Friday, June 16, 2006

Open Source Music Making Devices

Hi all:

I've come to value very much the software created by IXI Software. This collective
generates open source synths and samplers. Their software often comes in windows, apple and linux incarnations, and it's completely free. Rather than following the
"traditional" softsynth approach of mimicking analog hardware, their software aims to be user-friendly.

Here's a quote from their website:

"ixi software is an experimental project concerned with building prototypes for musical instruments. We are interested in the computer as a workshop for building non-conventional tools for musicians, i.e. not trying to imitate or copy the tools that we know from the real world of instruments and studio technology. We currently work with open source software and try to build interesting graphical front-ends to software such as Pure Data or Supercollider, but our aim is also to distribute our applications such that everybody can use them, making them simple and intuitive to use.

We are interested in free and open music software in all senses. Free as in "free beer", free as in "free speech" and free as in "free jazz". The last "freedom" being the most important one. We acknowledge the constraints that software puts on the musician, the limits that the tool sets for the creative process and we therefore promote and try to disseminate technologies which open up the limits of the software (or defines new boundaries). Our belief is that it should be the artist that defines the scope of his or her instrument (and therefore music), not a commercial software company".

I can personally attest that their software is extremely user-friendly, extremely useful, and extremely free.

If you'd like to give some of its a test-spin, go to


Marco Raaphorst said...

that might be really cool indeed. simplicity is a great feature :)

fourstones said...

constraints that software puts on the musician


really? that's news to me

Gurdonark said...

"constraints that software puts on the musician" is an interesting statement, because software frees one in so many ways. I think there are some "constraints", though, because each GUI in some ways makes one think "like" that GUI.
An extreme example is my moog emulator synth, the "mogue". One has to "think" in a moog GUI analog setting, when a less patterned GUI might be less "constrained".

Still, software is so much less restrained than the years I unsuccessfully spent learning piano, that it is a curious thing to say.

fourstones said...

indeed, it's a curious premise to hang a whole movement on...

Gurdonark said...

I'm too full of theories and observations to attach too much weight to theory.

I do like things, though, that gives me an alternative to unfriendly interfaces.
For that matter, one thing I like about what you've done with mixter now is that it's so user-friendly.
Once you showed me how to work the tags, there's so many things that are so easy to do. I'm glad that mixter is like an IXI product rather than being like Cakewalk Sonar.

Marco Raaphorst said...

I bought Sonar 2.2xl several years ago. Haven't done one track with it. Useless and it kept crashing. Tried several demos, I think version 4 as well. Crashes. I am great beta tester, I can find bugs in seconds. That really is true, Propellerhead will agree to that statement :)

Gurdonark said...

I'm decidedly not a good bug-fixer, but I am of at least average intelligence, and capable of learning. I found Cakewalk Sonar incredibly non-user-friendly, which surprised me, because I had read its promo materials as implying it was that way. Ultimately, I got a Magix 5 dollar bit of value software, and used it to learn things, until I upgraded into Magix' current version, still value software, but really flexible. Now it's a question of when I will make the jump to Reason, and also when I will ever find a VSTi host I like, if not Reason.