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Re: www-cycling74 wow.:)

>At 1:38 PM -0800 1/21/98, Paolo Valladolid wrote:
>>> Curtis Bahn wrote:
>>> > Also check out MSP, David Zicarelli's signal processing extensions 
>to MAX
>>> > at http://www.cycling74.com.  If you have a powerpc computer you can
>>> > design custom looping and overdubbing algorithms (amoung many other
>>> > things).  It's great !  Programs like MSP and LiSa are taking looping
>>> > from the restrictions of commercial hardware, to a whole new level of
>>> > personal sound design and performance interaction.
>>> > crb

>kim flint wrote
>One thing kind of troubling about the computer based systems for real-time
>use is the latency problems. (meaning the time it would take for audio to
>be sent in and sent back out again.) On the MSP site some typical 
>are actually listed as:
>Audio input to audio output latency on a 9600/300:
>         Using the Digidesign Audiomedia III:      46ms
>                     Using the Sound Manager:      294ms
>that's definitely in the range where you would notice it in some
>situations, especially with looping and trying to maintain precise 
>And this is on a very fast (and expensive) system! I know that PC's suffer
>from the same problem. The audio has to go through a lot of operating
>system to get to where it's useable, and a lot more operating system to 
>out again.
>So those of you using systems like these for real-time audio I/O, how do
>you deal with that? Are you able to operate it with any timing precision
>for real-time audio events? And I don't mean hard disk recording where the
>system has opportunities to compensate for the latency. I mean audio 
>going in and out, like you might have on a typical stand alone audio
>processor. Anyone?

Latency can be a real problem sometimes.  Especially on a powerbook, the
technology is not really there yet to have an inexpensive self-contained
system that can deal with all the audio processing and performance I/O in
real-time without some significant lag.

This is part of the justification of  KYMA  where you have a dedicated
external audio engine to execute your looping and signal processing
programs.  Systems like this and MARS have very powerful programming
environments for the musician to design their own performance algorithms.
More and more, development environments such as these combine complete
flexibility in terms of your sound designs, and easy, intuitive graphical
programming languages.  (info on these systems can be found at

It's just a matter of time until most all of our gadgets will offer some
level of this kind of interface.  A significant issue for me is, "what am I
gonna do with it once I have it."  For that reason alone, I spend a lot of
time on my powerbook hacking MAX/MSP.  In performance I get more realistic
about stuff like looping and either cart a couple of dedicated fast
computers along with me , or trim down the real-time signal processing on
my notebook computer and farm it out to my Echoplex, jam man, Boomerang or

In some cases, like making rich ambient textures,  the latency just desn't
matter and it is a reasonable price to pay to be in control of more aspects
of what your signal processing device is doing.  We're certainly in a
transition period between hardware and software based models for our toys.
It's pretty exciting.  Especially in performance areas like looping (which
isn't that "expensive" in terms of computer processing and won't incur as
much latency as more complicated signal processing) this technology is
offering new creative, idiosyncratic opportunities for musicians.  It also
frees us from our traditional relationship to signal processing device
makers where we can often grovel and beg for a simple feature that would
make a world of difference to our music, but won't ever be implemented
generally because it isn't important enough to the market as a whole.


Curtis Bahn
iEAR Studios, DCC 135
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York,
office  (518) 276-4032
fax     (518) 276-4780
email    crb@rpi.edu