Bringing Radio to a Software Engineer’s World

Grundig FR-200 radio receiver with computer terminal in the background.

When we think of the term radio, “high-tech” isn’t the first word that comes to mind anymore. A lot of people will think of analog commercial radio (“FM/AM“), something that started up around the 1920s. In fact, many airports, public safety organizations, and businesses still use conventional analog radio to communicate. However, digital radio completely dominates cellular communication and is increasing in usage with public safety organizations.

Given how low-level analog radio electronics are, how do software engineers and computers fit into the picture? Software-defined radio (SDR) is a way of performing radio communications using software components in place of hardware components (e.g., mixers, modulators, filters, etc.). (more…)

Designing Audio Effect Plug-ins in C++ (book review)

I’ve been writing a series of posts here over the last few months discussing the JUCE C++ application framework and how useful it’s been in creating the ‘Scumbler’ looping audio performance application that’s my current nights & weekends project. One of the important requirements that I had for the project was that it be able to use existing VST or AU audio effects plug-ins to process the audio during performance.

Designing Audio Effects Plug-ins in C++

Over the years since I graduated with a degree in electronic and computer music, I’ve accumulated a fairly large shelf of books on digital signal processing theory and applications. Earlier this year, Focal Press released what’s the most usable book on writing audio effects plug-ins. It’s very easy to find books for theorists, or for people who already have very heavy math backgrounds explaining the concepts behind DSP; it’s rarer to find resources targeted at interested and motivated practitioners. Anyone coming to this book with a relatively solid background in C++ programming and high-school math (trig and at least pre-calculus) should be able to work through it and come out the other end with an understanding of much of the DSP that’s needed out in the wild.  (more…)