Just a quick update for 2017

OK, so things have been rather quiet here in the blog. No news about λ and so on. I have been working on lots of different things, none of which have gotten to a state I would have liked to release to the public. This changed a bit some time ago when I decided it’s time to update the venerable Paul’s Extreme Time Stretch application.

I took out the old FLTK-based GUI code, the PortAudio code and the code that it used to use for reading and writing audio files and replaced all that with JUCE-based code. As I should have expected, it all turned out to be a pretty big project. But anyway, I finally managed to do something that I felt was worth releasing to the public for testing.

The KVR thread about it :


λ is not dead, just resting until I feel like looking at it again with some fresh perspective.

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What is λ? Is HourGlass dead?

edit 23rd December 2016 :  λ is not yet available for download, and no date yet…(It is still in a development stage where I’d have to release new binaries every day in order to deliver bug fixes and I have no streamlined solution for doing that…)

Since early 2015 I’ve been working every now and then on an application, now named λ,  that was originally intended to be a modular GUI front-end for the Composer’s Desktop Project (CDP) command line programs. During the past few months I’ve started developing it more actively and it is becoming something larger. In addition to running the CDP programs, it now also hosts VST2/VST3/AU plugins and has some built-in processings too, among them a multilane sound sequencer/mixer. (I don’t want to call it “multitrack” because I don’t want to get stuck with some traditional notions about a DAW application…)

It resembles a modular patching environment like Max/MSP in that it has processing “nodes” or “objects” that can be connected together into a “patch” or a “graph”. However what makes λ a bit different is that each node always has some defined duration of audio or other data available and the nodes downstream can always randomly access all that data. So things like reverse playback or granular processing that “scans” the source audio in any direction/speed are possible no matter what the upstream nodes are doing. (For example the output of a reverb plugin can be reversed and so on.)

Why the weird name that is just the Greek lower case letter λ? Well, why not? 😉 However, if people don’t want to type that character, I am willing to tolerate them using “Lambda” or “lambda” instead. And if the name really becomes some kind of a problem, I may reconsider changing it.

Here are some YouTube videos demonstrating a bit what it can do :

At the moment  λ is heavily based on offline processing the nodes into files on disk. However more responsive pseudo realtime processing can be added to some of the node types in the future. It will still however be mostly geared towards composers/sound designers who don’t necessarily need full realtime response, MIDI inputs, audio recording with monitoring etc. λ is not going to become a traditional DAW or even a traditional modular patching environment. There are plenty of those around already, so I don’t need to make one that tries to replicate ProTools, Reaper, Cubase, Max/MSP, Bidule and so on.

And then the question…Is HourGlass dead? It is. 😦 But wait… Not really. It will live on inside λ as a processing node. Currently the HourGlass node is not as comprehensive as the old Qt based application, but it will (re)develop as time goes  on.

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Finally some progress with HourGlass

This month I’ve worked a bit on HourGlass 1.5. So there is still hope a public release will eventually happen. The multichannel/surround stuff sure has been a big mess to implement, with bugs and CPU performance problems popping up at every turn. However, with some private testing generously done by Jean-Marc Duchenne with his extreme multichannel  audio system (with dozens of channels and loudspeakers), some of the problems have been at least partially fixed.

The longer term plans definitely involve rewriting HourGlass from scratch, based on JUCE. Using the rather ancient Qt4 toolkit is beginning to feel quite miserable, but I will grudgingly persist in getting a few versions of HourGlass 1.5.x done with it for now.

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Time runs on and on…

Still no news on the HourGlass 1.5 release. 😦 Been occupied with all kinds of more or less relevant stuff lately.

However the release is still in the plans. (Well, I’ve been writing that for the past 6 months so maybe this isn’t so convincing anymore…)


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Editing surround panning paths graphically , vol 1

I again did some testing with how to allow entering panning paths graphically…Curves can be added to the path and the path then “scanned” with the usual HourGlass envelope. (Click the image to get a larger animation.)


While this is neat, it does currently have the downside that the added curves can’t be edited later. I need to look into some solutions for that…

Qt has a nice class named QPainterPath that made this easy so far. Various shapes can be added to path and the path can later be evaluated according to a percentage value. This in turn allows creating look up tables that the audio code can use to obtain the panning positions. Hopefully Juce has something similar for the future…(And yes, this similar system could be used to implement the fragment internal panning too, but I will still have to see if it’s worth it doing that.)

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Quick update

I am only now again looking into the HourGlass 1.5.x code.

If things go well, an initial beta release will happen during this month. For Windows I will probably need to require the users to install the C++ runtimes separately. A big and long sigh, but what can I do. That crappy way of doing it is what Microsoft wants. 😦

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