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Need suggestions for software (a cross between Renosie and SuperCollider?)


g8tr1522
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Hello everyone. I never post here, but I do read up here a lot.

 

-----------(Intro)-----------------------------------------------------

Okay, so a couple months ago, I started learning SonicPi (and Ruby). This wasn't my first time programming, but it was my first foray into algorithmic composition. This was also the first time I ever got serious with OOP. Needless to say, I was blown away. Fucking ecstatic.
Here was this algo-comp thing that always eluded me, and then Sam Aaron comes in and is like "Come my child. I will show you the way. EVERY STEP of the way". That tutorial makes it SO easy to learn this stuff. It was telling me what a "sustain level" is and I was like "pfft, whatever. I know this". But then in the MagPi tutorial he wrote: "and then when the loop repeats, the random seed is initialized again and the sequence repeats". And then I understood. PRNG seed-manipulation baby. This is how one "does the Aphex Twin". I was finally ready to get serious with making music.

 

But frustration set in quickly because it's so damn hard to make a song transition.

 

You can make cues and sync threads to them, but it's so unintuitive. And when you have a thread with random sleep periods, it gets even worse. Impossible for me. But really, I was missing my home, Renoise. Renoise is baby's-first-DAW. And boy was I homesick. Whenever I wrote anything in SP (SonicPi), I always wished I could select and paste 'track data'. And slice up drum breaks. And 'drag an FX slider' while a song was running. And don't get me started on how SP doesn't even have native midi support.

So I found out about the Renoise 'tool' (an add-on, extension, etc.) xStream. And it seemed really cool and it'd be the answer to my prayers. I was so eager, I bought the 3rd edition of Programming in Lua (Renoise and it's tools are made with Lua). But there's no hand-holding tutorial for xStream like there was with SP. Actually, there's NO tutorial. Instead, I was told to "study examples". These examples had no comments in them. At all. Just a (commented) description at the top, of what the example did. And there were these very important functions/classes: xline and xinc. But there's no complete description of them anywhere. There's a documentation, but it's so incredibly cryptic and confusing and has zero info on how to use/implement the classes in it. (and xinc isn't even in the docs, despite it's central role). And now I'm running into issues with the PRNG, which is pretty much my favorite part of algo-comp.

So fuck. That's no fun.

 

--tldr-- I learned SonicPi, and I loved the flexibility that programming could bring to music. But using pure code to write songs can be frustrating: you can't sequence anything and you can't go back and change something. Only come up with better code and hope for the best. I'm used to a tracker interface, so I quickly because frustrated with these limitations in SP. I tried xStream in Renoise, but I need a hand-holding tutorial; xStream doesn't have any tutorial.
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Do you guys have recommendations?

For any suggestion: does that software have native VST and midi support? Or even better: can this software be used as a VST? The ideal (imaginary) situation would be that I could trigger/schedule SC code with Renoise, and that I could write SC code to produce input in Renoise. Something that could do that would be perfect. But,

 

How about SuperCollider (SC)?

I looked into using SC. Especially because SP is a client to scsynth (the SC sound synthesis server). I could slowly transition by writing SC synthdefs for SP, and then eventually fully switch to SC. But I'm hesitant to dedicate my efforts into SC because I'm certain I'll run into the same frustrations I had with SP. (Does SC even use real-time scripts like SP does?) I know that in SC you can make little GUIs to control your code. Is there a tracker-like SC GUI that will schedule my code for me? How well does SC integrate with midi?

How about Max/MSP?
It seems like it could have similar issues with scheduling parts of the code. But I heard that it can interface with Arduino and RPi pretty easily, which sounds awesome. Also, it can 'cross-modulate' between audio and video; To me, that equals "dank meme machine". Is the community friendly enough to let me rip their patches and use them however I please? Not that I won't learn it. I just need a quick-start.

I haven't really looked into Csound or ChucK. Anything else is unknown to me.

 

 

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Dude, I bet danoise will gladly help you with any problems in xstream if you post encountered issues on the Renoise forum.

 

Instead of trying to algorithmic composing a piece from beginning to end, have you thought about recording sections/parts/live coding output and simply arranging the wave files later on in any daw. Sounds less sexy than having a l33t programmed piece maybe, but probably more musical sounding ;-) .

 

If you're proficient with a tracker and interested in programming, imo stick with Renoise and its lua terminal / tool options. I think there have been more tools geared towards algorithmic composition, but I'm not sure they're deep enough (and update properly in 3.1), for example;

 

https://renoise.com/tools/clip-composing-language

https://renoise.com/tools/renoam

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Dude, I bet danoise will gladly help you with any problems in xstream if you post encountered issues on the Renoise forum.

 

Instead of trying to algorithmic composing a piece from beginning to end, have you thought about recording sections/parts/live coding output and simply arranging the wave files later on in any daw. Sounds less sexy than having a l33t programmed piece maybe, but probably more musical sounding ;-) .

 

If you're proficient with a tracker and interested in programming, imo stick with Renoise and its lua terminal / tool options. I think there have been more tools geared towards algorithmic composition, but I'm not sure they're deep enough (and update properly in 3.1), for example;

 

https://renoise.com/tools/clip-composing-language

https://renoise.com/tools/renoam

 

danoise has been very helpful to (and very patient with) me, but I NEED baby steps like SonicPi does in its tutorial. I play around in xStream, but I quickly run into issues and then I have a million questions. I'd want to read docs and tutorials and get an answer right away rather than type out my issue on the forum and wait for an answer.

 

Clip looked interesting, but it didn't successfully load into the current version of Renoise (can that be easily fixed by me?). And ReNoam only sequences patterns, not track data.

 

Yeah, I'm trying to learn Lua. It's really difficult though because it doesn't natively have OOP; The metatables are stumping me at the moment. Also I'm a noob programmer. But I do appreciate the flexibility that comes from only having one type of data structure.

 

But I have the same issue with the Renoise API; no tutorials. I need to be built from the ground up.

Edited by g8tr1522
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All of the supercollider chaos library was recoded into Reaktor which you could load as a VST in Renoise. That could be a pretty good starting place.

Would I need to buy Reaktor to use that? I've thought about getting it in the past, but I never have enough money. Plus I'd rather drop that amount on a Max/MSP license.

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Guest WNS000

Have you heard of Jeskola Buzz, because if not (and you've a PC rather than Mac, was trying to ascertain which from the software you mentioned) - then you're in for a treat:

 

buzz_cubus_theme.jpg

 

http://jeskola.net/buzz/

 

Is it possible to create conditionals in buzz? Audio/midi conditionals?

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Do you guys have recommendations?

 

For any suggestion: does that software have native VST and midi support? Or even better: can this software be used as a VST? The ideal (imaginary) situation would be that I could trigger/schedule SC code with Renoise, and that I could write SC code to produce input in Renoise. Something that could do that would be perfect. But,

 

How about SuperCollider (SC)?

I looked into using SC. Especially because SP is a client to scsynth (the SC sound synthesis server). I could slowly transition by writing SC synthdefs for SP, and then eventually fully switch to SC. But I'm hesitant to dedicate my efforts into SC because I'm certain I'll run into the same frustrations I had with SP. (Does SC even use real-time scripts like SP does?) I know that in SC you can make little GUIs to control your code. Is there a tracker-like SC GUI that will schedule my code for me? How well does SC integrate with midi?

 

How about Max/MSP?

It seems like it could have similar issues with scheduling parts of the code. But I heard that it can interface with Arduino and RPi pretty easily, which sounds awesome. Also, it can 'cross-modulate' between audio and video; To me, that equals "dank meme machine". Is the community friendly enough to let me rip their patches and use them however I please? Not that I won't learn it. I just need a quick-start.

 

I haven't really looked into Csound or ChucK. Anything else is unknown to me.

 

 

I recommend Max/Msp, you can schedule your code / make gui control interface very quickly in Max, and it is more stable than SC, I made some very complex system that I thought may cause crash but turn out working very well. The user community/documentation is great, very helpful, plenty of tutorials. Don't think it can interface with RPi except thru udp/tcp

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Is it possible to create conditionals in buzz? Audio/midi conditionals?

You can get pretty funky with the range of Peer machines that are available - My 'logic' skills however just went as far as LFOs spitting out data to other LFOs to generate note and parameter data.
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Guest WNS000

 

Is it possible to create conditionals in buzz? Audio/midi conditionals?

You can get pretty funky with the range of Peer machines that are available - My 'logic' skills however just went as far as LFOs spitting out data to other LFOs to generate note and parameter data.

 

 

OK, sounds nice. Thanks.

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You might want to look at Usine Hollyhock, too. I can't really give you much insight as far as your specific project since I pretty much went back to all hardware about 6 months after I bought it, but it's definitely a good environment for real time algorithmic composition in general and I'd be surprised if you couldn't get it to do what you're after.

 

EDIT: it's kind of like what Max For Live would be if it had been developed from scratch instead of frankensteined together from two unrelated, mature products.

 

Also, I haven't used Radium yet myself, but even without PD maybe you could use the extension language to do what you're after?

Edited by RSP
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Radium looks super interesting, especially with that Pd integration. Thanks for the suggestion Entorwellian.

 

http://users.notam02.no/~kjetism/radium/

 

Tracker that has puredata built into it.

 

Linux only so far, damn!

 

 

Awwww man. I was about to download it, until I saw that the Pd stuff was Linux only. Maybe it's time to partition my hard drive...

Except I'm serious about that. But I need more details about how Pd is built into Radium. I feel like the answer will be "yes" to all of these, but I just want to be sure.

  • Can I use the Pd integration to output notes into the note editor?
  • Can I use it to output ~whatever~ on the automation?
  • Can I use it to track through samples?
  • That paper on the website says "Custom Pd controllers make it possible to control Pd from Radium, and to control Radium from Pd". How crazy does that get? Can I do that recursively? E.g., I enter data into a column in the pattern editor - this data then changes values in a Pd patch, but these changes are scheduled (with my original pattern) - but THEN this Pd patch outputs note data into a separate pattern column.

If the Pd integration can't do any of those, what about that "Extension language support"? Could I do the things described above with an "extension language"?

Edited by g8tr1522
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Guest WNS000

You might want to look at Usine Hollyhock, too. I can't really give you much insight as far as your specific project since I pretty much went back to all hardware about 6 months after I bought it, but it's definitely a good environment for real time algorithmic composition in general and I'd be surprised if you couldn't get it to do what you're after.

 

EDIT: it's kind of like what Max For Live would be if it had been developed from scratch instead of frankensteined together from two unrelated, mature products.

 

Also, I haven't used Radium yet myself, but even without PD maybe you could use the extension language to do what you're after?

 

Checking the Usine now. Looks promising.

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Have you heard of Jeskola Buzz, because if not (and you've a PC rather than Mac, was trying to ascertain which from the software you mentioned) - then you're in for a treat:

 

http://jeskola.net/buzz/

 

I looked at Jeskola Buzz immediately after posting this thread. I have the same questions on that as I do above with the Radium/Puredata stuff.

 

  • Can I use the Pd integration to output notes into the note editor?
  • Can I use it to output ~whatever~ on the automation?
  • Can I use it to track through samples?
  • That paper on the website says "Custom Pd controllers make it possible to control Pd from Radium, and to control Radium from Pd". How crazy does that get? Can I do that recursively? E.g., I enter data into a column in the pattern editor - this data then changes values in a Pd patch, but these changes are scheduled (with my original pattern) - but THEN this Pd patch outputs note data into a separate pattern column.

 

So subsitute: instead of Pd, a C++ program. And instead of Radium, Jeskola Buzz.

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Could look into using the JACK soundserver. It's cross platform and works pretty much the same on Windows I think.. (don't hold me to it).

I have had it set up to route MIDI and audio around between applications. If Puredata or Max allows for it you could use JACK to handle the routing in and out of whatever DAW you want to use. I played with this and had Bitwig sending midi data to puredata. It can also route audio around as well. If you do this using Windows you will need an application to create virtual MIDI ports that loopback.

 

JACK is not very simple but it's also not that difficult to understand either. A day's worth of tinkering and reading around and it should feel comfortable.

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You might want to look at Usine Hollyhock, too. I can't really give you much insight as far as your specific project since I pretty much went back to all hardware about 6 months after I bought it, but it's definitely a good environment for real time algorithmic composition in general and I'd be surprised if you couldn't get it to do what you're after.

 

EDIT: it's kind of like what Max For Live would be if it had been developed from scratch instead of frankensteined together from two unrelated, mature products.

 

Also, I haven't used Radium yet myself, but even without PD maybe you could use the extension language to do what you're after?

 

This looks interesting, but a quick glance at the videos doesn't show much that's unique or even interesting, and it looks like it'd be terrible to use in any 'live' way, even in studio trying to jam/write. I could be wrong of course. Good price on it at least!

 

Also, Max and Ableton Live are definitely not unrelated products. Many of the ideas that Ableton is based on were taken from Max patches that Henke made, and Ableton has for years (possibly its entire lifespan) used Max as the guts of many instruments within Live. I agree right now it seems a pretty Frankensteined connection because like you say they're both mature products in their own rights, however I'd argue that this is because both of them are so very good at what they are independent of one another; to introduce any separate software into the mix with either would cause that effect (one reason I hate VSTs that try and pop out/over your main DAW).

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You might want to look at Usine Hollyhock, too. I can't really give you much insight as far as your specific project since I pretty much went back to all hardware about 6 months after I bought it, but it's definitely a good environment for real time algorithmic composition in general and I'd be surprised if you couldn't get it to do what you're after.

 

EDIT: it's kind of like what Max For Live would be if it had been developed from scratch instead of frankensteined together from two unrelated, mature products.

 

Also, I haven't used Radium yet myself, but even without PD maybe you could use the extension language to do what you're after?

 

This looks interesting, but a quick glance at the videos doesn't show much that's unique or even interesting, and it looks like it'd be terrible to use in any 'live' way, even in studio trying to jam/write. I could be wrong of course. Good price on it at least!

 

Also, Max and Ableton Live are definitely not unrelated products. Many of the ideas that Ableton is based on were taken from Max patches that Henke made, and Ableton has for years (possibly its entire lifespan) used Max as the guts of many instruments within Live. I agree right now it seems a pretty Frankensteined connection because like you say they're both mature products in their own rights, however I'd argue that this is because both of them are so very good at what they are independent of one another; to introduce any separate software into the mix with either would cause that effect (one reason I hate VSTs that try and pop out/over your main DAW).

 

 

 

The demo videos for Usine aren't that good, but the software itself is excellent once you start get used to its workflow.

 

Fair enough on the max for live stuff.

Edited by RSP
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