Mike Wilson's Blog

I was a MA/MST student at Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Accoustics.

This is my weblog.

Click here for my main page.


So I did end up entering the combined music compo at Tokyo Demo Fest
2015.  I placed fourth out of 11, but was only three points away from
the top.  I don't have speakers at home now (much less a studio) so I
didn't do a very good job on the mixdown; the low end was very muddy.
Even so I'm really glad I put something out there.  Maybe next year
I'll try to do a full-fledged demo.

Every time I write a piece with the Wilsynth I try to make some
technological improvement.  This release took over a year since last
time, so there were several.

The first was converting my entire processing chain to run on doubles
instead of floats.  While this might seem to be overkill, when mixing
a lot of spectrally dense signals like square and sawtooth waves it
can make an audible difference in the amount of detail the sound has.

The second was adding a function to do brick wall filtering on the
pulse and leaning sawtooth waves.  I synthesize them by generating a
large (too large, but that's an optimization for later) lookup table
for signals that contain various harmonics, in order to make sure
they're perfectly bandlimited.  So it's actually trivial to do lowpass
filtering: just don't pick harmonics above the cutoff frequency
instead of the Nyquist frequency.  It's not much more difficult to do
highpass filtering: simply subtract the signal bandlimited to the
cutoff frequency from the signal bandlimited to the Nyquist
frequency.  The result actually sounds a bit harsh and "ringy" but it
was interesting to play with.

The third was a new instrument modeled on the DX7 "log drum" sound.
It ended up sounding more like a marimba.  It's FM percussion in any

And there were various bugfixes and tweaks behind the scenes too.  I
want to start documenting development more publicly, but there are a
few things I have to clean up before that's possible.

I also got a request for the MIDI file.  In the past I have been
reluctant to give those out, but if I think about it I learned a lot
when I was a teenager from studying other people's MIDI files that
they published on the Internet.  It would be a bit hypocritical of me
to hold mine back.  Since the Wilsynth isn't GM-compatible (well, it
has a GM-compatible mode but I don't use it except for playing back
MIDI files) I need to take some time to make a GM-compatible version.
Hopefully in the next few weeks I can get MIDI files for all my pieces
that used MIDI sequences posted.

Anyway, go check out the piece on my music page!

email mwilson@alumni.caltech.edu
Disclaimer: the views herein are my own and do not represent the views of Stanford University. All material copyright Michael J. Wilson.