Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding

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dmbaer
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2012/10/13 16:46:40 (permalink)

Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0240825152/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
 
To be released Monday, if I'm not mistaken.
 
The reason I find this so amazing is that I can't imagine more than a few hundred people in the whole world that would be interested in reading such a book, let alone shelling out 50 ro 60 bucks for it.
 
Of course I ordered it immediately.  I hate C++ with a passion, and the last thing I want to get caught up in is software development (this is what I've done for a living for 45 or so years) at the expense of music.  And yet ... I'm so curious about how all this VST magic works under the covers that I couldn't resist.
 
Fellow geeks, you might want to check this out.
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    tomixornot
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 17:31:59 (permalink)
    Thanks for the heads up. I did Java sometime ago.. been avoiding C / C++.. 

    It's nice all the info is made into a book instead of scattered around the net.

    Albert


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    fireberd
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 17:40:48 (permalink)
    I feel ashamed.  I worked as a Telemetry processor programmer at NASA but it was back in the Apollo era and it was machine language and BAL.

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    yorolpal
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 18:08:19 (permalink)
    I learned primitive coding on my Commodore 64 then moved on to programming in dbase...remember that?  Then started learning C.  Then...oh so wisely...threw in the towel.  Now, even writing a simple CAL routine is arduous work.  Real programmers frighten me:-)

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    mumpcake
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 18:59:57 (permalink)
    About 6 years ago I would have loved to have the book. No time now though.

    Don't forget to tip the guy at the piano.

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    #5
    bapu
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 19:20:48 (permalink)
    I'm an applications programmer, you know, to run businesses like; inventory control, purchasing, work order control, order entry, A/R, A/P & MRP. 

    C/C++, Java etc. are for the "driver" and "architecture" wonks (no offence meant). Give me a 3/4GL language any day and I'm a happy camper. 
    I admit that I have done two small projects, one in Ruby on Rails (tedious) and PHP (not so tedious as the application was already "built"). The fact that these languages/idioms/platforms/frameworks are meant for the web, their basic architecture reminds of the cr@p we had to go though in the early days of software development (mid 70s thru mid 80s).  

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    bitflipper
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 20:03:24 (permalink)
    Let us know what you think of the book, David. Specifically, if it has information not already available for free via the SDK and online resources. 

    I've written a couple simple VSTs just to see what's involved, always intending to revisit it some rainy day. But whenever said rainy day comes along, I find I'd rather be making music than cutting code. However, I do have some concepts in mind for plugins that currently do not exist but should be moderately easy to code. 


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    #7
    bapu
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/13 20:46:11 (permalink)
    Dave,

    When you get that TALENT vst done, I'll be your beta tester.


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    dmbaer
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/14 15:51:07 (permalink)
    bapu


    Dave,

    When you get that TALENT vst done, I'll be your beta tester.


    I'm first going to focus on the DOES-NOT-SUCK VST.  After that, we'll see.
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    dmbaer
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/14 15:54:23 (permalink)
    bitflipper

    Let us know what you think of the book, David. Specifically, if it has information not already available for free via the SDK and online resources.
    That's not going to be possible, because I've not summoned up sufficient interest in tracking down on-line sources of information.  But with the convenience of this information within the covers of a book (that I can read in bed!), my interest is considerably more engaged.
     
    But I will report back.  It may be a few months, but I once I've read it (or read enough to realize the purchase was a mistake), I'll do a mini-review here.

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    Fog
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2012/10/14 16:34:31 (permalink)
    you might find that book is "course-ware" what we had with 1 lecturer at uni.. where the author of the book wrote it and also taught us the subject.. and pretty much forced us to buy his book..

    in that lecturer's case he was  bad teacher and his book was bad..

    opposite to the lecturer who taught us "C" (also knew his subject) and gave us his book for free
    #11
    dmbaer
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2013/01/02 13:29:15 (permalink)
    I promised a mini-review on this book when I had finished it and here ‘tis.
     
    First, why I read it: I had no aspirations of writing plug-ins, but was extremely curious about what went into their writing.  To this extent the book did not disappoint.  However, beware: there is some pretty hairy math here.  The author’s main intent is to teach the particulars of DSP processing.  Very little is actually said about the specifics of VST (or other format) coding.
     
    The back cover says that the reader must have a command of math at a high school level.  Well, they must be teaching considerably more advanced math in high school these days than back in the 60s when I attended.  While I could eat formulas like those in the book for breakfast back when I was studying engineering in college, it’s been a very long time … the book will challenge anyone without some serious math skills.
     
    Likewise, the reader is expected to have reasonable C++ skills.  In this regard, you either have them or not.  Those with programming skills in another language, like Java, could muddle through and understand most of what’s going on at the code level, but a non-programmer shouldn’t even begin to try.
     
    The author mounts his lessons around a framework we developed called RackAFX.  He developed this to aid in teaching this subject at the university level.  He found that his students spent far too much time fiddling with getting the GUI parts of projects finished, leaving too little for the DSP “meat” of the learning.  There is an appendix on how RackAFX and VST compare, and it takes fairly little effort to convert a RackAFX component to a VST.  But not everything is covered.  I was curious about how plug-ins communicated delay information to a host, for example, and that was not discussed.
     
    The coverage of various types of signal processing is pretty broad.  We get filters, dynamics processors, delays, convolution processors and more.  There’s even a chapter on reverbs, which leads me to believe that developers of reverbs, like chess grand masters, must often be borderline insane.
     
    What’s not covered is modeling to introduce vintage coloring characteristics.  The focus is strictly on digital implementations of pure DSP theory.
     
    Was it worth the read?  For me, yes, although I confess that my eyes glazed over more than a few times and I merely skimmed more than a few sections.  But I’m definitely not sorry I spent the time reading this book.  I know appreciate how oscillators can take any waveform and play them back at any frequency with no error (hint, this requires extrapolation using a third order polynomial).  I also know understand, for example, why Camel Audio’s Alchemy has a special format for single cycle waveforms that include ten versions of the wave (hint: the higher the note, the more the single cycle starts looking like a sine wave).  So, there’s enough here for the serious music geek who’s curious as to what goes on behind those GUI plug-in windows.
     
    So long story short: good book but not for the technically faint of heart.
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    Linear Phase
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2013/01/02 17:42:30 (permalink)
    dmbaer


    I promised a mini-review on this book when I had finished it and here ‘tis.
     
    First, why I read it: I had no aspirations of writing plug-ins, but was extremely curious about what went into their writing.  To this extent the book did not disappoint.  However, beware: there is some pretty hairy math here.  The author’s main intent is to teach the particulars of DSP processing.  Very little is actually said about the specifics of VST (or other format) coding.
     
    The back cover says that the reader must have a command of math at a high school level.  Well, they must be teaching considerably more advanced math in high school these days than back in the 60s when I attended.  While I could eat formulas like those in the book for breakfast back when I was studying engineering in college, it’s been a very long time … the book will challenge anyone without some serious math skills.
     
    Likewise, the reader is expected to have reasonable C++ skills.  In this regard, you either have them or not.  Those with programming skills in another language, like Java, could muddle through and understand most of what’s going on at the code level, but a non-programmer shouldn’t even begin to try.
     
    The author mounts his lessons around a framework we developed called RackAFX.  He developed this to aid in teaching this subject at the university level.  He found that his students spent far too much time fiddling with getting the GUI parts of projects finished, leaving too little for the DSP “meat” of the learning.  There is an appendix on how RackAFX and VST compare, and it takes fairly little effort to convert a RackAFX component to a VST.  But not everything is covered.  I was curious about how plug-ins communicated delay information to a host, for example, and that was not discussed.
     
    The coverage of various types of signal processing is pretty broad.  We get filters, dynamics processors, delays, convolution processors and more.  There’s even a chapter on reverbs, which leads me to believe that developers of reverbs, like chess grand masters, must often be borderline insane.
     
    What’s not covered is modeling to introduce vintage coloring characteristics.  The focus is strictly on digital implementations of pure DSP theory.
     
    Was it worth the read?  For me, yes, although I confess that my eyes glazed over more than a few times and I merely skimmed more than a few sections.  But I’m definitely not sorry I spent the time reading this book.  I know appreciate how oscillators can take any waveform and play them back at any frequency with no error (hint, this requires extrapolation using a third order polynomial).  I also know understand, for example, why Camel Audio’s Alchemy has a special format for single cycle waveforms that include ten versions of the wave (hint: the higher the note, the more the single cycle starts looking like a sine wave).  So, there’s enough here for the serious music geek who’s curious as to what goes on behind those GUI plug-in windows.
     
    So long story short: good book but not for the technically faint of heart.

    That's very funny man, "this is a well written post."



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    #13
    Zo
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2013/01/02 21:15:25 (permalink)
    Java, cobol,c++,ada,versant,sql.....ect ... Here ....will take the book for fun ;)
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    ToneCarver
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2013/01/02 22:53:56 (permalink)
    I've been coding one language or another for over 25 years (yikes!). I'm probably one of those driver/architecture wonks that bapu is referring to. :) When I get bored or uninspired with making music my interests move to creating VST plugins. Just like my tracks there are way more ideas started than are brought to completion but it's a nice diversion for a while anyway. That RackAFX sounds like an interesting approach. Have a look at Cockos/Reaper WDL library if you haven't yet. It's cross platform and abstracts a lot of the tedious parts of VST parameter handling.
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    Linear Phase
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2013/01/03 03:05:42 (permalink)
    ToneCarver


     I've been coding one language or another for over 25 years ...  When I get bored ...

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    bitflipper
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    Re:Someone Actually Wrote an Entire Book on VST Coding 2013/01/03 14:51:47 (permalink)
    Have a look at Cockos/Reaper WDL library if you haven't yet. It's cross platform and abstracts a lot of the tedious parts of VST parameter handling.

    Thanks for that tip, TC. I'd seen this lib and IPlug mentioned on kvr but didn't know if it was worth investigating. Now that I've had a look, I have to say it looks pretty nifty - and the price is right within my budget :)


    For anyone else interested, here's the main page, the WDL forum and some additional information here  and here.


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