Last time around we got our feet wet with SuperColliderAU, working our way through some example code and building a simple Audio Unit plug-in from scratch. This time we’re going to attempt something a little bit more ambitious: designing, prototyping and building a full blown tremolo audio effect plug-in. We won’t be taking the straight ‘do this then do that’ tutorial approach, however: our focus will be on process and tools as much as on actual building, and we’ll begin quite simply by imagining how to go about creating a tremolo effect. Then we’ll construct a suitable algorithm through trial and error, testing our ideas along the way using SuperCollider’s graph-plotting capabilities.
The combination of SuperColliderAU and AudioUnitBuilder is a wonderfully useful tool for quickly sketching out and prototyping working audio effect plug-ins. In this installment we’ll jump-start our SuperCollider setup by installing AudioUnitBuilder, tweaking it for Lion / Mountain Lion / SuperCollider 3.5 compatibility and taking a walk-through of one of the example AU projects. Then we’ll knuckle down and build our first custom plug-in.
Programming your own audio plug-ins, let’s face it, is not a casual undertaking. To even begin playing the game you need a solid grounding in DSP – along with some serious C, C++ and math chops – all tucked neatly into your belt. And that’s before you start diving into the frameworks of whichever platform it is you’re developing for. Wouldn’t it be neat if there was a kinder, gentler way into this world of streaming ones and zeros, even for reluctant programmers? Well there is, at least for Mac users.