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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13 Responses to What is λ? Is HourGlass dead?

  1. IXix says:

    Awe. Some.

    You dirty devil. 🙂

  2. oivindi says:

    Any plans to make this downloadable/purchasable in the near future? I’m sure I could beta test this, ha-hum. 🙂

    • xenakios says:

      The plans have been “in the near future” for some time now, but there are still some things to be done. So I can’t really estimate an alpha/beta release date…

  3. Hiek Jackson says:

    Excellent, looking forward in trying it whenever ready!

  4. nathan says:

    This looks amazing. I’ve used CDP on and off for years and years but getting back into the swing of things (not to mention just getting it installed) was such a drag, I’ve always had a giant soft spot for this software so I’m thrilled to see it receiving such amazing attention.

    Cannot wait.

  5. Shpitz says:

    Looks really useful for sound design.

  6. fabian says:

    Nice work !!, thats looks promising.
    I really like your work 🙂

  7. whatsloop says:

    would be perfect for electroacoustic composers!

  8. romplox says:

    Very nice! Any updates? Is λ also capable of running in linux?

  9. jjj says:

    very curious about λ !!

    • xenakios says:

      Thanks for the interest! But I think development will be delayed quite a lot. The whole thing needs to be rewritten from scratch. The videos were made from a semifunctional version that wasn’t ready to be used by anyone. (Maybe I should have not done the videos and blog posts at all… 😉 )

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