Get with the pro­gram­mers

The kings of for­mat support make com­pat­i­bil­ity look easy… al­though they’re start­ing to drop some stan­dards

Computer Music - - News - URL www.blue­catau­dio.com

Last time we in­ter­viewed you – about ten years ago – we asked if the DirectX plugin for­mat had a fu­ture. Do you have any idea what pro­por­tion of users are us­ing it?

GJ “Ac­tu­ally, we re­leased our lat­est plugin, Late Replies, with­out DirectX support. Apart from a few peo­ple us­ing an­tique se­quencers, no­body needs DirectX plug­ins any­more! This will be prob­a­bly com­pletely dropped in the fu­ture for other plug­ins, too. We’re also in the process of drop­ping RTAS, be­cause main­tain­ing older ma­chines to support Pro Tools 9 and ear­lier is be­com­ing more and more com­pli­cated th­ese days – even if com­pat­i­bil­ity re­mains ex­tremely im­por­tant for us, it is im­por­tant to fo­cus on the fu­ture.”

With this and your plugin hosts, you might be the mas­ter of plugin for­mats. How do you trans­late your plug­ins across the same for­mats?

GJ “All Blue Cat Au­dio plug­ins are writ­ten with a very sim­ple, min­i­mal ‘for­mat’. A shell for each plugin for­mat has been built over the years, and it glues the pieces to­gether with the specifics of each for­mat – with lim­i­ta­tions and ad­di­tional features, too. We ac­tu­ally have an SDK that we li­cence to third par­ties. A cou­ple of great au­dio plug­ins out there have been built on top of it.”

When cre­at­ing a plugin host like Patch­work or MB-7, what steps can you take to make sure your ‘host in a host’ re­mains sta­ble?

GJ “Test­ing, test­ing and more test­ing! De­spite enor­mous ef­forts, you can al­ways find a new plugin/host com­bi­na­tion that will cause trouble. For­tu­nately, many de­vel­op­ers are do­ing a great job and fix such prob­lems quickly, be­cause in most cases there’s not much we can do on our side: hosts within hosts are be­tween the ham­mer and the anvil! And it’s also a mov­ing tar­get: sys­tem, host and plugin up­dates hap­pen all the time, so you have to keep ev­ery­thing up to date and ver­ify com­pat­i­bil­ity on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

Your Re­mote Con­trol plugin could have a fu­ture as an Android/ iOS app, mak­ing it a truly re­mote ex­pe­ri­ence. Is there a rea­son you’re not head­ing down this path?

GJ “De­vel­op­ing and main­tain­ing apps for th­ese de­vices is quite an in­vest­ment, so we have currently cho­sen to fo­cus on per­sonal com­put­ers which pro­vide much more pro­cess­ing power for our main ac­tiv­ity: re­al­time au­dio pro­cess­ing. As a side note, it can be some­times dif­fi­cult to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween a mo­bile de­vice and a lap­top com­puter (take a Win­dows 10 lap­top with a touch­screen, for ex­am­ple), so you can ac­tu­ally use our soft­ware on tablets al­ready.” What’s next for Blue Cat Au­dio? GJ “We’ve just re­leased Blue Cat’s Late Replies, a cre­ative de­lay and mul­ti­ef­fects plugin that can also host other plug­ins, like Patch­Work and MB-7 Mixer. This new plugin also has a great col­lec­tion of built-in au­dio ef­fects. We’re also work­ing on new built-in pro­ces­sors which will also be part of other prod­ucts in the near fu­ture... and our least re­cent plug­ins will be up­graded to our lat­est stan­dards in the com­ing months. This is prob­a­bly go­ing to be an­other busy year!”

“Hosts within hosts are be­tween the ham­mer and the anvil!”

Guil­laume Jeulin

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