Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 1, last updated 6/25/2013
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Thirdly, to use this book most effectively you‟ll need to gather some additional software
so that you can view the book‟s learning supplements, complete some of the exercises, and even
do your own experiments. The learning supplements include:
Flash interactive tutorials, accessible at our website and viewable within a standard web
browser with the Flash plug-in installed (generally included and enabled by default).
Max demo patchers, which can be viewed with the Max run-time environment, freely
downloadable from the Cycling '74 website. (If you wish to do the Max programming
exercises you'll need to purchase Max, or use the free alternative, Pure Data.)
MATLAB exercises (with Octave as a freeware alternative).
Audio and MIDI processing worksheets that can be done in Logic, Cakewalk Sonar,
Reason, Audition, Audacity, or some other digital audio or MIDI processing program.
C and Java programs, for which you'll need C and/or Java compilers and IDEs if you
wish to complete these assignments.
We don‟t expect that you‟ll want to go through all the learning supplements or do all the
exercises. You should choose the types of learning supplements that are useful to you and gather
the necessary software accordingly. We give more information about the software for the
learning supplements in 1.5.3.
In the sections that follow, we use a number of technical terms with only brief, if any,
definitions, assuming that you have a basic computer vocabulary with regard to RAM, hard
drives, sound cards, and so forth. Even if you don‟t fully understand all the terminology, when
you‟re buying hardware and software to equip your DAW, you can refer your sales rep to this
information to help you with your purchases. All terminology will be defined more completely
as the book progresses.
1.5.2 Hardware for Digital Audio and MIDI Processing
1.5.2.1 Computer System Requirements
Table 1.1 gives our recommendations for the components of an affordable DAW as well as
equipment such as loudspeakers needed for live performances. Of course technology changes
very quickly, so make sure to do your own research on the particular models of the components
when you're ready to buy. The components listed in the table are a good starting point. Each
category of components is explained in the sections that follow. We've omitted optional devices
from the table but include them in the discussion below.
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