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bulvanskägg
KVRist
 
61 posts since 3 May, 2009

Postby bulvanskägg; Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:00 am CSound vs. Supercollider vs. Chuck

Lately I have started to do experimental electroacoustic music and I feel like I need to start from scratch. If I use my old hardware/software synths my music tends to sound like it always has (more commercial ambient), so I'm thinking of learning one of the programmes above and now I'm interested in your opininons: features, which one is least painful to learn etc.
Armored78
KVRist
 
198 posts since 4 Dec, 2006

Postby Armored78; Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:07 am

i have heard varying opinions that CSound is antiquated or bloated, but i happen to think it's still very functional. there is a great front-end for it called Cecilia which lets you write your own "modules" and comes with some pre-made to get you started. it uses a graph and slider controls to vary the module's parameters over time and can yeild some interesting results.

i have no experience with Supercollider or Chuck, sorry.
Flybynight420
KVRist
 
80 posts since 23 Feb, 2010

Postby Flybynight420; Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:22 am

I don't know what the third one is, but I'd say the first two are very bad choices. I know that because they were the first lanuages I tried to learn (and I didn't finish either).

My experience with CSound was that it was still in the Stone Age. It's great that they have the book and all, but it's a nightmare. At the time you had to render everything, so you couldn't use it in real time. I see no reason to learn it. I really didn't like it. Way out of date.

Supercollider is better but it's not an easy language at all. It's text for a start, which I don't go for. I think especially for a first language you want graphics. You can do GUIs but it's a pain, and they don't look good. Have a listen to the stuff that gets posted on the mailing list, it's nearly all electro-acoustic experimental music; the architecture of SC kind of pushed you in that direction. If that's what you're after, great, but if you're after something more traditional, like an ambient synth, it wouldn't be the tool I'd use.

If I were in your shoes, or my shoes again, a few years back, I'd go for something easier with a nice GUI. I really like Synthedit. I was wary of using it because of some of the negative things said about it on KVR, but I wish I'd ignored that. Providing you work at it you'll get pro sounds without too much trouble. You can also make a nice GUI for your synth, and that's so important. I didn't think about that when starting out, that the way the synth looks, and is structured matters so much. SE is really good for that.

I think the important thing is to enjoy yourself and get inspired. So you need something that isn't going to take months and months before you can even do anything remotely clever.

That could be Tassman (so underated) Synthedit, or perhaps Reaktor, Synthmaker, Max (although I've never used them).

I hope that helps, and I hope you find the sounds that you are looking for :)
bulvanskägg
KVRist
 
61 posts since 3 May, 2009

Postby bulvanskägg; Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:08 am

Like I said in my first post, I'm moving towards more experimental stuff. I've been doing more commercial ambient for many years and I have a number of hardware synths plus a ton of commercial software (including Tassman and Reaktor). Still I feel like I'm somewhat stuck. I would really like something that offers some "resistance". If you sit down with Blofeld, Absynth or Reaktor it's very easy to start using the same old, "spectacular" soundscapes and pads.
Caco
KVRian
 
999 posts since 25 Apr, 2005

Postby Caco; Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:09 am

bulvanskägg wrote:Lately I have started to do experimental electroacoustic music and I feel like I need to start from scratch. If I use my old hardware/software synths my music tends to sound like it always has (more commercial ambient), so I'm thinking of learning one of the programmes above and now I'm interested in your opininons: features, which one is least painful to learn etc.


I am a big fan of Chuck, I am found it very easy to learn and there are plenty of examples around. It has a very interesting concept of time as well which gives you quite a bit of flexibility for creating your own timing mechanisms. The only major downside for me was that the Chuck IDE is unstable on Windows.

In contrast, I found the SuperCollider language a lot more difficult to learn and in Windows SuperCollider is very much lacking compared with the OSX version but if you are on Apple then that is not an isssue.

In the end I found both languages lacking and moved to using Ruby instead. I am now creating MIDI on the fly live in Ruby and using it control Plogue Bidule for live performances. If you are interested, then all my Ruby stuff is free and open source. Take a look at the livecoding videos on my website www.martineastwood.com for some basic examples of what it can do

Ruby is a much easier and more powerful language to learn, otherwise start with Chuck and then try Supercollider and then CSound.
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whyterabbyt
Beware the Quoth
 
24878 posts since 3 Sep, 2001, from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Postby whyterabbyt; Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:22 am

Flybynight420 wrote:I don't know what the third one is, but I'd say the first two are very bad choices. I know that because they were the first lanuages I tried to learn (and I didn't finish either).

My experience with CSound was that it was still in the Stone Age. It's great that they have the book and all, but it's a nightmare. At the time you had to render everything, so you couldn't use it in real time. I see no reason to learn it. I really didn't like it. Way out of date.

Supercollider is better but it's not an easy language at all. It's text for a start, which I don't go for. I think especially for a first language you want graphics. You can do GUIs but it's a pain, and they don't look good. Have a listen to the stuff that gets posted on the mailing list, it's nearly all electro-acoustic experimental music; the architecture of SC kind of pushed you in that direction. If that's what you're after, great, but if you're after something more traditional, like an ambient synth, it wouldn't be the tool I'd use.

If I were in your shoes, or my shoes again, a few years back, I'd go for something easier with a nice GUI. I really like Synthedit. I was wary of using it because of some of the negative things said about it on KVR, but I wish I'd ignored that. Providing you work at it you'll get pro sounds without too much trouble. You can also make a nice GUI for your synth, and that's so important. I didn't think about that when starting out, that the way the synth looks, and is structured matters so much. SE is really good for that.

I think the important thing is to enjoy yourself and get inspired. So you need something that isn't going to take months and months before you can even do anything remotely clever.

That could be Tassman (so underated) Synthedit, or perhaps Reaktor, Synthmaker, Max (although I've never used them).

I hope that helps, and I hope you find the sounds that you are looking for :)



he's talking about a choice of deep text-based language, for 'experimental electroacoustic music' and you advise him to focus on building 'ambient synths' with synthedit because you can give it a pretty UI? wow.
classic KVR-style 'let me just ignore what you want to do, while i suggest you do what i prefer instead' style post. :clap:

its not as if he could wrap csound or supercollider objects in PD or MAX if he was worried about that, is it. and we all know that the range of synthedit modules available isnt actually almost entirely focussed on the same subset of synthesis as your average subtractive synth, so there's just as much scope for experimentation there as there is in the hundreds and hundreds of opcodes that something like csound offers, honestly. yeah, makes perfect sense.
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tetraplan
KVRAF
 
3964 posts since 31 Aug, 2003, from In a foreign town, in a foreign land

Postby tetraplan; Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:03 am

Personally, I found Csound the easiest to get into. When you start out with Richard Boulanger's tutorials you'll get the hang of the basics in no time.
Like whyterabbyt says, you can use csound~ for Max or csoundapi~ for Pd if you want to use it in a graphical modular environment, and Csound can use it's own FLTK widgets, too.

The amount of synthesis and resynthesis methods Csound offers is staggering. It's a very complete environment.

Groet, Erik
Pop music delenda est.
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Flybynight420
KVRist
 
80 posts since 23 Feb, 2010

Postby Flybynight420; Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:11 pm

whyterabbyt wrote:he's talking about a choice of deep text-based language, for 'experimental electroacoustic music' and you advise him to focus on building 'ambient synths' with synthedit because you can give it a pretty UI? wow.
classic KVR-style 'let me just ignore what you want to do, while i suggest you do what i prefer instead' style post. :clap:


My mistake. I mixed up his intentions. I thought he didn't want electroacoustic, and did want an ambient synth.

Perhaps Supercollider is the ticket then. There is a lot going for it in that respect; the community is lively and even meets up from time to time; the text aspect of the language makes you think more abstractly; and if you take the time to learn it it is very powerful.
KBSoundSmith
KVRian
 
630 posts since 6 Jul, 2009

Postby KBSoundSmith; Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:52 pm

Both have their advantages. Csound is very mature and has a lot of very good documentation (I would start off with Virtual Sound by Riccardo Bianchini and Alessandro Cipriani, then move to the Csound Book, ed. Richard Boulanger). Things take a little longer in that environment to produce, due to the old structuring of the language, but it is very logical and very powerful; when you get the hang of using it, you'll love it. As mentioned above, using csound~, you can use Max as a gui/control environment.

Supercollider can also communicate with Max, although I haven't explored how to do that yet; probably via OSC. Supercollider is great, but the logic of the language isn't as transparent as Csound. Also, documentation for the language is rather poor at the moment, especially when compared to that around Csound. However, it is still quite powerful, although I tend to think that the users of Supercollider aren't as knowledgeable as Csound users. It also requires a lot less typing than Csound (unless you're using Csound via Max).

I would not suggest Chuck. While I have heard it is fairly simple to use, it has a very small community, and last I heard, is no longer being developed. Csound is continually being developed by MIT and Berklee, so there won't be a lack of future support; Supercollider's community is very passionate, though less organized, and I doubt that Supercollider is going to stop being developed any time soon.

My suggestion would be to start with Csound so that you can get used to text-based synthesis in a language that is very established and mature, and then add Supercollider to your repertoire--I think that will also make Supercollider a lot easier to use, as the only issues you'll run into at that point is the syntax and features of that language.
R'yleh
KVRist
 
204 posts since 31 May, 2003, from Germany

Postby R'yleh; Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:29 am

i would suggest PD ( Pure Data ) for thsat scenario, as

it is quite easy to begin and get some results

the logic is easier to follow due to the grafical type.

You can build all sorts of alternative sequencers with PD and
thus avoid the random sines doodle you are likely to build
in SC or Chuck.

As PD is similar, but not the same to MAX/MSP you can use a very similar
toolbox without sounding like all these MAX ( late 90ties IDM ) users
out there.


and its free.

:)
...---...
JackD
KVRist
 
421 posts since 29 May, 2005, from Central Ohio, USA

Postby JackD; Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:41 am

bulvanskägg wrote:Lately I have started to do experimental electroacoustic music and I feel like I need to start from scratch.


Just my 2 cents worth, but if you want to start from scratch, don't use any computer music language/program. Do something else. It's my opinion that you can't do anything fresh sounding in C Sound or Supercollider, at least easily.
Fig Newton: The force required to accelerate a fig 39.37 inches per sec.
synthgeek
KVRAF
 
2303 posts since 17 May, 2002, from up on Cripple Creek (CO)

Postby synthgeek; Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:32 am

I really like the CSound/Blue combo myself.

Honestly though- it may be worth looking into SynthEdit. There's actually a lot more there than just the elements of subtractive synthesis, and the learning curve isn't quite as steep as something like CSound. Of course, ymmv, but in my personal experience the only things that CSound can do better enough to make it worth the effort are it's resynthesis features and the fact that the score gives you an alternative composition method- both of which can be achieved with other tools without as much mucking about. I mean, in the time it takes to *really* learn something like CSound, you could probably be well on your way to learning C++ and the appropriate DSP skills, and then the world is your oyster.

[The Dude]But that's just, like, my opinion man.[/The Dude]
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jobromedia
KVRAF
 
4918 posts since 10 Feb, 2006, from Stockholm, Sweden

Postby jobromedia; Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:33 am

I'm not a big fan of livecoded music myself, but it is impressive to watch. I would recommend you to take a look at StudioFactory. It may not be exactly what you want, but I have an aweful amount of fun using it.

Here is an example of it in action:

http://www.speedyshare.com/files/215297 ... xtreme.mp3
Best regards from Johan Brodd.
JoBroMedia since 1996.
d4l3d
KVRist
 
59 posts since 31 Jul, 2005

Postby d4l3d; Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:55 pm

jobromedia wrote:...take a look at StudioFactory. It may not be exactly what you want, but I have an aweful amount of fun using it.

Me to. I thought I was the only one.
In the beginning, years ago, it was how I first learned about synthesis and I've never been able to set it aside. I bug them occasionally about updates and although it may seem abandoned they're just working at their own pace (a lot like me).
coops2
KVRist
 
353 posts since 4 Sep, 2006

Postby coops2; Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:36 am

I like CSound :)

Although it can be used in realtime, its ability for use offline rendering means you can do awesome things, such as a 200 operator FM synth or additive synthesis with hundreds of partials each with their own envelopes, filters, effects etc that you just couldn't do in realtime with any VST.

With CSound you are only limited by your imagination and not your CPU :)
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