BT Explains How To Do Mind-Blowing Sound Design From A DOS Prompt

Last year, Dubspot presented a special sound design workshop with electronic producer and software programmer BT.

This video captures BT discussing and demoing a free tool, Composers Desktop Project (CDP), that he uses for experimental sound design.

CDP is a free command line application, for LInux, Mac & Windows, that runs from a DOS prompt or Terminal command line.

CDP is a free download and is licensed as open source.

26 thoughts on “BT Explains How To Do Mind-Blowing Sound Design From A DOS Prompt

  1. fna, I *pray* that I can’t get this to work on my linux workstation, I will never get anything done 🙂

    also, dubspot can’t get BT a headset mic up in here? terminal is a demanding mistress – she needs both hands!

    1. Peter

      You caught me on that one – but “DOS prompt’ sounded better in the headline than ‘unix terminal command line’!

      The real fail may be the lack of hardcore mind-blowing action in the demo.


      1. I agree. I’m more than a little tired of BT’s hype. He is a phenomenal musician, and I do enjoy his music. But he acts like the stuff he is going to say will be so illuminating that you’ll weep at having not known it before he said it. And then he flops out some trash after forgetting his own file structure.

        Here’s a tip BT, if you’re going to be giving a presentation like this (and I’m sure you ask for a heap of cash to do it), then _prepare_ for it. Run your source sample through the DSP with a few different settings and make sure it won’t be garbage. Actually live up to your introduction instead of playing it and then getting a look on your face that says “ooops, that didn’t work well.”

    2. Exactly what I thought. But he probably said “DOS” because he thought many people would understand that more easily. Of course, even though I used DOS, I would never call this DOS but a “console” or a “terminal”. 😉 But cudos to BT for using CDP. I like both C-Sound and CDP, great tools.

  2. For those of you who don’t remember booting your computer from a floppy, when ‘terminal’ was all there was, when 640k ram was enuf. (Apologies to Ms. Shange.) I guess those who do not remember the past are, indeed, doomed to relive it.
    Looks like fun, though. Does it apply to jazz and classical?

  3. I don’t normally hate on these things, but what was the point of this? BT was just very impressed that he’d done something in a terminal! I mean, there was nothing special about this at all. In fact, the fact that you have to go to the effort of having to figure out the command-line syntax like that is just silly! And on top of that, no preview. All trial and error. Total waste of time. I mean, it’s just a DSP effect like any other right? Just the writer didn’t know how to stick a GUI in front of it or package it up as a VST (or whatever).

    What would have been good is if BT took the time to find a way to stick a GUI onto this. Or something that is more than just self-glorification about using the geeky OS X Terminal DOS prompt…

      1. Admittedly, I haven’t gotten around to trying this yet (too much to do), but the huge advantage would be in scripting, no? You could have a number of automated functions, with arguments that are variables dependent on characteristics of the input files, and have it all easily repeatable.

  4. The GUI the free one is right at the website it is called sound loom. The paid one is sound shaper pro. Also at the website. Why BT didn’t use the GUI version is beyond me. It is an interesting tool to have in your arsenal and it is free.

  5. This reminds me of TurboSynth but without a GUI.

    These sorts of systems are always in a strange middle zone. It’s a lot of work to get something that, at least in this example, doesn’t distinguish itself in any way. And if you get good enough at the scripting part you will inevitably be disappointed by the limitations of the framework you are using and want to start doing some real programming. Ultimately when an artist reaches this level of fiddliness, I think their time is much better spent getting away from the craft entirely in order to gain some perspective and new emotional source material. Stop playing with command lines bt! Wash out your hair gel and then go on a hike, or read a book, or find people who do something completely different than you do and ask them lots of questions. It will do more for your music than this will.

  6. I’m checking it out. There is a GUI frontend for CDP called SoundLoom. It comes bundled with the default CDP installation. It’s not very straightforward, but it beats messing with the command line.

    1. There’s a thought… I don’t know anyone that uses matlab to produce. It looks like there are lots of functions people have written for it that would do interesting sound-shaping things, it might get a little hairy if you tried to add a lot of them though, what with not having namespaces and all.

      1. 🙂 I have done it!! well in octave and freemat
        But I find it is way too slow when generating the sounds(matrices) so I stoped. Maybe I was just doing dumb stuff, I don’t know.
        But this thing is sick Arghh, I’m trying to use it but I’m mostly having:
        “Application doesn’t work with this type of infile.”
        So I need to get it a bit before I can use the “blur drunk” function, but how can I sleep without trying something with such a name?

  7. The main reason to use this is that you can code it! So you can modify all your samples with all the algorithms just writing some lines of code. Wait some seconds and you have of new library of samples.

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