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amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:09 pm
by briandc
Hi everyone,
some of you may know I've been putting together a humble little website to showcase linux-based synths, like (you guessed it) amSynth, and Zynaddsubfx, and Synthv1, etc.
Here's the link: http://amsynth.com


I'm open to suggestions.

And in particular, at the moment I'd like some feedback about soundbanks. Some synths, like Zyn, have soundbanks that are available on other sites to download freely.
So, in good "netiquette," is it then ok for me to provide those banks on my site as well (without linking to the other sites)? I'm thinking of this because, as life goes, sometimes what's around today is gone tomorrow; and I'd like to "mirror" those soundbanks to make sure people can get them from my site should the other sites ever disappear..

Thoughts?

brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:44 pm
by ssj71
Looks nice. I personally love white on black. Good work. A few suggestions:

-If you could put the synth icons as the links on the front page instead of just text it would look nice.
-Having one demo autoplay when you open each synth's page might be good too.
-I like the audio samples, but a video would be good too which would help people learn how to use them and generate their own sounds.
-Linking the ogg files is ok, but it gets awkward to listen to all of them (click, listen, click back, click, listen...) If you could get some sort of embedded player so that you can listen to all of them in a row or at least not have to load a new page it would be a little easier.
-Also some subtitles would break up the long text and make it more digestible (i.e. about, creators, samples, banks). Use a standard format so its easy to go between synths.
-The screenshots are good, but you could probably shrink them a little smaller so the reader doesn't have to scroll so much and gets a better overall picture. You may even want to put one screenshot, then text, then at the bottom have a more screenshots section. i guess I'm thinking it should be more like a wikipedia article with a basic summary and image at the top with more details following. Maybe thats not the direction you want to go, but I guess its what I'm used to.

I know some sites use the web traffic to generate funds so they would much prefer you link to their patches. I think the safe route is to link until you have permission from them to host it yourself.

I think I'm just generating a lot of work for you to do :/ Sorry. These are just some suggestions. Hopefully they're helpful. Its really cool that you are doing this!

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:03 pm
by briandc
ssj71 wrote:Looks nice. I personally love white on black. Good work. A few suggestions:

-If you could put the synth icons as the links on the front page instead of just text it would look nice.
-Having one demo autoplay when you open each synth's page might be good too.
-I like the audio samples, but a video would be good too which would help people learn how to use them and generate their own sounds.
-Linking the ogg files is ok, but it gets awkward to listen to all of them (click, listen, click back, click, listen...) If you could get some sort of embedded player so that you can listen to all of them in a row or at least not have to load a new page it would be a little easier.
-Also some subtitles would break up the long text and make it more digestible (i.e. about, creators, samples, banks). Use a standard format so its easy to go between synths.
-The screenshots are good, but you could probably shrink them a little smaller so the reader doesn't have to scroll so much and gets a better overall picture. You may even want to put one screenshot, then text, then at the bottom have a more screenshots section. i guess I'm thinking it should be more like a wikipedia article with a basic summary and image at the top with more details following. Maybe thats not the direction you want to go, but I guess its what I'm used to.

I know some sites use the web traffic to generate funds so they would much prefer you link to their patches. I think the safe route is to link until you have permission from them to host it yourself.

I think I'm just generating a lot of work for you to do :/ Sorry. These are just some suggestions. Hopefully they're helpful. Its really cool that you are doing this!


Thanks for your ideas, ssj71! No need to apologize... I asked for it! :)
-The GUI as a link button is nice..I'll try that!
-The music starting automatically, imo, no.. some people get nervous with music starting right away..especially my music! :lol:
-The videos are definitely useful; I hope to make some in the future and even link them to youtube.. there needs to be lots more of this stuff on youtube, imo!
-Agreed about lots of clicking.. I'll have to see what free players (linux-based?) I can add... any ideas?
-Subtitles definitely useful..I'll play around a bit with that one, too..
-I need to learn how to make images so that clicking them enlarges them.. then I could place them anywhere, not just at the top, like you say.

As far as links, perhaps that's best. I'll go that route for now, then if something disappears down the road, I'll consider posting the banks I have on this site.

I've got a busy weekend ahead! :D

Thanks again ssj71!

brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:18 pm
by Alwaysanewb
I think any place people can get more info about these synths is pretty awesome. The site looks good too.

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:26 pm
by briandc
Alwaysanewb wrote:I think any place people can get more info about these synths is pretty awesome. The site looks good too.


Thanks ALwaysanewb. (Love that screen name! :) )

I've got my work cut out for me this weekend.. Let's hope it rains! :D

brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:08 pm
by ssj71
-Agreed about lots of clicking.. I'll have to see what free players (linux-based?) I can add... any ideas?

Sorry I have no idea...

-I need to learn how to make images so that clicking them enlarges them.. then I could place them anywhere, not just at the top, like you say.

I haven't done html since 8th grade so I don't remember, but look into thumbnail links. There are websites that will generate the html for you too IIRC.

As far as links, perhaps that's best. I'll go that route for now, then if something disappears down the road, I'll consider posting the banks I have on this site.

Thats a good idea. They shouldn't get upset if they aren't providing it anymore :)

I hope it does rain for you! :)

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:15 pm
by DoosC
Yes the look is probably perfectible but having all those presets in one place is just so cool ! Keep up !

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:02 pm
by briandc
DoosC wrote:Yes the look is probably perfectible but having all those presets in one place is just so cool ! Keep up !


Thanks DoosC!
I liked the layout of synthmania website, and although I don't have descriptions of each sound, I like to keep it light. I'm putting everything together on my trusty Compaq Presario 2700, with a Pentium 3 and 256 MB of RAM. So keeping it light, if I can open and run things on this PC, it should be good on just about anything else! :D


brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:56 pm
by DoosC
I just had a look at synthmania, the layout is very simple, yet effective and brought me some reflexions after all :wink: :

- site name : amsynth is quite specific, it would be like synthmania was called multivox_mx-20 or something. What about a more generic name like linux-softsynths or softsynthsmania or whatever in the same spirit ?

- front page logo : it could be reduced to just a banner

- thumbnails : they could be clickable just as the synth name

- layout : insted of having the thumbnails in one column, they could be arranged in a grid (in 3 columns for example)

- welcome text : the font could be a little smaller and it could put to the left of the grid

As I said just some random thoughts...

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:07 am
by briandc
DoosC wrote:I just had a look at synthmania, the layout is very simple, yet effective and brought me some reflexions after all :wink: :

- site name : amsynth is quite specific, it would be like synthmania was called multivox_mx-20 or something. What about a more generic name like linux-softsynths or softsynthsmania or whatever in the same spirit ?

- front page logo : it could be reduced to just a banner

- thumbnails : they could be clickable just as the synth name

- layout : insted of having the thumbnails in one column, they could be arranged in a grid (in 3 columns for example)

- welcome text : the font could be a little smaller and it could put to the left of the grid

As I said just some random thoughts...


I made the homepage logo a bit smaller; yes, it was a bit "overbearing."
I made the thumbnails to be part of the hyperlink, adds a nice touch!

The rest I have to play around with a bit..

But first I need to add some audio demos of Zyn and WhySynth..

brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:20 am
by danboid
Hi Brian!

I agree with doosc about the site name - it would ideally be more generic if you are covering more than amsynth. Maybe you could sell amsynth to Nick for cost and buy a more appropriate domain?

There is no mention yet of my 2 fave Linux synths - TAL Noisemaker (from DISTRHO) and Loomers Aspect.

Also, I've noticed that the link for KXstudio (on the links page) erroneously says synthv1.

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:20 am
by briandc
danboid wrote:Hi Brian!

I agree with doosc about the site name - it would ideally be more generic if you are covering more than amsynth. Maybe you could sell amsynth to Nick for cost and buy a more appropriate domain?

There is no mention yet of my 2 fave Linux synths - TAL Noisemaker (from DISTRHO) and Loomers Aspect.

Also, I've noticed that the link for KXstudio (on the links page) erroneously says synthv1.


Hi danboid,
thanks for the pointers. I corrected the link to KXStudio.

I will definitely have to add TAL Noisemaker. Aspect is an idea too, only that since it's not free (as in beer) I am hesitant.
I also have to add Calf Monosynth, MX44 and Triceratops, only that Monosynth should include polyphony in the next release, so I'm waiting for that. Triceratops and MX44 can't save patches yet, so I'm waiting for those too. Of course, if nothing changes in a month or so, I'll add them anyway. But I'm also thinking of putting a "pros and cons" paragraph at the bottom of each page, where comments can be put. (even by visitors?)

As for the domain name, I don't think Nick is interested in having it. If he is, I'm sure he'll let me know.
The reason I used that name, is I guess because I found myself kind of "lured" into tweaking initially with amSynth. It's one I've had a lot of fun with, so that's why I'm using that name, even though the site has other synths listed as well.

Anyway, that's the story so far..

I've added some demos of ZynAddSubFX, Xsynth and Wsynth over the weekend! :)

brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:56 pm
by Heikki Ketoharju
briandc wrote:-Agreed about lots of clicking.. I'll have to see what free players (linux-based?) I can add... any ideas?

Nowadays there's no need for external players. Most browsers can play ogg-files straight. Check this: http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_audio.asp

briandc wrote:-The videos are definitely useful; I hope to make some in the future and even link them to youtube.. there needs to be lots more of this stuff on youtube, imo!

Also there are good videos about ZynAddSubFX in Youtube, so you could just embed them! Here: http://www.youtube.com/user/zynaddsubfx

briandc wrote:-I need to learn how to make images so that clicking them enlarges them.. then I could place them anywhere, not just at the top, like you say.

Making images larger by click requires two images: one that's smaller and another that is bigger. Basically you just insert small image (often called as thumbnail) to the site and then wrap it to link element that leads to bigger image:

Code: Select all

<a href="path/to/image.png"><img src="/path/to/image_thumbnail.png" alt="Image of AMSynth"></a>


Remember that width and height attributes in img tag aren't meant to be used as rezizing image, but to just reserve space. Most of the images on your site were distorted because you have used width and height to resize images. That's not the right way: you should resize images to right size in Gimp or another image manipulation program, and then just insert them to the site without altering their size. That way they look sharp and clean. Hope this helps, and big up for the site! I'd really like to see some kind of "pros and cons" section with every synth.

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:08 am
by briandc
Heikki Ketoharju wrote:
briandc wrote:-Agreed about lots of clicking.. I'll have to see what free players (linux-based?) I can add... any ideas?

Nowadays there's no need for external players. Most browsers can play ogg-files straight. Check this: http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_audio.asp

briandc wrote:-The videos are definitely useful; I hope to make some in the future and even link them to youtube.. there needs to be lots more of this stuff on youtube, imo!

Also there are good videos about ZynAddSubFX in Youtube, so you could just embed them! Here: http://www.youtube.com/user/zynaddsubfx

briandc wrote:-I need to learn how to make images so that clicking them enlarges them.. then I could place them anywhere, not just at the top, like you say.

Making images larger by click requires two images: one that's smaller and another that is bigger. Basically you just insert small image (often called as thumbnail) to the site and then wrap it to link element that leads to bigger image:

Code: Select all

<a href="path/to/image.png"><img src="/path/to/image_thumbnail.png" alt="Image of AMSynth"></a>


Remember that width and height attributes in img tag aren't meant to be used as rezizing image, but to just reserve space. Most of the images on your site were distorted because you have used width and height to resize images. That's not the right way: you should resize images to right size in Gimp or another image manipulation program, and then just insert them to the site without altering their size. That way they look sharp and clean. Hope this helps, and big up for the site! I'd really like to see some kind of "pros and cons" section with every synth.


Hi Heikki,
thanks for the feedback.
- Yes, I see now that the .ogg files open in the browser's player, so I've left off imbedding a player.
- You're also right about using YouTube video links. There are a bunch out there, including Paul's own for Zyn; I hope to add a few this weekend. Thanks! ;)
- The image enlarging seems pretty logical now that you explain it. Since I have the original pics in large size already, how do I resave them as thumbnails? (This would also resolve the distortion issue, since a thumbnail linked to the original image is sufficient.)

- I've been thinking about "pros and cons" as well in these last weeks. On one hand, I'm tempted to do it. On the other hand, as my hope of listing what I consider "cons" would be in the hopes that the developer(s) would change things, but in reality it might not happen for whatever reason.. I have been left at choosing to just showcase them as they are, and let them decide for themselves if they want to make further additions.

For example: Hexter outputs in mono. Why? I suppose to "emulate" an old technology. Or maybe Sean didn't know how to include stereo capability. (But I doubt it.) So for whatever reason, I guess it's best to just appreciate them for what they are; if someone is able to add features, a fork, or whatever, I'll be more than glad to include it! :)

Any thoughts?

brian

Re: amSynth website coming along fine..

Posted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:13 pm
by Heikki Ketoharju
briandc wrote:Hi Heikki,
thanks for the feedback.
- Yes, I see now that the .ogg files open in the browser's player, so I've left off imbedding a player.

Actually if you use the HTML audio tag, the browser will offer a neat player embedded in the site. You can also modify its behavior with JavaScript.


briandc wrote:- The image enlarging seems pretty logical now that you explain it. Since I have the original pics in large size already, how do I resave them as thumbnails? (This would also resolve the distortion issue, since a thumbnail linked to the original image is sufficient.)

I often use Gimp for these. Just open images and select "Image"->Scale in menus. If you have many images, you can use for example Nautilus Image Converter plugin to resize all them at once.

briandc wrote:For example: Hexter outputs in mono. Why? I suppose to "emulate" an old technology. Or maybe Sean didn't know how to include stereo capability. (But I doubt it.) So for whatever reason, I guess it's best to just appreciate them for what they are; if someone is able to add features, a fork, or whatever, I'll be more than glad to include it! :)


Hexter outputs mono, because DX7 also outputs mono, I think. But there are also many bad synths in Linux, or good synths with bad user interfaces (I'm looking at you, ZynAddSubFX and AMS!) and listing those as cons isn't unfair.