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Real-time sound synthesis on PC?

David Gosnell Mar 13, 1997 12:00 AM
Posted in group: comp.dsp

Stefan Scheffler wrote:

[regarding Rebirth, Rubberduck etc]

> Still the two programs show the power of things to come. And the OS
> manufactorer moving towards a better model in the near future, suddenly it
> will be possible to operate these programs in realtime.

Quite, and I look forward to that time.  Software-based solutions are
the future, but they are still in their infancy.  One of WaveCraft's
customers described his synthesiser and effects processing hardware as
"dinosaurs already fossilised in their inflexibility", or words to that
effect, and looked forward to the day when it could all be done from
easily upgradably, and low-cost, software.  He considered WaveCraft to
be the start of that revolution, certainly for the popular market, and
these newer products like Rebirth continue that tradition in their own,
philosophically slightly different, way.

With products such as Rebirth, however, it is not just OS deficiencies
which hamper them at the moment, but also the fact that they require a
huge amount of CPU power to do their stuff, though I understand the
latest version of Rebirth now 'only' requires a P133.  I would be very
interested - indeed amazed - to see it running alongside an audio-based
sequencer on anything less than a multi-processor Pentium Pro system.
WaveCraft, and others like it, through not claiming to be real-time, are
actually far more useful in serious computer music production; they use
the sound-card wavetable memory to take the strain off the CPU when
actually playing back the sounds, such that one can play highly
multitimbral WaveCraft music, at a 44.1kHz 16-bit sample resolution, on
a mere 486SX.

Best wishes