HourGlass 1.5 update. Or not…

I’ve been busy making a new composition during August (based on water sounds…) and haven’t done any work on the HourGlass code. I will be busy with the composition during September too, so a release of HourGlass 1.5 even as a beta isn’t likely soon.

The Microsoft runtime library issue still seems unclear. There isn’t an official update on the issue but some comments in the Microsoft C++ compiler blog indicate it might now be possible to deploy applications with the needed libraries with the application itself without the need to install the libraries first. This isn’t a HUGE issue but it sure is annoying me a lot on principle. Especially considering there have been reports the separate library install may also require a reboot of the computer. I would completely hate having to install something like that myself when trying/updating a software. There is still the possibility to go back to VS2013 too, but I’d rather not, since VS2015 has the newer C++ compiler and standard library. (For the technically inclined : static linking of the C++ runtime is problematic because HourGlass uses the Qt library which has had mentions in the past that static linking isn’t really supported. There may also be licensing implications mixing LGPL licensed code with Microsoft’s code.)

I’ve also started thinking there should probably be more comprehensive support for multichannel operation in HourGlass. The code still has some limitations on the number of channels supported and the fragment spatialization still can only pan to 4 channels. I’ve done some experimenting with a 5th loudspeaker in my set up and have started to like that so much that I’d like HourGlass to be able to do something with it (and more channels in the future) too.

Also I’ve realized there are hardly any 3rd party plugins that support multichannel operation, so having some solution in HourGlass to use those plugins at least in “pseudo multichannel” mode seems essential now…Technically that should be pretty simple to implement but I just haven’t got to that yet. (I feel a bit ashamed about this, since even damn Pro Tools implemented that in the first version that supported multichannel operation back in 2001 or so! On the other hand, Reaper still doesn’t have a convenient solution for it…)

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10 Responses to HourGlass 1.5 update. Or not…

  1. Tom says:

    No worries, making music is more important than making code πŸ˜‰

    As for the Microsoft runtimes: most people have them installed already from other applications (and I don’t think I ever had to reboot because of the runtimes?) I personally am not concerned at all by this.

    Yeah, multichannel is still a bit exotic and mainly used for movies. But I see this growing in the future since more and more people have surround systems anyway and would probably be happy to use them more often. I do all my sound-explorations in surround. Only the delivery formats aren’t really clear yet and most music-platforms don’t support it.

    So far, most multichannel enabled plugins are quite expensive and only targeted at the well-earning filmcomposer, so yeah, having a pseudo multichannel mode would surely be helpful.
    There is a french website http://acousmodules.free.fr/ that has a mutltude of free and inexpensive surround plugins though.



  2. xenakios says:

    Unfortunately those VS2015 runtimes are not likely to be on anyone’s Windows 7/8 machines. (Many software developers are conservative and haven’t switched to VS2015 yet.) Windows 10 “should” have them installed by default, but since I don’t have Windows 10 myself, I can’t really confirm and test that…And how many people are using Windows 10 yet, anyway? The VS2015 runtimes have indeed been reported (by Microsoft themselves) to be so invasive on the system they may require a reboot. That hasn’t been the case previously with the runtimes. There “should” now be available a set of runtime dlls that should work when placed in the same directory as the application .exe without installs or reboots needed, but I haven’t yet tried hunting those dlls down from Microsoft.

    In any case, I don’t believe in this “install the runtimes system wide” nonsense to begin with. That hasn’t worked properly before and it won’t work properly now. Even if it wastes a bit of disk space, it’s best if each application just has its own copy of the runtime libraries. Even better is to link them statically. (I know there are some security issues involved in that…But something like HourGlass isn’t used by so many people any hacker would bother trying to exploit it. They’d rather target applications like Firefox or Chrome that have millions of users.) Microsoft is just trying to cover their asses on security issues and shove the use of the system wide “universal runtime” down developers’ throats!

  3. Tom says:

    The last time I had problems with runtime versions is so long ago I can’t even remember what OS version it was – Windows 98?. IMO the dll-hell was solved long ago. I now have lot’s of different runtime versions on my machine and windows seems able to sort them out. But that’s just me. πŸ˜‰

    Another thing: I was searching the web today for surround VSTs and found this website: http://www.brucewiggins.co.uk/?page_id=78
    Maybe Ambisonics would be an interesting path for HourGlass, since it abstracts the whole surround thing into 4 channels for processing and only at the end creates whatever number of surround channels from those. In the videos (linked from the page) he shows the setup in Reaper and is routing to 3 circles with 8 loudspeakers each (top middle bottom).



  4. xenakios says:

    Ambisonics has its own problems and now that I’ve worked on the new multichannel composition I haven’t ended up using it. (Although the Ambisonic Toolkit JesuSonic plugins are pretty nice.) I’ve done most of the multichannel placement of sounds using the GRM Tools Spaces plugin. I think that does just some plain old amplitude based panning, but it has various features that have worked nice, so I haven’t really been longing for the subtleties that other kinds of spatial processing might have.

    IIRC Wiggins’ plugins don’t have 64 bit Windows builds and he doesn’t provide source code, so I didn’t look into those further.

    • Tom says:

      Okay, just thought it may be interesting (he has 64 plugins in the meantime) but I’m not an expert in those things as you are. πŸ˜‰

      GRM Tools Spaces – this one? http://store.inagrm.com/en/home/15-grm-tools-spaces.html
      Not exactly OpenSource either? πŸ˜‰



      • xenakios says:

        No, the GRM Tools are not open source (and certainly not cheap) but they do have 32/64 bit builds for both Windows and OS-X. I usually don’t care that much if an end user software is open source or not, but it is annoying if the source is closed and the only thing that would need to be done is something like making a 64 bit build. (That usually these days is a few mouse/keyboard clicks in the IDE. Properly written source code usually doesn’t need to be touched to do 64 bit builds.)

        OK, cool Wiggins has done the 64 bit builds since the last time I looked.

  5. xenakios says:

    I by the way find GRM Tools’s operations a bit disappointing. As far as I know, they are an institution subsidized by the French government and yet they do closed source commercial products. Adding insult to injury, they also use iLok. But they do have some plugins for which there are no good enough free or inexpensive replacements.

    • Tom says:

      Yeah, the Space Grain looks nice but I hear what you are saying.
      I also never found any really good or free surround tools other than the french ones I linked to before.

      Absynth has some limited but nice surround capabilities, Kontakt and Reaktor do a bit, but nothing really uses the full potential as far as I can see.

      Since I currently trick Btiwig into doing 5.1 surround I have to build my own solutions mostly anyway, but when Bitwig version 2 will be out with access to the underlying modular system, I guess it will be trivial to build some native surround tools.



      • xenakios says:

        In the GRM Spaces bundle, only the “Spaces” panner plugin has been interesting for me. The granulator and filter have remained unused. HourGlass 1.5 is a better surround granulator than the GRM one IMHO, barring that HourGlass of course still doesn’t run as a plugin…I really need to get the HourGlass porting to Juce started. But I am still waiting for Roli’s news regarding Juce 4, whether the licensing options will be changed significantly.

      • Tom says:

        That would be awesome – I keep my fingers crossed for you then regarding Juce πŸ™‚

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