Virtual Synths: Modeling Gear, as Imagined by Communities and Engineers

Do Androids Dream of Electric Synths? Imagining an instrument from a clean sheet of paper is an essential part of the design process. It can remind us of the extent of possibilities – and, sometimes, why compromise is necessary. The German site Amazona.de this week unveiled mock-ups of an instrument conceived by their community. The design looks terrific, and the specs (below) do read like the sorts of things synthesists would want. My only concern is that the results could be very cost prohibitive; the obvious remedy it seems would be to use digital oscillators in place of the eight-voice …

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Unity Game Engine 3 Adds Real-time Audio, Mod Tracker Features

Nearing the release of Unity 3, the popular multi-platform game engine, the dev team offers thoughts on what excites them most in the upgrade. Amongst those features are some tasty introductions in sound. Real-time audio features could make Unity an appealing environment for people working on experimental 3D interfaces for sound or adding more interactive sonic and music elements to games. And a MOD tracker … well, if you have to ask, you probably don’t care, but some heart rates in a particular community just shot way up. From the blog: Samantha Kalman I’m most thrilled about the new audio …

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Ready-to-Play, Tuned Beer Bottles, and Other Design Experiments with Sound

From label to physical shape to the boxes they come in, these beer bottles have been reimagined for musical aims. Cheers! All images courtesy the artist, Matt Braun. What if blowing tunes on beer bottles was raised to the level of musical science? Through even the mundane medium of packaging, design can transform the everyday. DJ and designer Matt Braun of Philadelphia, collaborating with Chris Mufalli, use labels to tune the level of beer remaining in the bottle for musical results. Pitches are printed on the labels, allowing you to exactly match the liquid inside to a pitch you want, …

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Browser Madness: 3D Music Mountainscapes, Web-Based Pd Patching

“The hills are alive / with the sound of browsers” Ever thought you’d make sounds in a browser, or have new ways of visualizing music playback? It’s happening, with builds of Firefox anyone can download. Work to make browsers rich with sound synthesis and visualization continues. “Compatibility” isn’t really an advantage yet, because Firefox is the only browser with support, and only in the next version, though that could change in the future. And yes, Flash is capable of some of this, too (though not real 3D), with 90-95% saturation, conservatively, of computers. But if not compatibility, what these experiments …

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Real Sound Synthesis, Now in the Browser; Possible New Standard?

Bloop HTML5 Instrument inspired by Brian Eno’s Bloom from Bocoup on Vimeo. HTML5 and Javascript Synthesizer from Corban Brook on Vimeo. Pioneers like Max Mathews’ Bell Labs team taught the computer to hum, sing, and speak, before even the development of primitive graphical user interfaces. So it’s fitting that the standards that chart the Web’s future would again turn to the basics of electronic sound synthesis. A group of intrepid hackers and Mozilla developers and community leaders are working to make an audio API a standard part of this generation of Web browsers. (Note: not some unspecified future browsers – …

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Music, Physics, Space in Perfect Fusion: Interview, Creators of Game Osmos

You’ll want superb music on loop, because it may … take some time to get out of this puzzle. Musicians and artists now have the power to fuse visuals, sound, and interaction, to make a spectacle, an album, and a game all at once. But with the blank canvas of three different media before you, what form should that fusion take? Space shooters with pounding electronic beats behind them have cleared some of the way. Now it’s ambient music’s turn. In the game Osmos, you become a mysterious particle, floating amongst gravity wells in various fields of material. By carefully …

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Wild Musical Inventions from Berlin Hackday

Nodes of musical events, arrayed onto virtual tracks, in Jakob Penca’s iLoveAcid sequencer. Take a weekend, and make something: that’s the challenge behind the Music Hack Day, which joins a growing phenomenon of events built around collective creation. (CDM held its own tangible interface hackday online, which I definitely hope to follow up soon!) Initiated by Dave Haynes of music sharing service Soundcloud, the Hack Day has already hit London. Many of the events were Web app-based and focused on consumption rather than creation of music, but we also saw a chordal synth plug-in and beer bottle percussion instrument. The …

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Music Sequencing as Bicycle Wheels, Rubik’s Cubes at Fest in Argentina

Performance with Cubie from sadmb on Vimeo. Music sequencing as a Rubik’s Cube-style game, or hypnotic, kinetic rotating wheels – your piano roll won’t know what hit it. New musical art is set to be performed in Argentina, but you can download both tools, free. Computer interfaces for music date back decades now, but with ingrained notions of hardware sound sequencers, linear media like tape, and hundreds of years of notation in staves and bars, old habits can be hard to kick. Yet it seems that suddenly, a younger generation of audiovisual composers is exploding notions of how musical interface …

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Immersive Music: Revo:oveR Installation, Lightbent Synth, Max + Unity

As an addendum to the last story, Ivica Ico Bukvic sends along an example of the [myu] Max/MSP + Unity game engine combination in action. Here’s the surprise: Unity isn’t generating visuals. Instead, Unity simulates ripples created by movement in the space, and builds physical models that are sonified and spatialized by Max/MSP. Speaking of work involving art museums and the combination of Max and Unity, VJ Anomolee notes in comments his own work with the pairing. Lightbent Synth is an in-progress piece with alternative controllers and sensors that produces sound with a novel visual representation (sound’s very quiet in …

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More Max+Unity Game Engine Goodness, with Powerful Toolkit for Max, Jitter, Pd

Take a powerful game engine (for animation, 2D and 3D graphics, physics, and on-screen interaction). Add the flexibility of a visual development environment for programming with virtual patch cords, for rich sonic and musical capabilities plus easy interaction with data and input. That’s the idea of combining something like Unity 3D with Max/MSP. In the example from earlier today, the solution simply routed basic data from a Unity-based game to a responsive music engine in Max. In the case of [myu] – the Max Unity Interoperability Toolkit – that integration goes further still. Developed at the DISIS (Digital Interactive Sound …

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