Plug-In Development Frontiers

DSP, Plug-in and Host development discussion.
vxyu
KVRer
4 posts since 18 Jun, 2018

Post Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:20 am

As someone who's new to plug-in development and DSP, I wanted to know what the frontier looks like? What boundaries are experts trying to push?

From my point of view, I see so many different plug-ins on the market, it almost feels like a money grab. What makes one plug-in better than another?

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vortico
KVRist
188 posts since 19 Jul, 2008

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:44 am

Not much innovation in VST/AU/AAX plugins beyond the typical modernized GUI with slightly better quality sound and more features added to each softsynth. Synths are getting better, but not really mind-blowing innovation happens, just harder to compete with as the best ones receive increasingly expensive levels of polish.

New avenues might be machine learning to generate or play samples, internet-based collaborative music production, offloading synths from the computer onto open embedded hardware, browser-based music with WebAssembly and Web Audio/MIDI, self-driving DJs, lol.
VCV Rack open-source virtual modular synthesizer

vxyu
KVRer
4 posts since 18 Jun, 2018

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:47 pm

Ah I see now, thank you.

Is VCV Rack your project? I noticed the link at the bottom, looks interesting.

soundmodel
KVRian
645 posts since 28 May, 2010 from Finland

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:01 am

vortico wrote:Not much innovation in VST/AU/AAX plugins beyond the typical modernized GUI with slightly better quality sound and more features added to each softsynth. Synths are getting better, but not really mind-blowing innovation happens, just harder to compete with as the best ones receive increasingly expensive levels of polish.

New avenues might be machine learning to generate or play samples, internet-based collaborative music production, offloading synths from the computer onto open embedded hardware, browser-based music with WebAssembly and Web Audio/MIDI, self-driving DJs, lol.
Still somewhat trivial though.

I believe that there's plenty of new stuff to figure out (and this is from a masters student in mathematical sciences). I've seen by studying advanced maths that there's plenty of "ventures" that can be explored, but it obviously takes a higher level of mathematical ability in order to design and implement.

One could perhaps compare this to why one sees so much "generic electronic music" (dubstep, house etc. mainstream genres) iterating over and over again on the similar style patterns. Because they're not sharp enough to figure out new stuff to explore, rather they seem to stick to the similar over and over again. I don't know why but perhaps it's a difference in people's "types". That not everyone is as creative as others. Or that others are happy/satisfied with sticking to "what exists", rather than going to study new and unobserved things.

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Richard_Synapse
KVRian
856 posts since 20 Dec, 2010

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:45 am

soundmodel wrote:One could perhaps compare this to why one sees so much "generic electronic music" (dubstep, house etc. mainstream genres) iterating over and over again on the similar style patterns. Because they're not sharp enough to figure out new stuff to explore, rather they seem to stick to the similar over and over again. I don't know why but perhaps it's a difference in people's "types". That not everyone is as creative as others. Or that others are happy/satisfied with sticking to "what exists", rather than going to study new and unobserved things.
Studying unobserved things simply leads to failure 99% of the time.

No musician or DSP developer releases something to the public they know is terrible. This gives the wrong impression they lack ideas or don't try out new stuff. They do :)

Richard
Synapse Audio Software - www.synapse-audio.com

bbtr
Banned
410 posts since 21 Nov, 2005

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:12 am

soundmodel wrote:One could perhaps compare this to why one sees so much "generic electronic music" (dubstep, house etc. mainstream genres) iterating over and over again on the similar style patterns. Because they're not sharp enough to figure out new stuff to explore, rather they seem to stick to the similar over and over again.
Or generic rock. Or generic 'classical'. Or generic negro music, etc.

Are you biased?

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S0lo
KVRian
624 posts since 31 Dec, 2008

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:09 am

The ultimate synth/effect in 1000 years from now would be a plugin that has one button. You push that bottom and it creates an new track or sound for you that matches your thoughts, that is absolutely aaaawchesome, that has never been heard before and that will be on the top charts. every time.

But then, every one can do it. so tracks wont sell. and so the plugin wont sell. ends up being free. And then some one will come and say. "hey, this is boring, I wanna be involved.". And we're back to the moog modular again.

Ananke
KVRer
8 posts since 30 Sep, 2010

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:52 am

For the majority of listeners, they don't want to hear experimental/different music. They want to hear the exact same thing they've heard before in a different way or slightly changed. Just look at rock music. 40-50 years of the same instruments, the same chords etc. Look at trends in dance music as well, it just slowly iterates in one genre direction until it saturates then moves in another direction for a while and repeat but nearly always just loops around back to the usual genres. Probably any "big" track could be made with the simplest of synths with the right samples paired.

For audio software, how many different synths out there that are practically the same. It seems really over saturated in that regard. They probably use the same algorithms from whatever comes out of DAFX / the music tech academia as well. It's rare that something very different comes around.

I'd say if developers were less focused on signal generation and recreating perfect analog models and more on interface / rapid development / productivity enhancements, it would lead to some interesting things. There is a big resurgence in modular synths which I'd say a lot is down to it being more fun and more intuitive to control rather than clicking on a gammy UI on a laptop.

stratum
KVRAF
1919 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:12 am

Ananke wrote:For the majority of listeners, they don't want to hear experimental/different music. They want to hear the exact same thing they've heard before in a different way or slightly changed. Just look at rock music. 40-50 years of the same instruments, the same chords etc. .
That's normal. Would you expect one of these guys to start playing like the other instantly? I don't think so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yxTZ3avM-0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAeshHlvAO4
~stratum~

Ananke
KVRer
8 posts since 30 Sep, 2010

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:06 am

I know it's normal? I'm not really sure what else you're trying to say there...

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Unaspected
KVRist
435 posts since 4 May, 2012

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:17 am

From a design perspective, there is still plenty of scope. And there are some brilliant minds developing new algorithms to inject musicality into otherwise stale digital processes.

GUIs are important, of course - not just that they look good but the visual feedback should offer a strong sense of interactivity and the design should allow for easy, logical flow of work. The GUI should reward the user as much as the sound engine does.

S0lo wrote:The ultimate synth/effect in 1000 years from now would be a plugin that has one button. You push that bottom and it creates an new track or sound for you that matches your thoughts, that is absolutely aaaawchesome, that has never been heard before and that will be on the top charts. every time.

But then, every one can do it. so tracks wont sell. and so the plugin wont sell. ends up being free. And then some one will come and say. "hey, this is boring, I wanna be involved.". And we're back to the moog modular again.
It seems a number of people would love something like that from what I have seen in forum posts over the years - but none of those people were musicians. It could be useful for uncreative types working in marketing but no use for musicians or sound engineers. The idea of hitting a single button to create music does indeed sound quite boring and joyless.

stratum
KVRAF
1919 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:20 am

Ananke wrote:I know it's normal? I'm not really sure what else you're trying to say there...
i.e. Musical forms are cultural and they weren't invented in a day, for that reason nontrivial innovations don't happen quickly.
~stratum~

Ananke
KVRer
8 posts since 30 Sep, 2010

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:34 am

stratum wrote:
Ananke wrote:I know it's normal? I'm not really sure what else you're trying to say there...
i.e. Musical forms are cultural and they weren't invented in a day, for that reason nontrivial innovations don't happen quickly.
Ok I see what you're saying. That's not really related to what people like though which is what I was talking about. Soundmodel was wondering why dance musicians make similar style music over and over. To say it's down to a lack of imagination, creativity or lack of new technological advances is naiive. Song writers will write what people like and what people like is often simple and familiar.

stratum
KVRAF
1919 posts since 29 May, 2012

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:57 am

Song writers will write what people like and what people like is often simple and familiar.
I don't think most song writers can really write different things. They absorb the same cultural material the listeners do and unless they are educated otherwise they will not be able to do anything substantially different.
~stratum~

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S0lo
KVRian
624 posts since 31 Dec, 2008

Re: Plug-In Development Frontiers

Post Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:07 am

Unaspected wrote:
S0lo wrote:The ultimate synth/effect in 1000 years from now would be a plugin that has one button. You push that bottom and it creates an new track or sound for you that matches your thoughts, that is absolutely aaaawchesome, that has never been heard before and that will be on the top charts. every time.

But then, every one can do it. so tracks wont sell. and so the plugin wont sell. ends up being free. And then some one will come and say. "hey, this is boring, I wanna be involved.". And we're back to the moog modular again.
It seems a number of people would love something like that from what I have seen in forum posts over the years - but none of those people were musicians. It could be useful for uncreative types working in marketing but no use for musicians or sound engineers. The idea of hitting a single button to create music does indeed sound quite boring and joyless.
It was meant as a joke. Apparently a bad one :oops:

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