular work with Ableton Link

VCV Rack, the free Eurorack modular emulation software, is a perfect match for wireless sync. Here’s how to do it, step by step.

Why Link? Link has already made itself known as a godsend. Not only does it work in Ableton Live, but Traktor, Serato, Reaktor, and Reason, and others. It works with numerous iOS apps, too. Get those tools on the same network (probably via wifi router), and all of them can use the same tempo and transport. There’s no master, no slave – in the style of a jam session, everything follows a shared tempo – which also means you don’t lose timing if one drops out.

And Link is a logical choice for VCV Rack. Both have an open source base. And whereas you own physical analog gear and modulars, you’d use clock signal by connecting a cable, here in the software domain, wireless, networked clock is just as useful.

Think modular. Even with the latest copy of VCV Rack, you don’t see a big, friendly “Link” button in the corner. Remember that the whole metaphor of Rack is that you have a virtual rack of modules. You’re going to have a module doing the Link synchronization – and you’re going to be able to use Link in some more modular ways.

To add Link support, you install a free, virtual module. (It’s the on-screen equivalent of coming back from the synth shops with a new bit of kit and bolting it in with a screwdriver, only this will be faster and … won’t cost anything or take up space in your studio.)

You may want to review our more in-depth guide to getting up and running with Rack:

Step one: How to start using VCV Rack, the free modular software

That article also includes instructions for building from source, though here we’ll use pre-built software for ease.

Installing Link on Rack

1. Grab a copy of the Stellare Link module. Link comes from Ableton, but it’s open and available to developers. So our friends Sander and Enzo (Stellare Modular) made their own virtual module for Rack. To get it, head to and select the Plugin Manager. Type “Link” into the search box, then click “Free” to highlight it. This adds the Link module to your account, and will synchronize it to any Rack setup.

2. Synchronize your Rack. Now with Stellare’s module attached to your account, you need to install it to your machine. Launch VCV Rack (you need a current version), and click Update Plugins. You should see a progress bar appear, and you’ll be prompted to restart Rack.

3. On Windows, move one file. On Mac and Linux, you’re done with installation. Windows users need to add one additional step, because as of now, the Plugin Manager isn’t yet fully able to locate one needed file. (This feature is in development, so this may be addressed.)

After running ‘Update Plugins,’ locate the installed directory (using C: as an example):


Copy link-wrapper.dll from that directory to the directory where your Rack.exe executable is located:

C:\Program Files\VCV\Rack\plugins

— so that link-wrapper.dll is on the same level as Rack.exe.

Restart Rack.

Wire up Link

4. Add the Link module. If you’ve performed the above steps correctly, you can now add the Stellare Link module to any rack. Right click in a blank space, then choose Stellare, then Link. On Windows, you may be prompted to enable access for Rack on your network; make sure to check both boxes, and then choose Allow Access.

5. Get something to sync. Any iPad on the same network, running an app like Modstep or Elastic Drums, or any local desktop software (Ableton Live, obviously, but here for fun I chose Serato DJ instead) can now jam along with VCV Rack in perfect timing.

Make sure “Link” is enabled (highlighted) in the associated software.

6. Play with clock! We’re on to the fun part!

The “/4” output jack on the Link module represents quarter divisions of the current Link clock. Reset sends a pulse on each subsequent downbeat. You could obviously get fancier than this, but you don’t need the Link module to do much more – you can divide or multiple that beat with other modules.

Here are two free modules (both installable from plugin manager) you can try out as gateways from Link to other stuff.

Add Grayscale > Algorhythm. Try connecting from the “/4” output on Link to the “CLOCK” input on Algorhythm. Click the start/stop at the top left of the Algorhythm module, and you’ll see Link advance the clock.

Now add Fundamental > SEQ-3. (As the “Fundamental” name implies, you should almost certainly install this selection of modules.) Connect from “/4” out on Link to “EXT CLK” on SEQ-3. Now, the bottom row will advance at the same rate.

What’s actually happening here, respective to the master tempo? Well, the “/4” in Rack represents quarter-subdivisions of the beat – so think sixteenth notes, since the Link beat is a quarter note. (You’ll get four subdivisions for each kick drum in four-on-the-floor techno, etc.!)

Try moving the patch cable on the SEQ-3. Drag on the end connected to “/4” – move it so it’s connected from ‘RESET’ on Link to ‘EXT CLK’ on the SEQ-3. Now, the sequencer advances on every downbeat.

7. Keep on ticking:

From here, you can experiment with other modules that take signal, clock dividers for transforming metrical divisions of the signal, and more.

A great place to start is by installing the Simple modular pack, then selecting Simple > Clock Divider. This will give you some different, musical divisions of that incoming clock.

Ted Pallas, who has been contributing our tutorials so far, uses that 1/16th signal to drive the VCV Pulse Matrix modules.

You can also make creative use of the useful ‘Offset’ knob – something missing in a lot of other Link implementations. Offset simply dials in a continuously controllable amount of time added or subtracted from outgoing clock signal. And that can be used as groove, as Ted explains:

A super cool feature I hope to see repeated next to every Link button I ever encounter is seen here for the first time: there’s an offset knob, and if you spin you’ll shove the link signal forwards and backwards in time. This knob allows you to really dial in the perfect sync between Rack and the larger system you’re trying to lock to. I’ve also used to Offset knob as something of a “swing designer,” placing my sequencer rhythm ever-just-so alongside a Tr-09.

Here’s a sample from Ted:

Oh, and another thing: there’s a lot of room for happy accidents and mistakes that wouldn’t make sense in another context. Because you’re just messing with signals, you may discover that something that isn’t theoretically what you intended is something you musically like. And since music is about making decisions based on taste, that opens up possibilities.

In Core, you’ll find a bunch of objects for routing MIDI signals – including clock – to modules. That may make a good future tutorial, and it’s where you’ll want to start if you have hardware or software sending MIDI clock in place of Ableton Link. (Hey, MIDI clock still has its place!)

The Link module isn’t a complete implementation of everything Link can do. There’s no way to transmit clock from VCV Rack using it, to adjust the tempo of other connected hardware and software on your Link session. And there could be additional rhythmic options built in.

But it’s free – so if you are already enjoying it or if you want to encourage such features, here’s a thought: donate to the developers!

More: (though you don’t need this site to install automatically, source and documentation live here)


The post How to make the free VCV Rack modular work with Ableton Link appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at January 04, 2018 08:35 PM

January 01, 2018


Ardour and Money, early 2018 edition

As 2018 gets underway, it seems like the right time for an updated report on the financial state of the Ardour project. I still occasionally see people referencing articles from several years that give a misleading idea on how things work these days, and it would be good to put some current and accurate information out there.

read more

by paul at January 01, 2018 09:59 PM

December 29, 2017

Long awaited news

So, we hope you like the new look. This is a long-overdue update to the website to bring a consistent appearance in line with the Arch Linux style. There have been changes in the back-end as well, and that is actually what had held back the update from rolling out sooner.

There is a lot of room for improvement, but a one- or two-man show is not always enough. That is why we have created a separate forum for feedback and suggestions. For obvious issues or feature requests, please use the bugtracker.

Our long-term goal is to eventually have deep integration between the website and external databases, such as the VCS and package repositories. We have a standalone bugtracker in review currently, and we intend to replace our Flyspray installation with it. We also look forward to having an easier VCS contribution process (with regards to setting up permissions and the like).

On other news, there is work in progress currently to have an automated build system for a nightly repository of development builds. We will try to reflect all of our work in Subversion including that of
the website (under the “projects” directory) so that anyone may join in the fun.

That would be all for this announcement – til next time!

The post Long awaited news appeared first on

December 29, 2017 10:13 AM

Interview with JazzyEagle

After a time of silence here on, we’re back with lots of news about Arch and using Arch for audio purposes. Actually, we’re gonna do a few little features on users, developers and companies interested in Arch linux for audio projects. Up to date packages for a variety of popular audio programs are available in the ArchAudio repositories.

Interview #1, JazzyEagle
Today we talk to JazzyEagle, an Arch user and enthusiast packager who’s been intrested in Linux since the late 90’s.

ArchAudio: Tell us a bit about yourself?

JazzyEagle: I’m Jason Harrer (pronounced like Harper without the “p”) and I live in the US, around Denver, CO. I work in the HealthCare industry as a Manager of a Medical Claims processing unit. My hobbies are playing/writing music and programming computers.

I got interested in Linux way back in the late 90’s, but thanks to a modem with no Linux support at all, I couldn’t really do anything with Linux, so I gave it up. I tried it again probably about 4 – 5 years ago after someone showed me Ubuntu, and, despite accidentally reformatting the hard drive multiple times when the intent was dual boot, I’ve been running various *buntu distros until I found Arch and fell in love with it.

ArchAudio: How about your musical interests?

JazzyEagle: I listen to all genres, but the ones I like the most are in the grunge/hard rock zone. I do play guitar, bass, keyboards and even accordion. Although I don’t claim to be able to play other stringed instruments, I have been known to pick them up and fiddle with them enough to play what I needed to on rare occasion.

ArchAudio: Wow, that’s a lot of instruments! So where does Arch come into all this?

JazzyEagle: I like the ability to create the system to the way I want it without installing a bunch of stuff I don’t want, as well as the cutting/bleeding edge rolling release philosophy of Arch. I tried Parabola, but I’ve determined that there are some non-free things I like, and so it didn’t quite fit my needs.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for the next update: about the MOD LV2 guitar pedal, and how it utilizes Arch linux on the inside!

The post Interview with JazzyEagle appeared first on

December 29, 2017 10:05 AM

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

Step one: How to start using VCV Rack, the free modular software

So, you’re ready to try a free and open platform for modular synths – even if you’re new to modular. Here’s how to get started.

Ed.: In part one of Ted Pallas’ guide to VCV Rack for us, we got an overview of VCV Rack, an open source platform that brings software emulations of Eurorack modules to Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.

A guide to VCV Rack, a software Eurorack modular you can use for free

It’s pretty transformative stuff. You can run virtual modules to synthesize and process sounds, both those emulating real hardware and many that exist only in software. You might try out modular synthesis for the first time, even if you’ve never worked with this approach to sound before. Or you might use Rack as a computer complement to physical hardware rigs, a way of testing out new modules before investing, or as a way of mixing computer and hardware modules.

Of course, where to begin can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to this kind of software or hardware. So, let’s talk about how to get up and running – even if you’re new to these kinds of tools. -PK

Where to find Rack

This article is for people who are new to modular, open-source software, or both! We’re going to go over where to find Rack, how to get it on your machine, and then will examine a sample patch to check out some modular techniques — the sort of techniques you might lack if you’re more used to working with desktop synthesizers or computer DAWs and soft synths.

The best place to find Rack is at its official project homepage:

(Check out the official Facebook group for additional community and support, as well.)

Before you grab the download, register an account (or login if you’ve got one already). Linking your Rack to a user account makes it easier to install virtual modules automatically and to stay up to date.

Then, you have a choice: you can build from source, or use pre-built stuff. If you’re not accustomed to this choice, that is to say, you have easy conventional installers linked right from the top of the VCV page – installed as you’d install any other Mac and Windows software – or the option of building from source if you prefer, more as a developer (or typical Linux user) would.

Building from source means maximum compatibility with every cool new module, and the ability to stay up with the developers – not a bad idea, given this project is in active development. On the other hand, using pre-built software is easier, and now provides access to a package manager for one-click installation of the most popular modules (including commercial ones), and account synchronization.

That’s not an either/or choice, you can do both. So, we’ve included some tips on building from source. And a note on that:

Don’t fear the source. Don’t panic. The installation process for the developer version is relatively painless, so for this tutorial, we’ll follow along with that. (If you just want to get going quickly, and our explanation here loses you, you can try one of these pre-built binaries.) And some modules – like, as we write this, the monome modules – do require the developer version.

Translation: if you can follow instructions and use copy/paste, you’ll be okay, and you’ll be done in under about half an hour (or much less depending on what’s on your system)!

Here, we’ll walk you separately through the automatic binary installation and the process of building from source for those who want to try it.

Downloading binaries, package manager for modules

Grabbing the pre-built binaries is definitely the fastest way to get up and running, and it does support a lot of modules via a new automatic package manager.

You’ll find installers at the top of the VCV Rack page for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

With VCV installed (either from source or from the binary), you have just an empty rack – the same as if you bought an empty Eurorack case from the synthesizer store. So, you can add some virtual modules. A series of modules called Fundamental are now bundled in the pre-built binaries, but you can add some more fun stuff to that.

Grab installers automatically via the new plugin manager. Just sign up for a free account to keep in sync.

For automated installation of both free and paid modules, there’s now a plugin manager that works with any version of Rack 0.51 or later. The plugin manager syncs your favorite plugins via your account – a cloud sync for modules, if you like.

From your Web browser, once you’re logged in, you can scroll down and click the green buttons that say ‘+Free’ to add all the available free modules. (Later, when you’re comfortable, some more sophisticated modules are available as inexpensive paid add-ons.) The growing range of free selections already includes a nice collection of virtual modules with real-world equivalents, with modules from popular Eurorack manufacturers Mutable Instruments, Greyscale, E-Series, and Befaco. The button will change from green to red to show you’ve added the module to your account.

Then when you open Rack, just hit the Update Plugins button on the toolbar on the top of the program, and you’ll automatically download those modules to your system.

First, log in.

Then update.

(You may want to check the documentation for some modules, even if using the plugin manager. For instance, the free Ableton Link support provided in Stellare’s module requires manually copying a DLL file. This is still software actively in development.)

Building from source

If you prefer to try the build-from-source approach, here’s how to proceed.

Head to GitHub for the developer version. Choose GitHub on the main VCV site, then click Rack, or head to this link:

Install your build environment. You’ll need to install some developer tools – the tools developers of Mac and iOS software, Linux software, and some open source Windows software would use. The process doesn’t require any actual developer knowledge, though – just some extra steps.

Mac users will need Xcode, which is now a one-click download from Apple’s App Store. You’ll also need wget, a command line file downloader. The two-step method to get that is via a very simple project called Homebrew. Look at the Homebrew site and copy-paste the command for installing Homebrew (right at the top of that page), then wget (the second line on that page).

Windows Since Windows lacks a *nix-style command line, there’s a one-click installation of MSYS2. Then install everything you need via one line from the VCV instructions:
pacman -S git make tar unzip mingw-w64-x86_64-gcc mingw-w64-x86_64-cmake

Restarting MSYS2 before the next step will let you make sure the make command finds the path to the compiler.

Linux users probably don’t need our help, but you’ll want to double check you’ve installed the packages gcc, make, cmake, tar, and unzip.

Then follow the remaining instructions for building VCV from source, which involves simply copy-pasting a few lines of text into the command line.

In short, it’ll be something like this:
1. Grab the source code:
git clone

Grabbing dependencies on Windows.

2. Build it:
cd Rack
make dep
git submodule update --init --recursive

But see the VCV site for full instructions. (Don’t forget the submodule update; otherwise, the build won’t find needed headers.)

Add some modules. As with Rack itself, you can build plugin modules from source manually. Those instructions are also on the GitHub page. You’ll find “source” links for all the open source modules next to the ‘free buttons.’ That’ll give you a link to the repository – where up-to-date code from the developer is stored.

cd [change directory] to the plugins folder inside your Rack install, git clone the plugin’s github (or other) repository, and then cd to the plugin folder. Run ‘git submodule update –-init -–recursive’ Chances are this command did nothing – that’s ok. Once these are all done run ‘make’. To add more plugins cd to the plugins folder, clone another repo, run another git submodule update, execute another make run. There are a ton of third party modules out there; they’re listed on the same page as the pluginmanager (just copy source links for what you want to build to the command line):

Doing stuff with Rack

Now you’re ready to start patching.

You start with an empty virtual rack when you first open the software or start a new project – a bit like a Eurorack case awaiting new modules. Right-click anywhere in the Rack window to bring up the Add Modules window. The left-most list represents different collections of modules, grouped by ‘manufacturer’. The list to the right of this contains individual modules. Hovering over a module will bring up its information in the pane to the right – right now, this information only contains the author and tags the developer of the module might have chosen to add.

All of the text present is searchable in the bar on the top of the Add Modules menu, from manufacturer names to module names to tags.

It’s helpful to know common synthesizer shorthand – if you’re looking for a filter you can type “filter” or “VCF,” for example.

Step by step, Hello, world!

Let’s quickly make the Hello World of modular synthesizers – an oscillator plugged into a VCA [amplifier], with that VCA plugged into a soundcard [your audio output] and a scope [so you can see what you’re doing]. This is about as simple as a synthesizer can get. Starting with a blank Rack document, here are the steps to building this first patch:

From a blank canvas, you add the first module.

1. Add an oscillator Right-click to open the Add Modules menu. Click on the manufacturer name Fundamental – that’s the bundle of built-in, basic bread-and-butter modules that now are included with the package. Add a simple oscillator to the rack by clicking VCO-1. The module will be dropped in just under where your mouse was positioned.

The VCO-1 is a basic oscillator with four waveforms – sine, triangle, saw, and square – with PWM [pulse width modulation] on the square wave. An FM [frequency modulation] input, a sync input and a PWM CV input round out the offering. These three inputs let you color the sound by adding envelopes, LFOs, or other modulators to affect the signal over time.

2. Scope it out. Let’s use a virtual oscilloscope to see the signal the oscillator is generating. Right-click again and choose Fundamentals > Scope. Drag any blank part of the faceplate of the module to move it around in the rack and snap it into place; let’s move Scope next to VCO-1.

Connect the oscillator to the scope by dragging to create a virtual patch cable: drag from VCO-1’s SIN [sine wave] output to Scope’s X IN input. Sine waves should appear in the scope!

Now drag VCO-1’s SQR to Scope’s Y IN. You now have both waveforms displayed overlapping one another; drag up the Y SCL knob one notch so it’s easier to differentiate between the waveforms. Also, run the TIME knob all the way up.

3. Add volume. Adding a VCA module is really a fancy way of adding volume you can control both with a knob or by patching in control signal (VC = voltage-controlled). So, right-click an empty area again, and choose VCA.

We’re going to do something that’s not possible on a physical modular (without an adapter) – plugging two jacks into a single hole. Once a patch cord is connected, dragging from that hole will disconnect the cable. So, we’ll patch from an empty hole into the connected hole.

Drag from VCA’s IN on the top half of the module to VCO-1 SIN, and from VCA IN on the bottom half to VCO-1 SQR. Then drag the LEVEL knobs all the way down – this will keep us from accidentally hurting our ears or our speakers with level that’s too hot.

4. And mix. We have two signals – square and sine – that we want to connect to our output via a single cable. Right-click to bring up Add Module and choose VC Mixer. This has the controllable levels the VCA had, but adds a mixed output that combines up to three signals into one – giving you one pipe, one cable to connect out. Patch each OUT on the VCA to CH 1 IN and CH 2 IN.

5. Connect sound to the outside world. This time, to save time, let’s type in our module name. Type ‘audio interface’ into the search bar on the top of the Add Modules window.

Click on the Core manufacturer – these modules ship with all versions of Rack, whether installed via binary or built from source. They offer up integration with the world outside of Rack, through audio interfaces and MIDI inputs. The Audio Interface device handles both input and output, whether to internal software audio interfaces like Soundflower and ReaRoute or to hardware devices.

First, drag a patch cable from Output 1 on the Audio Interface to VC Mixer MIX > OUT. Repeat for Output 2, so you get stereo sound. , and drag from Output 2 to the Mixer Mix Out. Select your preferred output in the drop-down menu (for internal audio interfaces on laptops, look to “Built-In Speakers” on Mac or “WASAPI > Realtek” and the like on Windows). 1 and 2 will most often represent the main left and right audio outputs, but your mileage may vary.

Turn up the VCA LEVEL knobs to twelve o’clock. Run the mixer CH 1 and CH 2 knobs up to about ten o’clock, and then gradually increase the MIX knob on the top so you hear sound. If you don’t hear anything, turn down the knobs and double-check the drop-down interface options and your patch connections.

6. Now let’s play. Drag the VCO-1 > FREQ to change the frequency of the oscillator, and watch the Scope for some groovy shapes. (Try adjusting the SCOPE > TIME to change the displayed scale, and switching SCOPE > X/Y to X+Y for a radial view, for added variety.) For fine-scale adjustment of knobs, ctrl-drag (Mac: cmd-drag). While you’re making groovy shapes, try patching the VCO-1 TRI output into the VCO-1 FM Input, and add some of the FM knob.

7. Stop the endless drones. Let’s give this patch some life by adding an ADSR and an LFO-1 from the Fundamental modules collection. The ADSR is a standard Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release generator. It’s used to make envelopes that open and shut on a contour, in response to a gate input. The LFO-1 is a low-frequency flavor of VCO-1, with an additional FM Input in place of the VCO’s 1/v Oct and a Reset input in place of the VCO-1’s Sync input.

Patch the LFO’s square wave output [SQR] into the gate input of the ADSR. Patch the OUT of the ADSR into the EXP inputs of the VCA channels – Exp and Lin refer to exponential and linear, which are different ways of interpolating the incoming envelope. Digital modular is fun! You should also move the scope patches from the oscillator to the VCA outs, so you can see the shape of the envelope in the scope. You’ll probably need to adjust X and Y Scale a bit.

8. Mo modular modulation. Here’s where we go crazy: right-click your ADSR and select ‘duplicate’ to create an additional ADSR envelope. Do the same with the LFO, and then go ahead make a third LFO the same way. Unpatch one of your VCA CVs and patch it into this newly-created ADSR Out. Patch one of the new LFO’s Square wave outs into the Gate input on the new ADSR. On the other LFO, the one without anything patched, patch the Square wave out into the Reset inputs of each of the other two LFOs. This last patch will retrigger the two LFOs, so they can start on a “downbeat” determined by the leading post of the LFO. Groovy!

While we’re in here, let’s add a couple of VCF’s, and patch them in line between the VCAs and the mixer. For a bonus bit of modulation we’ll patch the ADSRs into VCFs opposite from their assigned VCO’s – let’s put the first ADSR on the second VCF’s Freq CV input, and patch the second ADSR into the first VCF’s Resonance CV input. Turn the Freq CV knob on the first VCF up a little bit, and make sure your LFO driving the resets is slower than the other two.

Free downloads: PolyBlip, Ableton Push/MIDI, and Extras

Since you’ve made it this far, you’ve earned a reward. We’ve got a patch, a maxforlive device, and a module installation script and meter for you.

First up: the PolyBlipper, a patch I made around this idea of LFO triggering with some added FM modulation fun thrown in the mix.

PolyBlipper [VCV patch download]

Download it and open it up from within VCV, and you’ll hear nothing – until you select your driver and soundcard on the audio interface, and then run up the Mix knob on the VC Mixer in the top row, above the audio interface. This is a simple patch, but it can offer up a wide variety of sounds.

The main concept of the patch is a more complicated version of the LFO-triggered helloworld patch we built in the tutorial above. Two almost-identical voices sit to the left of the VC Mixer and Audio Interface. Both feature a VCO-2 (a waveform-morphing oscillator with a CV input for wave shape) with FM input from the mixed outputs of a VCO-1. Mixing the VCO-1’s outputs creates a complex modulation oscillator, for some fun West Coast vibes. Each voice has its own gate, and additionally the first voice has its wave shape modulated by one of the “sequencer” outs. For a different flavor, you could modulate this via an ADSR, such as one of the ones already present in the patch. Adding a VCA will let you scale the effect of the modulation, as well.

To the right of the mixer and audio interface are three LFOs and two voltage controlled mixers. These act as something of a sequencer – the waves act as triggers for the ADSR, after being combined in the mixers below. Each mixer triggers one of the voices, by combining the signal in different ways on different mixers you can find unified polyrhythmic sequences, such as the one on the patch at the start.

For some applied coursework – can you figure out how to get each of the three LFOs triggering the oscillators resetting poly-rhythmically, in overlapping sets of two? Can you figure out how to reset everything, including the above, so you get repeating measures of music? Answers next week, along with some tips on using VCV as an effect.

Next, we’ve got a Max For Live device called AbleRack that sends MIDI from your Push 2 (or anything else mapped to the device’s knobs) out to VCV Rack for conversion to CV via Rack’s Core MIDI CC-To-CV Converter.


Drop this on an empty MIDI channel, and then select the desired MIDI output in Live’s MIDI Out dropdown menu. Make sure to set the desired MIDI channel as well – incoming MIDI from the device and your Push 2 (or other controller) will be remapped as well. You’ll notice an offset knob on the device – turning this knob clockwise and then hitting the button will add the stated value from the knob to the 16 knobs present. This is MIDI, so it’s important to remember that 0 is a value.

In VCV Rack, add a MIDI-to-CV module, and then patch the CV Outs as desired. The text boxes above the outputs denote which MIDI CC the output is listening for. You can change these text box values to listen for different CC’s, which is where the offset knob comes in – multiple MIDI-to-CC converters and multiple channels of AbleRack can be used simultaneously, and within live each knob can have it’s own automation per-clip. Adding a MIDI-to-CV converter to rack and selecting the same MIDI Port and channel will let you use a keyboard alongside AbleRack. I put each instance of AbleRack I use in a set on its own channel, and route all the MIDI through its own IAC [“Inter-Application Communication”] Bus (on Mac) or LoopMIDI port (on Windows). (See instructions for Mac/IAC Bus or download loopMIDI for Windows. LoopBe1 is another excellent MIDI loopback driver for Windows.)

Lastly, we’ve got a script and a fun toy from our friend Jeremy Wentworth, creator of the Wavhead and several other notable modules.

jeremywen/ [build from source script download]

The script is super-helpful – put it in your plug-ins folder and run it with the terminal, and the script will download and build all the plug-ins listed in the community repo.

He’s also got a special module for you to play with – an X/Y version of his famous WavHead meter, with a special alternative logo switch for changing up your flavor and adding some Berlin to your patch. Download binaries for all systems:


We’d like to thank Jeremy for all of his help providing technical read-throughs and proofreading of this article. His website is a treasure trove of fun bits of code and other things to poke at, including this browser-based synthesizer and this super-weird browser-based random syllable generator.

By now you should be relatively comfortable using Rack, know where to find the community (in the Official VCV Rack User Group on Facebook) and have a good sense of what you’d like to use the tool to do. Have fun exploring the modules and patching up a storm! I’ll be keeping an eye on Rack, if anything big happens I’ll be back with more coverage.

Ted Pallas makes techno as Greco 727, and performs with Chicago’s M Sylvia under the name Str1ke. Ted recently released The Sor EP on Lisbon’s Toxic Recordings, available on Beatport. Get in touch at

The post Step one: How to start using VCV Rack, the free modular software appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Ted Pallas at December 29, 2017 06:01 AM

December 26, 2017


Almost Ready to Leave Home

Ardour began its life 18 years ago, in late December 1999. The story has been told many times in many different places, but the gist of it is that I wanted a program something like ProTools that would run on Linux, and none existed. I decided to write one. I had little idea what would be involved, of course. Which was probably for the best, otherwise I would likely not have started.

read more

by paul at December 26, 2017 11:00 PM

December 25, 2017


What's Going On With Ardour?

It's Christmas 2017, and many people in the Ardour community and beyond may be wondering what is happening with Ardour right now. It's been several months since our last release, and there's no word on what is going on.

Between now and the (Gregorian) New Year, I'll be posting 3 articles about where Ardour has been, where we are heading and the financial aspects of the project.

For now, I will just note that we're mostly focused on really substantive (wide-ranging, deep and difficult) internal architectural changes that will (over time) make a lot of other stuff possible. There's absolutely no timeline for the next release at this point, and the work is hard enough that in general we're trying not to get diverted by bug reports and small feature requests.

Stay tuned for a history and a glimpse of where 2018 might take Ardour ...

read more

by paul at December 25, 2017 12:36 AM

December 24, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Have yourself some very procedural holidays in your browser

Holiday greeting cards: you can buy them in a supermarket. You can draw them in crayon. Or you can custom-code a generative interactive Web greeting.

Continuing something of a tradition on CDM, of course, we get to share the latter.

Robert Thomas writes with his creation. The musical component is probably the most interesting – and it shows off what can be done with free tools, including a Web sound engine that can read patches made with Pure Data.

Robert explains:

For a bit of holiday fun, here is a little interactive web based procedural audio collaboration I did with visual artist Matt Nish-Lapidus.

The audio is built in Pd and deployed through heavy into C then emscripten to JS and running in browser – fun!

Try it online:

And your family just sends a picture or a Web card. Wow.

If you want to have a go at creating something like this yourself, check:

Pure Data
Heavy (runs on a crazy number of platforms now; worth a second look!)

Both audio and image represent open source projects that began life in conventional desktop environments, then were ported to versions that would run in browsers. On the sound side, that means Pd, the 90s-vintage cousin of Max/MSP, which saw an API-compatible(-ish) engine coded from scratch as Heavy. For visuals, you get p5.js, a JavaScript port of the Java-based Processing to JavaScript and the Web. The p5.js project began with the extraordinary LA artist/engineer Lauren McCarthy, but has since become an official target of the Processing API.

So, you have visual patching for musicians in Pd/Heavy for sound, and easy creative coding for artists in Processing/p5.js for picture.

Heavy has an interesting pricing model, too. You can use it commercially with the open license; you pay more for commercial support, closed-license projects, and the like. Processing relies on the Processing Foundation and users like you.

You know you’re a nerd when this is what you do on your holidays. Wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ll keep coming at you more or less right through the New Year’s.

The post Have yourself some very procedural holidays in your browser appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at December 24, 2017 10:47 PM

December 21, 2017

KXStudio News

JACK2 1.9.12 release and future plans

A few days ago a new version of JACK2 was released.
You can grab the latest release source code at
The official changelog is:

  • Fix Windows build issues
  • Fix build with gcc 7
  • Show hint when DBus device reservation fails
  • Add support for internal session files

If you did not know already, I am now maintaining JACK2 (and also JACK1).
So this latest release was brought to you by yours truly. ;)

The release was actually already tagged on the git repo quite some time ago, but I was waiting to see if Windows builds were possible.
I got side-tracked with other things and 1.9.12 ended up not being released for some time, until someone reminded me of it again... :)
There are still no updated macOS or Windows builds, but I did not want to delay the release further because of it.
The 1.9.11 release (without RC label) was skipped to avoid confusion with the versions.
So 1.9.12 is the latest release as of today. macOS and Windows binaries still use an older 1.9.11 version.

Being the maintainer of both JACK1 and JACK2 means I can (more or less) decide the future of JACK.
I believe a lot of people are interested to know the current plan.

First, JACK1 is in bug-fix mode only.
I want to keep it as the go-to reference implementation of JACK, but not add any new features to it.
The reason for this is to try to get JACK1 and JACK2 to share as much code as possible.
Currently JACK2 includes its own copy of JACK headers, examples and utilities, while JACK1 uses sub-repositories.
During the course of next year (that is, 2018) I want to get JACK2 to slowly use the same stuff JACK1 does, then switch to use the same repositories as submodules like JACK1 does.
This will reduce the differences between the 2 implementations, and make it a lot easier to contribute to the examples and utilities provided by JACK.
(Not to mention the confusion caused by having utilities that work in simlar yet different ways)
We will keep JACK1 "frozen" until this is all done.

Second, but not least important, is to get the JACK1 specific features into JACK2.
A few things were added into JACK1 after JACk2 was created, that never made it into JACK2.
This includes meta-data (JACK2 does have the API, but a non-functional one) and the new internal clients.
The purpose is to reduce reasons users might have to switch/decide between JACK1 and JACK2.
JACK2 should have all features that JACK1 has, so that most users choose JACK2.

Now, you are probably getting the impression that the focus will be on JACK2, which is correct.
Though I realize some developers might prefer JACK1's design, the long "battle" of JACK1 and JACK2 needs to stop.
Development of new features will happen in the JACK2 codebase, and JACK1 will slowly become legacy.
Well, this is my personal plan at least.

Not sure if this all can be done in 2018, but better to take things slowly and get things done than do nothing at all.
I will keep you updated on the progress through-out the year.
Happy holidays everyone!

by falkTX at December 21, 2017 04:27 PM

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

December 20, 2017

Vee One Suite 0.8.6 - The End of Autumn'17 release

Wholly greetings!

The Vee One Suite of so called old-school software instruments, synthv1, as a polyphonic subtractive synthesizer, samplv1, a polyphonic sampler synthesizer, drumkv1 as yet another drum-kit sampler and padthv1 as a polyphonic additive synthesizer, are here released just in time for the merry season greetings.

As before, all available in dual standard forms:

  • a pure stand-alone JACK client with JACK-session, NSM (Non Session management) and both JACK MIDI and ALSA MIDI input support;
  • a LV2 instrument plug-in.

The almost common change-log for this end-of-season follows:

  • Sync option added to DCO wavetable oscillators, as for making either one to hard-sync (slave) with the other one (master) in each pair. (applies to synthv1 only)
  • Micro-fade-in/out that were stapled at the loop start/end points respectively is now gone.(applies to samplv1 only)
  • Set on a minimum attack time of 500usec as much to prevent audible clicking on low-pitched notes.

The Vee One Suite are free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

Back in order of appearance:

synthv1 - an old-school polyphonic synthesizer

synthv1 0.8.6 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

synthv1 is an old-school all-digital 4-oscillator subtractive polyphonic synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

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samplv1 - an old-school polyphonic sampler

samplv1 0.8.6 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

samplv1 is an old-school polyphonic sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this


drumkv1 - an old-school drum-kit sampler

drumkv1 0.8.6 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

drumkv1 is an old-school drum-kit sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this


padthv1 - an old-school polyphonic additive synthesizer

padthv1 0.8.6 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

padthv1 is an old-school polyphonic additive synthesizer with stereo fx

padthv1 is based on the PADsynth algorithm by Paul Nasca, as a special variant of additive synthesis.




git repos:

Flattr this


Enjoy && have lots of fun ;)

by rncbc at December 20, 2017 07:00 PM

December 18, 2017

Linux Audio Conference 2018

LAC 2018 is happening in Berlin

Hey all, we have some good news!

Linux Audio Conference 2018 will be hosted at c-base - in partnership with the Electronic Studio at TU Berlin - again in 2018 and we even have a date for it already!

7th - 10th June 2018

We will have a Call for Papers and a Call for Submissions in the beginning of next year.

More information will follow in the coming weeks.

by Linux Audio Conference Team at December 18, 2017 07:43 PM

December 16, 2017

The QStuff* End of Autumn'17 Release

Hello everybody!

The Qstuff* End of Autumn'17 release bundle is getting wrapped up...

Please enjoy this classic batch and have lots of fun!


QjackCtl - JACK Audio Connection Kit Qt GUI Interface

QjackCtl 0.5.0 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

QjackCtl is a(n ageing but still) simple Qt application to control the JACK sound server, for the Linux Audio infrastructure.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • On some desktop-shells, the system tray icon blinking on XRUN occurrences, have been found responsible to excessive CPU usage, an "eye-candy" effect which is now optional as far as Setup/Display/Blink server mode indicator goes.
  • Added French man page (by Olivier Humbert, thanks).
  • Make builds reproducible byte for byte, by getting rid of the configure build date and time stamps.

Flattr this


Qsynth - A fluidsynth Qt GUI Interface

Qsynth 0.5.0 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

Qsynth is a FluidSynth GUI front-end application written in C++ around the Qt framework using Qt Designer.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Added French man page (by Olivier Humbert, thanks).
  • Make builds reproducible byte for byte, by getting rid of the configure build date and time stamps.

Flattr this


QXGEdit - A Qt XG Editor

QXGEdit 0.5.0 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

QXGEdit is a live XG instrument editor, specialized on editing MIDI System Exclusive files (.syx) for the Yamaha DB50XG and thus probably a baseline for many other XG devices.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Added French man page (by Olivier Humbert, thanks).
  • Added one decimal digit to the randomize percentage input spin-boxes on the General Options dialog.
  • Make builds reproducible byte for byte, by getting rid of the configure build date and time stamps.

Flattr this


QmidiCtl - A MIDI Remote Controller via UDP/IP Multicast

QmidiCtl 0.5.0 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

QmidiCtl is a MIDI remote controller application that sends MIDI data over the network, using UDP/IP multicast. Inspired by multimidicast ( and designed to be compatible with ipMIDI for Windows ( QmidiCtl has been primarily designed for the Maemo enabled handheld devices, namely the Nokia N900 and also being promoted to the Maemo Package repositories. Nevertheless, QmidiCtl may still be found effective as a regular desktop application as well.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Added French man page (by Olivier Humbert, thanks).
  • Make builds reproducible byte for byte, by getting rid of the configure build date and time stamps.

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QmidiNet - A MIDI Network Gateway via UDP/IP Multicast

QmidiNet 0.5.0 (end-of-autumn'17) released!

QmidiNet is a MIDI network gateway application that sends and receives MIDI data (ALSA-MIDI and JACK-MIDI) over the network, using UDP/IP multicast. Inspired by multimidicast and designed to be compatible with ipMIDI for Windows.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • Added new and replaced old system-tray menu icons.
  • Make builds reproducible byte for byte, by getting rid of the configure build date and time stamps.

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All of the Qstuff* are free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.


Enjoy && keep having fun!

by rncbc at December 16, 2017 07:00 PM

December 15, 2017


new Elektronengehirn album in 2018

Elektronengehirn is working on a new album which is due 2018. The last proper album release is more than 10 years old now and Elektronengehirn was more a live project in that time, experimenting with new approaches to perform complex compositions between prepared material and live expression, using uncommon controllers like data glove or windcontroller.

A first track is available for limited time free download:

by herrsteiner ( at December 15, 2017 03:51 PM

December 13, 2017

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

Try a new physical model of a pipe organ for free

Now, all your realistic pipe organ dreams are about to be solved in software – without samples.

MODARTT are the French firm behind the terrific Pianoteq physically modeled instrument, which covers various classic keys and acoustic pianos. That mathematical model is good enough as to find applications in teaching and training.

Now, they’re turning their attentions to the pipe organ – some of which turns out to be surprisingly hard to model.

For now, we get just a four-octave preview of the organ flue pipe. But that’s free, and fun to play with – and it sounds amazing enough that I spent some part of the afternoon just listening to the demos. (Pair this with a convolution reverb of a church and I think you could be really happy.)

The standalone version is free, and like all their software runs on Linux as well as Mac and Windows. Stay tuned for the full version. Description:

ORGANTEQ Alpha is a new generation physically modeled pipe organ that reproduces the complex behaviour of the organ flue pipe.
It is a small organ with a keyboard range of 4 octaves (from F1 to F5) and with 2 stops: a Flute 8′ and a Flute 4′ (octave).
It is provided in standalone mode only and should be regarded as a foretaste of a more advanced commercial version in development, due to be released during 2018.

The post Try a new physical model of a pipe organ for free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at December 13, 2017 04:01 PM

December 12, 2017

QSampler 0.5.0, liblscp 0.6.0 - An(other) Autumn'17 Release


On the tail but still fresh LinuxSampler 2.1.0 release...

Qsampler - A LinuxSampler Qt GUI Interface

Qsampler 0.5.0, liblscp 0.6.0 (autumn'17) released!

Qsampler is a LinuxSampler GUI front-end application written in C++ around the Qt framework using Qt Designer.

Project page:

Git repos:


  • French (fr) translation added by Olivier Humbert (qsampler_fr.ts).
  • Desktop entry specification file is now finally independent from build/configure template chains.
  • Updated target path for's AppStream metainfo file (formerly AppData).


Qsampler is free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.


Enjoy && keep the fun!

by rncbc at December 12, 2017 07:00 PM

December 11, 2017

GStreamer News

GStreamer 1.12.4 stable release (binaries)

Pre-built binary images of the 1.12.4 stable release of GStreamer are now available for Windows 32/64-bit, iOS and Mac OS X and Android.

The builds are available for download from: Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows.

December 11, 2017 12:00 AM

December 10, 2017

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News


Raspberry Pi

Block 4 is pioneering the usage of Raspberry Pis in artistic context since 2013 so we decided to put out more documentation about it inclusive software and schematics. These pages shows how to get 8 channels of analog data in the easy way, with the MCP 3208 a/d converter IC and even provide an external for Pure Data to access it in your patches:

We use it for our project TMS to create effect processors with the Raspberry Pi which can be controlled by sensors with a higher resolution then Midi. The first concert with our custom device have been in London which can be seen some posts below...

by herrsteiner ( at December 10, 2017 12:44 PM

December 07, 2017

Linux – CDM Create Digital Music

A guide to VCV Rack, a software Eurorack modular you can use for free

In a few short weeks since it was released, VCV Rack has transformed how you might start with modular – by making it run in software, for free or cheap.

VCV Rack now lets you run an entire simulated Eurorack on your computer – or interface with hardware modular. And you can get started without spending a cent, with add-on modules available by the day for free or inexpensively. Ted Pallas has been working with VCV since the beginning, and gives us a complete hands-on guide.

There’s always a reason people fall in love with modular music set-ups. For some, it’s having a consistent, tactile interface. For others, it’s about the way open-ended architectures let the user, rather than a manufacturer, determine the system’s limits. For me, the main attraction to modulars is access to tools that can run free from a rigid musical timeline, but still play a sequence. It means they let me dial in interesting poly-rhythmic parts without stress.

An example: I hooked a Mutable Instruments Braids up to a Veils modular, triggered their VCA with an LFO, and ran the resulting pulse through a Befaco Spring Reverb. I used this patch to thicken the stew on a very minimal DJ mix. I also had a simple LFO pointed at a solenoid attached to a small spring reverb tank boinging away in a channel on the master mixer.

This is all pretty standard Eurorack deployment, except for one tiny detail – all of the modules exist in software, contained inside a cross-platform app called VCV Rack.

VCV Rack is an open-source Eurorack emulation environment. Developer Andrew Belt has built a system to simulate interactions between 0-5 volt signals and various circuits. He’s paired this system with a UI that mimics conventions of Eurorack use. Third-party developers are armed with an API and a strong community.

VCV Rack is open-source, and the core software is free to download and use. The VCV Rack website also features several sets of modules as expansions, many of which are free. The most notable cost-free VCV offering is a near complete set of Mutable Instruments modules, under the name Audible. Beyond the modules distributed by developer Andrew Belt, there’s an ecosystem of several dozen developers, all working on building and supporting their own sets of tools – the vast majority of these are free as well, as of the time of this writing.

The result is a wide array of tools, covering both real-world modules (including the notable recent addition of the Turing Machine and a full collection of Audible Instruments emulations) and original circuits made just for Rack. The software runs in Windows, Mac OS and Linux, though the system doesn’t force third-party developers to support all three platforms.

VCV Rack is a young project, with its first public build only having become available September 10th. I became a user the same day, and have been using it several times a week for several months. I don’t usually take to new software so quickly, but in Rack’s case I found myself opening the app first and only moving on to a DAW after I had a good thing going. What continues to keep me engaged is the software’s usability – drop modules into a Rack, connect them with cables, and the patch does what it’s patched to do. Integration with a larger system is simple – I use a MOTU 828 mk2 to send and receive audio and CV through and audio interface module, and MIDI interfacing is handled in a similar fashion through a MIDI module. I can choose to clock the system to my midiclock+, or I can let it run free.

VCV Rack runs great on my late 2014 MacBook Pro – I’ve heard crackling audio just a handful of times, and in those cases only because I was doing dumb things with shared sound cards. To a lesser degree, VCV Rack also runs well on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, though using the interface via touch input on the Surface is fiddly at best. Knobs tend to run all the way up or all the way down at the slightest nudge, and the hitbox for patch cable insert points is a bit small for your fingers on any touch screens smaller than 15”. Using a stylus is more comfortable.

Stability is impressive overall, even at this early pre-1.0 development stage. Crashes are exceptionally rare, at least on my systems – I can’t specifically remember the last one, though there’s been a few times the aforementioned crackles forced me to restart Rack. Restarting Rack is no big deal, though – on relaunch, it restores the last state of your patch with audio running, and more than likely everything is ok. Rack will mute lines causing feedback loops, a restriction which ultimately serves to keep your ears and your gear safe.

As part of my field work for this write-up, I decided to run a survey. The VCV Rack community is more approachable, open, and down to get dirty with problem-solving than any other software community I’ve participated in directly. I figured I’d get a handful of responses, with variations of “it’s Eurorack but on my computer and for free” as the most common response.

Instead, I got a peek inside a community excited about the product bringing them all together. Over a third of the respondents have been using VCV since early September, and a quarter of the respondents have only been using the tool for a few weeks. Across the board, though, there’s a few key points I think deserve a highlight.

“Modular is for everybody”, and VCV Rack is modular for everybody.

Almost every single one of our 62 respondents in some way indicated that they love hardware modular for its creative possibilities, but also see cost as a barrier. VCV Rack gets right around the cost issue by being free upfront, with some more exotic modules costing money to access. There’s also a solid chunk of users coming from a university experience with large modular systems, such as Montreal’s SYSTMS, who say what initially appealed to them was “getting to explore modular, whereas before that was just not available to a low income musician. I had been introduced to Doepfer systems in university, and since then I have of course not had access to any very expensive physical Eurorack set ups. Also the idea of introducing and teaching my friends, who I knew would be into this!”

(While Rack is especially hardware-like, I do want to shout out fellow open-source modular solution Automatonism – you won’t find anything like a complete set of Mutable modules, but you will find a healthy Pd-driven open source modular synth with the ability to easily execute away from a computer via the Critter and Guitari Organelle.)

VCV Rack can be used in as many ways as a real Eurorack system.

The Rack Github describes Rack as an “Open-source virtual Eurorack DAW,” and while I wouldn’t use it to edit audio, Rack can handle a wide enough set of roles in a larger system to fairly call the software a workstation. There are several options for recording audio provided by the community, with an equal number of ways to mix and otherwise manipulate sets of signals. It’s possible to create stems of audio data and control data. It’s possible to get multiple channels of audio into another piece of software for further editing, directly via virtual soundcards.

VCV Rack also has a home within hardware modular systems, with users engineering soundcard-driven solutions for getting CV and audio in and out of a modular rack running alongside VCV. User Chris Beckstrom describes a typical broad array of uses: “standalone to make cool sounds (sampling for later), using Tidal Cycles (algorithmic sequencer) to trigger midi, using other midi sources like Bitwig to trigger Rack, and also sending and receiving audio to and from my diy modular.”

8th graders can make M-nus-grade techno with it.

I mean, check it out.

If you build it, they will come.

For having been around only since early September VCV Rack already has a very healthy ecosystem of third-party modules. Devs universally describe Rack’s source as especially easy to work with – Jeremy Wentworth, maker of the JW-modules series, says “[Andrew Belt’s] code for rack is so easy to follow. There is even a tutorial module. I looked at that and said, hey, maybe I can actually build a module, and then I did.” Jeremy is joined by over 40 other plug-in developers, most of whom are managing to find their own Eurorack recipe. VCV Rack also has a very active Facebook community, with over 100 posts appearing over the three days this article was written in. I’ve been on the Internet for a long time – it’s unusual to find something this cohesive, cool-headed and capable outside of a forum.

The community aren’t just freeloaders.

Almost two thirds of our respondents have already purchased some Rack modules, or are going to be purchasing some soon. Only a handful plan not to purchase any modules. There’s a market here, a path to the market via VCV Rack, and a group of developers already working to keep people interested and engaged with both new modules and recreations of real-world Eurorack hardware. Two thirds of respondents is a big number – if you’re a DSP-savvy developer it’s worth investigating VCV Rack.

DSP is portable.

The portability of signal processing algorithms isn’t a phenomenon unique to VCV Rack, but it is my opinion, VCV Rack will be uniquely well-served by the ability to easily port DSP code and concepts from other plaforms. Michael Hetrick’s beloved Euro Reakt Blocks are being partially ported from Reaktor Core patches into VCV Rack, for example, and Martin Lueder has ported over Stanford’s FreeVerb as part of his plugin pack. As the community cements itself, we’ll likely only see more and more beloved bits of code find their way into VCV Rack.

A handful of cool, recent VCV developments

VCV Rack are selling commercial modules. Pulse 8 and Pulse 16 are drum-style Sequencers, and there’s also an 8-channel mixer with built-in VCA level CV inputs. You’ll find them on the official VCV Rack site. Instead of donations, Andrew prefers people purchase his modules, or buy the modules of other devs. All the modules are highly usable, with logical front-panel layouts and powerful CV control. Ed.: This in turn is encouraging, as it suggests a business model pathway for the developers of this unexpected runaway (initially) free hit. -PK

An open Music Thing module has come to VCV. The Turing Machine mkII by Music Thing Modular released by Stellare Modular – A classic looping random CV generator, typically used for lead melodies or basslines, sees a port into VCV Rack by a third-party dev. Open source hardware is being modeled and deployed in an open source environment.

There’s now Ableton Link support. A module supporting Ableton Link, the live jamming / wireless sync protocol for desktop and mobile software, is available via a module released by Stellare. In addition to letting you join in with any software supporting Link, there’s a very handy clock offset.

Reaktor to VCV. Michael Hetrick is porting over Euro Reakt stuff from Reaktor Blocks, and making new modules in the process. Especially worth pointing out is his Github page, which includes ideas on what to actually do with the modules in the context of a patch:

VCV meets monome. Michael Dewberry’s Monome Modules allow users to connect their monome Grid controllers, or use a virtual monome within Rack itself. He’s currently also got a build of Monome’s White Whale module:

Hora’s upper class tools and drums. Hora Music is to my knowledge the first “premium” price module release, at 40euro for his package of modules. With a combination of sequencers, mixers, and drums, it could be the basis of whole projects. See:

I’ll be back next week with a few different recipes for ways you can make Rack part of your set-up, as well as a Q&A with the developer.

Ted Pallas is a producer and technologist based out of Chicago, Illinois. Find him at

The post A guide to VCV Rack, a software Eurorack modular you can use for free appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Ted Pallas at December 07, 2017 10:38 PM

GStreamer News

GStreamer 1.12.4 stable release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the fourth bugfix release in the stable 1.12 release series of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

This release only contains bugfixes and it should be safe to update from 1.12.x.

See /releases/1.12/ for the full release notes.

Binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows will be available shortly.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx.

December 07, 2017 06:30 PM

December 04, 2017

Qtractor 0.8.5 - The Autumn'17 Release


While this Fall still lasts... and before the New Year/Sun cycle comes in and sure will goes out...

And then there is the time when a couple of things that most may find well, badly interesting: one it's primarily and visually evident and adds up as an UI/UX thingy, while the other may land way more beyond the scenes, not so obviously perhaps, but having an impact on the short and not so short but long run. You tell me.

Truth is:

Qtractor 0.8.5 (autumn'17) is now released!

The short list is, or better yet, there are these:

  • File-system browser/tree-view (NEW)
  • Out-of-process/cache plugin scan (ALL plugin types, not just Linux-VST)

And the not so short list but quite the same information (aka. change-log):

  • Audio clip gain and panning properties are now taken into consideration when hash-linking (aka. ref-counting) their back-end buffers.
  • New out-of-process plug-in inventory scan and cache option, replacing the old (aka. dummy) VST plug-in scan option and extending its function to all other plug-in types: LADSPA, DSSI and also LV2 (cache only).
  • A File System browser and tree-view is finally integrated as a dockable-widget on the main application window (cf. main menu View / Window / File System).
  • Drag-and-dropping of session, audio and MIDI files over the main track-list (left pane) is now possible, allowing for yet another quick means to open a new session or add new tracks to the current session.
  • MIDI input/capture time-stamping has been fixed as much to avoid missing inbound events, when play-head is near the loop-end point and the loop-start is set below the absolute first half-a-second (<0.5sec).
  • LV2 Time/Transport speed information is now set on rolling when in audio export aka freewheeling mode.
  • Added *.SF3 to soundfont instrument files filter, on View > Instruments... > Import... file dialog.
  • A brand new View/Options.../Display/Meters/Show meters on track list/left pane option has been added.


Qtractor is an audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer application written in C++ with the Qt framework. Target platform is Linux, where the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) for audio and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) for MIDI are the main infrastructures to evolve as a fairly-featured Linux desktop audio workstation GUI, specially dedicated to the personal home-studio.


Project page:


Git repos:

Wiki (help wanted!):


Qtractor is free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

Enjoy && Keep the fun.

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by rncbc at December 04, 2017 07:00 PM


A free Max4Live device from Notstandskomitee

I shared one of my MaxForLive devices, a timedomain based freezer made of 16 independent delaylines, good for creating drones. A concept I keep implementing on diverse platforms and used for instance on Notstandskomitee album The Golden Times but also for TMS in form of a PD patch on our Raspberry Pi based effect unit.

by herrsteiner ( at December 04, 2017 02:09 PM

December 02, 2017


Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen: Body Resonance

The sounds from Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen's installation Body Resonance which was exhibited at Liebig12 in Berlin in June 2017 are now online in their full length for your hard-hitting listening pleasure!

If you wish to purchase the editioned publication, created especially for this piece (includes a full transcription of the performed actions, limited and numbered), send a message to

info AT tmkm DOT dk

by herrsteiner ( at December 02, 2017 10:45 PM


04: Post Sonoj and Winter Plans


Its been a while since the last update – so whats new in OpenAV land? Well the Sonoj event took place, where the OpenAV Ctlra hardware access library was a demo! More details were shared about the intended goal of Ctlra library, and what obstacles we as a community need to overcome to enable everybody to have better hardware workflows!

Winter Plans

OK – Ctlra made some progress, but what is going to happen over the next few weeks / months? More Ctlra library progress is expected, everything from improving the sensitivity of drum pads to adding a 7-segment display widget to the virtual device user-interface.

So much for the easy part – the hard part is the mapping infrastructure for hardware and software – and OpenAV is looking at that problem, and prototyping various solutions at the moment. No promises – but this is currently the #1 problem causing hardware-based workflows to not integrate well for the majority of musicians in the Linux audio community….

Stay tuned!

by Harry at December 02, 2017 12:44 AM

December 01, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

MusicMakers Hacklab Berlin to take on artificial minds as theme

AI is the buzzword on everyone’s lips these days. But how might musicians respond to themes of machine intelligence? That’s our topic in Berlin, 2018.

We’re calling this year’s theme “The Hacked Mind.” Inspired by AI and machine learning, we’re inviting artists to respond in the latest edition of our MusicMakers Hacklab hosted with CTM Festival in Berlin. In that collaborative environment, participants will have a chance to answer these questions however they like. They might harness machine learning to transform sound or create new instruments – or even answer ideas around machines and algorithms in other ways, through performance and composition ideas.

As always, the essential challenge isn’t just hacking code or circuits or art: it’s collaboration. By bringing together teams from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, we hope to exchange ideas and knowledge and build something new, together, on the spot.

The end result: a live performance at HAU2, capping off a dense week-plus festival of adventurous electronic music, art, and new ideas.

Hacklab application deadline: 05.12.2017
Hacklab runs: 29.1 – 4.2.2018 in Berlin (Friday opening, Monday – Saturday lab participation, Sunday presentation)

Apply online:
MusicMakers Hacklab – The Hacked Mind – Call for works

We’re not just looking for coders or hackers. We want artists from a range of backgrounds. We want people to wrestle with machine learning tools – absolutely, and some are specifically designed to train to recognize sounds and gestures and work with musical instruments. But we also hope for unorthodox artistic reactions to the topic and larger social implications.

To spur you on, we’ll have a packed lineup of guests, including Gene Kogan, who runs the amazing resource ml4a – machine learning for artists – and has done AV works like these:

And there’s Wesley Goatley, whose work delves into the hidden methods and biases behind machine learning techniques and what their implications might be.

Of course, machine learning and training on big data sets opens up new possibilities for musicians, too. Accusonus recently explained that to us in terms of new audio processing techniques. And tools like Wekinator now use training machines as ways of more intelligently recognizing gestures, so you can transform electronic instruments and how they’re played by humans.

Dog training. No, not like that – training your computer on dogs. From ml4a.

Meet Ioann Maria

We have as always a special guest facilitator joining me. This time, it’s Ioann Maria (pictured, at top/below), whose AV / visual background will be familiar to CDM readers, but who has since entered a realm of specialization that fits perfectly with this year’s theme.

Ioann wrote a personal statement about her involvement, so you can get to know where she’s come from:

My trip into the digital started with real-time audiovisual performance. From there, I went on to study Computer Science and AI, and quickly got into fundamentals of Robotics. The main interest and focus of my studies was all that concerns human-machine interaction.

While I was learning about CS and AI, I was co-directing LPM [Live Performers Meeting], the world’s largest annual meeting dedicated to live video performance and new creative technologies. In that time I started attending Dorkbot Alba meet-ups – “people doing strange things with electricity.” From our regular gatherings arose an idea of opening the first Scottish hackerspace, Edinburgh Hacklab (in 2010 – still prospering today).

I grew up in the spirit of the open source.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been working at the Sussex Humanities Lab at the University of Sussex, England, as a Research Technician, Programmer, and Technologist in Digital Humanities. SHL is dedicated to developing and expanding research into how digital technologies are shaping our culture and society.

I provide technical expertise to researchers at the Lab and University.

At the SHL, I do software and hardware development for content-specific events and projects. I’ve been working on long-term jobs involving big data analysis and visualization, where my main focus was to develop data visualization tools — for example, looking for speech patterns and analyzing anomalies in criminal proceedings in the UK over the centuries.

I also touched on the technical possibilities and limitations of today’s conversational interfaces, learning more about natural language processing, speech recognition and machine learning.

There’s a lot going on in our Digital Humanities Lab at Sussex and I’m feeling lucky to have a chance to work with super brains I got to meet there.

In the past years, I dedicated my time speaking about the issues of digital privacy, computer security and promoting hacktivism. That too found its way to exist within the academic environment – in 2016 we started the Sussex Surveillance Group, a cross-university network that explores critical approaches to understanding the role and impact of surveillance techniques, their legislative oversight and systems of accountability in the countries that make up what are known as the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance.

With my background in new media arts and performance, and some knowledge in computing, I’m awfully curious about what will happen during the MusicMakers Hacklab 2018.

What fascinating and sorrowful times we happen to live in. How will AI manifest and substantiate our potential, and how will we translate this whole weight and meaning into music, into performing art? It going to be us for, or against the machine? I can’t wait to meet our to-be-chosen Hacklab participants, link our brains and forces into a creative-tech-new – entirely IRL!

MusicMakers Hacklab – The Hacked Mind – Call for works

In collaboration with CTM Festival, CDM, and the SHAPE Platform.
With support from Native Instruments.

The post MusicMakers Hacklab Berlin to take on artificial minds as theme appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at December 01, 2017 05:42 PM


new Notstandskomitee track now and album in 2018

Notstandskomitee is working on a new album, due for 2018. Here is a first demo which can be downloaded for a while, grab it while you can.

by herrsteiner ( at December 01, 2017 01:54 PM

November 29, 2017

Audio – Stefan Westerfeld's blog

gst123-0.3.5 and playback rate adjustment

A new version of gst123, my command line media player – based on gstreamer – is available at

Thanks to David Fries, this version supports playing media faster or slower compared to the original speed,  using { [ ] } as keyboard commands. This works, however, it also changes the pitch. So for instance speech sounds unnatural if the playback rate is changed.

I’ve played around with the youtube speed setting a bit, and they preserve pitch while changing playback speed, providing acceptable audio quality. There are open source solutions for doing this properly, we could get comparable results if we used librubberband (GPL) to correct the pitch in the pipeline after the actual decoding. However, there is no librubberband gstreamer plugin as far as I know.

Also there is playitslowly does the job with existing gstreamer plugins, but I think the sound quality is not as good as what librubberband would do.

I think ideally, playback pitch correction should not be done in gst123 itself (as other players may want to use the feature). So if anybody feels like working on this, I think it would be a nice project to hack on. Feel free to propose patches to gst123 for pitch correct playback rate adjustments, I would be happy to integrate it, but maybe it should just go into the playbin (maybe optional, as in 1. set playback rate, 2. enable pitch correction), so the code could live in gstreamer.

by stw at November 29, 2017 04:43 PM

Pure power one 5.0

The Silver Circle Audio pure power one 5.0 is an outgrowth and upgrade of our popular series of power conditioners. Some audiophiles with high-current amps requested a power conditioner with immense headroom, and thus was born the “5.0.” As you no doubt know, the 5.0 designation refers to the 5.0 kVa transformer in the unit. This massive transformer weighs in at over 65 pounds. When we were brainstorming the design criteria of this unit, we decided to pull out all the stops. Everything in the pure power one 5.0 is massively overbuilt.

Everything about the 5.0 was designed to provide the user with years of absolute trouble free operation. The primary and secondary of the massive transformer act as huge reservoirs of current instantaneously available when needed for extreme dynamics. The electrostatic shield between primary and secondary ensures electrically quiet operation. The neon front panel light was replaced with an LED that is user-replaceable and should last for 10 years.

A few of the well-known owners of the 5.0:

Harry Pearson, Founder, The Absolute Sound – HP has 3 of the units in operation at Sea Cliff
Jim Hannon, publisher, The Absolute Sound
Dave Allison, vice president, Operations, ABC Radio Networks
Steve Hoffman, Mastering Engineer
Alan Eichenbaum, co-owner, Scaena Loudspeakers

The highlights of the 5.0 are summarized below.  The sound is summarized as incredible.

5.0 kVa Proprietary 65+ pound isolation transformer
Massive black power coated 12 gauge steel chassis
3/8″ thick aluminum front panel
Furutech Gold-Plated IEC inlet
10 AWG silver-plated copper power path wiring
Proprietary hand-built EMI/RF filter
Custom hand-built “soft-start” circuit with 30-amp rated relay
50-amp rated terminal block
Comes standard with Vesuvius Power Cord (a $900 retail value)
5.0 – 4 Furutech FT D20A(G) Gold 20-amp receptacles
All contacts treated Caig DeoxIT Gold for superior electrical transmission
Extensive internal vibration dampening

The pure power one 5.0 retails for $5,500.00 including shipping to any address within the contiguous 48 states.


The post Pure power one 5.0 appeared first on Silver Circle Audio.

November 29, 2017 09:31 AM

Pure power one 5.0se

We at Silver Circle Audio have always reserved the right to improve products without telling anyone. That said, it’s best to let people know why something sounds better. Not just different, but better.  An informed customer, an educated customer is a happier customer. That brings me to the evolution of the pure power one power conditioners.

When we began our foray into the power conditioning market, we began with a 1.8 KVA isolation transformer and a COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) EMI/RF filter. That transformer quickly proved to be adequate for just the most basic of systems in the audio world. We then began making the pp1 with a 3 KVA transformer and people loved them. We then decided to build our own filters, better filters for an even higher degree of common mode and differential mode noise rejection. COTS filters were gone.

After a while, a customer suggested an even larger isolation transformer to address the needs of higher-powered amplifiers and the pure power one 5.0 with a 5 KVA transformer was given life. Reviewers and customers alike raved. We were not satisfied. After testing various versions of our filters, we eliminated the inductors we had been using and went to the proprietary design we now employ. All pure power one 5.0 owners were notified that they could ship their units back to me and have the filters replaced at no charge as long as they picked up the shipping. Several customers elected to do this, but some told me they were happy the way things were and didn’t want to listen to their systems without the 5.0 for even a day.

That brings us to how to further improve the pure power one 5.0. I have always believed that the Furutech FTD 20A (G) offered the best combination of power transfer, robustness, and accuracy of signal reproduction.  It is a great receptacle. BUT…Furutech released the GTX-D(G) receptacles and all bets were off. It is hands down the finest AC receptacle I have ever heard or used bar none. That led us to the question of whether to offer the 5.0 with a choice of receptacles. The answer lay in several other improvements that we decided to incorporate. We were introduced to HiFi Tuning Fuses imported into the US by The Cable Company in New Hope PA. They are far from inexpensive, but they improve the sound immensely. The new unit would use the HiFi Tuning Fuses Supremes!

Then we got to thinking about what else could be upgraded to further improve the sound’ of the 5.0. The 10 AWG silver-plated wire we use inside the 5.0s is a fabulous conductor that accurately relays the information fed into and through it. The blocking points or points of restricted power transfer  were at the points where silver-plated wire met tin-plated ring terminals or stainless steel jumpers in terminal blocks. We turned to our metal fabricator and had them make up high quality jumpers for the terminal blocks. The jumpers and copper ring terminals went to a metal coatings company here in Houston, for a double thickness plating of gold.

The pure power one 5.0 with all the upgrades mentioned has been designated the “se” or special edition. And it is indeed special. Most who have bought it say that it has brought the “giggle factor” back  to listening sessions. “It makes the music more organic.”

pure power one 5.0se with Vesuvius II power cord                  $ 7,500.00

The post Pure power one 5.0se appeared first on Silver Circle Audio.

November 29, 2017 09:31 AM


The volcano, Vesuvius, is a potential force of nature to be feared and admired. A volcano lays dormant. When nature calls, it unleashes power beyond the wildest imagination. The Vesuvius power cord, like a volcano, lays dormant until called upon to unleash the power of your audio system. It does so with unremitting energy. This power cord is fast and dynamic. Electricity flows with the absolute minimum of constraints. This cord has blown the minds of even the most jaded skeptics. It produces power cleanly and with an authority you dared not think possible.

The Vesuvius is constructed of 10-gauge silver-plated copper. The dielectric/insulation is Teflon™ and glass. Yes, glass. The wire is shielded to prevent contamination from spurious electrical radiations. Terminations are Furutech FI-25 and FI-25M.

The post Vesuvius appeared first on Silver Circle Audio.

November 29, 2017 09:31 AM

November 24, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Watch a completely mental set of MeeBlip synth stop motion animations

You’ve got your acid basslines. Then, you’ve got your acid trips involving a bass synth. Roikat takes us in the direction of the latter.

Creatures dance around urban streets. AI deep dream wildlife stares at you on title cards. Worms amiably amble from car doors and make their way onto the amplitude knobs.

And there are cats. Of course there are cats.

It’s all adorable stop motion with the raw sounds of our MeeBlip synth and no, I really didn’t have any idea this was going to happen until I spotted it on YouTube. Roikat is evidently both animator and MeeBlip composer. The combination is brilliant. I’d go for a whole show.

Your sound demos will never be the same. Behold:

Of course, perhaps the wildest of all is this … ultrasonic demo?! (Watch it drive your cats crazy.)

Plus there was a Halloween jam some time back

Whoever you are, Roikat, you’re crazy and a genius. Looking forward to more synth vids and those promised presets for Dave Smith – we’ll share them here!

The MeeBlip in question here is anode series, but our triode is closely related to the anodes – and it’s on a Black Friday sale now with a lower price and all the cables you need included:

by Peter Kirn at November 24, 2017 10:05 PM

November 21, 2017

KXStudio News

Breaking changes in Carla Plugin Host

Hello everyone, I have some bad and good news about Carla.
If you've been following the development on the git repository you likely know what this is about.
There were some major changes done to Carla's code base in the past few days.

The biggest change is the removal of the Juce library.
The reasons for this are well known by some developers, but I'll not write about them here.
After looking around for alternatives, I decided to fork an older GPLv2 compatible version of Juce and strip it down to the really essential parts needed to get Carla to build and run - even if it meant losing some of the features.
The possibility to change to an entirely different C++ framework crossed my mind, but the amount of effort and breaking changes would be too big.
I called the end result 'water'. You can say Carla doesn't need Juce, water is fine ;)
There's only a few classes and files needed for I/O, XML and AudioGraph handling, everything else is gone. \o/

The implications for this change are not big for Linux users, and is even a source of good news for other OpenSource Operating System users like FreeBSD and HaikuOS.
In short, because Juce is no longer there, we have lost support for VST3 and AudioUnit plugins.
Plus VST2 plugins on Windows and MacOS are now handled by Carla's code instead of relying on Juce.
This heavily reduces the amount of compatible plugins handled by Carla, because Juce had a lot of hacks in order to make a lot of commercial plugins run properly.
Also Carla on Windows and MacOS used Juce to handle Audio and MIDI devices, which now has been changed to RtAudio and RtMidi.
RtAudio & RtMidi are not as fully-featured as Juce was (we lose dynamic MIDI ports, for example), but I am glad to have Juce gone from the code-base.
(You can say that parts of it are still there, but my conscience is clear, and Carla remains self-contained which was my main point since v2.0 development started)

The next breaking change relates to the internal plugins used in Carla.
The plugins that already exist as LV2 will stop being exported with the carla.lv2 bundle.
Plus these plugins will soon be removed from the default build.
They quickly bloat the Carla binaries, as they include their artwork. Not to mention increasing the clone and building times.
The plan is to have them disabled by default and moved into a new repository as submodule.
Oh and the "experimental" plugins are going away soon. It was a mistake to make them Carla-specific in the first place, they should be regular audio plugins instead.

Another breaking change is the removal of modgui support.
The code only worked for PyQt4, which is no longer the default for Carla source-based builds.
Plus it required webkit, which brings a big list of dependencies. I would have to port the code to webengine/chromium to make it work with PyQt5... no thanks.

The final breaking change is the introduction of the Experimental option in Carla's settings.
Everything that is not stable at the moment went there as an option, and got disabled by default. This includes:

  • Plugin bridges
  • Wine options
  • Force-stereo mode
  • Canvas eye-candy
  • Canvas with OpenGL

All new in-development / testing features will get introduced as experimental first.
This will speed up the release of 2.0, since not everything needs to be finished for it.
For example, plugin bridges can still be there and not fully implemented, and we still have 2.0-stable out!

That's it! Thanks for reading so far.
In other news, I gave a small presentation about Carla in this year's Sonoj Conference.
You can check it out here:

Carla 2.0-beta6 will be out soon :)

by falkTX at November 21, 2017 10:19 PM

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

$30 programmable, open Arduino ArduTouch synth is here

It’s $30. It can teach you how to code – or it can just be a fun, open synth. The ArduTouch by Mitch Altman is now shipping.

I wrote about ArduTouch earlier, with loads more on the instrument’s creator:
ArduTouch is an all-in-one Arduino synthesizer learning kit for $30

It’s a simple digital instrument based on the open source Arduino prototyping and coding platform, meaning it connects to an environment widely used by artists, hobbyists, and educators. Now Mitch shares that the product is available and shipping – and because this is an open source project, there’s a dump of new code, too.

And, I just uploaded the latest version of the ArduTouch Arduino sketches, including more way cool synthesizers, and a new Arduino library including more example synths (that also act as tutorials on how to create your own synthesizers).

Arduino-based synth projects have been here and there in some form back to the early days of Arduino. And of course Arduino as a platform is often a starting point into hardware development, even for students who have never written a line of code in their lives.

What’s cool about this is, you get a reliable platform on which to upload that code, and a touch interface and speaker so you can hear results. Plus, one of Mitch’s special superpowers has long been his ability to get others involved and to teach in an accessible way – so working through his code examples is a great experience.

This being Arduino, you can program over USB.

There are some really nice, musical ideas in there – like this is something that will make sense to musicians, not just to people who like mucking about with hardware. And since the code is out there, it could inspire other such projects, even on other platforms.

Proof that it makes noises – though, of course, you’re welcome to try and make noises you like!

I’m hoping to have one for my mini-winter-holiday break (uh, whichever winter holiday I manage to wrap that around… let’s hope not St. Patrick’s Day, but sooner!)

Have at it:

The post $30 programmable, open Arduino ArduTouch synth is here appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at November 21, 2017 09:07 PM

November 20, 2017

MOD Devices Blog

Tutorial: Control Chain distance sensor

Hi again to all MOD and Arduino enthusiasts!

We’ve been working on Control Chain devices for quite a while now since the last post and we feel like it’s time to add another example to the Control Chain library. So here’s another blog post to show how simple it is to build controllers for your MOD Duo.

As some of you saw on our Instagram page, we hooked up an ultrasonic distance sensor to the Arduino Control Chain shield and it was really fun to play around with.


  1. One Arduino Uno or Due
  2. One Arduino Control Chain shield
  3. One HC-SR04 Distance Sensor (or any other ultrasonic sensor, they mostly work the same way)
  4. Some soldering tin
  5. Some wire
  6. (Optional) Some 10K linear potentiometers
  7. (Optional) Something to put your build in


schematic arduino shield

Schematic for the Ultrasonic sensor build

The schematic of this build is quite straightforward. The sensor has 4 pins; VCC, GND, Echo and Trigger. These are connected to the Arduino shield.

For this example, 2 potentiometers are used for the minimal and maximal values that the sensor measures. Also, another potentiometer is used as a ‘sensitivity’ potentiometer.

Notice the brackets on sensitivity, because this variable does not change the behavior of the sensor at all. It only controls a weighted average filter function in the code. This filter smoothes out inaccurate measurements that may occur in the sensor.


When I started making this code, I could not delay the main program for longer than a few milliseconds because I was using an older version of the Control Chain library. The libraries that are often used for this sensor, do delay the main loop for too long. Reading through the datasheet/library however, gave a better insight on how the sensor works.

Now the PulseIn function is used to manually read/write to the trigger and echo pin of the distance sensor. Using the Control Chain library version 0.5.0 and up, you can just use the library from the sensor manufacturer, but because we can do it manually let’s leave it like this. It saves up some memory on the Arduino!

At the beginning of the code, there is a #define that you can use to invert the way the distance corresponds to the actuator. By setting this #define to 0, the smaller the distance, the lower the actuator’s value. When this #define is set to 1, the smaller the distance, the bigger the actuator’s value. When playing around with this in the office, we found that it is really a matter of preference so that’s why we left it easily changeable in the code.


  1. Solder the Vcc pin of the sensor to the +5 track of the CC shield
  2. Solder the Ground pin of the sensor to the GND track of the CC shield
  3. Solder the echo pin to the corresponding digital pin (by default pin 10) of the CC shield
  4. Solder the trigger pin to the corresponding digital pin (by default pin 11) of the CC shield
  5. (Optional) Solder the potentiometers outer pins to +5V and GND of the CC shield
  6. Solder the potentiometers inner pin to the corresponding analog input of the CC shield (by default A0, A1 & A2)


1. Follow the instructions on our Github page and install the dependencies.

2. Change the defines to your preference and if you don’t want to use potentiometers change the analogRead() functions with constant values like this:

Line 88: PotValue = 0.5; //((analogRead(A0)/1023.0);
Line 124: MINDISTANCE = 20; //map((analogRead(A1)), 0, 1023, 5, 20);
Line 125: MAXDISTANCE = 50; //map((analogRead(A2), 0, 1023, 20, 65);

In line 88 you set the ‘sensitivity’ of the sensor between 0 and 1. In line 124 and 125 you can set the minimal and maximal value of the sensor in centimeter.

3. Upload the code to your Arduino

4. All done, time to test!

5. Connect the CC shield to your MOD Duo. If everything went well you should see a new CC device popping up

Control Chain device on MOD GUI


6. Assign the plugin parameter of your choice to the CC device actuator.

Ultrasonic sensor addressing

Address it like any actuator on the GUI

7. Voilà! You should have an up and running distance-controlled actuator.


Ultrasonic sensor in a box

Our own custom build with XF4 prototype scrap

(Optional) You can put your build in a cool box, I used some old 3D-prints which were used for the XF4 prototypes. It seemed like a nice fit!

Inside Arduino Control Chain Ultrasonic sensor for MOD Duo

Fits nicely!

You just finished building your own Control Chain distance sensor. We hope this is helpful and inspires you guys to also make some crazy controllers!

Don’t hesitate to come and talk to us on the forum if you have any questions about Control Chain devices, the Arduino or anything else! Users have also been busy with their own creations and have been sharing them on the forum. Check them out here or here!

And keep on rocking!



by Jan Janssen at November 20, 2017 06:12 PM

GStreamer News

Orc 0.4.28 bug-fix release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce another maintenance bug-fix release of liborc, the Optimized Inner Loop Runtime Compiler. Main changes since the previous release:

  • Numerous undefined behaviour fixes
  • Ability to disable tests
  • Fix meson dist behaviour

Direct tarball download: orc-0.4.28.

November 20, 2017 05:00 PM

November 14, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Two new ways to integrate MeeBlip triode synths with Ableton Live, free

Software control means preset recall and easy automation, on top of all that tactile control. Here’s the latest combination of our MeeBlip and Max for Live.

I don’t know exactly what astrological event causes people to decide to want to create controller layouts in Max for Live for the MeeBlip triode. But whatever it is, two friends wrote me last night from two different hemispheres to say they’d decided that they needed to create a tool for using their MeeBlip monosynths. And, with no contact with one another, they both released their work within a few hours.

Here’s what that means for you.

MeeBlip triode is our affordable, red-colored hardware synth with a friendly, edgy voice and analog filter. And we’re down to the end of this run, but … there are a few left. Plus, nice timing (they really didn’t know this) – we’ve just started our Black Friday sale early, with all the free cables you need and free North American shipping.

Ableton Live, so long as you’ve got Live Suite (that is, Max for Live included), lets you include devices that control hardware synths. Since everything you see on the front panel of triode can be controlled by MIDI – plus a few things that aren’t even there – using these add-ons lets you automate and store and recall presets.

Why would you want to do that, given you’ve already got this box with knobs and switches? Well, you might want to store and recall presets with a particular Live project, so your ‘blip is sounding the same way when you load it up and get back to work, or to save a sound you really like. And you might want to use Live’s automation controls to sculpt your sound as part of a pattern, by drawing it in or using Push hardware.

And from there, you can add additional features.

Both of these devices are free, so you can grab both and see which you like best. From South American virtuoso hypergeek Gustavo Bravetti, comes a cute, color-coordinated design. It looks nicest, and also includes full resend, a helper for drawing envelopes, and more:

Triode CTRL 1.0

Don’t miss Gustavo’s amazing performances and so on via his Facebook artist page. Check the videos:

And in this corner:

Kent Williams aka Chaircrusher has made something that isn’t quite as pretty. But as it’s based on previous, similar work, it might be a way to learn how to make these for yourself. Kent says it’s “blindingly” simple – which is seriously a good thing when you’re learning. And since the MeeBlip is nice and simple, it makes a great template.

Meeblip Triode Control 0.01

Kent’s also an awesome musician, so check out:

What? You don’t have a triode?

We can help.

Let’s start Black Friday early. Let’s start your holiday shopping season early – by making sure you (or a lucky person who’s getting a triode gift) gets all the cables the triode needs.

So now, triode includes our audio & MIDI cable bundle ($24.95 value) until November 30, or while supplies last. Free shipping in the USA. As always, our power adapter is included. And this on top of our new everyday US$119.95 price.

Have at it:

Get a MeeBlip triode synth

by Peter Kirn at November 14, 2017 06:15 PM

November 12, 2017


block 4 newsletter

Finally we going to have a monthly block 4 newsletter. People recommended it to us for years but we ignored it, concentrating on Facebook after Myspace went down.
In October the socalled organic reach of Facebook declined once more dramatically, meaning that our posts are not reaching you anymore. Facebook altered their mechanism what posts are shown to you to sell more ads. It also became difficult to invite a certain amount of people to Facebook events, hurting underground artists, independent lables and small spaces.
They need to make ends meet but so do we. We tried ad campaigns in the last months to get the word out about our activities but the results are not convincing. Clicks and likes came in but frankly, these people doesn't look like they listen to our music and fancy our art. Don't get us wrong, block 4 embraces everyone and there have been recorded cases of Texas housewives listening to our music in the last 3 decades of Block 4s existence, but 100s of them smells like click farm.
So we decided to try something new for us, a monthly newsletter so you don't miss out anything. Its hosted through Mailchimp, be one of the first to sign up here:

by herrsteiner ( at November 12, 2017 03:13 PM

November 07, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Let’s talk about open tools at Ableton Loop and beyond

From libraries to circuits to hacks to instructions, a lot of you are sharing the stuff you make. We’re using Ableton Loop to bring some of you together.

Ableton’s Loop festival/conference/summit is now more than just a get-together for Ableton users. It’s become a kind of international music happening. And so lots of interesting folks are gathering here in Berlin later this week.

That’s just a tiny, tiny fraction of the people reading this, though. Now, if only we could get more of you here, sort of virtually.

With that in mind, I’m going to do an open call for any kind of project you’d like to share. I’ll survey these and keep tabs on them here in CDM. And for those of us who are gathering in Berlin Sunday, we can share in person and get back to all of you through the power of the Internet.

By “open,” I mean anything that has some kind of permissive license for copying and modification, or that’s totally free. It could be a project for making contact mics or documenting how to make field recordings, too – not just software and hardware. And it doesn’t have to be Ableton-related, either – I do expect a good mix of people already at this event.

Of course, with open source tools, this is really important. Just making something open source doesn’t necessarily get people to collaborate on it. So if you want to invite users, testers, collaborators, and other feedback, you need to make connections.

Here’s the notion, as described on the Loop site:

A get-together to exchange, discover, and collaborate on open and handmade hardware and software.

Sometimes, realising the sounds in your imagination means making or modding your own tools and instruments.This meetup is a chance for us to share these inventions, born of necessity, with each other. CDM editor Peter Kirn talks about how to use open licensing to allow collaboration and learning, and takes a look at some of the more interesting creations in today’s global music community. Then, he’ll hand the floor over to you. Pack your own handmade gear, custom code, patches or hacks if you’ve got them, and be ready to play with others.

Open Tools Meetup [Ableton Loop; Sunday, 11-13:00 Maker Zone]

And if you want to submit your project for that get-together (or later coverage on CDM), fire away here! I’m curious what you’re working on.

After all, CDM is what it is – and arguably Ableton Live, too – because of people getting started with creative controllers, hacks, and new ways of making and playing music. It’s time to check in on the state of that landscape, and the stuff you’re most passionate about.

(and yeah, if you sent something lately and I ignored it, please don’t be shy about nagging me now! Only so many hours in the day…)

For added inspiration: Let’s remember those who came before. Grandmaster Flash, pictured here, showing some DIY futurism. Via the wonderful Leah Buechley.

The post Let’s talk about open tools at Ableton Loop and beyond appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at November 07, 2017 09:56 PM

November 05, 2017


TMS concert video from the London gig

TMS movement(al) distortion(s) performed at Sounding DIY @ IKLECTIK in London on October 5th 2017.

by herrsteiner ( at November 05, 2017 12:08 PM

November 04, 2017

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

October 29, 2017

Vee One Suite 0.8.5 - An Autumn'17 release


The Vee One Suite of so called old-school software instruments, synthv1, as a polyphonic subtractive synthesizer, samplv1, a polyphonic sampler synthesizer, drumkv1 as yet another drum-kit sampler and padthv1 as a polyphonic additive synthesizer, are here released for the seasonal greetings.

All still available in dual form:

  • a pure stand-alone JACK client with JACK-session, NSM (Non Session management) and both JACK MIDI and ALSA MIDI input support;
  • a LV2 instrument plug-in.

The common change-log for this Fall goes like this:

  • Sample files are now saved as symlinks when saving to JACK and/or NSM session directories/folders (applies to samplv1 and drumkv1 only).
  • Opening multiple preset files is now possible, populating the preset drop-down listing, while only the first one is loaded effectively into the scene as usual.
  • Mono(phonic) "Legato" mode option introduced.
  • Desktop entry specification file is now finally independent from all build/configure template chains, whatever.
  • Updated target path for's AppStream metainfo file (formerly AppData).

The Vee One Suite are free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

And now, in reverse order of appearance:


padthv1 - an old-school polyphonic additive synthesizer

padthv1 0.8.5 (autumn'17) released!

padthv1 is an old-school polyphonic additive synthesizer with stereo fx

padthv1 is based on the PADsynth algorithm by Paul Nasca, as a special variant of additive synthesis.




git repos:

Flattr this


drumkv1 - an old-school drum-kit sampler

drumkv1 0.8.5 (autumn'17) released!

drumkv1 is an old-school drum-kit sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this


samplv1 - an old-school polyphonic sampler

samplv1 0.8.5 (autumn'17) released!

samplv1 is an old-school polyphonic sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this


synthv1 - an old-school polyphonic synthesizer

synthv1 0.8.5 (autumn'17) released!

synthv1 is an old-school all-digital 4-oscillator subtractive polyphonic synthesizer with stereo fx.




git repos:

Flattr this


Enjoy && have fun ;)

by rncbc at October 29, 2017 06:00 PM

October 27, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Leave this free software running, and it’ll come up with rhythms for you

Have you ever wanted to enslave your own Aphex Twin, then have him make endless rhythms for you, but worried about care and feeding of a Richard D. James?

Do you want to soak up the glory of the life of an IDM musician (the touring in helicopters, the seven-figure royalties), but want to avoid the actual work of making the music?

Well, then this Csound-based tool is for you. Run it, and it spits out a nice random rhythm or two. Leave it running, and it’ll generate a whole folder full of rhythms and various bpm. Dump those into Ableton Live, pick out the ones you like, and … ah, okay, now you will have to do some work turning this into music. (Effects …. maybe. Arrangement … well, or just loop one endlessly and pop off for lunch. Or make them into something new, original, and very much your own. Kind of up to you, really, though soon we should have some machine learning that decides for you what you probably would like to choose.)

It’s all the fault – erm, work – of one Micah Frank, who actually makes his living as a sound designer. (Meaning, of course – Micah what are you doing?!) Switch it on, and wait for hundreds of sounds to come your way.

Right now, it’s pretty simple – and it takes all night because it’s real-time, not offline. (On the other hand, you could output sound and have lovely, very weird and erratic, sonic wallpaper.) But Micah plans lots of additional features here, plus a whole compositional environment.

So there you have it. Skip the all nighter. Catch up on sleep.

You saw it here first.

Nice to see this sketch from when this was conceived.

The post Leave this free software running, and it’ll come up with rhythms for you appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at October 27, 2017 03:05 PM

October 26, 2017

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Raspberry Pi Media Streamer Is Combat Ready

We are truly living in the golden age of media streaming. From the Roku to the Chromecast, there is no shortage of cheap devices to fling your audio and video anywhere you please. Some services and devices may try to get you locked in a bit more than we’d like (Amazon, we’re looking at you), but on the whole if you’ve got media files on your network that you want to enjoy throughout the whole house, there’s a product out there to get it done.

But why buy an easy to use and polished commercial product when you can hack together your own for twice the price and labor over it for hours? While you’re at it, why not build the whole thing into a surplus ammo can? This the line of logic that brought [Zwaffel] to his latest project, and it makes perfect sense to us.

It should come as no surprise that a military ammo can has quite a bit more space inside than is strictly required for the Raspberry Pi 3 [Zwaffel] based his project on. But it does make for a very comfortable wiring arrangement, and offers plenty of breathing room for the monstrous 60 watt power supply he has pumping into his HiFiBerry AMP+ and speakers.

On the software side the Pi is running Max2Play, a Linux distro designed specifically for streaming audio and video remotely. [Zwaffel] says that with this setup he is able to listen to music on his Squeezebox server as well as watch movies via Kodi.

While none are quite as battle-hardened as this, we have seen several other Raspberry Pi Squeezebox clients over the years if you’re looking for more inspiration.

by Tom Nardi at October 26, 2017 03:30 PM

October 23, 2017

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

The Grafofon: An Optomechanical Sequencer

There are quick hacks, there are weekend projects and then there are years long journeys towards completion.  [Boris Vitazek]’s grafofon falls into the latter category. His creation can best be described as electromechanical sequencer synthesizer with a multiplayer mode.
The storage medium and interface for this sequencer is a thirteen-meter loop of paper that is mounted like a conveyor belt. Music is composed by drawing on the paper or placing objects on it. This is usually done by the audience and the fact that the marker isn’t erased make the result collaborative and incremental.
 These ‘scores’ are read by a camera and interpreted by software.This is a very vague description of this device, for a reason: the build went on over six years and both hard- and software went through several revisions in that time. It started as a trigger for MIDI notes and evolved from there.
In his write up [Boris] explains the technical aspects of each iteration. He also tells the stories of the people he met while working on the grafofon and how they influenced the build. If this look into the art world reminds you of your local hackerspace, it is because these worlds aren’t that far apart.

We sure do like large musical machines like this contraption by [Wintergatan] and sequencers made from random stuff also get our love. If this kind of project piques your interest, be sure to check out the ‘musical hacks’ category below.

by Christian Trapp at October 23, 2017 11:00 AM

October 19, 2017

News – Ubuntu Studio

Ubuntu Studio 17.10 Released

We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 17.10 Artful Aardvark! As a regular version, it will be supported for 9 months. Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list […]

by rosco2 at October 19, 2017 03:56 PM

October 16, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Jazzari lets you sketch musical ideas in your browser, with JavaScript

Open up a browser tab, use code sketch musical loops and grooves (using trigonometry, even), and play / export – all in this free tool.

Jazzari has been making the rounds among passionate music tech nerds, as a lovely free code toy. There are a bunch of easy-to-modify tutorial examples, so you don’t necessarily have to know any JavaScript or code. But there’s no graphical control at all – that visualization and the cute cartoon characters are just to give you feedback on what the code does.

So — why?

Developer Jack Schaedler is quick to caution that this is neither intended for teaching code nor teaching music, that better tools exist for each. (Sonic Pi is a particularly accessible entry for learning how to express musical ideas as code, used even by kids!)

Then again, you don’t have to believe him. That same spirit that made him decide to do this for fun seems to be infectious. And this might be an entry into making this stuff.

For coders, it’s yet another chance to discover some code and libraries and perhaps bits and pieces and inspiration for your own next project. For everyone else, well, it’s a terrific distraction.

And you can export MIDI, so this could start a new musical project.

By the way, someone want to join me in building this actual inspiration for Jazzari? It could be killer by next summer, at least.

The name is a riff on the 12th century scholar and inventor Ismail al-Jazari. al-Jazari is thought to have invented one of the first programmable musical machines, a “musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties.”

Bonus, for my Arabic, Kurdish, and Persian friends in electronic music – no one knows which of those accurately can claim this guy. We clearly need to get something going.

The post Jazzari lets you sketch musical ideas in your browser, with JavaScript appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at October 16, 2017 09:41 AM

October 07, 2017


03: OpenAV @ Sonoj

Hey folks!

Some of you are probably aware of the Sonoj Convention, well OpenAV is going to be talking about hardware and software there – demonstrating the latest progress in integrating hardware controllers with audio software! Are you in the Cologne area the 4th or 5th of November? You should attend too  : )

Interested in details? We’re gonna talk about what ~2000 lines of code means to the user of Ctlra enabled software, and how 13 lines of code make that useful to a user! It enables integration of hardware in novel ways… even if you don’t have access to the hardware!

Looking forward to seeing you all at Sonoj! -Harry of OpenAV

by Harry at October 07, 2017 10:48 AM

October 04, 2017


0.4.6 released

A new version of aubio, 0.4.6, is now available.

This version includes:

  • yinfast, a new version of the YIN pitch detection algorithm, that uses spectral convolution to compute the same results as the original yin, but with a cost O(N log(N)), making it much faster than the plain implementation (O(N^2))

  • Intel IPP optimisations (thanks to Eduard Mueller), available for Linux, MacOS, Windows, and Android

  • improved support for emscripten (thanks to Martin Hermant), which compiles the aubio library as a javascript module and lets you run aubio's algorithm directly from within a web-page.

0.4.6 also comes with several bug fixes and improvements.

Many thanks to Eduard Mueller (@emuell), Martin Hermant (@MartinHN), Hannes Fritz (@hztirf), Stuart Axon (@stuaxo), Jörg (@7heW4yne), ssj71 (@ssj71), Andreas Borg (@borg), Rob (@mlrobsmt) and everyone else for their valuable contributions and input.

read more after the break...

October 04, 2017 11:45 AM

Analyzing songs online

When built with ffmpeg or libav, aubio can read most existing audio and video formats, including compressed and remote video streams. This feature lets you analyze directly audio streams from the web.

A powerful tool to do this is youtube-dl, a python program which downloads video and audio streams to your hard-drive. youtube-dl works not only from youtube, but also from a large number of sites.

Here is a quick tutorial to use aubio along with youtube-dl.

read more after the break...

October 04, 2017 10:34 AM

October 03, 2017 - LAD

Suil 0.10.0

suil 0.10.0 has been released. Suil is a library for loading and wrapping LV2 plugin UIs. For more information, see


  • Add support for X11 in Gtk3
  • Add support for Qt5 in Gtk2
  • Add suil_init() to support early initialization and passing any necessary information that may be needed in the future (thanks Stefan Westerfeld)
  • Fix minor memory errors
  • Fix building with X11 against custom LV2 install path (thanks Robin Gareus)

by drobilla at October 03, 2017 09:00 PM

September 29, 2017

Audio – Stefan Westerfeld's blog

SpectMorph 0.3.4 released

A new version of SpectMorph, my audio morphing software is now available on

The biggest addition is an ADSR-Envelope which is optional, but when enabled allows overriding the natural instruments attack and volume envelope (full list of changes).

I also created a screencast of SpectMorph which gives a quick overview of the possibilities.

by stw at September 29, 2017 04:08 PM

September 20, 2017

Qtractor 0.8.4 - End of Summer'17 release!

Yes, it's been like clockwork...

Every two months or so, you stumbled with a brand new dot release, code-named after some of the same adjective-plus-noun (or vice versa) code-names. You knew the thrill and yet it lands no more.

First, the code-naming joke has been just a parody--or was it the other way around?--to some well known Linux-distro alimalistic code-name series. Then on it got rogue into some directed puns--remember the date when BitWig Studio 1.0 was first released? Yeah, the "Byte Bald" was there for the pun, on the very same day :)

Well, that's all gone by now.

Northern hemisphere seasons are the new norm and that's about two main reasons: first, it's where I live; second, due to an undeniable global warming effect pervading the globe, all geographical temperate zones are simply on the edge of extinction. More or less in a couple of decades or so. For the sake of brevity, I will just leave it like paying homage to those natural concepts that are facing an inexorable fate.

And yet, there're still the good news:

Qtractor 0.8.4 (end of summer'17) released!


  • Assigned MIDI Controllers to plug-in's Activate switch are now finally saved and (re)loaded properly across sessions.
  • Audio clip panning option property is now being introduced.
  • Out-of-process (aka. dummy) VST plug-in inventory scanning now restarts automatically and resumes processing in case of a premature exit/crash; VST plug-in inventory scan/cache persistency is now in place.
  • Desktop entry specification file is now finally independent from build/configure template chains.
  • Updated target path for's AppStream metainfo file (formerly AppData).
  • Changing the View/Options.../Display/Custom/Style theme takes effect immediately unless it's back to "(default)".
  • Slightly slower but better approximation to IEEE 32bit floating point cubic root ie. cbrtf().


Qtractor is an audio/MIDI multi-track sequencer application written in C++ with the Qt framework. Target platform is Linux, where the Jack Audio Connection Kit (JACK) for audio and the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (ALSA) for MIDI are the main infrastructures to evolve as a fairly-featured Linux desktop audio workstation GUI, specially dedicated to the personal home-studio.


Project page:


Git repos:

Wiki (help wanted!):


Qtractor is free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

Enjoy && Keep having fun.

Flattr this

by rncbc at September 20, 2017 07:00 PM

September 18, 2017

GStreamer News

GStreamer 1.12.3 stable release

The GStreamer team is pleased to announce the third bugfix release in the stable 1.12 release series of your favourite cross-platform multimedia framework!

This release only contains bugfixes and it should be safe to update from 1.12.x.

See /releases/1.12/ for the full release notes.

Binaries for Android, iOS, Mac OS X and Windows will be available shortly.

Check out the release notes for GStreamer core, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx, or download tarballs for gstreamer, gst-plugins-base, gst-plugins-good, gst-plugins-ugly, gst-plugins-bad, gst-libav, gst-rtsp-server, gst-python, gst-editing-services, gst-validate, gstreamer-vaapi, or gst-omx.

September 18, 2017 02:30 PM

September 17, 2017


02: Ctlra Virtual Devices

Virtual Ctlra devices? But why do you need or care about that? Read on – this is going to change how you (and the community) work with hardware and software controllers. To state the problem: we all own hardware controllers – MIDI, USB, or something else. Some DAWs support them – allow them to even “map” to different functionality – but it is often difficult and error prone. Whats worse is that if you ask the developer of the DAW for help, they can’t help you because they don’t have access to the hardware… or do they?

Virtual Ctlras!

So this is where virtual devices come in – and save the day. The Ctlra library allows any fully supported Ctlra device to be “virtualized” or simulated by the developer. If a user has an issue with a particular device, the developer has access to the software version of it! A mock-up created by the Ctlra library, can be used instead of real hardware to test and reproduce the users issue.

Developers and Musicians?

What else can be done using a virtual ctlra? Well say you are a musician – and you want your hardware controller to map to an audio looper in a specific way. It doesn’t currently work correctly, and you don’t have the time or experience to create the mapping yourself. With the virtual devices any developer can help you, simulating your controller hardware, and implementing the mapping for you. Perhaps you’re happy with their work, so buy them a beverage in return. The hardware accessibility problem solved!

More More Moarrr!

How about creating a prototype controller using the Ctlra library, testing it for its workflow using a software interface, and later building a physical mockup using an Arduino or RaspberryPi? What if hardware vendors supplied Ctlra drivers with their newly created hardware – the options to utilize and customize how you use their hardware with your favorite software becomes amazing.

Think we’re biting off more than we can chew? Nope – the 84 commits in the last 2 weeks (in the Ctlra repo alone!!) beg to differ: virtual devices are available! Don’t believe we’re going to be able to create UIs on various platforms, and embed them into host applications? Yes we can – checkout the purpose-built AVTKA UI library for creating virtual Ctlra interfaces!

Signoff and Next Up

We hope you’re as excited as us about this whole concept – OpenAV has been working towards this for a long time – and its great to finally get pushing this code out to the community! So what next? Well we can take an in-depth look at the integration of the hardware and virtual controller – that might showcase some of the awesomeness that will be when real-world audio-software gets Ctlra functionality integrated…

-Harry of OpenAV

by Harry at September 17, 2017 09:44 PM

September 16, 2017

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

Ardour 5.12 released

Ardour 5.12 released

Ardour 5.12 has just been released! The main new features in this release involve session/track template management and improvements to MIDI patch changing, as well as the usual bug fixes.

by Conor at September 16, 2017 08:06 PM

September 15, 2017


Ardour 5.12 released

Ardour 5.12 is now available.

Although when Ardour 5.11 was released, we expected a significant gap until 6.0 will be announced, enough notable features and fixes accumulated that it seemed better for us to push out a 5.12 release before we embark on the major code changes that will mark the real start of the development process for 6.0.

Much of the work in this release was sponsored by Harrison Consoles.

Two of the most notable new features are the improvements in functionality to the new session and new track/bus dialogs, which now offer much easier and more powerful ways to use templates. These include dynamic "track wizard" templates that allow you to interactively setup sessions and/or groups of new track/busses very quickly and very easily. This builds on the new template manager dialog introduced in 5.11, and a new less obvious feature: the ability to create dynamic templates with Lua scripts.

Also notable is the new patch selection dialog for MIDI tracks/instruments, which provides an easy and convenient way to preview patches in software and hardware instruments. Naturally, it integrates fully with Ardour's support for MIDNAM (patch definition files), so you will named programs/patches for both General MIDI synths and those with MIDNAM files.


Read full details below ...

read more

by paul at September 15, 2017 10:16 PM

OSM podcast

September 11, 2017


01: Ctlra

Hey! With this new site online, we’d better post some actual content! So we are going to post a articles to show what the summer time was spent developing. There’s a range of projects always going on, but usually we focus on a particular topic. Right now that’s the Ctlra project!


Ctlra is a library to allow software developers interface with hardware devices. Technically, it “abstracts” the details of the hardware device away, and provides the application with “generic events”. Great. But what does it mean to you – the musician on stage? It means any Ctlra enable application (more on that in a future post!) will be easy to control from your hardware control surface. More importantly, not just “input” will work well – its also about feedback – lighting up the controller, displaying useful info on the devices’ integrated screen!

So what is OpenAV actually doing for this? During the last year (since Nov ’16!) we’re writing code, lots of code. Sometimes this code enables your hardware device to actually work on the Linux platform, sometimes it exposes the device in a different way – to allow your audio software easily interact with the device. Checkout the youtube video of the presentation at the LAC (Demo’s start at 23:30!):


Next UP

In the next posts, OpenAV is going to show you what Proof-of-Concept work we’re doing – to demonstrate the value of the Ctlra library. Right now, you need hardware to test if Ctlra support is working as expected… that’s about to change!

Stay tuned, -Harry from OpenAV

by Harry at September 11, 2017 06:19 PM

September 07, 2017

News – Ubuntu Studio

17.10 Beta 1 Release

Ubuntu Studio 17.10 Artful Aardvark Beta 1 is released! It’s that time of the release cycle again. The first beta of the upcoming release of Ubuntu Studio 17.10 is here and ready for testing. You may find the images at More information can be found in the Beta 1 Release Notes. Reporting Bugs If […]

by rosco2 at September 07, 2017 12:32 PM

September 06, 2017

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Hackaday Prize Entry: SNAP Is Almost Geordi La Forge’s Visor

Echolocation projects typically rely on inexpensive distance sensors and the human brain to do most of the processing. The team creating SNAP: Augmented Echolocation are using much stronger computational power to translate robotic vision into a 3D soundscape.

The SNAP team starts with an Intel RealSense R200. The first part of the processing happens here because it outputs a depth map which takes the heavy lifting out of robotic vision. From here, an AAEON Up board, packaged with the RealSense, takes the depth map and associates sound with the objects in the field of view.

Binaural sound generation is a feat in itself and works on the principle that our brains process incoming sound from both ears to understand where a sound originates. Our eyes do the same thing. We are bilateral creatures so using two ears or two eyes to understand our environment is already part of the human operating system.

In the video after the break, we see a demonstration where the wearer doesn’t need to move his head to realize what is happening in front of him. Instead of a single distance reading, where the wearer must systematically scan the area, the wearer simply has to be pointed the right way.

Another Assistive Technology entry used the traditional ultrasonic distance sensor instead of robotic vision. There is even a version out there for augmented humans with magnet implants covered in Cyberpunk Yourself called Bottlenose.

The HackadayPrize2017 is Sponsored by:

by Brian McEvoy at September 06, 2017 08:00 PM

September 02, 2017


00: New OpenAV Website!

Hey Everybody!

The OpenAV website had been quiet for a while – but OpenAV has been as busy as ever! We just haven’t been keeping up with posting to social media – that’s all 🙂 So whats been going on? Good question! Lots of coding, learning and re-working of crucial components of the linux-audio world, in order to enable next gen software. Sounds lame, but building novel software requires well designed building-blocks, and sometimes they’re lacking. Stay tuned for future blog posts where we will talk trough some of the cool stuff we’ve been working on.

Of course we attended the Linux Audio Conference (or just LAC) again this year, which was held in France for the first time. OpenAV presented about the Ctlra project – more info available on the Code – Ctlra page!

Thats all for now, stay tuned for the next update! -OpenAV

by Harry at September 02, 2017 11:00 AM

fundamental code

Total Variation Denoising

Working with data is an important part of my day-to-day work. No matter if it’s speech, music, images, brain waves, or some other stream of data there’s plenty of it and there’s always some quality issue associated with working with the data. In this post I’m interested in providing an introduction to one technique which can be utilized to reduce the amount of noise present in some of these classes of signals.

Noise might seem abstract at first, but it’s relatively simple to quantify it. If the original signal, $x$, is known, then the noise, $n$, is any deviation in the observation, $y$, from the original signal.

$$y = x + n$$

Typically the deviation is measured via the squared error across all elements in a given signal:

$$\text{error} = ||x-y||^2_2 = \sum_i (x_i-y_i)^2$$

When only the noisy signal, $y$, is observed it is difficult to separate the noise from the signal. There is a wealth of literature on separating noise and many algorithms focus on identifying underlying repeating structures. The algorithm that this post focuses on is one which reduces the total variation over a given signal. One example of a signal with little variation is a step function:

2017 tv clean

A step function only has one point where a sample of the signal varies from the previous sample. The Total Variation denoising technique focuses on minimizing the number of points where the signal varies and the amount the signal varies at each point. Restricting signal variation works as an effective denoiser as many types of noise (e.g. white noise) contain much more variation than the underlying signal. At a high level Total Variation (TV) denoising works by minimizing the cost of the output $y$ given input signal $x$ as described below:

$$\text{cost} = \text{error}(x, y) + \text{weight}*\text{sparseness}(\text{transform}(y))$$

Mathematically the full cost of TV denoising is:

$$ \begin{aligned} \text{cost} &= \text{error} + \text{TV-cost} \\ \text{cost} &= ||x-y||_2^2 + \lambda ||y||_{TV} \\ ||y||_{TV} &= \sum |y_i-y_{i-1}| \end{aligned}$$

To see how the above optimization can recover a noisy signal, lets look at a noisy version of the step function:

2017 tv noised

After using the TV norm to denoise only a few points of variation are left:

2017 tv denoised

The process of getting the final TV denoised output involves many iterations of updating where variations occur. Over the course of iterations opposing variations cancel out and smaller variations are driven to $\Delta y = 0$. As the number of non-zero points increase a sparse solution is produced and noise is eliminated. For higher values of the TV weight, $\lambda$, the solution will be more sparse. For the noisy step function, $y$ and $\Delta y$ over several iterations look like:

2017 tv tv example

For piecewise constant signals, the TV norm alone works quite well, however there are problems which arise with the output when the original signal is not a series of flat steps. To illustrate this consider a piecewise linear signal. When TV denoising is applied a stair stepping effect is created as shown below:

2017 tv gstv example

One of the extensions to TV based denoising is to add 'group sparsity' to the cost of variation. Standard TV denoising results in a sparse set of points where there is non-zero variation, resulting in a few piecewise constant regions. With the TV norm, the cost of varying at point $\Delta y_i$ within the signal does not depend upon which other, $\Delta y_j,\Delta y_k,\text{etc}$, points vary. Group Sparse Total Variation, GSTV, on the other hand reduces the cost for smaller variation in nearby points. GSTV therefore generally produces smoother results with more gentle curves for higher order group sparsity values as variation occurs over several nearby points rather than a singular one. Applying GSTV to the previous example results in a much smoother representation which more accurately models the underlying data.

2017 tv corn tv

Now that some artificial examples have been investigated, lets take a brief look at some real world data. One example of data which is expected to have relatively few points of abrupt change is the price of goods. In this case we’re looking at the price of corn in the United States 2000 to 2017 in USD per bushel as retrieved from . With real data it’s harder to define noise (or what part of the signal is unwanted); However, by using higher levels of denoising the overall trends can be observed within the time-series data:

2017 tv corn gstv

If this short into was interesting I’d recommend trying out TV/GSTV techniques on your own problems. For more in depth information there’s a good few papers out there on the topic with the original GSTV work being:

  • I. W. Selesnick and P.-Y. Chen, 'Total Variation Denoising with Overlapping Group Sparsity', IEEE Int. Conf. Acoust., Speech, Signal Processing (ICASSP). May, 2013.

  • - contains above paper as well as a MATLAB implementation

And if you’re using Julia, feel free to grab my re-implementation of Total Variation and Group Sparse Total Variation at

September 02, 2017 04:00 AM

August 29, 2017

GStreamer News

GStreamer Conference 2017: Registration now open

About the GStreamer Conference

The GStreamer Conference 2017 will take place on 21-22 October 2017 in Prague (Czech Republic), just before the Embedded Linux Conference Europe.

It is a conference for developers, contributors, decision-makers, students, hobbyists, and anyone else interested in the GStreamer multimedia framework or open source multimedia technologies.

Registration now open

You can now register for the GStreamer Conference 2017 via the conference website.

Early-bird registration for professionals is available until 15th September.

We hope to see you there!

August 29, 2017 12:00 PM

August 28, 2017

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

Turning On Your Amplifier With A Raspberry Pi

Life is good if you are a couch potato music enthusiast. Bluetooth audio allows the playing of all your music from your smartphone, and apps to control your hi-fi give you complete control over your listening experience.

Not quite so for [Daniel Landau] though. His Cambridge Audio amplifier isn’t quite the latest generation, and he didn’t possess a handy way to turn it on and off without resorting to its infrared remote control. It has a proprietary interface of some kind, but nothing wireless to which he could talk from his mobile device.

His solution is fairly straightforward, which in itself says something about the technology available to us in the hardware world these days. He took a Raspberry Pi with the Home Assistant home automation package and the LIRC infrared subsystem installed, and had it drive an infrared LED within range of the amplifier’s receiver. Coupled with the Home Assistant app, he was then able to turn the amplifier on and off as desired. It’s a fairly simple use of the software in question, but this is the type of project upon which so much more can later be built.

Not so many years ago this comparatively easy project would have required a significant amount more hardware and effort. A few weeks ago [John Baichtal] took a look at the evolution of home automation technology, through the lens of the language surrounding the term itself.

Via Hacker News.

by Jenny List at August 28, 2017 05:00 AM

August 27, 2017

Libre Music Production - Articles, Tutorials and News

LMP Asks #24: An interview with Luciano Dato

 LMP Asks #24: An interview with Luciano Dato

This time we talk to Luciano Dato, creator of Noise Repellent, a realtime noise reduction plugin.

Hi Luciano, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Where do you live, and what do you do for a living?

I live in Santa Fe, Argentina and I work as a sysadmin/technician in a small IT company.

by Conor at August 27, 2017 08:48 AM

August 23, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

What if you used synthesizers to emulate nature and reality?

Bored with making presets for instruments, one sound designer decides to make presets for ambient reality – and you can learn from the results.

“Scapes” is a multi-year, advanced journey into the idea that the synthesizer could sound like anything you imagine. Once you’ve grabbed this set of Ableton Live projects, you can bliss out to the weirdly natural results. Or you can tear apart the innards, finding everything from tricks on how to make cricket sounds synthetically to a veritable master class in using instruments like Ableton’s built-in FM synthesizer Operator. The results are Creative Commons-licensed (and of course, you can also grab individual presets).

The project is the brainchild of sound designer Francis Preve. Apart from his prolific writing career and Symplesound soundware line, Fran has put his sound design work all over presets for apps, software (including Ableton Live), and hardware.

As a result, no one knows better than Fran how much of the work of making presets focuses on particular, limited needs. And that’s too bad. The thing is, there’s no reason to be restricted to the stuff we normally get in synth presets. (You know the type: “lush, succulent pads” … “crisp leads…” “back-stabbing basslines…” “chocolate-y, creamy nougat horn sections…” “impetuous, slightly condescending 80s police drama keyboard stacks…” or, uh, whatever. Might have made some of those up.)

No, the promise of the synthesizer was supposed to be unlimited sonic possibilities.

If we tend to recreate what we’ve heard, that’s partly because we’re synthesizing something we’ve taken some care in hearing. So, why not go back to the richness and complexity of sound as we hear it in everyday life? Why not combine the active listening of a soundwalk or field recording with the craft of producing something using synthesis, in place of a recording?

Scapes does that, and the results are – striking. There’s not a single sample anywhere in the four ambient environments, which cover a rainy day in the city, a midsummer night, a brook echoing with bird song, and a more fanciful haunted house (with a classic movie origin). Instead, these are multitrack compositions, constructed with a bunch of instances of Operator and some internal effects. Download the Ableton Live project files, and you see a set of MIDI tracks and internal Live devices.

You might not be fooled into thinking the result sounds exactly like a field recording, but you would certainly let it pass for Foley in film. (I think that fits, actually – film uses constructed Foley partly because we expect in that context for the sounds to be constructed, more the way we imagine we hear than what literally passes into our ears.)

You wouldn’t think this was internal Ableton devices – not by a longshot – but of course it is.

And that’s where Scapes is doubly useful. Whether or not you want to create these particular sounds, every layer is a master class in sound design and synthesis. If you can understand a cricket, a bottle rocket, a rainstorm, and a car alarm, then you’re closer not only to emulating reality, but to being able to reconstruct the sounds you hear in your imagination and that you remember from life. That opens up new galaxies of potential to composers and musicians.

It might be just what electronic music needs: to think of sound creatively, rather than trying to regurgitate some instrumentation you’ve heard before. This might be the opposite of how you normally think of presets: here, presets can liberate you from repetitive thought.

I’ve seen this idea before – but just once before, that I can think of. Andy Farnell’s Designing Sound, which began life as a PDF that was floating around in draft form before it matured into a book at MIT Press, took on exactly this idea. Fran’s scapes are “tracks,” collaged compositions that turn into entire environments; Farnell looks only at the component sounds one by one.

Otherwise, the two have the same philosophy: understand the way you hear sound by starting from scratch and building up something that sounds natural. Scapes does it with Ableton Live projects you can easily walk through. Designing Sound demonstrates this on paper with patches in the free and open source environment Pure Data. As Richard Boulanger describes that book, “with hundreds of fully working sound models, this ‘living document’ helps students to learn with both their eyes and their ears, and to explore what they are learning on their own computer.”

But yes – create sounds by really listening, actively. (Pauline Oliveros might have been into this.)

Designing Sound | The MIT Press

Sound examples

A PDF introducing Pure Data (the free software you can use to pull this off)

But grabbing Scapes and a PDF or paper edition of Designing Sound together would give you a pairing you could play with more or less for the rest of your life.

Scapes is free (only Ableton Live required), and available now.

For background on how this came about: THE ORIGIN OF SCAPES [TL;DR EDIT]

The post What if you used synthesizers to emulate nature and reality? appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at August 23, 2017 10:10 PM

August 22, 2017

Vee One Suite 0.8.4 - A Late-Summer'17 release


The Vee One Suite of old-school software instruments, respectively synthv1, as a polyphonic subtractive synthesizer, samplv1, a polyphonic sampler synthesizer and drumkv1 as yet another drum-kit sampler, welcomes a brand new and fourth member, padthv1 as a polyphonic additive synthesizer, now joining the late-summer'17 release party.

All available in dual form:

  • a pure stand-alone JACK client with JACK-session, NSM (Non Session management) and both JACK MIDI and ALSA MIDI input support;
  • a LV2 instrument plug-in.

The Vee One Suite are free, open-source Linux Audio software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.

And now being the gang-of-four!


synthv1 - an old-school polyphonic synthesizer

synthv1 0.8.4 (late-summer'17) is out!

synthv1 is an old-school all-digital 4-oscillator subtractive polyphonic synthesizer with stereo fx.



  • Disabled "Custom style theme" option on LV2 plug-in form.
  • Brand new LFO Balance parameter introduced.



git repos:

Flattr this


samplv1 - an old-school polyphonic sampler

samplv1 0.8.4 (late-summer'17) is out!

samplv1 is an old-school polyphonic sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.



  • Disabled "Custom style theme" option on LV2 plug-in form.



git repos:

Flattr this


drumkv1 - an old-school drum-kit sampler

drumkv1 0.8.4 (late-summer'17) is out!

drumkv1 is an old-school drum-kit sampler synthesizer with stereo fx.



  • Disabled "Custom style theme" option on LV2 plug-in form.



git repos:

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padthv1 - an old-school polyphonic additive synthesizer

padthv1 0.8.4 (late-summer'17) is out! (NEW!)

padthv1 is an old-school polyphonic additive synthesizer with stereo fx

padthv1 is based on the PADsynth algorithm by Paul Nasca, as a special variant of additive synthesis.



  • First public release.



git repos:

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Enjoy && have fun ;)

by rncbc at August 22, 2017 05:00 PM

digital audio hacks – Hackaday

ESP8266 Based Internet Radio Receiver is Packed with Features

Have a beautiful antique radio that’s beyond repair? This ESP8266 based Internet radio by [Edzelf] would be an excellent starting point to get it running again, as an alternative to a Raspberry-Pi based design. The basic premise is straightforward: an ESP8266 handles the connection to an Internet radio station of your choice, and a VS1053 codec module decodes the stream to produce an audio signal (which will require some form of amplification afterwards).

Besides the excellent documentation (PDF warning), where this firmware really shines is the sheer number of features that have been added. It includes a web interface that allows you to select an arbitrary station as well as cycle through presets, adjust volume, bass, and treble.


If you prefer physical controls, it supports buttons and dials. If you’re in the mood for something more Internet of Things, it can be controlled by the MQTT protocol as well. It even supports a color TFT screen by default, although this reduces the number of pins that can be used for button input.

The firmware also supports playing arbitrary .mp3 files hosted on a server. Given the low parts count and the wealth of options for controlling the device, we could see this device making its way into doorbells, practical jokes, and small museum exhibits.

To see it in action, check out the video below:

[Thanks JeeCee]

by Sean Boyce at August 22, 2017 03:30 PM

August 19, 2017

open-source – CDM Create Digital Music

Here are some of our favorite MeeBlip triode synth jams

We say “play” music for a reason – synths are meant to be fun. So here are our favorite live jams from the MeeBlip community, with our triode synth.

And, of course, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, this can give you some inspiration for how to set up a live rig – or give you some idea of what triode sounds like if you don’t know already. We picked just a few of our favorites, but if we missed you, let us know! (audio or video welcome!)

First, Olivier Ozoux has churned out some amazing jam sessions with the triode, from unboxing to studio. (He also disassembled our fully-assembled unit to show the innards.)

The amazing Gustavo Bravetti is always full of virtuosity playing live; here, that distinctive triode sound cuts through a table full of gear. Details:

Again ARTURIA’s Beat Step Pro in charge of randomness (accessory percussions and subtle TB303). Practically all sounds generated on the black boxes, thanks Elektron, and at last but no least MeeBlip’s [triode] as supporting melody synth. Advanced controls from Push and Launch Control using Performer , made with Max by Cycling ’74.

Here’s a triode with the Elektron Octatrack as sequencer, plus a Moog Minitaur and Elektron Analog RYTM. That user also walks through the wavetable sounds packed into the triode for extra sonic variety.

Novation’s Circuit and MeeBlip triode pair for an incredible, low power, low cost, ultra-portable, all-in-one rig. We get not one but two examples of that combo, thanks to Pete Mitchell Music and Ken Shorley. It’s like peanut butter and chocolate:

One nice thing about triode is, that sub oscillator can fatten up and round out the one oscillator of a 303. We teamed up with Roland’s Nick de Friez when the lovely little TB-03 came out to show how these two can work together. Just output the distinctive 303-style sequencer to triode’s MIDI in, and have some fun:

Here’s triode as the heart of a rig with KORG’s volca series (percussion) and Roland’s TB-03 (acid bass) – adding some extra bottom. Thank you, Steven Archer, for your hopeful machines:

Get yours:

The post Here are some of our favorite MeeBlip triode synth jams appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

by Peter Kirn at August 19, 2017 02:09 PM

August 16, 2017


Ardour 5.11 released

We are pleased to announce the availability of Ardour 5.11. Like 5.10, this is primarily a bug-fix release, though it also includes VCA automation graphical editing, a new template management dialog and various other useful new features.


Read more below for the full list of features, improvements and fixes.

read more

by paul at August 16, 2017 06:32 PM