HourGlass 1.2.0 released

Quite a lot of changes and there may be rough edges…But I will now prepare for a different workflow for development and releases which will allow me to release smaller fix releases quicker even if I’ve started work on new features which should not yet go public. So please report problems.

Major changes :

  • Fragment pitch envelopes can optionally act as playback rate envelopes which can also make the playback go reverse. The range is -16x faster in reverse to 16x faster forward. There isn’t a true “stopped” speed, but the playback rather switches between 16 times slower at reverse/forward. There is unfortunately at the moment no simple one click way to achieve the reverse playback, but I will think of something for that later. (This new behavior can make it even more confusing what’s actually played out of the audio files, but some work has been done for visualizing that properly. Hopefully that visualization will be included for the next minor release, ie 1.3.0.)
  • Envelopes can be stored into a preset “gallery” and then drag and dropped onto any envelope editor. If dropping on a time selection in an envelope, the preset is applied into the time selection rather than the whole envelope.
  • Envelope generation has been revised and is no longer available from the left bottom corner of the envelope’s time selection. Rather above the main envelope editor there is a new button “Generate” that opens up a widget that is used for the points generation. This will be expanded later to have more shapes and parameters.
  • The sound viewer can show all the loaded sound files simultaneously. This doesn’t yet have any additional handling for large amounts files, so the visual appearance might be messy if the sound viewer isn’t sized tall enough. It is then recommended to use the old behavior choosable from the dropdown at the top left of the sound viewer.
  • Per-fragment volume and pitch envelopes can be examined and reordered in a more visual way by right clicking the small envelope image. Double clicking the envelope thumbnail in the opened popup window makes the envelope appear in the focused envelope editor.
  • VST plugins are scanned more safely by using an external process (the new HourGlassPluginScanner.exe on Windows and a program embedded in the HourGlass.app bundle on OS-X). Hopefully this gives a better experience when using plugins in HourGlass for the first time as some plugins simply don’t work even at the scan stage using conventional methods in the code. This however won’t help if a plugin behaves wrong once loaded in HourGlass’s mixer. Actual out of process hosting of the plugins for audio processing is in consideration but might not happen soon.
  • Preliminary VST plugins support on OS-X. Note that plugins must be 64 bit compatible (plain 64 bit or Universal Binaries) at the moment as HourGlass.app is itself 64 bit. Not many 3rd party plugins have been tested but at least the BlueCat Audio ones, CamelAudio CamelCrusher, Stillwell The Rocket and the MDA plugins do load.
  • Various parts of the audio processing have been changed to produce more smoother results under some conditions. Hopefully these changes have not broken anything…

Minor Changes:

  • VST plugins without a GUI show parameter formatted as given by the plugin. (ie if the plugin reports back Herz values etc, the HourGlass generic plugin GUI shows those to the right of the slider)
  • Mixer volumes and some of the main parameters have equally stepped values. (ie decibels at 0.5dB steps and the transposition at 0.5 semitones etc) The main parameters knobs were made to have more steps to give more precise control. This however might be undesired, so this will probably be custom configurable per-parameter later.
  • Resample envelope action opens a popup slider which can be adjusted while seeing the results of the resampling process on the fly. Clicking elsewhere in the app or pressing Esc closes the popup and commits the new result. Adjusting the slider all the way to the left reverts the resampling of the envelope.
  • New action in the “Ops” menu to reduce the number of envelope points. This would mostly be useful for cleaning up freehand drawn envelopes, as the overall shape usually will remain even if lots of the added envelope points are removed.
  • DSP modules hosted in the offline processing chain can process a tail (for reverb, delay etc). Also added the ability to trigger the offline chain processing manually from a button for VST plugins that have features that would change the sound but don’t notify the host of such changes.
  • Envelopes behavior has been improved when freehand drawing, adding points very close together in time and other situations.
  • Use potentially more efficient vectors for audio buffers and other collections of items
  • VST plugins are given 8 channels of valid input and output audio buffers for processing. While HourGlass itself only uses 1-2 channels, some plugins want more valid channels anyway. (This was noticed while testing with Stillwell Audio’s The Rocket.)
  • New icon for the application (most importantly, also on OS-X 😉 )

The Visual Studio compiler was upgraded to VS 2010 SP 1 for the Windows build. That hopefully has no impact for end users but is mentioned here for the sake of completeness.

Download (Windows) :

http://vesanorilo.com/xenakios/HourGlass_1.2.0.zip

Download (OS-X, still beta’ish as I don’t have great facilities to test properly but please do report problems, so I can look into fixing them)

http://vesanorilo.com/xenakios/HourGlass_1.2.0beta.dmg

Thanks again to Vesa Norilo for providing hosting space!

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One Response to HourGlass 1.2.0 released

  1. IXix says:

    Awesome work! Thanks Xen, can’t wait to play with it! 🙂

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