Music_SDP 1.3 is here with massive new features!
Music_SDP has a lot in common with the largest premium music applications available. For example, we give users a huge toolbox to work with, that scales to do as few or as many tasks as needed for a given project. MSDP also provides innovative instruments, effects, and utilities that help creators find exciting new ways to explore their latest and greatest ideas.
And finally, as of today, we have one more thing in common: The ability to save and reload your project exactly where you left off. Do you have 10 boards open, with your metronome set just right, and your controllers built to work just as you need them? Do you want to pick up exactly where you left off next time you open MSDP? Just do what you’d do anywhere else: go to the file menu and hit “save”, or use your favorite cmd+s or ctrl+s shortcut and you’re done!
Getting the complete project save state to work and reload no small feat. We went through several revisions and settled on an entirely new save system for the whole program. This means that, while the process for the user feels just like it did before (but better), what’s happening inside the code is entirely new!
This does lead us to one regrettable announcement: Projects made before version 1.3.0 will not be able to load into this and future releases of the program. To compensate for this, we’ll be keeping version 126.96.36.199 available to download on request. But as sad as this may be, it means a much more exciting future for Music_SDP projects yet to come!
The revised save system means we can also make backups of your projects as you work. That way, if you crash the program, or if you simply forget to hit save at the end of a long work session, you can pick up almost exactly where you were. This resume function can be accessed via the new Resume Last Session… button. This button can be found on the Project Loader window when you open Music_SDP, and clicking it will simply return you to your last auto-saved state!
The new save system may be the biggest change, but it’s just the beginning of what we have to show off with this new update!
Introducing our newest instrument: The Wavetable Synthesizer. This tool was designed and donated to us by the great Timo Hoogland, who’s explorations in Max have created many exciting new ways to explore sound and video. The wavetable synthesizer generates mutatable 3-dimensional shapes that can be used to create shifting and complex sonic textures. It really sounds great, and we’re thrilled to have as the eleventh instrument in our collection.
The Wavetable Synth is our favorite new instrument, and porting it into Music_SDP was easier than ever with the new super-streamlined templates and tutorials. This is another part of the program that’s seen major revisions. Using these templates makes porting something as complex as the Wavetable Synth a breeze. In fact, the process was so straightforward, I wanted to prove it by live-streaming the module creation in real-time! If you’re a Max programmer, and you’d like to see what goes into making a new module in Music_SDP, I’d strongly recommend starting by watching the video below:
The new templates come with new tutorials and new Max objects, and now is the best time ever to try your hand at building and sharing your own Music_SDP modules!
A while back we made the announcement that we’d begun working on developing Music_SDP for Ableton Live. While we’re still working on that (we needed to create this update first), we were able to get another improvement into this update based on the work we’ve done for that space.
In order to get the most out of the tempo options in Ableton Live, we’ve worked our way through another update to the code for the Master Metronome. We’ve also been able to introduce better metronome sync within our metric modules, and more than double the duration options. Now, whether you’re syncing to the master metronome or to the local module metronome, you have more than twenty durational options to pick from. These options extend to modules like the echo effect, drum machine, arpeggiator, and more!
We also decided to review how our instruments work, and what it feels like to play the instruments in our collection. We’re ecstatic to say that you can finally control velocity per-note in all of Music_SDP’s instruments. This means that the harder you strike your MIDI keyboard, the louder the individual note will sound! In the virtual keyboards and in-module keyboards, this can be controlled by pressing higher or lower on the keys. Press the highest point on the key to play at full volume, and press lower to create notes that are softer. This extends to the Virtual Keyboard as well, which leads us to another new feature: you can now use your computer keyboard as a MIDI keyboard! Simply open the Virtual Keyboard and press the ‘Computer Keyboard Control” button to toggle this feature on/off whenever needed. Now, no matter where you go, if you’ve got a computer, you can play your instruments!
We were able to squeeze one last feature into this update, and although it’s not a huge change, we think there’s something interesting here for everyone, and audiophiles with high-end hardware will enjoy this update in-particular:
Yes, we finally have a System Preferences window! Now, along with the option to select your Audio Driver, Input, and Output, you can change your Sample Rate and Vector sizes, giving you more control over the fidelity of the audio signals and audio files that you generate and manipulate in your projects. You can also change the default settings for new projects, and tweak the user feedback setting. Just go to File -> Preferences to open the new window.
We’ve also simplified and streamlined the Project Settings. Now that everything gets saved for you when you save your project, the Project Settings window isn’t as necessary as it used to be. We’ve re-organized some features and removed others, so that the most useful options are front-and-center. This is still the place to go to toggle between Full Screen and Windowed mode, and it’s still where you toggle System Board Full View Devices on and off, so it is still plenty useful. We just want it to be less-necessary to making the modifications that you need, so that you only have to go in to make changes on important occasion.
Like always, there are also a ton of issues and bugs that have been ironed out for this latest release. The Chaos Synth has seen a lot of love and care, and we’ve removed minor issues across the module list and the system board. Were you having trouble getting something to work in the past? Chances are, it’s working a lot better now. If it isn’t, please don’t hesitate to send us a request! We’ll do our best to get a fix out with the next update.
The creation of Music_SDP 1.3.0 has been a massive undertaking, and we’re so excited to finally share the fruits of our labor. We hope you’ll be just as excited to see all of the tweaks and improvements that we’re working continuously to bring to the project. We’ve been thrilled to listen to all the great music that our users have been sharing, and we want to keep growing Music_SDP into the best and most powerful open-source tool for innovative music creation. We’ve already got some big plans for the next set of updates, so stay tuned and follow us on social media to keep up with all of our latest news and announcements.
To sign off, I’d like to say thank you to our users for your belief in our project, and for all of the contributions to the Music_SDP community. Your engagement gives this program purpose, and inspires us to continue working.
-Hugh Lobel, and the Music_SDP team.
Donations help us pay for development work, bandwidth, web hosting, development tools, and audio hardware, and make a real impact in helping us realize this massive dream.