Open Sound Control

Just ate/drank with a few sound hackers in montreal, and got a thorough explanation of Open Sound Control. On their behalf, i’m bumping this idea.

The gist of it is that MIDI is clumsy, and OSC pretty much replaces it.

The conversation lasted about a half-hour, and involved me nodding a lot, so my summary is obviously weak. Anyone who wants this, feel free to chime in and explain why.


Yeah, I remember reading them before. Just starting yet another thread about it, on behalf of some others. I guess I could have bumped another instead.

Don’t shoot the messenger?

I more got the feeling that these sound hackers were frustrated at MIDI.

If you follow Create Digital Music for the next few days you might see people messing around with alternative touchscreen interfaces, iPhones, google android, VJ software, or whatever. Giving Renoise OSC capability brings it to the forefront of new music technology and interoperability.

I’m on the fence whether it’s worth a Taktik clone, as I personally rarely use anything except “the Tracker” but I can see the benefit.

I think OSC could be a good solution for things like this
You can craft very specific messages with OSC and avoid the ambiguity of MIDI to control basically anything.


The way I see it, OSC could be a way to access ALL controls of renoise in a clean, extensible and sensible way.

Once you have this, it can be fairly easy to reimplement standard MIDI control on top of it. Basically, it’s only a matter of receiving MIDI events from channels and CCs, translate them to OSC messages and route them to the right controls.

On the subject of routing, OSC has something neat : pattern matching on addresses. Thanks to that, it is very easy to route a signal to several controls. the Hydra becomes only a way to declare routing through pattern matched addresses.

Live performance has been a hot subject here recently. I think it boils down to finding new ways of interacting with Renoise. With complete OSC support, anyone in the community could develop small third-party programs that interact with Renoise, greatly extending its capacities.

you can get thoroughly mad scientist with OSC.

say you wanted to control renoise with a turntable. you could in theory use a turntable + optoisolators paired with a cheap laser to control bpm and location in a tune, over the net to as many places on the globe, from your house.

trigger events like video clips, images, lighting, stuff at art installations, “anything electronically bridgable”, all according to renoise’s line resolution and/or a few of the metadevices.

Essentially, if implemented according to spec.

since OSC uses the namespace convention of addressing things. this allows a person to make a web interface for the entirety of a songs DSP chains, DSP parameters & lists, for a very dynamic global view & control in the most concise manner plausible.

or even just using pre-established applications for algorithimic control of bulk parameters, settings, IO, and everything & anything else something like this would open up in renoise.
and it’s platform independent, like Renoise! :)

But does it really have to “overthrow MIDI”? Wouldn’t it be enough if the cost of implementing OSC would be outweighed by the benefits? The fact that it’s old just means it’s no fluke.

Using MIDI to connect software devices to each other isn’t too bad, thanks to things like MIDI Yoke, IAC, and JACK. But connecting multiple hardware devices sux the multiballs.

Then there’s the 16-channel limit, the limited tuning ability, the low bandwidth, blah blah. So I, too, wish that OSC could see more implementation out there, especially considering that MIDI is a subset of it, or at least included in the spec as a message type.

OSC assimilated MIDI, and added it to the Collective. :D

But less software support because of that surely will not make hardware that supports OSC show up faster… ?

That it took so long could be a flaw of OSC. It could also be a flaw of people, saying “well I’ll wait until everybody else uses it”. Better technology or Zebras crossing a river - it just doesn’t work that way…

Kinda reminds me of JPEG2000… nobody is using it because no browser supports it, no browser supports it because no websites use it. Survival of the shittiest :(

Let’s have at least two sides of the propaganda :D…en-osc-and-midi

ferreal yo
But surely the MIDI guys don’t mind their protocol dominating the synth market, so who can blame their self-defense.

(makes bad-taste-in-mouth face)

A few years ago I remember relevant info on that site being unavailable unless purchased, I remember they wanted like $25 just to see this:

In fear they must be…

After looking at the page with the comparison, they greatly overstate themselves.
They gloss over the fact that current midi hardware doesn’t actually use ethernet,
and this is the best part:

I think they are trying to say there will be 20+ different versions of MIDI Over Ethernet. (I know a few)


Honestly though, they really shouldn’t change themselves, they didn’t want to even after OSC showed up. In my opinion the whole reason for OSC was because people in the academic areas had issues with the old world standard and wanted much greater control + precision, in a concise simple manner, albiet with an inherent learning curve. however the learning curve mainly falls on the backs of those that grew up with midi, not able to fully realize the ability to control anything they want to, in pretty much any way they want.

Like non-western scales and microtonal scales for instance, since you can use a notes actual frequency.

to me personally, midi is like having an address to a friend’s house, you must look at a map to find the street, then after driving around and getting lost a few times, eventually you find the house. with OSC it’s just like typing the friend’s address, hitting enter and you are there. (yep, I neer had enough midi cables when I was a kid.)

anyway, anyone ever read one of those huge threads about Drift? :D it’s frekin silly so many people would invest that much of their time in trying to reverse engineer an understanding of why it happens!

What will happen is people will gravitate toward not so much using windows 95 anymore, cuz their software won’t run on it. revivals may happen a couple times, but during the 2nd or third time it will have mutated enough that it doesn’t resemble what was left behind at all. Then by that time, we will be able to do things we couldn’t imagine doing before we could have previously imagined doing so many times before, or simply the ways things were when we didn’t know of the intricacies of all the undocumented restraints placed on us.

I’d like to also give my vote for Open Sound Control in renoise.

Some words about my opinion on the matter. The fact that OSC is around for such a long time without finding broad acceptance in the industry is IMHO mainly caused because we have an industry. MIDI was pushed by lots of people/companies because there was an urgent need for such a system with the emerging of tone generators and the digization of recording environments. As with a lot of other standards we have today, MIDI was designed for the needs of that time - based on the best technology that was around. Today, this system seems inflexible, because with the technology we have on our hands today, you could do just so much more.

However, we a have a big industry build around the MIDI standard, hardware manufactures, software companies etc… And it’s mainly upon them to accept or even think about supporting OSC or not in order to push this system into broader acceptance. Then there’s also the users who are sitting on piles of MIDI only compatible hardware who’d need to be provided a way for an easy transition would it come to OSC beeing some sort of new standard. Also, people like to be backwards compatible - think MIDI => CV. So, I think if OSC is to come being accepted/implemented by some big players then only as a kind of addon - IMO OSC is not here to replace MIDI in the digital recording world (yet).

BTW, some companies already have products which support OSC - ie. Native Instruments Reaktor5 does, MAX/MSP (and I think therefore Ableton8/MAX too).

Personaly, I don’t see OSC as standard to just control audio hardware/software. I see it rather in the field of digital arts - and that’s where it’s currently used the most ie. tangible interfaces, music controlled animations. Same goes for the monome etc… The more applications of this kind emerge the more people will want to use OSC, the more chances are big companies will provide OSC support.

As a nice application for OSC in renoise I’d see the ability to have event controlled light installations or 3D animations in a live situation.

PS.: I’m relatively new to renoise, just purchased my license maybe a week ago - but I already like it a lot. I’d just wanted to say kudos to all the people who’re working on this really nice product!

1 Like

Welcome to Renoise, Michael. :)