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Peer Review

JSyn Audio Software Synthesis



Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Dec 01, 2008 by Music
Overview: This site provides access to the JSyn software, a java-based audio synthesis engine. Access is supported by extended documentation on installation, use, etc., interactive examples, online user groups, and other relevant resources. The site is representative of a recent useful trend away from single, specific, and inflexible learning objects that are fit to a narrow set of tasks and are not easily modifiable, to learning object engines that allow users to create a large variety of learning objects, customized to the users’ specific needs. The JSyn software is very flexible, has only few known bugs (many of which are adequately addressed in the provided documentation and by the user groups), and enables the creation of a huge variety of (largely) stable learning objects related to sound signal synthesis and music. In the context of signal processing classes, the software itself can function as a learning object, providing students with opportunities to implement concepts and algorithms learned in class. Highly recommended!
Type of Material: Learning object / Learning object engine. ‘Lite’ version available for free. Full developer’s kit license available for purchase.
Recommended Uses: Instructors and students can use the application to a) create interactive music and signal processing learning objects and b) to interactively teach/learn music theory and signal processing concepts through implementation. Both, the tool itself and learning objects created through it can be used in class for demonstrations or in homework assignments.
Technical Requirements: a) Latest I.E. or Firefox browser. b) JSyn Java plug in, available for free on the site (easy installation). c) Some understanding of JAVA programming.
Identify Major Learning Goals: a) To enable the creation of java-based, interactive music and sound signal processing applications. b) To support practice on and implementation of sound signal processing and music theory concepts.
Target Student Population: Engineering, signal processing, audio engineering, and music students (with basic math, physics, and java skills) can greatly benefit from this tool. Best fit for college or advanced high school students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Very well organized site, catering to users with basic math and java programming skills. For most effective/efficient use, it must be presented in conjunction with materials that approach acoustics, signal processing, sound synthesis, and music conceptually/theoretically.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Robust, flexible, and extremely useful learning object engine, supported by well designed and functioning interactive examples, extensive documentation, and other support. Highly recommended tool.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The teaching/learning potential of this tool is endless (see also general description). Most effective use assumes understanding of acoustics, signal processing, sound synthesis, and music theory concepts.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Easy to use, highly interactive, engaging tool, supported by clear instructions. Again, most effective use assumes understanding of acoustics, signal processing, sound synthesis, and music theory concepts.