[LAD] Portable user interfaces for LV2 plugins

Stefano D'Angelo zanga.mail at gmail.com
Fri Mar 4 12:53:55 UTC 2011

2011/3/3 Fons Adriaensen <fons at linuxaudio.org>:
> On Wed, Mar 02, 2011 at 07:37:37PM -0500, David Robillard wrote:
>> Bang on. /This/ is the kind of UI stuff that actually matters.
>> If you gave someone actually interested in making music or doing pro
>> audio (or...) a choice between:
> I guess the situation could be somewhat different for an audio
> engineer controlling a 'standard' app such as mixer, and a
> musician using a GUI as an interface to his instrument.
> Also, even in the first case visual quality *does* matter,
> but it depends on subtle things rather than on flashy
> features - just perceptible shadows, gentle colour gradients
> or textures for backgrounds, small differences in the size of
> controls, small deviations from grid positions to suggest
> functional groups, etc. all help to provide an interface that
> is easy to use.

As an ex semi-pro bass player I do totally agree with Fons here in
that even the aesthetics of a good GUI should be matched to the user:
e.g., when you are playing an instrument live, especially on a stage,
your hands will be busy and the amount of light for you to see will
change rapidly (often dark with moments of intense light straight in
your eyes).

In this particular case, I find colorful GUIs with a little number of
big controls and big fonts to be of help (just look at guitar fx
stompboxes). If I were to do recording/mixing, that wouldn't
absolutely be the case.

However, in a more general sense, as far as I am concerned the
visualization part for me is ok at "control rate" (i.e., amps/pedals
usually have little I/O visualization, the "most meaningful" visual
input you can get is from VU meters or tuners, but the rest is just

E.g., a compressor, following Olivier's reasoning, could show a
compression curve (à la Calf) and maybe a dot on that curve that
indicates "where you are" on average in the last, say, 0.1 seconds.
That would be already more than enough for me. If I wanted to know
more, than I would probably need a host that allows me to visualize
waveforms/spectra independently of the plugins.

That said, I don't feel like persuading anybody that my POV is the
correct one, since this issue goes straight to how you are used to
work with/think about audio.

Hence, in this case, I think we should exploit the
extensibility/decentralization of LV2: those who, like me, care about
"control rate" visualization hints may want to help on web UIs, for
example, the others might do the same with native GL.

The only thing that we all need to ensure is that things work well
together, whatever the host/plugin author choice is, also trying to
make the whole thing as painless as it can be for everybody.

Side note: this is yet another case where we could proceed to some
structured effort coordination at this point, but my feeling is that
this won't happen and the discussion will lead nowhere in the end.


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