[PD] Does Pd have a "sound"?

Alexandre Torres Porres porres at gmail.com
Mon Feb 15 17:01:06 CET 2016

can you share the patches? I'd like to see how the interpolation was


2016-02-15 13:53 GMT-02:00 Matt Barber <brbrofsvl at gmail.com>:

> Re: cubic interpolation. Yes and no. Pd and csound both use the same
> Lagrange interpolator, which gives discontinuities at segment boundaries,
> but the segments it generates are actually a bit closer to what you would
> expect from sinc interpolation. SC3's Hermite interpolator, which matches
> two points and first derivatives at the boundaries gets rid of the
> discontinuities but at the price of some waveform distortion. The Hermite
> interpolator is also not continuous at the 2nd derivative on boundaries and
> is prone to sudden changes in concavity, while the Lagrange's 2nd
> derivative discontinuities are removable; there are no sudden changes.
> You can see this in the screenshot I attached, which demonstrates five
> interpolators in action.
> At the very top is the SR/4 cosine wave which serves as the source for the
> interpolators. At the bottom left is what we'd expect from a sinc
> interpolator (I haven't implemented it yet, but it should be very close to
> a cosine wave).
> In red are 1) Pd's [tabread4] cubic Lagrange interpolator using an
> array-reading abstraction [array-read4], and 2) The 4-point cubic Hermite
> interpolator [array-read4h]. You can clearly see the 1st-derivative
> discontinuities at the peaks in the former, and the 2nd-derivative
> discontinuities at zero crossings of the latter.
> In purple are 1) A 6-point quintic Lagrange interpolator [array-read6], 2)
> A 6-point quintic interpolator [array-read6h] which matches four points and
> first derivatives, and 3) A 6-point quintic interpolator [array-read6h2]
> which matches two points, first derivatives, and second derivatives.
> One important thing to notice is how the Lagrange interpolations are much
> closer in overall shape to the cosine wave at bottom left. The cost of
> matching derivatives is a compromise in the shape of the waveform between
> breakpoints.
> On Mon, Feb 15, 2016 at 9:57 AM, Claude Heiland-Allen <claude at mathr.co.uk>
> wrote:
>> On 14/02/16 22:27, Matti Viljamaa wrote:
>>> Do you think Pd has a characteristic sound to it? Or whether
>>> discussion board threads claiming Pd (and Max) have a distinct (and
>>> not good) sound just have people who haven’t listened to good
>>> patches?
>> Some issues with Pd that affect sound character:
>> 1. cos~ (and osc~) use a small table with linear interpolation, which
>> means there is quite a lot of interpolation noise - I wrote about it here:
>> http://mathr.co.uk/blog/2015-04-21_approximating_cosine.html
>> 2. vcf~ (and probably other recursive filters) use single precision
>> floating point in the feedback loop (pd-double might be different) which
>> causes weird rounding artifacts - I wrote about it here:
>> http://lists.puredata.info/pipermail/pd-list/2010-08/082104.html
>> 3. cubic interpolation (tabread4~ etc) in Pd uses an (imho) incorrect
>> algorithm - it makes a curve that goes through 4 points instead of matching
>> the derivatives at the nearest 2 points, which leads to sharp corners at
>> the original sample points with associated aliasing artifacts - this has
>> been discussed on the lists many times in the past, for example here:
>> http://lists.puredata.info/pipermail/pd-list/2008-06/062864.html and:
>> http://lists.puredata.info/pipermail/pd-list/2010-03/077278.html
>> 4. sig~ (and implicit sig~ from float messages to signal inlets) is
>> steppy and only takes effect at block boundaries - compare with .kr in SC3
>> which is (afaik) linearly interpolated between each block boundary
>> 5. Pd doesn't print enough digits to perfectly reconstruct floating point
>> values when round-tripping through files, so (eg) biquad~ coefficients can
>> become imprecise if you don't write them outside Pd in a text editor
>> 6. other systems tend to come bundled with more nice-sounding stuff like
>> bandlimited oscillators etc, with Pd you tend to have to find externals
>> yourself (deken should make that easier now)
>> Claude
>> --
>> http://mathr.co.uk
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