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Author Topic: SonicBirth now Open Source!  (Read 2810 times)

Dave Davis

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SonicBirth now Open Source!
« on: May 25, 2007, 12:07:47 pm »

This is great news for mac users: the Sonic Birth AU plug-in making application is now open source!  In reading the author's thoughts on the change, it's clear this is for the best, and good for all concerned.

If you don't know already, SonicBirth is similar to Max/MSP or the Metric Halo +DSP environment, but more mac-oriented, and a tad bit tweakier.  In general the primitives are very nice and relatively complete in terms of math needed to do more than the cookbook stuff, and for mastering the dsp hit is not crippling.

Some of the things I like most about it:
- there's an "effect design" AU plug that opens the entire SB environment as a plug gui, so you can make cool things on the fly
- it has circuit design, gui design and runtime views
- it's quite easy to double sample rates, and bit-depth precision on the fly
- it includes facility for re-wrapping 3rd party plugs, so you can (that last is tres' cool: I've used it to pass 64 bit words between stages in DAWs rather than 32, and it seems to work!).  

The wrapped plugs automatable elements can be accessed and re-wired to a new GUI, which in turn can apply any logical or mathematical operators on their values.  This is a big deal: it provides a means to feed or control plugs from different manufacturers as a unit.  

in another thread we're discussing various issues with plugs vs hardware (well, in EVERY other thread!).  My take is that the biggest issues with plugs are ergonomic.  For instance, it took 2-4 bands of Q10 to do what one band of Renaissance EQ does (depending on the band), and it takes a couple bands of RenEQ to do what a Sontec or Maselec EQ does.  This is why I love SonicStudio's eq so much: it behaves more like hardware, with a single band doing a whole lot of goodness.  But it's limited to that flavor, which is fine for a lot of things, but not everything.  SonicBirth encourages the creation of "hybrid" or "compound" plug ins.

The included plugs that come with SB aren't so great, but the ones you can open are great tutorials for rolling your own.  I found one DSP hungry compressor on the forums made by a user that sounds ok in one incarnation (ultrapressor v1.5 - you have to register on the forums to see it in the thread it's linked to), and has a lot of useful code inside.

At any rate, this is the tip of an iceberg.  I think tools like this should ship with ALL computers or OS upgrades, just as Apple gives away XCode and dev tools with Tiger.  The folks who don't know what it is or does will never see or touch it, but those who do will use it.

Check it out!

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