[PD] Audio clip database

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Tue Oct 7 17:36:44 CEST 2003

I am actually working on a similar project, using multiple computers to 
do spatialization across large areas.  I have done some sound 
installations in a 800m tunnel, so using one computer with long audio 
wires wasn't really feasible, especially considering my budget and the 
fact that I got ~15 computers and lots of CAT5 ethernet cable donated 
to me.

First off, don't put audio files into a database, only references to 
the files.  Almost all databases are heavily optimized to handle small 
bits of text info, so they don't do so well with large hunks of binary 
data like audio files.

As for distributing them, how you do it would depend quite a bit on 
what resources you have available and how often the samples are going 
to be accessed, and the amount of time between when the file is written 
and when its played.  Also, the kind of network they are on is 

- rsync is efficient making mirrors of directories that don't change 
too often (like hourly or daily).  You could have each physical 
installation have a mirror of all of the sound files, and then stream 
the control data to a Pd patch on each machine.

- If its a local network, you could samba or NFS share and have the 
sound files written directly to that share.  This could work over the 
internet too, using tunneling or opening ports in any firewalls.  You 
could either stream the result back as audio, or send control data to a 
pd patch which reads the files over samba/nfs.

I am going the samba/stream control data route with my installation, 
but that could change based on performance.  I recommend a SCSI disk if 
you are going to have numerous machines reading/writing to the server.


On Monday, Oct 6, 2003, at 22:54 America/New_York, <ben at ekran.org> 

> Hey all,
> I'll be soon starting a project that will use a large database of audio
> clips (potencially days worth or more). I would like to use PD to
> impliment the system and wanted to know if anyone has done similar
> projects.
> There is going to be a physical installation where people can record
> audio. This audio will then get transferred (via ftp script driven from
> PD?) to a central server. Another PD session (running on/near the
> server) will read these clips from the database and stream them to the
> PD session running in the physical installation.
> There may be multiple physical installations, all getting the same 
> audio
> stream from the server.
> Is there any elegant way to transfer the audio recordings directly from
> PD to the server? I think streaming it would be too complicated, since
> there would need to be multiple clients sending audio to the server at
> different times.
> There also may be a web component. Is it possible to stream audio from 
> a
> flash client to the PD server? (or connect the flash Com server with 
> PD?)
> Anyone any experiences and suggestions would be great.
> Thanks
> Ben
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