Audio Butcher

minimalist audio sampling and mixing software by Ilias Karim

CS 476A, Stanford University


Audio Butcher is a real-time audio sampling and sequencing application that turns your laptop into a minimal music production center.

Use it to carve any audio output and then to serve premium cuts of audio samples. An unfathomable variety of sounds are already accesible on your iTunes, on YouTube, and other computer applications, waiting to be remixed!


Spectrogram analysis

Real-time audio sampling and resampling

Real-time recursive loop recording

Pitch shifting

Libraries (Included)

Synthesis Toolkit (STK)





Audio Butcher compiles on Mac OS X 10.6.4 and probably most other UNIX-based platforms--try it! There is a binary download or you can download the source from github, run "make" on the untarred code, then run the resulting executable from the command line (see command line usage).

Audio Butcher requires Soundflower to reroute your audio output to Audio Butcher. After installing Soundflower set your audio output to Soundflower (2ch) in system proferences and run Audio Butcher with the appropriate channel settings. (Channels are listed in Terminal when Audio Butcher is run).



Command Line Usage




./butcher --in 5 --out 3 my_recipe


Mouse controls:
Click and drag Slew playback speed
Right-click Reset playback speed

Input is 99% keyboard based. All commands ARE case sensitive.
A-Z Record / cut audio buffers
a-z Playback / serve audio buffers
tab Restart playing (but not looping) buffers
esc Save recipe to /temp
esc esc     Exit
_ Reload audio files from recipe directory
+ Save audio buffers to recipe directory
= Increase gain of playing (but not looping) buffers
- Decrease gain of playing (but not looping) buffers

Follow these commands with any buffer key ( a-z ):
del Delete audio buffer
enter Play sample once and then stop
space     Loop sample indefinitely
` Display spectrogram on cutting board
~ Save cutting board audio buffer to key
Cutting board controls:
[ Shorten start (left)
] Pad start (left)
{ Shorten end (right)
} Pad end (right)
alt + [ Clip left of cursor
alt + ] Clip right of cursor
, Pitch shift down a half step
. Pitch shift up a half step
space     Loop cutting board sample indefinitely
alt Roll a loop by holding down while playing back audio buffers.
The resulting buffer is mapped to the cutting board and
must be mapped to a buffer with ~ [buffer key]