Re: Aube: great potential here!

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Subject: Re: Aube: great potential here!
From: Conrad Parker (
Date: ti loka   13 1998 - 02:56:46 EDT


thanks for your very detailed suggestions. I wrote up a big reply on saturday
then lost it in a power outage (ie. I'd forgotten to plug the power lead back
into my laptop and it abruptly ran out of battery when I tried to access the
floppy ... ) so I'll reply again now, hopefully I'll remember everything I
wanted to say :)

On Sat, Oct 10, 1998 at 05:10:44AM -0400, Paul Winkler wrote:
> Conrad,
> I downloaded AUBE 0.20.5 last week to give it a try. I've been mostly
> using Linux for about a year now, and, while I've found lots of apps
> that make interesting sounds, I haven't found much that really lets you
> _compose_ anything, except csound (very labor-intensive!) and midi stuff
> (I didn't have a keyboard until very recently), and a couple of mod
> trackers (not much easier than csound to my mind, and much less
> powerful). So I've been hoping for something interesting to come along;
> something interactive, something kinda like Rebirth only without the
> silly limitations imposed by emulating a compact piece of hardware.
> So when I came across AUBE on Dave Phillips' web page, I got real
> excited. It looked like exactly what I was looking for!
> Now that I've installed it, here's my initial impressions.
> It's pretty cool. The modular design is brilliant (if a bit hard to
> manage on the desktop). It's also currently very, very easy to
> crash it.
> Wish list:
> Personally I think it would be best to concentrate on usability before
> adding more audio features (synths modules, effects, whatever).
> Here's MY priorities for you to do :)
> 1) Make it not crash every time things start to get interesting!!!

yes ... if you can send me gdb backtraces that'd be much appreciated, as it
takes a while for me to test out many different combinations of modules. (run
"gdb aube", type "r" in gdb, use aube, and when it crashes, type "bt" in gdb to
get a backtrace, and send me that output :)

> 2) A way to record the output as a soundfile while listening to it (or
> at least a way to write to disk instead of soundcard). paudio could be
> used as a workaround, but I haven't been able to get paudio working on
> my system (I use OSS-Linux, that might be the problem).

yes, a sample recorder is almost finished, should be in a release soon

> 3) A way to store sequences. (This might deal with part of #2:
> if you can create a complete composition as a sequence, and
> then later render the sequence as a soundfile, you're all set.)
> Ability to import simple midifiles would make things interesting, and
> would be a useful stopgap until support for midi controllers is added.

good idea, straight midi sequences would be very useful ...

> 4) Better sequencers! I see you're working on this, thanks!

yup :) [Also check out kegtracker while you're looking around: ]

> 5) Clean up the output sound ... lots of quiet crackly gunk going on.
> What causes that?

I wish I knew :) I think some of it is overload from mixing stuff too loud, I'm
not sure but I'd like to fix it!

> 6) A way to store banks of sounds, i.e. save the paths & filenames
> you've loaded into the sample-loading module.

what exactly do you mean? like remembering a list of directories where you have

> 7) Import simple midi files. It takes some of the pressure off of
> developing sequencers if you let people use sequencers they already
> have, and then bring the file over to play with the AUBE sound modules.
> 8) Realtime control from midi keyboard.

yes, I definitely want to get this working soon. I'll be getting my hands on a
midi keyboard soon (I don't have one yet!!) and then it'll be in there for sure

> Now, as for bugs:
> Three things I've found that always cause coredumps:
> 1) loading a raw stereo sample
> 2) loading anything that's not really a soundfile (sure, it's a dumb
> mistake, but a coredump is a rather harsh punishment, isn't it?)
> Both of the above give this error:
> aube: audiofile.c:82: afGetChannels: Assertion `file' failed.

this looks like an error in libaudiofile, though I'll check if I'm doing
anything wrong in using it.

> 3) Selecting "show hidden" gives ** ERROR **: sigsegv caught

I can't reproduce this: show hidden should at first have a submenu containing
only "None" ghosted out, and when you hide a module (by selecting "hide" in
it's ops menu, ie. the menu with the module's name and a little down arrow) -
then the hidden module should appear in the "show hidden" menu, and selecting
it will recreate it on-screen.

Can you send me a gdb backtrace from this bug?
Also, what version of gtk do you have (do "gtk-config --version").

> Minitracker problems:
> The -1 button seems to do nothing.
> The +1, +12, and -12 buttons are rather strange ... they
> increment/decrement the note pitches, but not by a constant amount!

yeah, minitracker will get an overhaul :)

> Another consistent error:
> If I click on the titlebar "X" (I use WindowMaker 0.17) to close the
> syre module, the xterm I started from begins endlessly scrolling a
> repeating sequence of error messages. The Resonant Low Pass filter
> module behaves the same way. As far as I know, the other modules all go
> away without error.
> Here's an excerpt of the errors:
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `GtkGammaCurve'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `GtkCurve'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'
> ** WARNING **: invalid cast from `(unknown)' to `SyreIF'

thanks, I'll check this out.

> Anyway, thanks again for bringing AUBE to us. It didn't quite rock my
> world yet, but the potential is definitely there. I'm curious: are you
> interested in collaborating with other developers? I myself am a total
> novice with C, so I'd probably be useless, but I've come across a couple
> of people (some are on the linux-audio-dev mailing list, some not) who
> are interested in this type of app. If you want to keep total control,
> that's cool, but it's possible that some folks might like to help, and
> it could speed development up (I for one would appreciate this!).

yes, I'm definitely interested in collaborating - in particular I want the
modular design to lend itself to many people writing different modules for it.
However for now while I'm still working on the back end (ie. how modules
interconnect etc) I'd like to keep it small, ie. no new modules for now,
otherwise it gets hard to maintain them (as each module has to change when the
back end system changes). I'll definitely want more help in the not too distant
future though :)

> Regards,
> PW

Conrad Parker           
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