Dan Newcome on technology

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Music gear and open source

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Clavia Nord Modular synthesizer (G1, keyboard ...
Image via Wikipedia

I was checking around on Ebay recently for music gear that is on my ‘nice to have’ wish list, and when I searched for the Nord Modular synth, I realized that there is an open source version of the software required to create sounds for the instrument. From my experience so far with music gear that requires drivers or other software, this is a huge win, since I now have several pieces of gear that are difficult or impossible to use because they need, for example, old versions of Windows or Mac OS to run. (Another situation that is becoming an issue for me is the (lack of) availability of 64-bit versions of drivers, even if the OS is supported).

For those of you not aware of what the Nord Modular is, it is a musical instrument (modular virtual analog synthesizer) that can be reconfigured via software to produce radically different sounds depending on the configuration.  In order to reconfigure the instrument, a computer is required to run the editor software.

Now the issue I have is that a dedicated group of developers had to reverse engineer a lot of things just to get to version 1.0 of something like the Nord editor.  I think that forward-thinking companies would be well-served by putting a reference driver or editor software out there as open source, which would be a great gesture toward making the hardware ‘vintage worthy’. Even if the computer platform becomes obsolete the code can at least be ported to a more modern system, allowing die-hard fans of the instrument to continue rocking.

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Written by newcome

December 13, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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