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How do I learn about digital signal processing to start my business?

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Oct 13, 2020
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I am 30 years old. I have a Bachelors of Psychology. I've been working as a software engineer for 10 years. I would like to learn more about digital signal processing, synthesizers, and the mathematics of audio. Why? I would like to start my own company that writes and sells virtual instruments. I have a deep/expert understanding of software, but I am light on audio programming/mathematics.
I've finished Calculus I as part of my psychology degree. What options do I have, either formally or informally, to study and learn about the mathematics of digital signal processing? I am open to complete formal training (getting another bachelors in Mathematics) to complete informal training (reading books and making it happen on my own). I have lots of questions here -- for example, can an adult take classes at a university without enrolling in a degree program?
I know this is a broad question, but I'd like to get a general pulse on how somebody at my age, with my experience, with my goals, could proceed with his dream to start writing virtual instruments.
Thank you so much!

Calculus 1, 2, 3, 4 are only a small part of what you need. This requires a master's degree in electronics engineering with a specialization in microprocessors. Why do you think its so easy to understand this and start your own company?
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Attending the lectures is by law allowed to all, its one of the foundations of democracy. Even 60 year old people have came to our lectures. You will not receive a diploma and they might not allow you to attend the exercises. You need to check the subject's description(the university is required to provide it for all subjects, check their list of subjects and what the subject is suppose to teach, despite that it doesn't always turn to be true) sometimes the subjects are called digital signal processing, microprocessor systems and similar. You need to program in C, Assembler, C#, C++, perhaps Python can be used too now.
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Is your goal to be an expert in DSP or a user ? A basic understanding of sampled data
systems is generally all that is needed to become an effective user.

If your intent is to create new insight, understanding, patents, original work then deep dive
is needed. On the other hand if you have straight forward signal processing tasks then
years of study probably not a good use of your time.

Regards, Dana.

Find out how virtual instruments are used by people who create with them. Explore digitized instrument sounds on 'sample cd's, sample packs, loops, sequencers, etc.

Audacity is a free program ideal for experimenting. Record instruments and voices. Create two or more tracks. Combine tracks. Use various sampling rates. Etc.

Learn what ruins musical tones. Learn about clipping and distortion and shatter.

Learn the difference between causing a voice or instrument to change pitch and still sound natural, rather than simply speeding it up or slowing it down, which sounds artificial.

Learn about vocaloids, virtual singers which became a new entertainment phenomenon by means of software from Yamaha. (If you want free software then look into utauloids.)

Just as an aside if you want a platform of HW to learn off this is pretty
flexible. You can use the $ 10 or the $ 80+ board, either will do.

The DSP engine can do IIR to 128 taps, or cascaded IIR biquads. The code for an
example project already done, in the IDE. There are 100's of projects already
done of all kinds of applications. Many in IDE, many done by communities. I can post
links if you want to look at those as well.

PSOC 5LP, this is a single chip solution, IDE (PSOC Creator) and compiler free




Regards, Dana.

To start real writing of virtual instruments and related mathematics of digital signal processing I would go to and other demoscene related websites, download and listen everything with open-sourced synthesizer/tracker source code. Choose one demo with audio track I like, then start to reverse engineer and try to understand how it made from synth and tracker source code. Then there will big motivation to find out how it's made, by googling, reading books or taking courses.

A software engineer ought to find it easy to learn audio.

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