[linux-audio-user] Modular synths of the world, unite and take over :-)

Roman Kaljakin wormpost at mail.ru
Wed Mar 19 01:43:00 EST 2003

On Tue, 18 Mar 2003 16:11:20 +0000 (GMT)
Mike Rawes <mike_rawes at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> 1. A unified Plugin API 
> All of the above softsynths have their own plugin format, for various reasons.
> LADSPA (http://www.ladspa.org) has helped with this, making much excellent code
> available for all these softsynths. However, the (intentional) simplicity of
> LADSPA has prevented the various formats being replaced entirely.

 Most of synth (i.e. SpiralSynthModular, AlsaModularSynth, Octavian) have LADSPA
 support already. LADSPA is good for filters, but not for oscillators and other
 voltage controlled (in modular synths) modules.

> 2. A single codebase for building, representing and running graphs (AKA
> networks, patches) of plugins. 

 It might be looks like as a toolkit... maybe.

> Almost all of these softsynths are pretty much exactly the same 'under the
> hood' - just a connected bunch of plugins executed in a particular order. The
> only real obstacle to unifying this is the plugin API issue above. 
> I'd certainly like to see a unified engine for LADSPA - I've been on-and-off
> planning one, but SSM is so close to what I'd like that I'm not motivated
> enough :/
> My thoughts on engine-things so far (this is all a bit of a brain dump,
> apologies:)
>   No GUI - all functionality exposed through various forms of 
>     Inter-Process Communication (IPC):
>     Graph State Query and Manipulation (command set for adding
>               plugins, making connections etc).
>     Audio I/O - JACK (http://jackit.sf.net) would be the choice here
>     Control - something like the LADSPA Control 
>               Protocol (http://www.op.net/~pbd/lcp.html)
>               would be good.
>   Built-in support for subpatches:
>     The graph itself could be kept 'flat', with some sort of 
>     abstract representation of subpatches on top of it. Including 
>     ability to 'register' subpatches as plugins.
>     The thought of being able to set up, for example, a mixer
>     channel out of multiple LADSPA plugins, register it as a plugin, 
>     and then add sixteen of them to a graph to make a mixer has a 
>     certain appeal :)
> ----
> 3. Separation of graph/engine and any UI. 
>   Any UI would communicate with the engine using IPC - this would allow 
>   multiple views of the network - e.g. a wiring diagram for setting up, 
>   a set of knobs'n'sliders (real or virtual) arranged nicely for 
>   performance, commandline scripting, or any combination...
> - 
> Mike
> > This has almost (but not completly) nothing to do with merging ;-)
> > It means that we have to agree on what exactly that common model would 
> > be, and after that, we would go on writing
> > different components that actualy work with this model. The problem of 
> > course would be to define that model.
> >
> > But once we have managed this, it should be possible to have different 
> > components cooperate on the same instance of that model at the same 
> > time, without knowing about each other, i.e. all "inter-component" 
> > communication would be established via the model. I tend to think of 
> > this as a "Macro Model/View/Controller" pattern. (i have forgotten the 
> > actual term, something like "Document Oriented Design" i think.)
> > 
> > So this goes out to Matthias, Torben, Stefan, Roman, and of course 
> > everyone else interested in such a thing:
> > What do you think?
> > 
> > Regards,
> > Lukas
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