Audio in TouchDesigner

Last updated: May 11, 2020

While it can be fun to play with audio synthesis in TD (connect an Audio_Oscillator_CHOP to an Audio_Device_Out_CHOP and play around with the settings), it is not really a programm for audio production. Most users who are serious about Audio use a combination of a DAW (like Ableton live) in conjunction with TouchDesigner. MIDI and OSC can be used to send control data back and forth between the applications and audio can be routed in and out of both.

Per default your visual scene will render at 60 frames per second (60 Hz). Higher framerates are possible and sometimes even advisable (for audio-only patches for example) but rather the exception. An audio file works at a sample rate of 44000 or even 48000 Hz. That is a almost thousand times higher resolution in time. To reflect this difference, there are several CHOP operators especially made for audio. You can identify them by the Audio prefix. They can deal well with this high frequencies. If you want to use audio data to control parameters you will need to downsample, convert or anaylyse the waveforms to get something more compatible out of it. A simple tool for audio analysis is the audioAnalysis component from the palette:

Mix between a file and a live source and play the result back on your soundcard.

One of the most simple audio networks you can build (above) will allow you to mix and playback an audio file and a live input of your soundcard. TD will prioritize the visuals rendering, which can lead very easily to audio distortion when the overall system is challenged. A popular workaround is to handle audio in a separate process of TouchDesigner and thus isolate it from performance peaks in the main patch.

If you want to jam with Ableton live and TD you will love the Ableton_Link_CHOP which makes it super easy to sync several Ableton and/or TD instances. Actually many programs and even apps support Link. Check it out. You can go even further with the TDAbleton tools from the palette for a complete

Very interesting is the Audio_Render_CHOP, that allows you to author all kinds of spacial audio constellation by basically moving a microphone as well as sounding objects through space.

If you want to work with audio that is embedded in movie clips, you need to use the Audio_Movie CHOP to extract the audio from a movie in the moviefileinTOP.