FW Editor: Can you tell us a few things about Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio history? It is true that initially, you had encountered several problems with its development?
Josep Ma Antolín: Psycle was started in 2000 by a developer as an alternative to an existing software. The design shared some features but changed others, so it fitted more with his idea. When the program came out of beta, he released it as open source and leaved to make a different program. At that point, another person continued the development during a couple of months until leaving again. It's then (2001) when I became the maintainer, and soon other people joined and helped to keep improving Psycle.
During these years, the development has seen many people come and go, and some development changes have been abandoned since they were more difficult to do than expected. This is the reason why lately Psycle hasn't seen the amount of updates it used to have.
FW Editor: Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio is your first important application and you have decided it to release it under a freeware license. Why?
Josep Ma Antolín: First, because the original author released it as open source. This allowed us to take over the maintenance when he left it and improve it to be the software that it is nowadays.
Also, because the team believes in the open source philosophy, and proof of this is that Psycle is the collaboration of several people that have contributed big and small portions of code during these years.
FW Editor: It is true that Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio can replace an entire recording studio?
Josep Ma Antolín: Psycle can be used to make a song from scratch and create a ready-to-distribute file. Virtual instruments generate different sounds which can be processed with effects, including compressors, reverbs and equalizers. A virtual mixer can also be used to have a single place to control levels and amount of effects.
Yet, the main goal of Psycle is in the creation stage (sound generation and sequencing), so for sound recording (live audio capture) and post-processing/mastering, other tools are recommended, even if not strictly necessary.
FW Editor: What are your expectations from Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio? How do you see Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio in the future?
Josep Ma Antolín: The version currently in beta is focused on correct Windows Vista/7 support (not just "runs in"), multitheaded playback and correct support for higher sampling rates than 44Khz (So that songs still sound the same in all cases).
After that, there are two main subjects of interests:
The first one is to move to other platforms than Windows. A linux version has been in the works for some years, but has never received the amount of attention needed to release a final product.
The second one is to explore mobile devices. With touch interfaces becoming common on smartphones and tablets, it is important to refocus Psycle to use these new devices. Mobile phones can be used as editors/controllers/extensions of the main program running on the PC.
FW Editor: Can you tell us more about the most important functions incorporated into Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio?
Josep Ma Antolín: Psycle supports the VST standard, which means it has lots of free and commercial Virtual instruments and effects available to use. Also, one of the native plugins supports the SF2 Soundfont standard, expanding on the internal support of .wav files.
The machine view is also very intuitive, simulating several devices which are interconnected to send the audio from one to another.
Another point is that Psycle can be used with just a PC keyboard and a mouse, while some commercial programs are made around hardware (midi keyboards, controllers) and sometimes are difficult to use without them.
FW Editor: Which audio formats are supported by Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio?
Josep Ma Antolín: While not strictly an audio format, VST support is key to what can be done with Psycle.
Also, the support via a native plugin of soundfonts (SF2) increases the usability of the program.
Natively it supports uncompressed .wav files (support for lossless codecs is being studied) and the classic .xi (fasttracker instrument) format.
It can also import four of the classic tracker formats: .mod, .s3m .xm and .it
Import/export of .mid files is being studied.
The song can also be exported to uncompressed .wav in several bitdepths and sample rates, as a single file, or with one file for each virtual instrument or pattern track.
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