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Tuesday, November 15 • 11:20am - 12:10pm
Detaching the UI - Options and challenges for controlling headless and remote audio software

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Audio software running in “headless” or remote contexts, i.e. without access to a tightly integrated GUI, is increasingly common, either when running in embedded devices, on a remote cloud server, or distributed over a local network where remote/automated control is desired.

The parameter controls exposed over plugin API’s are insufficient, since the practically usable implementations only support a fraction of the variety necessary. Developers expose many additional controls over the GUI, which doesn’t translate to headless or remote uses.

Plugin GUI’s can be as involved as a fully-fledged DAW, exposing complex interactions. Although MIDI 2.0 will in the medium term replace some of what we discuss, even with full adoption, it doesn’t cover the many interactions possible from a GUI.

In this article we discuss three basic Distributed Systems patterns, for controlling audio software during run-time over a network: simple socket messaging, request/response, and publish/subscribe.

We also demonstrate their implementation using the OSC and gRPC frameworks, discussing challenges and best practices specific to real-time audio.

Grounding the above, we provide a pair of ready to use, fully fledged open-source applications implementing our suggestions, both available to download.


avatar for Ilias Bergström

Ilias Bergström

Senior Software Engineer, Elk Audio
Senior Software Engineer, ElkComputer Scientist, Researcher, Interaction Designer, Musician, with a love for all music but specially live performance. I've worked on developing several applications for live music, audiovisual performance, and use by experts, mainly using C++.I get... Read More →
avatar for Gustav Andersson

Gustav Andersson

Senior Software Developer, Elk Audio
Will code C++ and python for fun and profit. Developer, guitar player and electronic music producer with a deep fascination with everything that makes sounds in one form or another. Currently on my mind: modern C++ methods, DSP algos, vintage digital/analog hybrid synths.

Tuesday November 15, 2022 11:20am - 12:10pm GMT
1) Ctrl 10 South Pl, London EC2M 7EB, UK