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

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Subject: Re: [linux-audio-user] Your synth wishlist?
From: Dave Robillard (
Date: Sat Jul 31 2004 - 00:08:31 EEST

On Fri, 2004-07-30 at 13:48, Thorsten Wilms wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 30, 2004 at 01:27:16PM -0400, Dave Robillard wrote:
> >
> > The problem with what you want (having "midi cables" in a modular synth)
> > is we don't have a plugin format that supports MIDI yet. Like
> > everything else, we just have to wait on GMPI for this. :(
> Couldn't that be handled by an abstraction layer? I mean the modules
> in the gui do not have to be the actual modules behind the scenes,
> same for how the connections are actualy setup.

You could fake it, but it would be really complicated, and not that
useful, since everything you wanted to do would have to be explicitly
coded into the modular GUI, which doesn't make for a very useful
programming environment.

However, like Steve pointed out DSSI does MIDI. So.. it is possible.
And I'm seriously considering it (using MIDI-over OSC to talk to the

> > I don't think the distinction between "assembly" and "patch" is really
> > necessary, sounds like the same thing to me. Basically, you want
> > subpatches (within subpatches within subpatches).
> Assemblies are about the modules and connections. Paramter values
> would be stored in patches. So you could think of an assembly as
> a virtual synth, an engine. The idea is to not require saving
> an assembly with only slight variations in parameter settings ...

I see. You mean patch in the 'select patch number on the synth' sense,
not the Pd sense.

> > > To make it all perfect there should be a versioning system,
> > > but I guess that's a bit much to ask for :)
> >
> > Versioning as in CVS for patch files? Well.. yeah, that is a bit much
> > to ask for. :)
> No wouldn't cut it. Say I would include put an assembly that is already
> in use by multiple assemblies inside yet another one. Now I want to
> slightly adapt it, without breaking all the other assemblies ...
> That's exactly the problem I have with Solidworks :)

As long as the assemblies are kept in seperate files and assemblies that
contain others only reference the file (and not actually include it), I
don't see why it wouldn't work.. (unless of course you change the
inputs/outputs of your sub-assembly, which no versioning system is going
to resolve!)

> > > There are some small ideas from my work on Specimen that
> > > might be interesting for single modules. But for now
> > > it should be about the big picture, right?
> >
> > Once again, the Plugin Format Problem(TM). But on the topic of
> > specimen, how difficult is it to write alternate frontends for specimen?
> No idea, have to ask its author, Pete Bessman.
> Oh, I hope nobody will ever want to write an alternative frontend,
> once the redesign is finished.
> A peek at the future:

Oh, sorry. I assumed you were the author.

Hmm.. new GUI looks interesting. I just want the ability to EASILY
assign a sample to a certain key (ie midi note) and have it play without
pitch scaling. A mixer like hydrogen is crucial too, so you can adjust
the relative volumes and pan and whatnot.

I realise specimen is targeted toward pitched-instrument sampling, but
there's no reason it can't be suitable for percussion sampling with a
little UI consideration.

Getting off-topic, if you really want to hear my thoughts on specimen
GUI, feel free to mail me personally


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