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Rocking the Web With Browser-Based Simulations of Tube Guitar Amplifiers

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Since 2012 and the advent of the Web Audio API, the development of computer music applications within web browsers has become feasible. Recent improvements in this API and other advancements in web browser technology have significantly expanded the possibilities for new developments. Thanks to theWebAssembly and AudioWorklets APIs, code written in low-level languages (C/C++, Rust, . . .) orDomain Specific Languages can nowbe encapsulated and executed within browsers. Furthermore, using theWeb Components API, it is now possible to produce interoperable Web Audio plugins. This article reviews seven years of work toward real-time, lightweight, low-latency, perceptually faithful browser-based simulations of tube guitar amplifiers. Summarizing previous conference presentations, this article provides details on themilestones and many issues that had to be dealtwith during development to achieve these pioneering demonstrations of the potentialities of theWeb Audio API.Most of the simulations are provided as open-source and freely available. Recently, some versions were licensed and integrated into a well-known commercial Digital Audio Workstation. During these years, several user tests have been conducted with professional guitarists who all positively evaluated these simulations and favorably benchmarked them against the few available commercial browser-based competitors.

JAES Volume 71 Issue 11 pp. 753-768; November 2023
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