June 6, 2006

A Short Rant...

by Chris Randall

Is Java so much better than C++ that people are willing to require users to get a fucking 118mb download of the Sun Java Runtime to run their precious aleatoric simulation? And then make those same users put up with that miserable fucking relentless "Update me" thing?

That was a rhetorical question, of course. The answer is "no." I'm now adding compiled Java programs to my Big List Of Shit That Will Never Go On My Computer, along with anything made by PACE and Synthedit-based VST plugins. Fuck that whack-ass shit. Get over it and learn to code like a fucking adult.

And while we're on the subject, I saw Damian Marley on the Henry Rollins show on Saturday. I thought the track he did was pretty good. So I hopped on the IFC website, and listened to the second track (bands that play on the Rollins show always have two tracks; one on the TV show, and one on the web) and I liked that one all right too. So I popped on to iTunes and whacked the "Buy This Album" button. A bit of downloading later and Damian Marley's "Welcome To Jamrock" is on my hard-drive. Which brings me to my next rant.

To wit: I just paid $10 for an hour-long square wave. Seriously, this fucking album is so squished, every kick and snare is distorted. It is past nasty and in to comedy. It's not a bad album at all, but I get all tired out listening to it. After three songs, I feel like I just ran around the block a couple times. Come on guys. They're only called "dynamics" when you actually have them. Really fucking loud doesn't equal really fucking good.



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Jun.06.2006 @ 1:45 AM
Are you saying that there is some technical reason why Synthedit VSTs are bad? Or are you saying that they tend to suck and all-sound-the-same as a general rule, and so you avoid them?

Jun.06.2006 @ 1:46 AM
Chris Randall



Jun.06.2006 @ 3:22 AM
Maybe someone can whip up a grump cut filter?

Jun.06.2006 @ 4:29 AM
Jan Czmok
That's the reason why i build 2 SSL compressor clones. Digital is for sure not analog. And analog is where the dynamics are :-)

(and yes, i use digital plugins as well)


Jun.06.2006 @ 8:11 AM
Java isn't all bad. On OS X a good JVM is preinstallted, and only asks to be updated when you run Software Update. But, that being said, Java has it's place just like any other language. It's great for network apps and things that need to be portable (ever try compiling C on AIX?). I don't consider audio or MIDI to be one of it's strong points. I had to hack the MIDI plug in for jSynthlib just to tell one MIDI output from another. And, just remember it could have been worse, it could have been Perl.

Jun.06.2006 @ 8:47 AM
I use Java every day and love it to death. I would NEVER consider using it for audio or MIDI or anything like that. Aside from the punishment of having to download the runtime (and hope the user gets the right version), it's just not built for that. And it's not like C++ is that much more complex. WTF?

Jun.06.2006 @ 8:55 AM
I'm wondering where you stand on SynthMaker ?

it has a C-esque code window to write filters/oscillators in and an ASM window for those who speak machine, alongside SSE utilisation capabilities, an engine which is per-sample rather than sample-block, and the usual boxes and draggy wires - except its a scalable vector interface.

does it still fall into the same camp for you as SE?


Jun.06.2006 @ 9:14 AM
Chris Randall
It's funny you bring that up. I was thinking of making an E.P. of generative electronic music, where the customer would also receive the programs I made to generate the music, and could (re)generate it themselves.

In that regard, I was looking at various hosts I could use to accomplish this feat, and Synthmaker was high on my list, specifically for the reasons you cite. It is, on the one, hand, far more sophisticated than SE. On the other hand, it is pretty obtuse, and the documentation leaves a lot to be desired. I haven't decided if he's getting my Euros or not yet.

As far as using Java for music, I think it has to do with there being (at one time) a lot of Sun workstations in computer departments around the country, which led to a "run what you brung" mentality in academia. I have a general dislike for Java apps in general, because they're slow and don't feel stable. But that doesn't make me completely anti-Java. I mean, fuck, this site (and all the posiNET sites) is in JSP. What are you gonna do?



Jun.06.2006 @ 10:00 AM
Speaking for the prosecution, Java is a total piece of shit and a demonstration of group-think at its most mediocre. After years of saying no, I felt forced to install the giant hairball runtime so I could run JHymn and de-DRM my few purchased iTunes files.

Jun.06.2006 @ 11:07 AM
> On the other hand, it is pretty obtuse,
> and the documentation leaves a lot to be desired.

While we're ranting, what's up with software going commercial without documentation? Synthmaker's a culprit, so is energyXT, Synthedit's documentation hasn't been updated in over two years, etc.

I'm a sucker for modular synthesis software, so have a lot of these packages. But even when I'm fairly comfortable using them, it pisses me off after a while that they ship without help files.

On the obtuseness of Synthmaker, I think it was a big mistake for them to create everything in five or six layers. Without docs, the only way to learn is by dissecting example files, but all of them have so many screen layers for every function, you can't see what is going for most simple functions.


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