Anacreon Synthesizer | Anacreon 2.5 Released

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
ahanysz
KVRist
40 posts since 14 Jun, 2020 from Adelaide, Australia

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:00 pm

Looking at the screen shots, personally I don't mind the GUI. OK, it's not exactly pretty. But it's high-contrast, very readable, and everything on it is functional (even the poet's head!)

Then again, I tend to work in a well lit room and take breaks at least every hour, so I've never felt the need for the soothing grey-on-darker-grey that seems to be so popular with software developers and DAW designers. Any time I've got a choice of themes, I'll pick the one with the higher contrast.

I only really have one issue with the Anacreon GUI:
Erich.Pfister wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:32 pm
It also comes with the head (and beard) of an ancient Greek poet, who will stare angrily at your work whenever the plugin window is open.
Why should he be angry? From Wikipedia: "Anacreon was a Greek lyric poet, notable for his drinking songs and erotic poems." Sounds like a pretty cheerful guy to me.

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Teksonik
KVRAF
13835 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:23 pm

Erich.Pfister wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 7:45 pm
@teksonik yes, yes i can. I think that I might have underestimated my own near-sightedness. I'm starting to think that I like the contrast because I can't see sharp lines due to my eyes not focusing correctly in general. I will work on getting a multicolored/skinnable version together ASAP.
Maybe I just have a sensitivity to the color yellow but seriously I can't look at the screenshot for more than a few seconds without it being borderline painful.

I'm not saying it's ugly just abrasive to my eyes but again it may just be a personal sensitivity.. :o
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Jkist
KVRist
39 posts since 21 Jul, 2020

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 5:35 pm

I don't know if you used absolute black for the background, but in design absolute colors are to be avoided because they are unnatural and not pleasant on the eyes.

If you simply up the black a tiny bit so its more of a grey/black, and turn down the intensity of the yellow ever so slightly, I think you could make huge improvements while still maintaining the spirit you were going for.

I'm actually a UX Designer, so theres a little tip for ya ;) Cool project though, ten years is a long time!

Erich.Pfister
KVRist
42 posts since 24 Jul, 2020

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:21 pm

To everyone on color - here's the current plan: User defined color schemes with color zones for different modules. Now we can all have the color combination of our dreams.

@Jkist - thanks for qualifying your assessment by letting me know that you're a UX designer, I'll consider your approach to avoiding the absolute black for the default UI, the idea is intriguing. Also, cheeki breek iv damke, stalker is my favourite pc game.

@ahanysz: Anacreon was a pretty cool guy, and I think you have a point. I will consider allowing the user to configure whether or not he looks more stern or chill. Edit credit where credit is due - you're the first person to actually go look up Anacreon and post about it. Also, I just want to say that I truly appreciate it when this design makes sense to people - seems like 1 out of 8 ish so far can handle the contrast. Do you wear glasses / have bad eyes by any chance? I'm wondering if there's a connection, because I definitely have bad eyes. Anyway, thanks for posting - please consider trying out the demo!

ahanysz
KVRist
40 posts since 14 Jun, 2020 from Adelaide, Australia

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:09 pm

Erich.Pfister wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:21 pm
Do you wear glasses / have bad eyes by any chance? I'm wondering if there's a connection, because I definitely have bad eyes.
My vision is fine so long as I'm wearing my reading glasses :-)

I wonder if the correlation is age/lifestyle rather than eyesight per se. On the one hand, there's a bunch of research saying that text is more readable if the contrast is high. On the other hand, speaking to some software developer friends, they prefer low contrast themes because otherwise it hurts their eyes. The difference is that the researchers are asking people to read text for a few minutes at a time in a brightly lit room during the daytime, whereas the developers are working late into the night and staring at the screen non-stop for hours at a time (I know this is a stereotype, not all developers work this way, but some certainly do). And the younger you are, the more tolerance you have for late nights and long sessions (yes, another stereotype!)

At least, that's my working theory, for the fifteen minutes between now and when someone tells me I'm wrong :-)
Erich.Pfister wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:21 pm
Anyway, thanks for posting - please consider trying out the demo!
I'm hanging out for the Linux version! (I can sometimes make Windows synths work with LinVST, but often there are little irritations with bits of the GUI not working. And I'm not short of synths to play with. So I'll be more motivated to try yours when there's a native Linux build.)

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Frantz
KVRAF
5400 posts since 18 Jul, 2008 from New York

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:16 pm

The sample tracks do seem to jump out of the speakers. The audio is very present with lots of personality.

I would not be able to work with UI with the current color scheme. User defined color schemes would help a lot. Having a weird poet's face on the synth is not a killer feature either.

Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

Erich.Pfister
KVRist
42 posts since 24 Jul, 2020

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:23 pm

@Frantz:

Jumping out of the speakers / presence: I think you're hearing what good antialiasing sounds like. With many antialiasing methods, the amount of high frequency energy contained in the discontinuities of the oscillator is dependant on the frequency of the oscillator. In case anyone is unfamiliar with that term, I'm talking about the where a sawtooth or square wave jumps to the other extreme instantly. Building an antialiased version of an oscillator with a discontinuity will generally involve managing that instant jump so that it doesn't generate energy above the nyquist frequency, which is half the sampling rate. In many cases, an overcompensating or sloppy antialiasing algorithm will smooth that transition too much, resulting in a loss of that bright and solid analog oscillator sound. In many cases, you can see this on an oscilloscope.

Character: Filters - not necessarily super special, but they are 4th order ladder filter emulations, so they will impart character. Also, because of the antialiasing on the oscillators, the filters are going to get a really good punchy ping every time the oscillator has a discontinuity.

I'm going to do a video showing these oscillators / filters on an oscilloscope - I hope it will help show what I'm trying to explain verbally.

Ui Comments: While I'm happy to inform you that customizable UI color schemes are at the top of the list, I regret to inform you that there will not be a version without Anacreon's face on it somewhere. Its my first plugin and I need it to have an instantly recognizable feature, plus he's been inspiring me throughout building this synth and I feel it would be impolite to banish him.

Erich.Pfister
KVRist
42 posts since 24 Jul, 2020

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:36 pm

@ahanysz: Your theory on contrast and eyesight makes a lot of sense to me - I'm one of those people who squints constantly when reading a computer screen, I'm starting to form a second buttcrack between my eyes. I do prefer low contrast and use a darkmode theme when programming, but something about bright colors and high contrast inspires me to resist depression and boosts my mental energy, at least for visceral/creative applications like a synthesizer. I think that being able to see crisp, intense lines and color boundaries is an improvement on my often quite blurry daily life, so it makes that creative experience more immersive and somehow hyperrealistic, even though it's actually quite abstract/minimalistic.

I do not use any fancy rendering, just of bog standard blit algorithms, vector shapes, and font. Nothing is hardware accelerated. The vertical font on the gui is actually a prerendered png so I could avoid having to use any graphical transforms to rotate the text - I was worried about the GUI not porting well if I tried anything too interesting. So, if I had to take a guess, I would argue that my synth would likely be one of the better behaved LinVST-hosted plugins, at least on a GUI basis.

All that being said, I plan to have linux build this month - may I send you a PM once I have it put together?

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pough
KVRAF
3045 posts since 3 Jan, 2003 from Vancouver

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:37 pm

Erich.Pfister wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:32 pm
I will follow up with audio samples and video demos. If anyone wants to hear a specific style of music produced on this synth, let me know and I will put a demo together for you and post it in this thread. Silly, made-up music genres are allowed - whatever it takes to sell this thing.
Those are some of the best demos I've ever heard. Any chance of hearing some bluegae? (A mix of bluegrass and reggae.)
Erich.Pfister wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:32 pm
I have also become more open to more yellow.
I say keep the yellow and change the black to goldenrod.
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Erich.Pfister
KVRist
42 posts since 24 Jul, 2020

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:43 pm

@pough I play country blues guitar, listen to bluegrass, have heard enough reggae to be dangerous - I accept your challenge. I can't tell if you're being sarcastic on the demos? In either case, I'm glad they motivated you react!

lengro
KVRist
42 posts since 16 Apr, 2017 from Copenhagen, Denmark

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:14 pm

ahanysz wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:00 pm
Why should he be angry? From Wikipedia: "Anacreon was a Greek lyric poet, notable for his drinking songs and erotic poems." Sounds like a pretty cheerful guy to me.
It could be he isn't amused with us plugin cords in his eye sockets?

ahanysz
KVRist
40 posts since 14 Jun, 2020 from Adelaide, Australia

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:39 pm

lengro wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:14 pm
It could be he isn't amused with us plugin cords in his eye sockets?
OK, maybe he needs to look cheerful until a patch cable is plugged in, and then ...

xalama qo
KVRian
1239 posts since 7 Jun, 2007

Post Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:49 pm

Erich.Pfister wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:47 am
@xalama qo - thank you for your enthusiasm and great ideas. I'm probably not going to be interested in a color picker, but I am interested in having a small config file that will allow users to skin the GUI. If I go this route, I will make it so that the audio carrying cables match the source module's color. I can't say how long that will take, but I want to make it available after reading all of this feedback.
Howdy, thanks for checking my feedback. I like the idea of cables being the same colour as source module.
Jkist made a massively relevant point about not using absolute black. If you can tone the background down to say 80% black you'll see a huge difference in comfort without losing any high contrast readability. The yellow will even sit better, if you know what I mean.
I think high contrast is essential in a GUI that is so densely packed. You've achieved a great layout and I'm sure familiarity will happen in a matter of minutes as a result. That kind of user experience makes synths become go-tos. Especially when coupled with great sound. I suspect you have a future classic on your hands :)
Love the rubberiness in the demos. Is that due to bandlim oscillators? You also get sounds which remind me of the screamy stuff soundemote does with chaos oscillators (iirc).
Anyway, this looks like fun! All the best with it.
Any chance of resizable GUI and see-thru cables?

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Jkist
KVRist
39 posts since 21 Jul, 2020

Post Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:24 am

Also I'll add, definitely keep the angry man in there! It gives the whole thing a unique personality, I like it!

TIMT
KVRian
750 posts since 8 Mar, 2009

Post Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:24 am

This little thing actually sounds really good.i had a mess about with it this morning and it's probably the easiest modular synth i can think of to patch and it sounds really good even when you do very little.as Frantz said "it sounds like it jumps out the speaker"which is the kind of sound i would associate with outboard and analog in general.the filter FM sounds really good in this as well,better than some VSTI's i wont name that claim to be capable of audiorate modulation

would very much welcome that dark GUI,but it's no big deal if you plan to stick with the yellow on black.just means i wont tweak this thing at 4am :D

Also if possible would be nice to have some exp/log curves for the attack and decay.the attack currently especially is a little too linear IMO
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