Re: [linux-audio-user] Your synth wishlist?

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] Your synth wishlist?
From: Steve Harris (
Date: Fri Jul 30 2004 - 23:13:42 EEST

On Fri, Jul 30, 2004 at 02:22:43 -0400, Dave Robillard wrote:
> > Not to detract from the importance of good UIs, especially in something
> > like a modular synth, I dont think any of the linux offerings have really
> > got close to the standard of things like the nord modular editor
> > ( yet - it makes a massive difference
> > to the usability.
> >
> > One of the key things in the nord software is the consistency and
> > compactness of the module UIs though - and thats going to be a lot of work
> > to get with arbitrary LADSPA plugins as the modules.
> Well.. we need a way to have LADSPA plugin GUIs... DSSI is a LADSPA-like
> plugin format with GUIs.... 2 and 2. I never understood why you chose
> to make DSSI "soft synth" specific to be honest. Can DSSI not solve
> this problem?

Hmmm. complex question, complex answer :)

DSSI isn't softsynth specific, you can have DSSI plugins that aren't
synths. A generic convolver would be a good example, it needs some way to
load datasets, but doesnt need to allocate voices or anything synthy.

The DSSI UI model is basicly just a defined mapping from LADSPA control
ports to OSC and some service discovery stuff, so it could be applied to
LADSPA just as well. It was a hidden agenda on my part.

But... it doesnt solve the modular synth problem, as nothing encourages
DSSI UI's to be modular synth friendly, and they are all seperate
processes with toplevel windows, so framing them together modular
softsynth style is going to be hard.
> I've considered taking a look at those old xml ladspa gui proposals from
> Paul, but I assume there's some reason noone supported them.

Yep. They're a lot of effort to implement, and doing the really usful
stuff (custom-ish widgets, meters) is hard.
> For the record, the fact that DSSI UIs talk to the _HOST_ via OSC is
> very, very cool for me, because that means my synth engine can still run
> over the network and not deal with GUI issues, which I don't think VST
> can do.

Talking to the host is also more-or-less neccesary if you want relaible
automation - which is why it does it that way. It makes the plugins simple
> Anyway. on plugin GUIs are alright, but for complicated patches they
> simply take up too much room. I admittedly work at a lower level than
> your average nord user probably does though. I planned on going the
> galan build-your-own-custom-control-panel route - I've never actually
> found the "buncha sliders" LADSPA GUI approach to hinder productivity
> anyway, sliders work for me. GUI's would be nice though..

Hmm... the "buncha sliders" thing is why you havent seen any LADSPA
plugins that dont work that way, there would be no point writing one, but
try controlling "hermes filter" with a hostbuilt UI sometime.

- Steve

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