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About the obsolescence of AudioSculpt

Hello,

It seems that better communication on this subject would be appreciated (AudioSculpt 4 — On its Release and New Features) so I’ll do my best to explain my point of view (but keep in mind that’s my personal opinion and it doesn’t necessarily reflect the official Ircam position).

AudioSculpt 3 is a standalone application built around a set of audio engines integrated as command-line tools executables (SuperVP, PM2, etc.). So AudioSculpt 3 is essentially a graphical application but unfortunately, it is based on an Apple development kit that has been deprecated for more than 10 years. Perhaps Ircam could have invested means to update the application earlier, perhaps not, (I don’t know) but the fact is that it has not been done and that’s a fact, and there is nothing to do about it. But now it becomes critical because the application is not deprecated anymore but it becomes unusable. So, can we consider updating AudioSculpt?

Updating the AudioSculpt 3 means rewriting the entire application because even if the audio engines are still theoretically compatible with recent operating systems and machines, the application is essentially graphical (and this part is not). And just trying to replace the old graphical code with a new one that does exactly the same things doesn’t really make sense because there were many bugs that must be fixed, original propositions that must be updated (or even removed because the approach is effectively deprecated), audio engines that must also be updated, etc. We don’t want to reproduce the exact same application with what is unwanted and bugged otherwise we will surely be in the same situation in 5 years. Furthermore, even if many approaches were great in AudioSculpt 3 and are still great, there are many things that don’t fit the current expectation in terms of user interface and interaction, otherwise, even if some of the “historical” users continue to use the application, there will be less and less interest over the years and that would lead to the abandon of the development. So, creating AudioSculpt 4 is not trivial and would require many years of works.

Ircam is a research center (beyond many other aspects), continuously offering new tools and we don’t have the development mean of big companies and in this context, sometimes, it becomes impossible to maintain applications such as AudioSculpt. Of course, if we could we would do AudioSculpt 4 but it’s not. So, based on this assertion we try to find approaches that are more adapted to our means. Partiels, for instance, is a first proposition that tries to compensate for the deprecation of the analysis part of AudioSculpt. This is a work in progress and many things will change and will be improved in the future and even it is not mainly intended to sound transformation, you can already use the results in OM, Pure Data, Max, etc. We are also working on a second proposition to compensate for the deprecation of the effect part of AudioSculpt (it doesn’t mean that it will not integrate analyses to control these effects). We try an approach that would be faster in terms of development and more dynamic (for future development). And hopefully, we will be able to present the first demo soon.

We all would like to have a solution to AudioSculpt obsolescence and we work hard on it. As a user, the best you can do to help is to share your creative workflow, not only the tools that you use but also how you use them and why. This way we can try to create new tools, not exactly like AudioSculpt but nevertheless be adapted to your need.

AudioSculpt est mort ! Vive AudioSculpt !

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Thank you very much @guillot for taking the time to explain to Audiosculpt users the behind-the-scene. I would like to add that you are responsible for the development of Partiels, TS2 and many other tools to come for the Forum users and in that I wanted to thank you. I also want to thank you for your quality of listening to the users who, through this forum, can influence the future developments (if not the past ones ;-).

I also want to say that Ircam has invested a lot to continue the development of Audiosculpt until unfortunately facing a lack of resources (thanks @picasso). The development of applications requires an ever-increasing strength of adaptation to counter the programmed obsolescence of frameworks and architectures. The digital world is not as perennial as it seems.

In any case, the Ircam ecosystem continues to grow as shown by the activity of this forum. As far as development is concerned, we always keep an eye on the interoperability between libraries and new software, in particular in order to perpetuate compositional practices beyond the creation environments. With Max, MuBu, SDIF, OM, Partiels and others, we hope you will always find a way to reach your musical goals, if not to discover new ones… Thank you for your understanding and your help in designing future applications…

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Hi Pierre and Greg,

I think all Forum users know that it’s been increasingly hard to maintain and develop software at IRCAM, given the tight resources and development schedules you face. This said, here’s how I see it: AudioSculpt 4 should have revamped AudioSculpt 3 in much the same way that Max 7 revamped Max 6, and it would have been by far the best option.

As a side note, my OP on AudioSculpt 4 is from years ago, it’s an old post. And please don’t mistake my staunch disagreement for hostility of any sort, I wouldn’t be a Forum user much less a premium subscriber otherwise.

All the best,
António

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Don’t worry Antonio, we don’t take it the wrong way. I tried to explain that we would have liked to do AS4 but we don’t have the option to do it. We understand that you thought it would have been better to do this new version but unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it. Ircam is not Cycling 74 and AS is not Max, there is no point in comparing them. Now, if you would like to contribute by sharing your experience, workflow, etc., you and all Forum members are welcome! We would love to hear from you :slight_smile:

Hi Pierre,

The point of invoking Max 7 is that they did what you claim (and rightly so) would be needed and desirable for AudioSculpt 4. And I’m certain that it would make as much sense for AudioSculpt as it did for Max.

All the best,
António

I’m sorry Antonio, I might not have been clear enough in my explanation. As you can imagine the Max and the AS architectures are very different. You can’t use the same development strategy for projects that are so different, especially if the current version of the application is already deprecated. And above all, we have a very reduced team working on this subject compared to Cycling 74. The analysis-synthesis team maintains the audio engines (but this is a research team before everything else so they do many other things). And with the collaboration of another developer, Matthew Harris who works on the Vamp plugin, I manage and develop all the other aspects. So, creating this new AudioSculpt version would require many years of work. As AudioSculpt is deprecated and there is an emergency so that’s doesn’t seem an appropriate solution (except if you’re willing to wait a few years).

Hi Pierre,

The point (I’ve been making from the start) is that Max 7 revamped Max 6 as deeply and widely as it would be needed (and desirable) for AudioSculpt 4. That’s all.

And as I already said, my OP on AudioSculpt 4 is from years ago, it’s an old post… And I won’t say anything else concerning development strategies.

All the best,
António

Hi all,

TS-2 is very interesting and its processing capabilities are efficient. But it is not a forum software but an Ircamlab software… although I think it is available to premium members.

Partiels analyzes well and the idea of using Vamp plugins is well integrated. You can export the analysis but no processing is possible.

So, I use SuperVP with om# which fits me (OM also does the job, of course). I like to patch, fortunately.

So I think we are in a creative period, in a few time, there will be a software around SuperVP which will allow to forget AudioSculpt… Let’s wait !

Best,

Jerome

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Hi Jérôme,

I do most things SuperVP- and Pm2-related with OpenMusic as well. Besides, I can always run AudioSculpt via virtual machine (I’m on macOS Big Sur.) I won’t say anything about TS2 or IrcamLab in relation to this.

And I agree, IRCAM getting into the Vamp ecosystem was a great move.

Let things past be past.

All the best,
António

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