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  • GNU Gets In The Music Production Business

    Phoronix: GNU Gets In The Music Production Business

    The first official release of Cursynth was announced today, a GNU attempt at making a musical synthesizer...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTYzNDQ

  • #2
    Please, there is no need to throw your coke cans at them. It doesn't hurt you when it is being developed.

    Note that a lot of GNU projects have very little manpower -- there are hundreds of them.


    (it looks a bit like an April Fools but maybe there's something serious behind that)
    Last edited by Calinou; 03-18-2014, 12:27 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have successfully compiled and ran Cursynth, but it does not expose audio outputs and a MIDI input as a JACK client and I'm unsure about how to navigate the synth using a computer keyboard. Also, you need to set the terminal large enough to accommodate the curses-based user interface before you launch cursynth and to get out of it, I'd have to close a terminal, which I couldn't figure out how to get back to the command prompt.

      However, the curses-based Cursynth is pretty interesting, if not for the negatives outlined above.

      (Oh, I did not check the README file, mostly because I'm used to figure out how to operate a synth program such as ZynAddSubFX and a couple of other mouse-based programs. It would be nice to provide a hint at the bottom of the screen for telling me what to do in a Cursynth.)
      Last edited by GraysonPeddie; 03-18-2014, 12:46 PM.

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      • #4
        Eh... I'd like to say this sounds cool but honestly, just seems kind of pointless.

        Is there really a need for a terminal-based softsynth?

        There are already many very good quality open source softsynths available. ZynAddSubFX is one, it already has tons more features, a GUI... why don't these people rather contribute on some existing open source audio project, many of which could use more developers?

        Even the specs seem kind of run-of-the-mill, nothing really special or innovative. Two oscs with fixed waveforms? MEH...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dee. View Post
          Eh... I'd like to say this sounds cool but honestly, just seems kind of pointless.

          Is there really a need for a terminal-based softsynth?

          There are already many very good quality open source softsynths available. ZynAddSubFX is one, it already has tons more features, a GUI... why don't these people rather contribute on some existing open source audio project, many of which could use more developers?

          Even the specs seem kind of run-of-the-mill, nothing really special or innovative. Two oscs with fixed waveforms? MEH...
          Well, it doesn't require X, so it's lighter than anything else. You can probably run this on calculators without problems.

          I always like ncurses frontends. They probably shouldn't be the only frontends, but the fact that they exist show the flexibility of the library, and allow for more flexibility as well (say, you have a server box that has a MIDI port, and it's the only box around that has one; it would be a shame to be required to install X just to make use of it).

          For similar reasons I have made CLArcomage, the command-line frontend to libarcomage, the Arcomage (card game) library I wrote. It's probably not used much, but it's cool and of educational value to have it available. The whole thing only takes a bit over 100 lines of code, so why not? It's also great for debugging the library (when you're not sure if the bug is in the library or the frontend).

          Comment


          • #6
            Quality. Sure to impress people using VST instruments with polished and intuitive GUIs.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
              I always like ncurses frontends. They probably shouldn't be the only frontends, but the fact that they exist show the flexibility of the library, and allow for more flexibility as well (say, you have a server box that has a MIDI port, and it's the only box around that has one; it would be a shame to be required to install X just to make use of it).
              No need to install the X server, that's what the networking support is for.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by GreatEmerald View Post
                Well, it doesn't require X, so it's lighter than anything else. You can probably run this on calculators without problems.
                Yes, if you can find a calculator that supports PCM signal output of any kind. And has ALSA/OSS drivers written for it.

                I always like ncurses frontends. They probably shouldn't be the only frontends, but the fact that they exist show the flexibility of the library, and allow for more flexibility as well (say, you have a server box that has a MIDI port, and it's the only box around that has one; it would be a shame to be required to install X just to make use of it).

                For similar reasons I have made CLArcomage, the command-line frontend to libarcomage, the Arcomage (card game) library I wrote. It's probably not used much, but it's cool and of educational value to have it available. The whole thing only takes a bit over 100 lines of code, so why not? It's also great for debugging the library (when you're not sure if the bug is in the library or the frontend).
                Well sure it makes sense for things like that, but a softsynth? Why would you ever use a X-less server as your synthesizer? I guess I'm just not seeing the usecase...

                I mean don't get me wrong, it seems like something the authors made just for fun, and if so, more power to them, who am I to criticize anyone's hobby. Just doesn't seem very useful to me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well if you want to turn an old laptop into a live synth, it can't get any better than that.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by omer666 View Post
                    Well if you want to turn an old laptop into a live synth, it can't get any better than that.
                    Sure it can. Put some distro with a rt kernel and a lightweight desktop on it and there are numerous options that run well in realtime even on modest hardware. The GUI part isn't what's taking up most CPU resources, it's the DSP/synth code... and that won't change, even if your synth runs in terminal with an ASCII interface.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                      Quality. Sure to impress people using VST instruments with polished and intuitive GUIs.
                      lolz. Yeah, the gui on this synth certainly isn't going to turn any heads... That being said - as a musician, i am less concerned with the look of a synth, than i am with how it sounds/performs. Cursynth doesn't offer any overly compelling, modern features but even considering that, it is at least possible that it has an interesting sound/quirk to it [as many more constrained synths can & do], but i wasn't able to even test that.

                      it definitely needs some work;

                      - When built with Alsa + Jack, it tries to grab alsa, rather than use jack [even when jack is running];

                      Code:
                      RtApiAlsa::getDeviceInfo: snd_pcm_open error for device (hw:0,3), Device or resource busy.
                      RtApiAlsa::probeDeviceOpen: pcm device (hw:0,3) won't open for output.
                      then if i build without alsa [and just jack], i get;

                      Code:
                      RtApiJack::probeDeviceOpen: the requested sample rate (44100) is different than the JACK server rate (96000).
                      I'm not really interested enough to figure it out, as I tend to use my VSTs on my linux box anyway. Which work just fine ~ N.I: Komplete 9 , U-he, Audio Damage + the odd freebie, etc... afaict, without hearing it; Cursynth is likely not competitive with [regardless of gui] with any of the synths that i tend to use. [many of which i tend to disable the gui's for anyway.

                      regardless, it is nice to see someone working on a music related project for linux [which could use many, many, many more - as there are areas where linux is still extremely lacking]....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ninez View Post
                        lolz. Yeah, the gui on this synth certainly isn't going to turn any heads... That being said - as a musician, i am less concerned with the look of a synth, than i am with how it sounds/performs. Cursynth doesn't offer any overly compelling, modern features but even considering that, it is at least possible that it has an interesting sound/quirk to it [as many more constrained synths can & do], but i wasn't able to even test that.

                        it definitely needs some work;

                        - When built with Alsa + Jack, it tries to grab alsa, rather than use jack [even when jack is running];

                        Code:
                        RtApiAlsa::getDeviceInfo: snd_pcm_open error for device (hw:0,3), Device or resource busy.
                        RtApiAlsa::probeDeviceOpen: pcm device (hw:0,3) won't open for output.
                        then if i build without alsa [and just jack], i get;

                        Code:
                        RtApiJack::probeDeviceOpen: the requested sample rate (44100) is different than the JACK server rate (96000).
                        I'm not really interested enough to figure it out, as I tend to use my VSTs on my linux box anyway. Which work just fine ~ N.I: Komplete 9 , U-he, Audio Damage + the odd freebie, etc... afaict, without hearing it; Cursynth is likely not competitive with [regardless of gui] with any of the synths that i tend to use. [many of which i tend to disable the gui's for anyway.

                        regardless, it is nice to see someone working on a music related project for linux [which could use many, many, many more - as there are areas where linux is still extremely lacking]....

                        Hello fellow Phoronix lurkers,

                        I've been a long time reader but this is my first post here.
                        I'm not a pro audio guru, but I'm a software developer and this thingy got my interest, so yesterday evening I tried to mess a bit with it and I'm here to share my experience.

                        Being a very new piece of software, sadly it isn't configurable yet, so it will try to grab ALL hardware audio devices exposed by RTAudio, failing miserably if the alsa hardware devices are already busy.
                        to eneable jack support you have to
                        Code:
                        ./configure --with-jack
                        but then probably you will find the error:
                        Code:
                        RtApiJack::probeDeviceOpen: the requested sample rate (44100) is different than the JACK server rate (XXXXX).
                        that's because the sample rate is and buffer size are hardcoded (in src/cursynth.cpp), so you can either:
                        - adjust your server settings to match the hardcoded ones (44100 sample rate, 65 buffer size)
                        - change the hardcode value in the sources and rebuild.

                        If you don't set a buffer size equal to the harcoded one you will heard some crazy noise getting out from the jack sink so pay attention

                        Sadly after a bit of playing the synth engine get's funky and the sound get's distorted, but being not a pro audio guru I don't know if that's related to sample rate/buffer sizes
                        For now it's not even close to being "ready" but I think it's a project worth keeping an eye on.
                        The most interesting feature IMHO is midi learn: most of the open source synths around don't support that, and if done right that can be game changing, no one likes to take their hands off their instruments!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ninez View Post
                          lolz. Yeah, the gui on this synth certainly isn't going to turn any heads... That being said - as a musician, i am less concerned with the look of a synth, than i am with how it sounds/performs. Cursynth doesn't offer any overly compelling, modern features but even considering that, it is at least possible that it has an interesting sound/quirk to it [as many more constrained synths can & do], but i wasn't able to even test that.

                          it definitely needs some work;

                          - When built with Alsa + Jack, it tries to grab alsa, rather than use jack [even when jack is running];

                          Code:
                          RtApiAlsa::getDeviceInfo: snd_pcm_open error for device (hw:0,3), Device or resource busy.
                          RtApiAlsa::probeDeviceOpen: pcm device (hw:0,3) won't open for output.
                          then if i build without alsa [and just jack], i get;

                          Code:
                          RtApiJack::probeDeviceOpen: the requested sample rate (44100) is different than the JACK server rate (96000).
                          I'm not really interested enough to figure it out, as I tend to use my VSTs on my linux box anyway. Which work just fine ~ N.I: Komplete 9 , U-he, Audio Damage + the odd freebie, etc... afaict, without hearing it; Cursynth is likely not competitive with [regardless of gui] with any of the synths that i tend to use. [many of which i tend to disable the gui's for anyway.

                          regardless, it is nice to see someone working on a music related project for linux [which could use many, many, many more - as there are areas where linux is still extremely lacking]....
                          Hello forums,

                          I've been a long time reader, but that's my first post.
                          Yesterday I saw the news, and this thingy got my interest. I'm not a pro audio guru, but I'm a software developer so I tried messing a bit with it.

                          This piece of software is very fresh, and sadly it lacks configuration for now.
                          To enable jack support you have to
                          Code:
                          ./configure --with-jack
                          but then you will probrably find this error:
                          Code:
                          RtApiJack::probeDeviceOpen: the requested sample rate (44100) is different than the JACK server rate (XXXXX).
                          that's because sample rate and buffer size are hardcode (in the file src/cursynth.cpp), so you can either:
                          - adjust your jack server settings to the hardcoded ones (44100 sample rate, 65 buffer size)
                          - edit the hardcoded values to match your server settings

                          if the buffer size doesn't match the server settings it will run but some crazy noise will come out from the system jack sink, so pay attention to the volume level..

                          Sadly after a bit of playng the synth engine gets funky and sound gets distorted, and there is some weirdness with midi events

                          For now it's not even close to be "ready for use", but I thinks it's a project worth keeping an eye on!
                          The most interesting feature IMHO is midi learn: I don't recall any other open source synth supporting that, and if done right it can be game changing! no one likes to take their hands off the intruments!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by marmis85 View Post
                            but then you will probrably find this error:
                            Code:
                            RtApiJack::probeDeviceOpen: the requested sample rate (44100) is different than the JACK server rate (XXXXX).
                            that's because sample rate and buffer size are hardcode (in the file src/cursynth.cpp), so you can either:
                            - adjust your jack server settings to the hardcoded ones (44100 sample rate, 65 buffer size)
                            - edit the hardcoded values to match your server settings

                            if the buffer size doesn't match the server settings it will run but some crazy noise will come out from the system jack sink, so pay attention to the volume level..

                            Sadly after a bit of playng the synth engine gets funky and sound gets distorted, and there is some weirdness with midi events

                            For now it's not even close to be "ready for use", but I thinks it's a project worth keeping an eye on!
                            The most interesting feature IMHO is midi learn: I don't recall any other open source synth supporting that, and if done right it can be game changing! no one likes to take their hands off the intruments!
                            yeah, i was too lazy yesterday to find the hardcoded value (or what possibly could have been an rc type config file), but seeing as you pointed out exactly where the code was, i went and tested again... @ 96khz regardless of buffer size you still get a sustaining buzz/tone [not ear-piercing, but unusable still]. Lowering to 48khz got rid of it. Maybe I'll have a better look another day / try it out in the future, as i do like cheezy, retro synth sounds... but definitely a very young project at this point.

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