KnM Audio Tools/ volume peak option in Audio input patch

Hi a nice addition to the already awesome Audio Tools would be a "Volume Peak" option for all channels independently. First it would nicely mimic the original apple patch (esp. if you rename Waveform to Spectrum, but that's another story ;), plus this would spare me a 32 channels addition macro (and a bunch of useless nodes, or even worst ... a javascript ) Volume peak is extremely useful to me ... esp. when working with piezo sensors. thanks anyway for this great release.

(note that this is not really a proper request, more of a feature / plugin design discussion, but with the new wiki system i don't really know where to put this.)

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cwright's picture
on it

This should be pretty simple to add, so I'll hop on that shortly.

Spectrum is a bit different from Waveform: spectrum shows frequency information, while waveform shows sample information. Working on tossing in an FFT to get high-res spectrum data from the waveform, but that's not as urgent since Apple's audio input does that already (though it's not necessarily high-res).

feature requests can (and should) still go in the feature requests section -- wiki is just for documentation-like stuff (how-to's, etc). Forums (and bug reports, and feature requests, which are also essentially forums) are still for discussion :) We just took comments off of releases because it was too easy to lose important comments on beta releases that got updated... :)

cwright's picture

gtoledo3's picture
I just want to add that I am

I just want to add that I am truly grateful for the audio tools...! I am planning on delving into this and some of the beta stuff this weekend, and plan on sharing....

I may be out of it, but it seems like the audio file name that is loaded into most of the example compositions isn't actually present in the folder. I haven't looked at it in a few days though.

smokris's picture

You're right that something's wrong with that "AudioTools-SampleCompositions" archive..

Ok, I'm really confused. The file on the webserver itself is perfectly fine (I verified the md5sum). If I download it using wget, it's perfectly fine. If I download it using either Safari or Firefox, it's corrupted.


After some further debugging, it looks like Drupal was doing something funky with the files before sending them out --- there's a similar issue logged at but no solution...

I just disabled the 'private' file download setting, and so far it seems to be working. Please try downloading it again.

gtoledo3's picture
I have had some fun with

I have had some fun with feeding audio files into some of these compositions and changing the period, etc... definitely a funny "blenderize" effect on the audio.

Taking some of the apple drum kit loops from Garage Band and feeding them into the bouncing ball quartz example sounds strangely prog rock... ;o)

NYDave's picture
Can you post an example?

Of how you are feeding these audio files into compositions? Thanks!

gtoledo3's picture
Well... let me describe an

Well... let me describe an overview.

I went into the folder that holds all of the loops for Garage Band, saw one that was a drum kit playing at 140bpm... I copied it to my desktop.

I opened up the composition that has the "bouncing ball". If you look, the "ball" portion of the composition has a place that loads the audio from a file path. I just deleted the default file path, and dragged the drum loop in.

I imagine this would yield some fun results with power chords...

Without having it in front of me for reference, I remember that I placed some a song of mine in one of the compositions... and by adjusting the period, it would give great mangling effects. I would hear guitar jabs from a later part of the song, interjected with beach boy style harmony from the intro. Skronky.

All I want to know is... and I have to admit, shame on me for not testing it before I post.... does the audio render in quartz crystal? I don't really see how it could....but if it does, I will be pleasantly surprised.

And if not, what would be the most logical way to approach getting one of these audio compositions into video?

cwright's picture
no audio :(

QCrystal doesn't handle audio at all -- QC doesn't have any sort of mechanism for audio mixing/output, so at present every sound output plugin just manages it itself, which makes it impossible to reliably capture.

To mix it into the video afterwards, you'll have to record it to an audio file, and then add it later (with FCP or QTPro or whatever)

Eventually audiotools will be expanded to have a file output (and an off-the-graph audio renderer, controlled by the graphics graph, but not rendered at the same rate as it), and then this will be easy, but for now it's admittedly a big pain :(

psonice's picture

I certainly hope that apple will add some audio events to QC at some point. Seeing as they're pushing for more animation in apps, and QC is one of the main tools to do that animation, and that the animation often works better with sound effects being triggered at certain points... Otherwise, we could end up with the crazy situation of having QCrystal plugins to support audio too ;D

More seriously though, audio is pretty easy to capture while the composition is running, and it's easy to add the captured audio to the video stream in quicktime. The only catch is when you have a composition that reacts to audio levels.

cwright's picture
me too

I hope audio stuff is created too, though I'm not sure how it would be done. I've got some ideas of my own, but I'm not sure how much I should plow ahead... maybe once we've got a few more snow leopard seeds in our hands we can see where apple will be taking it in the next 18-24 months.

(in the next audioTools beta, there's an audiofileinput patch that acts like the audio input patch, but with an audio file. This allows offline audio-reactive compositions...)

psonice's picture
simple audio

I think audio support would be fairly simple.. we'd all love to see something like qc patches processing audio and stuff, but really for what QC is for I think a basic 'play audio file' patch is all that apple would need to add. You then have what you need for basic sound effects + audio for animation. I hope for more though of course :)

The audiofileinput patch sounds really good for what I do with demos, I'll look forwards to that - I'll be doing one in the next couple of weeks too so give me a shout if you want it testing :)

tobyspark's picture
simpler player yes: but with device routing

for me, a simple player would be a massive thing, but to fully deliver on that i'd need output routing for it, not just 'send to default device'. as qc without an autonomous (off-graph) renderer is only going to be able to supply basic sounds, i would be running it in conjunction with ableton etc to create a full soundscape. and for that, i need to route it into a specific channel on a specific device.

psonice's picture
quite simple audio

You're right, device routing is quite important (although I don't know if apple consider VJ type usage important or not...) and also basic pitch control which I forgot to mention (important for sound effects), and perhaps a basic loop control like the interpolation patch.

gtoledo3's picture
Coming from an audio

Coming from an audio background... a few things that appealed to me immediately are:

Quartz Composer is setup like a modular synthesizer or softsynth. It is almost an audio style GUI, contoured to be used with visuals.

There are also built in oscillators, and midi capabilities of sorts. So in a sense, it is also a low level audio device/software.

What I would love to see is a robust way of transferring "beats" created by the actual visual going on in the Quartz Composer... ie, a cube passing by every second... and tack a kick drum sample onto it for example. It has basically developed to where we can do that now with the Kineme audio tools, if we use a screen/audio capture device(if we want a "mixdown").

BUT.... what would like to be able to have something like a pitchshift that could be hooked up to an iterator... with the idea that you could have something like a spiraling chime sound attached to a kineme particle, for example.... so as a particle hit against surfaces as it dropped down, the pitch would lower. Or if the particle ascended, the pitch would raise....

Maybe that is actually possible in a way and I haven't figured it out yet!

tobyspark's picture
if you search around this

if you search around this site, you'll find some previous discussions about audio.

in short, yes the patching environment looks brilliantly suited to also processing audio, but under the hood its completely unsuitable. basically a separate audio rendering engine would have to be written, that chugs along independently of the graphical rendering / qc comp evaluation, that responds to 'remote control' calls that pop out of the qc comp evaluation as and when they happen.

hence a basic audio trigger patch first.


gtoledo3's picture
time based audio fx

I haven't tried it yet, but it does seem like basic echo, chorus, and flanging effects, as well as kinds of eq...could be achieved just by loading the same audio file, at a specified delay theory.

I am definitely aware of the problems surrounding actually rendering it to video, though just being able to do a screen/audio capture of the audio tools stuff is fairly cool.

tobyspark's picture
pitch control = ableton

for a rev.1, no need for anything more complicated than basic transport (or even just trigger), providing you can outsource the processing of it, ie. audio routing control.

gtoledo3's picture
Have you tried hooking up

Have you tried hooking up the web cam piano demo that Memo has on his page?

I have to say... the first thing I did was hook it up to the midi generator in garage band.... mmmm hard to get controllable results. I think that the trick is to have the sound match the way that the notes are generated....

I haven't messed around with that in about a month, but what was VERY good sounding was to set garage band up with slide guitar midi, run it through copious distortion, wah, and echo. It was a definite useable effect.... jimi hendrix theremin of sorts.

dust's picture
Kineme Audio Tempo BPM drum machine step recorder

i use soundflower to get audio out of quartz. you got to set up a aggregate device in your audio midi settings so that you can monitor or what ever. as per triggers i made a drum machine using quartz and the kineme player. its 16 steps, but easily expandable step recorder that you could rig up to send osc or midi to what ever other sound app you want. i was just testing the audio player. this one plays drumz all in quartz as well as does some speech synth, basic motion fx all triggered from the step recorder. set the tempo to what ever you want and use your own samples ??? i made a little video of it, the transport slowed down a bit when i was messing with settings, due to me capturing video at the same time but seems to play back multiple audio tracks relatively smoothly not sure if i would use it instead of my other drum machines but defiantly will use it to sync visuals. heres the video...

plus patch

machineDrumz.zip1.41 MB

gtoledo3's picture
Oh yeah, I remember the

Oh yeah, I remember the first thing I did when the audio tools was out was to load a drum loop into the example where the ball is bouncing against the walls.... sounded like instant free jazz. I probably posted it here, can't remember...