Introduction to RTcmix

What is RTcmix?

RTcmix is a real-time software system for synthesizing and processing digital audio. It has two main parts: a front-end parsing system which reads ASCII scripts or “scores“ written using the Minc language, and a powerful back-end audio rendering engine which performs the event scheduling, audio I/O, sound synthesis and processing. It is written in C/C++ and is distributed open-source, free of charge. In certain respects, it is similar in function to other extant unit-generator-based software packages such as CSOUND, SuperCollider and (to a lesser extent) JSyn and Max/MSP – they do share a common heritage, after all. There are differences, however, between all these packages… and variety is of course the spice of life!

RTcmix compiles and runs on most Unix-like systems, including various flavors of Linux, macOS, IRIX, FreeBSD. A Windows port is available making use of the Max/MSP rtcmix~ object.

So if you’ve been searching the web high and low for just the right library of DSP functions to include in your latest\&greatest “killer” (or maybe “peacefully coexisting”?) app, then RTcmix may just be the Right Package for You.

How Can I Try it Out?

If you are working on a Mac or a Windows machine, the easiest way to experiment with RTcmix is to download, install, and run John Gibson’s RTcmixShell application. To make a start, paste the following three lines into the app’s score window and press “play”:

WAVETABLE(0, 4, 5000, 440)
WAVETABLE(1, 3, 5000, 440*3/2)
WAVETABLE(2, 2, 5000, 440*5/4)

There. You just made your first score, using the WAVETABLE instrument command. You can experiment with most of what is described in the reference pages using this application.

How Else Can I Use It?

RTcmix can be configured and compiled to run in several different modes:

Where Do I Download It?

If you are happy with the capabilities of RTcmixShell, you don’t need to download anything else! The app already contains the embedded library described above. For the others, depending on which configuration (mode) you decide to use, RTcmix is downloadable as either a precompiled binary or as configurable, compilable source code.

More About RTcmix

RTcmix currently includes the following components:

RTcmix is derived from the original CMIX software, developed at Princeton University by Paul Lansky.


Brad Garton

Dave Topper

John Gibson

Doug Scott

Mara Helmuth

Luke DuBois

Chris Bailey

Stanko Juzbasic

Ico Bukvic

Joel Matthys

Damon Holzborn