[LAD] Experience driven design and Linux Audio

Paul Davis paul at linuxaudiosystems.com
Thu Oct 2 13:57:33 UTC 2014

On Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 5:24 AM, <gordonjcp at gjcp.net> wrote:

> his is fucking retarded.
> Modular synthesizers are dead.  No-one except a few propeller-hatted
> autistic loonies who you wouldn't want to sit next to you on the bus use
> them.  Why?  Because they're a pain in the arse.

euro-rack modular synthesis is a big growth area for small companies right
now. doesn't mean they are in widespread use, but to call them dead is
pushing it a bit.

> Bob Moog realised this very early on, and he (didn't really) invented the
> damned things.  What he realised was that everyone who uses a modular
> spends a day making silly farting noises and then gets on with having a
> couple of oscillators patched to a mixer, followed by a filter and finally
> followed by a VCA, with maybe an envelope for pitch, filter cutoff and
> amplitude.  So having realised this, Moog developed the Minimoog synth
> which was effectively pre-patched in a hardwired configuration that was
> what, as it turns out, most people actually used.

a process very similar to the contrast between mixbus and ardour. mixbus
represents harrison's accumulated experience about what people do when
mixing, ardour represents a totally open-to-whatever approach.

interesting that they both use substantively the same codebase, eh?

> I think the design should be led by someone with experience in observing
> what people actually do with the tools that are presented to them.  It's a
> sad fact that UX is a difficult and expensive thing to get right.  Car
> manufacturers learned this a long time ago - how many of you drive a car
> with a manual choke (me, okay) or manual ignition advance (no-one unless
> you're into *really* old ones).

it is all relative - in the US almost nobody drives a manual transmission

> Did Bob Moog "dumb down" the Minimoog?  Well, you could say that yes he
> did.  But you'd be all kinds of wrong.

Moog's biggest contribution to analog synthesis, other than the filter, was
to add a keyboard. Buchla was ahead of Moog in actual synthesis, but was
opposed to the idea that such a capable instrument should be constrained by
the limitations of a keyboard. Moog thought that was stupid, and Moog won
that argument hands down, even though in some deeper sense, Buchla was
correct. UX ... all the way.
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