Any audio recording can be turned into a digital musical instrument by feeding it into an audio sampler. However, it is difficult to edit such a sound in musical terms or even to control it in real time with musical expression. Even the application of a more sophisticated synthesis method will show little change. Many composers of electronic music appreciate the direct and clear access to sound parameters that a traditional analog synthesizer offers. Is it possible to automatically generate a synthesizer setting that approximates a given audio recording and thus clone a given sound to be controlled with the standard functions of the particular synthesizer employed? Even though this problem seems highly complex, we demonstrate that its solution becomes feasible with computer systems available today. We compare sounds on the basis of acoustic features known from Music Information Retrieval and apply a specialized optimization strategy to adjust the settings of VST instruments. This process is sped up using multi-core processors and networked computers.
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