Magenta is a Google Brain project to ask and answer the questions, “Can we use machine learning to create compelling art and music? If so, how? If not, why not?”

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Neural audio synthesis is an actively researched topic, having yielded a wide range of techniques that leverages machine learning architectures. Google Magenta elaborated a novel approach called Differential Digital Signal Processing (DDSP) that incorporates deep neural networks with preconditioned digital signal processing techniques, reaching state-of-the-art results especially in timbre transfer applications. However, most of these techniques, including the DDSP, are generally not applicable in real-time constraints, making them ineligible in a musical workflow. In this paper, we present a real-time implementation of the DDSP library embedded in a virtual synthesizer as a plug-in that can be used in a Digital Audio Workstation. We focused on timbre transfer from learned representations of real instruments to arbitrary sound inputs as well as controlling these models by MIDI. Furthermore, we developed a GUI for intuitive high-level controls which can be used for post-processing and manipulating the parameters estimated by the neural network. We have conducted a user experience test with seven participants online. The results indicated that our users found the interface appealing, easy to understand, and worth exploring further. At the same time, we have identified issues in the timbre transfer quality, in some components we did not implement, and in installation and distribution of our plugin. The next iteration of our design will address these issues. Our real-time MATLAB and JUCE implementations are available at https://github.com/SMC704/juce-ddsp and https://github.com/SMC704/matlab-ddsp , respectively.

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Neural audio synthesis is an actively researched topic, having yielded a wide range of techniques that leverages machine learning architectures. Google Magenta elaborated a novel approach called Differential Digital Signal Processing (DDSP) that incorporates deep neural networks with preconditioned digital signal processing techniques, reaching state-of-the-art results especially in timbre transfer applications. However, most of these techniques, including the DDSP, are generally not applicable in real-time constraints, making them ineligible in a musical workflow. In this paper, we present a real-time implementation of the DDSP library embedded in a virtual synthesizer as a plug-in that can be used in a Digital Audio Workstation. We focused on timbre transfer from learned representations of real instruments to arbitrary sound inputs as well as controlling these models by MIDI. Furthermore, we developed a GUI for intuitive high-level controls which can be used for post-processing and manipulating the parameters estimated by the neural network. We have conducted a user experience test with seven participants online. The results indicated that our users found the interface appealing, easy to understand, and worth exploring further. At the same time, we have identified issues in the timbre transfer quality, in some components we did not implement, and in installation and distribution of our plugin. The next iteration of our design will address these issues. Our real-time MATLAB and JUCE implementations are available at https://github.com/SMC704/juce-ddsp and https://github.com/SMC704/matlab-ddsp , respectively.

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