Loop Drop

Loop Drop, the fantastic looping performance system from Matt McKegg that we covered in issue 37, now has its own website http://loopjs.com/. Matt has turned the code into a stand-alone application which wraps his web application. He’s created some compelling demos and documentation, and alongside the open-source code for developers there’s also a paid-for, easy-to-install version for musicians. There’s even a soundcloud site with examples of music created using the application.

Fields: An exploration into the use of mobile devices as a medium for sound diffusion

Tim Shaw and co-authors have written a paper on their collaborative sound diffusion performance Fields. In Fields, the smartphones held by audience members act as a diffuse array of loudspeakers, distributing the sound throughout the performance space. The paper has some details on the motivation for the piece, the use of Web Audio, some ideas on using motion sensors and gestures as instruments, and background references on this emerging type of performance.


Wavesurfer is a customisable waveform visualisation widget with a range of useful plugins to support region highlighting, split-channel waveforms and more. It analyses the audio data to create the waveform using Web Audio.

If you’re looking for a server-side solution to allow multiple levels of zoom resolution for longer audio files, there’s also the peaks.js library.


LabSound is a Web Audio implementation that has been extracted from the WebKit source code. It’s designed as a stand-alone C++11 library which can be used as a general-purpose sound engine. The wiki has a number of examples of JavaScript Web Audio code ported to use the LabSound library.

WebAssembly: A new binary format for the web

Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and WebKit announced WebAssembly this week. It’s designed to provide a cross-browser compile target for code that can run inside the browsers JavaScript engines. As someone who learnt how to do web development back in the 90’s using “view source” I’m not sure how I feel about this development, but from the point of view of high-performance DSP code used for musical applications it may be an early vision of the future.

Kadenze: Free online music courses

Kadenze is a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform specialising in courses in the arts and creative technologies. In their initial lineup of courses there looks to be some of particular interest to audio developers including a Stanford course on synthesis and signal processing, Lonce Wyse’s Web coding for artists course which has a Web Audio component, and a course on loops and variation in music from Cork University. The courses are free to take, but there are subscription-based plans if you want to have coursework graded, and a payment option for university credit.