Timeline UI update

0.2.0 Update – VST Plugin Support, macOS preview, and more

After a considerable delay, we are now happy to announce one of our biggest updates to date!

This update ships a vast array of improvements, fixes, and long-awaited new features to AudioNodes, including experimental VST plugin support in Windows. The update is already available in AudioNodes Online, and can be downloaded for free from the Download page. Due to the size and potential impact of this update, we'll keep the previous version available for download, and it's recommended to save your current project before updating.


Timeline UI update

UI updates on the Timeline

New Download Formats and mac OS Test Preview

Mac users can now try AudioNodes desktop with its full capabilities. Similarly to the Windows and Linux versions, this edition of AudioNodes has direct local access to files on your device. You can open several large files quick, and without hassle. We are looking forward to seeing how this works out.

Dev's note

Like the Windows download, the mac installer is not signed yet, so your system might warn you about this. The download page has more information on why you are seeing this. In any event, this does not pose a security risk to your system. Also, this is the first publicly available test release for macOS, and there can be bugs. Please let us know if you find any.

Also, the Windows version now has a .zip download option, if you prefer a no-installer version. This is identical to the installer-based one, just with a .zip extract as the installation process. We'll also soon add an AppImage download for Linux, and possibly a zip download for macOS.

Changes in This Update

Introducing Experimental VST Plugin Support

This update adds experimental 64-bit VST 2.4 plugin support to AudioNodes desktop on Windows (64-bit). Other formats, as well as Linux and macOS support are coming soon, and most of the work is already done in this department. Plugin support is in a very early stage of development, we are essentially still in the middle of the process. Although it's already usable (and useful!) for several tasks, we have to ask you to anticipate occasional crashes with some plugins, as well as missing basic features here and there. So again, it's a work in progress, we'll keep adding improvements with more updates.

For the time being, to open a plugin, you can simply drag-and-drop the plugin DLL file into AudioNodes. You can also create a VST Plugin Node, and browse for your plugin file manually. Unlike in other editor and DAW software, there is no configuration required in AudioNodes to use plugins, just drag-and-drop.


VST plugins in AudioNodes

Krush and Etherealwinds Harp in AudioNodes

Plugin support is an important milestone in the development of AudioNodes. Supporting such a wide variety of external plugins in the already rich, modular ecosystem of AudioNodes has a remarkable potential for high-quality audio production. Thanks to this, you can arrange external plugins in virtually unlimited combinations.

Dev's note

It cannot be stressed enough that plugins are still experimental. Expect several smaller updates and changes in the coming weeks, each improving plugin support. Currently, there are several limitations to consider, especially for live playback (i.e. not when rendering your project to an audio file on the Export page). Some plugins may also crash AudioNodes entirely. Please consult the Node documentation for more details. In the meantime, plugins are definitely something you can start experimenting with right now, but be aware of the limitations. If you plan in giving this a try, by all means save your project before continuing.

New Recorder Node (work in progress)

The Recorder Node has been, for the lack of a better word, kinda useless and rudimentary. You could record a single, limited duration audio snippet and save that as a file. That's pretty much all it did.

We've started revamping the Recorder Node into a more complete recording solution. In addition to a sexy new UI with real-time waveform visualization, you can now select parts of the recording, and delete or re-record them as you see fit. This Node is still a work in progress, and we are still experimenting how recording would best fit into the modular architecture of AudioNodes. The next updates will keep improving on this Node at a steady pace.

Copy & Paste Nodes

This update adds classic copy-paste functionality to Nodes on the Patcher, as well as notes on the Piano Roll. You can access it through the usual right-click (or touch-and-hold) menu, or the usual Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V hotkeys. Previously, you could only duplicate Nodes by cloning them in place (by pressing Ctrl+D, or from a right-click/touch-and-hold menu).

Copy-pasting works across not only different projects, but different instances and versions of AudioNodes as well. You can copy Nodes from AudioNodes Online to AudioNodes desktop, and back. You can even paste the copied content as plain text (e.g. to send it through chat, so the recipient can paste that text into AudioNodes on their end), the copied contents will be represented as JSON text when doing this.

Note: some Nodes, such as the Audio File Node, rely on separately stored files (e.g. external files) to function, and copying them to another environment where a given file cannot be accessed will require you to manually re-open the file from the Node settings.

AudioNodes does not support copy-paste on the Timeline yet, as it's unclear how the system could replicate Timeline segments across multiple instances of AudioNodes. This is something we'll resolve in a later update.

Open Audio Files Directly

Beginning with this update, you can open audio files directly with AudioNodes (e.g. through right-click, open with... in Windows).

Caution: there is currently a big bad bug in v0.2.0, if you open audio files this way while you have an unsaved project opened, you will be asked if you want to save your project, but it won't save. Even worse, clicking on Cancel will also remove your project from the quicksave, and if you have unsaved changed, you will lose all of them. Avoid using the feature until it's fixed in the next patch (1-2 weeks from now) This issue has been fixed in 0.2.1 Update – bugfixes, new Sampler Node, full-screen Virtual Keyboard.

Opening files this way will generate a simple project with the opened file ready for playback. If you already have a project opened, you'll be prompted to save your project, just as when you open an AudioNodes project file (.nodes file) directly.

This system will be later improved to enable quickly generating projects for various tasks, such as mixing together several audio clips into a playlist.

Improved Graphic Equalizer Node

The Graphic Equalizer Node, previously called Classic Equalizer Node, actually had its main UI published accidentally and unfinished (the one taking up the whole screen, when opened). The functionality itself was there, and the Node itself actually worked, but the UI was obviously missing a lot of elements and additional functionality.

This update adds the previously missing elements, which includes useful audio visualization.

Additional Notable Fixes and Improvements

  • Fixed Envelope Node and Envelope Pattern Node sometimes not outputting their value with de-clicking enabled
  • Fixed incorrect time-labels in Piano Roll Node header when scrolled to the right
  • Fixed incorrect or misleading input/output names on several Nodes, as well as documentation
  • Fixed UI stuttering when scrolling or zooming a Piano Roll with lots of notes
  • When importing a MIDI-file, the Track Name setting of the created Piano Roll Node is now automatically set
  • Fixed Node circle-sliders not showing the correct frequency labels during precision changing (when dragging outwards for more precision)
  • Removed "Reverse Loop" play-mode setting from Sampler Node, as it didn't do anything (it will be re-introduced soon, along with a "Reverse Once" play-mode option)
  • Added a screen with information and available options when AudioNodes crashes (this shouldn't generally happen, but the new VST support can inherently cause occasional crashes with some plugins)
  • Significantly improved audio waveform visualization accuracy, the right channel in stereo audio clips is now visualized with a darker color (it takes a few seconds for the increased accuracy to take effect after opening a file or project)
  • Fixed Nodes being created at incorrect position when dropping files on a zoomed out Patcher
  • Fixed Pitch Emitter Node and Velocity Emitter Node ignoring timing of live melodies (such as the buffer duration setting of the MIDI Keyboard Node or the arpeggio duration setting of the Component Extension Node), these Nodes now also output the pitch/velocity of the most recent note in polyphonic melodies, instead of outputting the greatest value

Known Issues

There are still some problems we are working on, the most notable of these are the following:

  • On a sufficiently long project and extremely dense Piano Roll (thousands of notes over a few minutes), setting a repeat around a large number of notes can take an excessive duration to be propagated to the melody output (up to several minutes or more in extreme cases); in the meantime, we added a progress indicator to indicate the process, but a thorough fix is still pending
  • Similarly to the issue with the slow Piano Roll repeat, jamming an extremely high number of notes (i.e. tens of thousands) through most melody preprocessor Nodes can result in momentary blocks, during which AudioNodes may become unresponsive; while this should be an extreme case, we'll work towards fixing the issue in a coming update
  • Scrolling/zooming the Timeline quickly may sometimes cause minor visual artifacts (ironically, this is caused by the numerous optimizations employed to make it work faster overall); when scrolling/zooming is finished, the artifacts will always disappear
  • Zooming in on the Timeline to max zoom level may incorrectly render some envelope curves, and may occasionally make them disappear completely
  • The Repeater Node can sometimes get funky with a high frequency and dense live melody source (e.g. from a keyboard), this is still being worked on
  • There can still be some visual artifacts in Microsoft Edge when panning or zooming the Patcher, the cause of this is still unknown
  • Normalization and DC offset removal is still missing in the Sampler Node (we have plans for a more capable Sampler Node)

Website updates

We've been making several changes to this website lately, some of which you may have noticed. 2 major changes are announced today, a new homepage, and a new discussion board powered by Flarum, completely replacing the previous forum (which used wpForo).

We made this change because wpForo was simply too heavy-weight for a simple discussion board, with features we didn't need, and functionality we didn't agree with. It's a good platform, but has just too much bloat for our use-case. We hope you'll like this change! 🙂

What's next?

We have so many plans for AudioNodes at this point, that it would be an absolutely futile attempt to list them all.

We previously promised we would primarily focus on ironing out bugs, inconsistencies, visual issues, and start working on a better touch-screen experience. A post with more information and details is likely coming soon, perhaps if not the next week, the one after. More, smaller updates will also soon follow to fill some of the gaps introduced with this update (such as missing plugin support on macOS and Linux). In the meantime, please enjoy this update.

Something you'd like to see in the next update? Let us know in the comments below, or post a suggestion on the discussion board!

Posted in Updates.