Sounding Board

A day of discoveries. This morning I decided that Csound’s built-in reverb generators are really just too awful for words, so I created a nice-sounding digital reverb from scratch. It wasn’t at all clear, when I started, that I had the DSP chops to manage it, but I looked up the recipe in The Csound Book, added a few refinements, and hey, it’s not bad!

Lexicon has nothing to fear from me, but I built a diffuser that gives me a nice stereo spread. What gave me a big head start was that computers are between 10 and 50 times as fast today as they were when the Csound reverbs were created. I don’t need to economize on CPU cycles.

After figuring out how to use Csound’s seqtime opcode to step through a table of note times, I built a little pattern generator to pull random notes out of a pitch table. Not much of a revelation, as I’ve done that kind of thing before, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

You won’t hear the results on the My Music page of this blog, though. The little playback widget I use on that page won’t load and play .wav, and it won’t do .ogg either. It does mp3 just fine — but mp3 compression on Csound audio sounds like absolute crap. As far as I can tell, the mp3 codec is optimized for pop music. It operates by dropping out the stuff that pop music listeners won’t hear or notice. But if you give it something clean and spacious, it (the codec) has no alternative but to start tossing out stuff that can be heard.

Ogg is better.

Let’s see if your browser can load and play .ogg files. Probably not, but maybe you can download the file and then find a player. (iTunes doesn’t seem to like ogg, as far as I can tell.) This clip is not a finished piece of music, it’s just a sketch, but it’s kind of cute.

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