Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
January 23, 2008


by Chris Randall

I Eat Beats from Kyle McDonald on Vimeo.

Peter Kirn got all up in our grill with a bubblegum sequencer over on CDM. Well, Peter. I'll see your bubblegum sequencer, and raise you one done with Skittles. If candy-based sequencers were "Shane," this one would be Jack Palance. I think making electronic music with little balls of sugar is a curiously unexplored area that merits more consideration. Somewhere in here, we'll find the next John Cage.

January 23, 2008

Ricochet Progress...

by Chris Randall

It's just about up to the fat lady at this point, because we're moving right along. As you can see in the above picture, the OS X VST is 99% done. People that are paying attention will note that the above screenshot shows the thus-far-unseen mod screen, and the value pop-ups we're using now. Those little flags will come up whenever you "grab" a knob, and show the true value, which is kinda handy, and an oft-requested feature.

Anyways, there are a couple bugs that are common to both the Windows and OS X versions that need to be addressed, and presets need to be added, then it's just the AU version (which might be a bit hairy on this one), the manual, and testing.

So, definitely not before the end of January, but early February is looking pretty good at this point. As soon as Ricochet is released, we're going to do maintenance releases on a couple of our other plugs (notably Replicant, which has an automation bug we've just discovered), and then it's movin' on.

January 21, 2008

Wait, there might be something here...

by Chris Randall

I was just flipping through Brandon Daniel's traditional NAMM photo set (Brandon likes frames, so you're gonna have to do your own browsing...) and I came across the above, for the Rozzbox One V2. Kind of a bulky name, but I suppose it is descriptive. Judging from the context of the photos, I think it was at the Big City Music booth, and thus was Fucking overshadowed by Mr. Barbour's ridiculous amp. (As ordered by NIN and Timbaland, so you know it's good now.)

I may have read about this before. Hell, I might have even posted about it. But it seems there's one in America now, which makes it more real. The L.L. Electronics site is in German, so I can't figure out what the fuck is going on there, but this is the sort of thing that tickles me. It's not on the Big City site, and it's not on the Analogue Haven site, so who knows?

Thankfully, going through Brandon's photos signals the end of my interest in Winter NAMM, and we can move along to Messe. On the whole, it seemed to just be a bigger Summer NAMM, at least from my objective. I wonder how the Super Mario Bros. theme sounds on this silly thing. Played through a Fucking Fucker. It'd be awesome.

January 20, 2008

VST3 Whee...

by Chris Randall

I realize that I run the risk of becoming incredibly tedious about this whole VST3 thing, so I'll post this one bit and leave it alone for now. Pictured above is what happens when I cold-build the supplied sample code (the ubiquitous and omnipresent AGain project, which is the Hello, World of VST, and has been in the SDK since there was an SDK) and attempt to instance it in Cubase 4.

This is amusing on several fronts. They are, in no particular order:

1: The _exact_ same thing happens on OS X. This means that either C4.1 is busted for hosting non-Steinberg VST3s, the API for VST3 is busted, or the AGain project itself is busted.

2: The AGain build verifies 100% in the little application Steinberg provides to test VST3 plugins.

3: Without a working starting project (e.g. AGain), a developer is absolutely unable to build anything. Period. If you don't have a working starting point, you don't know if a problem you're having with your product is due to the host, the API of the SDK, or the plugin itself.

So, well, that's fun. I'm wondering if it's the version of VSTGUI they included that is causing this trouble. I'm also wondering if I care enough to figure it out. Steinberg is really swinging for the fences with this bitch, I'll say that much. Never a dull moment in the plugin development world.

January 19, 2008

VST3... tastes just like chicken...

by Chris Randall

Okay, I've just got done reading through the new SDK, reading the entire monster thread on the subject at KvR, and attempting (and failing) to build Steinberg's example code. (This is no surprise, because it is usually fucked beyond all recognition. Comforting, in a way.)

Let me state the following for the record, since if you're not a developer it may not be obvious: You, The User, gain NOTHING from VST3. This should be clear from the outset. The marketing points in the Steinberg press release are referencing shit that is included, almost entirely, in VST2.4. There is nothing in the VST3 kit that makes anything better, faster, stronger, lower CPU, lower latency, more likely to get you laid, anything. Don't believe the hype.

Take some time to get comfortable with that concept. Go ahead. I'll wait.

It is clear, to me at least, that this entire Switch rests firmly on what Ableton does. If they decide to support VST3 next week, and VST3 only (and there's no reason, historically, to suppose that they won't), then we'll figure this shit out in short order. If they don't, then Steinberg can go fuck themselves sideways, basically. Move along. Nothing to see here.

Of course, it isn't as cut-n-dried as that, but that's the basic feeling in the industry, at least among the people I communicate with. That said, and taking in to account my initial issues with the kit, it doesn't look to be that complicated of a process to port our shit to VST3. Not any more complicated than porting it to AU, anyways. So if we must do it, then it can be done. But as far as I can tell, there's no pressing need. None of our products will see any gain from moving to VST3, as we tend to design with a lowest-common-denominator feature set, as far as communicating with the host goes, so that we can build both AUs and VSTs from the same code base.

For what it's worth, through all the changes on the OS X platform in the last 3 years, we've had to do nothing on Windows. I suppose you don't get a free ride anywhere these days. I truly feel sorry for someone just getting in to VST development this week, though. They're in for a bumpy learning experience.


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