[LAU] Linux softsynths

James Harkins jamshark70 at qq.com
Fri Nov 20 02:07:00 UTC 2015

The reason why I was looking for DST capability: I have to give a lecture at my school next week about synthesis techniques, and I wanted to show some tricks that are not exactly standard (even though they've been around since Stockhausen was cutting up little bits of tape, but never mind that). Such as: run a fixed-frequency band-limited impulse through a high-Q bandpass filter to play melodies on the impulse's harmonic series.[1]

I can do this easily in SuperCollider, but I don't want the students to come away with the impression that you have to learn programming to do synthesis. So that's out.

I can do this easily in Abysnth under Windows, but could not get it to work well in Linux.

I looked at a couple of native Linux softsynths and... I have to say... I was sorely disappointed. It wasn't evident to me how to generate a bandlimited impulse in ZynAddSubFx; the documentation seems to indicate that this synth is built on totally different principles. Wavetable synths like WhySynth are hampered by the inability to import custom wavetables and by impossible-to-control mapping of MIDI note numbers onto filter frequency.

I had a quick look at the webpages for Ingen, but there are no packages and I was burned out on build failures at that point, so I didn't go further.

For the moment, I need to plug ahead with Windows so it's a question mainly for my own curiosity, but... did I overlook a really good softsynth package, or have I stumbled onto a gaping hole in the Linux audio ecosystem?


[1] Underworld, "Rez."

More information about the Linux-audio-user mailing list