Journal of the Audio Engineering Society

2020 October - Volume 68 Number 10


Using Faust DSL to Develop Custom, Sample Accurate DSP Code and Audio Plugins for the Web Browser

Authors: Ren, Shihong; Letz, Stéphane; Orlarey, Yann; Michon, Romain; Fober, Dominique; Buffa, Michel; Lebrun, Jerome

The development and porting of virtual instruments or audio effects on the Web is a hot topic. Several initiatives are emerging, from industry-driven ones (e.g., Propellerhead Rack Extension running on the Web1) to more community-based open-source projects [1]. Most of them aim at adapting existing code bases (usually developed in native languages like C/C++) as well as facilitating the use of existing audio Digital Signal Processing (DSP) languages and platforms. Our two teams previously presented an open format for WebAudio Plugins coined WAP [2]. It aims at (i) improving the interoperability of audio/MIDI plugins developed using pure Web APIs, (ii) porting existing native code bases, or (iii) using Domain Specific Languages (DSL). In this paper, we present a solution based around FAUST DSL, its Web-based editor, and the integration of a plugin GUI editor allowing us to directly test, generate, and deploy WAP plugins. We also evoke our collaborative work: one team hatching and improving FAUST, the other working on the recreation of tube guitar amplifiers and pedalboards within Web browsers. So as to fully illustrate the FAUST online framework, a case study is detailed with complete workflow, from the FAUST DSP source code written and tested in a fully functional online editor to a self-contained plugin running in a separate host application.

This paper presents soundworks, a framework dedicated to prototyping and developing distributed multimedia applications using Web technologies. Since its first release in 2015, the framework has been used in numerous artistic and research projects such as concerts, installations, workshops, teaching, and experimental setups. We first present how this diversity of contexts and objectives permitted us to identify a set of patterns able to support recurring needs of expert users in exploratory tasks. We then detail new developments that have been achieved to provide better support to these patterns. More particularly, we describe the novel distributed state management system dedicated to simplifying the implementation of remote control and monitoring interfaces and the plug-in system implemented to improve the extensibility of the framework and foster composition of dedicated functionalities. We believe that these new developments can provide a solid ground for further research and artistic practices in the area of distributed music systems. The soundworks framework is open source and released under BSD-3-Clause license.

Learning to Code Through Web Audio: A Team-Based Learning Approach

Authors: Xambó, Anna; Støckert, Robin; Jensenius, Alexander Refsum; Saue, Sigurd

In this article, we discuss the challenges and opportunities provided by teaching programming using web audio technologies and adopting a team-based learning (TBL) approach among a mix of colocated and remote students, mostly novices in programming. The course has been designed for cross-campus teaching and teamwork, in alignment with the two-city master's program in which it has been delivered. We present the results and findings from (1) students' feedback; (2) software complexity metrics; (3) students' blog posts; and (4) teacher's reflections. We found that the nature of web audio as a browser-based environment, coupled with the collaborative nature of the course, was suitable for improving the students' level of confidence about their abilities in programming. This approach promoted the creation of group course projects of a certain level of complexity, based on the students' interests and programming levels. We discuss the challenges of this approach, such as supporting smooth cross-campus interactions and assuring students' preknowledge in web technologies (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) for an optimal experience. We conclude by envisioning the scalability of this course to other distributed and remote learning scenarios in academic and professional settings. This is in line with the foreseen future scenario of cross-site interaction mediated through code.

iMuSciCA Workbench: Web-based Music Activities For Science Education

Authors: Kritsis, Kosmas; Garoufis, Christos; Zlatintsi, Athanasia; Bouillon, Manuel; Acosta, Carlos; Martín-Albo, Daniel; Piechaud, Robert; Maragos, Petros; Katsouros, Vassilis

This paper presents the iMuSciCA Workbench, developed to address secondary school students with the aim to support mastery of core academic content on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) subjects, along with the development of creativity and deeper learning skills through the students' participation in music activities. Herein, we focus on the technical implementation of the innovative music-related web environments hosted by the iMuSciCA Workbench.

od: Composing Spatial Multimedia for the Web

Authors: Çakmak, Cem; Hamilton, Rob

Composers have been exploring multi-channel sound field spatialization since the early days of electronic music. However, reproduction of such works outside of specialized concert spaces and research facilities or even their accurate reproduction within those spaces remain difficult and unpredictable at best. Combining the reach and simplicity of web browsers with ambisonic to binaural rendering, Web Audio-based tools can ensure greater accessibility for existing spatial works as well as acting as a platform upon which new ones can be implemented. At times with such practices the developing technologies become deprecated or obsolete during the period of making the work. This paper describes the technical design and artistic conception of od, a spatial multimedia production for binaural listening on the web. The project has led us to develop a workflow without relying on specific tools that can be of use as a framework for documenting existing spatial works or novel browser-based creative applications.

A Signal Engine for a Live Coding Language Ecosystem

Authors: Bernardo, Francisco; Kiefer, Chris; Magnusson, Thor

This paper reports on early advances in the design of a browser-based ecosystem for creating new live coding languages, optimal for audio synthesis, machine learning, and machine listening. We present the rationale and challenges when applying the Web Audio API to the design of a high-performance signal synthesis engine, using an AudioWorklet-based solution and refactoring our digital signal processing library Maximilian.js. Furthermore, we contribute with the latest advances in Sema, a new user-friendly playground that integrates the signal engine to empower the live coding community to design their own idiosyncratic languages and interfaces. The evaluation shows that the system runs with high reliability and efficiency and low latency.


[Feature] The recent AES Virtual Vienna convention featured some interesting papers on perception and sound quality evaluation. In particular an emphasis could be found on listener preferences, clarity, and naturalness concepts in live and reproduced sound, such as with artificial reverberation and in sound mixes. There was also some revealing work on the effects of different loudspeaker placements.

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