'C' Lesson

VB-Audio Software is a brand created by Vincent Burel, independent developer and expert in real time digital audio processing since 1999.
VB-Audio Software Logo

The story starts in 1997,1998. it was the glorious age of audio plug-ins, with many plug-in formats like Direct-X, VST, WaveLab, Winamp, SAW32, Quartz Audio... One of the first FX I developed is a reverb algorithm called QuickVerb distributed as shareware! Very simple, very basic, but with realistic controls look and feel and the willing to go further on this matter...

After this I passed all the year 1999 to develop an optimal model of Reverb algorithm, able to run on Pentium computer without taking 100% CPU and with a good sound quality. Released in 1999, Aphro-V1 was one of the first audio professional software reverb able to be compared to hardware units like Lexicon or TC Reverb.

Aphro-V1 Fx Reverb

In the mean time I was working on new audio processing algorithms to spread the sound in 10 different octaves that could be processed independently. Based on F.I.R. filters to emulate analog capacitors, I release Spectro-ScultpturA and Tone-4 plug-ins, end of 1999 or beginning of 2000. This technology will allow me to develop some years after the C10 (10 Bands Limiter / Compressor) and the Tone-Param Plug-in that is a unique Full Parametric F.I.R. Equalizer.

VB-Audio ScupturA Pack

By having developed plug-ins on different architectures and SDK's, I quickly got interest in Plug-in Hosting as well and developed the FFX plug-ins for DirectX, VST and even Winamp (FFX4) to host DirectX plug-ins in a kind of simplified Plug-in container designed like a patch bay where the user can insert up to 16 Direct-X plug-ins connected in series. This was allowing very powerful audio processing workflow, especially to perform mastering job. Later I will make a standalone version just to turn a PC in a processing unit (the FFX16 i.o.p).

VB-Audio All Plug-ins Pack

The Beginning of the 2000 decade was an opportunity to develop a complete series of Plug-ins, Direct-X and VST plug-ins but also VS3 Plug-ins for the new coming DAW called Pyramix from Merging Technologies, based on a specific Trimedia DSP audio board. I developed different plug-ins for mastering, measuring as well as for mixing jobs until the year 2003.

VB-Audio All Plug-ins Pack

In 2005 I develop a new plug-in series, dedicated to live mixing, for Innovason mixing consoles. The challenge was to port many of my audio processing algorithms on a specific board based on Analog Device Sharc DSP and to re-design graphic user interfaces to simplify the user experience and fit the live mixing constraints and requirements. This was a great opportunity to learn about the huge differences between a post production and a live production workflow.

VB-Audio Plug-ins For Innovason Console

In the mean time I was working on a multi track recording project called MT128 with Joram Ludwig. Thanks to RME HDSP MADI board it was possible to manage 64 audio I/O with a good ASIO driver working with 256 samples buffer, finally the same buffer size used by audio pro DAW today. MT128 was designed with new ergonomic principles: the Graphic User Interface will be touch Screen compatible with a 1024 x 768 resolution. This hard constraint obliged us to think a lot about the design and the workflow, very inspired by true tape recorder used in studio in the 80's or even 90's.

VB-Audio MT128 Solution

In 2005 at AES Barcelona (Spain), Joram Ludwig was already presenting our MT128 prototype to privileged partners in a hotel room. The first release has been presented in October 2008 at AES San Francisco (USA) under the name TTM128, meaning "The Tape Machine", but the next versions will get back their original code name: MT128

Joram Ludwig showing first MT128 Prototype TTM128 at AES San Francisco 2008

Around the year 2010, I work a lot on MT128 integration with Innovason company, developing their new mixing console called Eclipse! The MT128 in Innovason will provide multi track recording functions directly inside the mixing console, being the first to create the "Broadway mode" now called "Virtual Sound Check" to be able to prepare the F.O.H.Mix on playback. The MT128 is here called M.A.R.S. (Multitrack Audio Recording System) by Hervé de Caro.

MT128 embedded system

In the meantime, I was working with Gabriel Fitzner preparing an integration of the MT128 in an industrial PC to be used in audio pro services and production workflow, especially on TV show. This will become in the year 2011 the MT128 by Broady Solutions sold to most of French TV and Live Audio service companies. The MT128 was also becoming a playout solution thanks to new Instant Playback / Playlist management functions to let the user launch sounds in live show (possibly while multi track recording).

VB-Audio MT128 Integration by Broady Solutions

December 2012, We release the first version of our virtual audio cable: The VB-CABLE!. I was working on this project with Jean Sylvain Loezic since two years. My first idea was to attach virtual audio I/O to an application. The goal was to find a new way to valorize my plug-ins as standalone audio application... VB-CABLE has been distributed as donationware (free download link with a paypal button) mainly because we did not know if it will work for everybody. And we were right! The validation process and related developments have been much longer than expected. In the meantime, I was working on a small audio mixer application called Voicemeeter, released in July 2013. It was expected to be a small application to validate our concept, but it finally became our flagship product!
VB-Audio Virtual Cable Technology

Voicemeeter first version has been developed in 4 weeks! I remember I had all components ready, like having all Lego pieces to build the starship. I was just missing a graphic user interface design. So I've sent to my graphic designer a functional layout, quickly drawn in a gif image and asked for him to design a "Killer Audio App" GUI like if it was a hardware controller or mixer. I remember it was in May, In June the design was over and in July 2013 the development was finished. Sometimes but too rarely, inspiration is there and everything goes fluid and fast!

Voicemeeter first function design Voicemeeter first design by Norman Voicemeeter second design by Norman

2014 and 2015 were validation years. Microsoft was changing audio system in Win10 with a new driver model and certification process. This period was technically difficult but many users were showing their interest and our donationware model started to work significantly. So I have developed a kind or ecosystem around Voicemeeter with many additional tools and technologies like the VBAN, MacroButton, remoting functions, M.I.D.I. implementation and a complete API to control Voicemeeter. In fact I've developed all what I wanted to have as user for this kind of application because I'm also a daily user of Voicemeeter!

Voicemeeter Banana, Virtual Audio Mixer

In the year 2017, I've been convinced to setup an online shop (I was previously using simple Paypal buttons on web page). In the meantime I was developing a spectrum analyzer called Spectralissime and I got this idea to implement a licensing process by activation code, using a challenge / response code method (I'm not a fan of SAAS model because requiring an internet connection). So we built the webshop with the ability to manage this licensing model by activation code and we also kept the Donationware model by proposing 5 different prices (from 5 to 50 bucks for example) to let users pay what they want, according means or usage. There we got it, our business model was born!

Voicemeeter, Virtual Audio Mixer

2019, we had already several millions of users, but in the year 2020 (with COVID-19 pandemic) we will see a sudden growing interest in our audio solutions, especially for video conferences and any streaming workflow. This has been the opportunity for us to work on every process optimization, not only the technology, that should always better work of course, but the selling process, the online support, the communication, video production... and we are still working on...

Voicemeeter, Virtual Audio Mixer

After again 2 years to work on new WIN10 Audio driver model, I decided to come with a new application called Matrix to test and validate our new technologies. Matrix project was there since a long time, but I wanted to use it as a validation platform to test our new virtual audio driver, new virtual ASIO driver, new audio engine, the VBAN 64 or 128 channels and different processes in massive multi channel mode. This matrix application is opening new perspectives and surely will allow to create many things in the future...

Matrix, Virtual Audio Router

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