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EM Awards Reality’s “Game-Changing” Influence on Synthesis

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“For 25 years, the Editors’ Choice Awards have recognized the best music production technology for artists, producers, and engineers. This year, in honor of our anniversary, we’re expanding our focus—in addition to honoring the year’s best new innovations, we’re also paying tribute to game-changing products that have shaped the way we make music.

Seer Systems Reality has been selected for a 2017 Electronic Musician Editors’ Choice Legacy Award.”

Deepest thanks to Electronic Musician, who similarly honored Reality’s release in 1998. The Legacy Award article appears in their forthcoming NAMM edition.

Opcode MIDI System (OMS) Studio

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This is the setup I used live with Qwire, and why it took a 6-foot rack.

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950921 OMS SETUP 1
950921 OMS SETUP 2

MMA GM2 Working Group Chair

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950822 MMA GM2 WRK GRP

 

General MIDI [Book]

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“Offers much more than a dry description of a technical standard. It describes the actual standard as it exists in the real world, something that future books on standards would do well to emulate.”
     – Computer Music Journal

“Extremely well organized…There is something for practically everyone. The only thing missing is a biographical sketch of its very knowledgeable author.”
     – Journal of the Audio Engineering Society

 

(I recovered all rights to this book from A-R.)

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199607 GEN MIDI AES
96 F GM review p1
96 F GM review p2
GMt ADVERT
GMt review
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QWIRE CD

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PLAY ALL…

1. Low Pressure Area
2. Miles
3. Miyar & Aideen
4. Local On
5. Synthphony

Qwire was:

Stanley Jungleib
Chromatonal, Fred Malouf http://www.chromatonal.com/
CCRMA, Chris Chafe https://ccrma.stanford.edu/~cc/CDs/topLevel.html
Ninestones, Barry Hall http://www.ninestones.com/

and on this recording, filling a big hole in our live shows, we were incredibly fortunate to secure the brilliant and historic drummer and percussionist, Muruga Booker.

Production by Fred, and Jay Kadis. Graphics by Barry.

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1 qwire cover
98 w qwire p1
98 w qwire p2
sm-5596

AfterTouch Interview

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94 AT7 p74
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941031 INNERFILM CMC AD 2
941031 INNERFILM CMC AD

Patent #5,286,908 MIDIGraphics Bidirectional

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This patent was sold to Microsoft.

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5,286,908-0 ribbon
5,286,908-1 frontispiece
5,286,908-2 fig 1
5,286,908-3 fig 2 & 3
5,286,908-4 fig 4
5,286,908-5 col 1 & 2
5,286,908-6 col 3 & 4
5,286,908-7 col 5 & 6
5,286,908-8 correction
98 winter cmj patent note
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Mikado DSP Board Planning

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Intel is a large OEM computer provider and needs to expand 386-based systems to at least meet MPC 1991 standards. Intended to provide the needed services, the Mikado was basically a DSP card based on a Texas Instruments TMS320C31. It’s minimum requirement was to be able to send and received faxes, and that code was being written. In November of 1991 Vice President Avram Miller noticed that among the other planned features there was no specification of how audio or synthesis would actually perform on the system.

Rather than Santa Clara, the impetus for my consulting actually came from Hillsboro, Oregon—location of the Intel Architecture Laboratory (IAL) and its strategists. My job became specifying what the Mikado audio and synthesizer system should do, and analyze in fact whether it could do it. Assuming the positive, then find a company to code it.

To aid in this research I enlisted three of my most experienced friends: Fred Malouf-a brilliant programmer and fine musician, Dave Smith of Sequential Circuits, and Chris Chafe from Stanford’s CCRMA. We met several times to discuss architecture and count the actual DSP instructions it would take to process different types of voice patches. At some point I went to TI itself to talk about the ‘C31. Pessimism began to set in; we all agreed it was only marginally powerful enough to emulate a Sound Blaster.

As significantly, DSP using the general-purpose industrial SPOX operating system was certainly not the means by which pro audio or synthesis was being done. “Everybody” used custom chips in some combination of analog and digital fashion. Software synthesis in professional audio was barely being explored; specifically in the Peavey DPM3. Fortunately, one of its designers was Scott Peer— also from Sequential and one of the genuinely nicest guys you are likely to meet. He contributed several insights which helped us tune our calculations. And he also set in motion an email that was lost for about sixths months, and when found created an amazing collaboration that profoundly maneuvered the convoluted path towards sealing the deal.

Planning began for me to go to Oregon and lay out the status and case for MIDI and synthesis. Very fortunately I had just completed a few years of service as Curriculum Director for the MIDI program at Cogswell College, thus had in hand all the lectures I needed, graphically-intensive and pre-tested in dozens of courses.

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