cSounds.com Gets a Face Lift


Csound is starting off the new year with a bang, as the cSounds.com homepage has just launched a new and much improved design. And who do we have to thank for this?

Thanks to the incredible initiative, talent, dedication and expertise of our brilliant new administrator – Cesare Marilungo, over the next few weeks and months, you will enjoy a new look, a new organization, and *many* new features, resources and developments here at cSounds.com! – Dr. B.

And just in case you are wondering what Csound is…

Csound is a computer music programming language with roots extending all the way back to Max V. Mathews Music-N languages. As far as digitial synthesizers are concerned, Csound is as vintage as they come.

Survey on Musical Instruments

“The Acoustic, the Digital and the Body: A Survey on Musical Instruments”

“In the autumn of 2006 we conducted a phenomenological, qualitative survey on people’s relationship with their acoustic and digitial instruments. This is part of an ongoing research.”

The survey is still open if you wish to participate.

via HectorC on the Csound Mailing list.

Oscillator Experiment Update: Piecewise Sine

After matrixsynth.com picked up “My Sine Oscillator Experiment,” doktor future started a discussion about different ways of emulating analog oscillators in digital. Adam S mentioned that he thought the Plan B sine looked like a piecewise quadratic to him and provided the following function:

-(4/pi^2)[x - (pi/2)]^2+1, x from 0 to pi
(4/pi^2)[x-(3pi/2)]^2-1, x from pi to 2pi

After having checked it out in grapher.app myself, and confirmed it did look similar to the Plan B sine, I implemented this as a wave table in Csound. See piecewise.csd.

Piecewise + Plan B Model 15

In this image, I have superimposed Adam’s recommended piecewise function over the Plan B’s Model 15 sine wave. As you can see, their contours are not quite identical, though very, very similar.

After listening to both waves side-by-side, the harmonic distortion in the piecewise sine example is a tad louder, and the frequencies are just slightly off. At least to my ears. However, I consider it to be a wonderful approximation of the Model 15.

Oh, the Irony

Peter Grenader, the principle designer at Plan B, has this written in his bio:

“In 2001 , Peter returned to analog after a 22 year hiatus because he tired of trying to force digital instruments to behave in like manner.”

I’m finding this whole discussion a bit humorous as the three of us are doing exactly this, trying to force digital instruments to sound like analog. In this case, Mr. Grenader’s analog oscillator.

The Zeroscillator

Cyndustries Promotional video used at the NAMM Show Anaheim California 2007. This oscillator is amazing!

Video by Cyndustries.

I agree with the video description. The Zeroscillator, by Cyndustries, is amazing! And I really, really want one. I never knew FM synthesis could sound so great. Since the whole process takes place in the analog domain, the Zeroscillator doesn’t have the same issues as digital FM does with aliasing, which allows for timbres not possible with digital FM synthesis.

This unit is my highest priority for when I upgrade my Doepfer sometime in the future.