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DIY Polysynth modules and interfaces
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TOPIC: Concept

Concept 9 years 1 month ago #16

  • Spav
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Building monophonic synthesizers has long been enjoyed by many, however the complexities around the polysynth leaves most people stumped. By providing a framework for people to work in and some structure and guidance we hope to allow most people to be able to construct their own polysynth.

Areas for consideration are the keyboard and input controllers (ribbon, wheel etc.), module interfaces both analogue and digital options, signal routing and mixing, modifiers and controls (filters, evnvelope shapers), parameter management (displays, encoders).

The basic concept is to use low cost distributed processing to do the management. While maintaining the audio paths (the bit with character)in the domain of the designer, eg in an all alalogue polysynth, no DSP would be used in the design of the audio paths, but digital methods may be used to manage the complexites in voicing, stealing, envelopes etc.. Another example may be someone chooses to make a physical softsynth with DSP elements for oscilators and modifiers, this would still need input controllers, front panel hardware etc...

Where possible the architecture will be processor independent, however some consideration may have to be given for the choice of processor in some applications. Software is to be written in C using the GCC tool chain and will as far as possible be abstracted from the hardware.

User applications should be able to run without consideration for the fine detail of the hardware, drivers should be written to facilitate this as much as possible.

In the coming weeks we will publish a concept paper an outline for a control bus, some example applications using OSF elements and a guide for the first couple of modules. The modules will be published as seperate projects.
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Re: Concept 9 years 1 month ago #17

  • wolf359
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Hello
Although I cannot program in C, I know some who can. This is of great interest to me. I have been using Linux and FreeBSD for a number of years and would like to help in any way possible?
Regards
Phil
It wasn't my fault! It was the daemons!! THE DAEMONS MADE ME DO IT!!!
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Re: Concept 9 years 4 weeks ago #18

  • Spav
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Hi Phil

Great to hear from you and thanks for the offer of support, I am sure there will be loads of things to do as things firm up. In the meantime if you have any thoughts or applications, please feel free to throw them into the mix.

While talking to people from other ares's of electonic music the requirement for multi-tiered keyboards came up. The good news is after looking at the current keyboard controller project and the OSFP concept internal buses, it should work right out of the box. This group also have other requirements that would fit right in, so it looks like we might be on the right track.

Hopefully we will get some more info on things like the control bus published in the not too distant future.

Please let us know where your interests are, building, playing etc.....
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Re: Concept 9 years 4 weeks ago #19

  • wolf359
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Hello Spav
I'm not really sure how to use these message boards, is there a help file somewhere?
Since sending in my first message and reading your reply, I have been trawling through some applications on Linux and FreeBSD. I came up with a short list of applications that may be of help later on, if not at the start. I tried to confine the list to applications that may be useful in programming processors. I have been interested in PIC, Arduino / Freeduino for a while (ever since Linux Format did a far to short series on Arduino) and want to start down that road in the very near future. Well here is the list of applications that I found:

ZynAddSubFx - Polyphony, multi-timbrel and micro-tonal capabilities.

Fluidsynth - The FluidSynth-DSSI is a wrapper for the FluidSynth SoundFont-playing software synthesizer, allowing it to function as a DSSI plugin.

DSSI - DSSI is an API for audio processing plugins, particularly useful for software synthesis plugins with user interfaces. DSSI is an open and well-documented specification developed for use in Linux audio applications, although portable to other platforms.
It may be thought of as LADSPA-for-instruments, or something comparable to VSTi.DSSI consists of a C language API for use by plugins and hosts, based on the LADSPA API, and an OSC (Open Sound Control) API for use in user interface to host communications. The DSSI specification consists of an RFC which describes the background for the proposal and defines the OSC part of the specification, and a documented header file which defines the C API.

LADSPA - Linux Audio Developers Simple Plug-in API. Provides the ability to write simple plug-in audio processors in C/C++ and link them dynamically. Contains LADSPA SDK and CMT plug-in libraries including Freeverb and swh plug-ins.

Aeolus - A synthesized pipe organ.

Please let me know if these applications are what you require and I will dig a little deeper and also find more of the same. It was a little difficult as I don't know, what is needed. Maybe this is the way I can contribute to the project? I look forward to hearing from you and to hear your comments?

Regards

Phil

PS I've seen a multi-tiered keyboard application somewhere might be Aeolus. I will try and find it.
It wasn't my fault! It was the daemons!! THE DAEMONS MADE ME DO IT!!!
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Re: Concept 8 years 10 months ago #34

  • nejo
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Hi,

Looks like an interesting project. You should sign up to the synth-diy mailing list as this is just the sort of discussion that takes place there, and you'd be talking with people that have built polysynths already.

You can sign-up here:

synth-diy main page

Cheers,
Neil
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Re: Concept 8 years 10 months ago #36

  • nejo
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Hi,

One little project I worked on last year was a serial comms protocol for polysynths. The idea at the time was to use RS485 as the physical layer, and then a 9-bit address/data protocol on top. Other than a draft specification it never went further as I've been busy with other things (Siel restoration, analogue synth modules, moving house...)

Cheers,
Neil
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