Faust - Programming Language for Audio Applications and Plugins
Faust (Functional Audio Stream) is a functional programming language specifically designed for real-time signal processing and synthesis. A distinctive characteristic of Faust is to be fully compiled.
The Faust compiler translates DSP specifications into very efficient code for various languages (C++, C, JAVA, LLVM IR, WebAssembly etc.) working at sample level. It targets high-performance signal processing applications, libraries and audio plug-ins for a variety of audio platforms and standards. A same Faust specification can be used to easily generate various kinds of native standalone applications, iOS and Android apps, as well as Csound, LADSPA, Max/MSP, PD, Q, SuperCollider, VST, AU plugins, etc. (see the README in the
/architecture folder for an exhaustive list).
While there are Faust contributors everywhere across the globe, Faust is mainly being developed at Grame, Centre National de Creation Musicale (http://www.grame.fr), its birthplace.
Versions and Branches
The Faust distribution can be downloaded on the Faust Github repository: https://github.com/grame-cncm/faust. Official releases packages are also available here: https://github.com/grame-cncm/faust/releases.
In the following subsections, details about the branches of the repository are given.
master is the main Faust branch. It can compile in different languages: C, C++, JAVA, LLVM IR, WebAssembly etc. It also implements experimental features such as multi-rate capabilities, etc. Thanks to its ability to generate LLVM IR and by using LLVM JIT, Faust is "embeddable" in any C++ program through a library called
libfaust. Compiling Faust relies on LLVM. Finally, Faust is needed by some sister projects of Faust such as FaustLive, FaucK, faustgen~, etc. This branch also contains the old Faust1 C++ backend.
master-dev (Preferred Development Branch)
master-dev is the development sub-branch of
master. It is used by Faust developers to commit their changes and can be considered as "the main development branch." The goal is to make sure that
master is always functional. Merges between
master are carried out multiple times a week by the GRAME team.
More experimental branches are also available but are not documented here.
Overview of the Faust Distribution
This is an overview of the content of the top-level folders of the Faust distribution. Most of these folders contain their own README describing their content in more details.
architecture/ : the architecture files currently supported build/ : build tools and scripts (cmake based) benchmark/ : tools to measure the impact of various compiler options compiler/ : sources of the Faust compiler debian/ : files for Debian installation documentation/ : Faust developer's documentation examples/ : Faust programs examples organized by categories installer/ : various installers for Linux distribution libraries/ : DSP libraries syntax-highlighting/ : support for syntax highlighting for several editors tests/ : various tests tools/ : additional easy-to-use scripts (faust2...) to produce binaries and plugins windows/ : Windows related resources
Faust libraries are now in a separated subproject. They are synchronized from time to time in the main Faust repository using the following commands:
git submodule update --remote --merge git add libraries git commit -m "Project updated to the latest version of the libraries" git push
Compilation and Installation
Since release 2.5.18, Faust compilation and installation is based on cmake. For details about compilation, you should look at the build/README.md file and have a look at the Faust wiki pages or go directly to the simple way to compile and install.
Using the Faust Examples
/examples folder contains dozen of example Faust codes organized by categories. There are many options to use them.
The Faust Editor can be used to edit, compile and run Faust code from any recent Web Browser with WebAssembly support.
FaustPlayground is an online tool to compile and use Faust code directly in a web browser. To use a Faust example from the
/examples folder, just drag-and-drop it in the work space and it should work right away!
FaustLive is a program that was designed to facilitate the prototyping of Faust codes. It embeds the LLVM on-the-fly compiler of Faust2 allowing you to very rapidly compile Faust codes on your computer. Binaries and installation packages of FaustLive are available for Linux, Windows and OSX.
faust2... Scripts and Programs
faust2... scripts and programs are command line tools allowing to compile Faust codes to any of the supported Faust targets ("architectures"). They are placed on your system during the Faust installation process. The fastest way to get an exhaustive list of all of them is to open a terminal window, type
faust2, and then press the Tab key for auto-completion. For example, to compile a Faust code as a JACK application with a Qt interface, run:
The most commonly used
faust2 scripts are:
faust2alqt : ALSA application with Qt UI faust2ladspa : LADSPA plug-in faust2pdf : pdf block diagram faust2supercollider : SuperCollider external faust2alsa : ALSA application with GTK UI faust2faustvst : VST plug-in faust2lv2 : LV2 plug-in faust2plot : command line program to debug DSP (sample plotting, etc.) faust2svg : SVG block diagram faust2alsaconsole : ALSA command line program faust2mathdoc : automatic pdf mathematical documentation faust2png : png block diagram faust2android : Android app faust2graph : svg graph faust2puredata : PureData external faust2api : API generator faust2msp : MaxMSP 5 external and patch faust2max6 : MaxMSP 6 (and later) external and patch faust2ios : iOS app faust2ros : ROS app faust2au : Audio Unit plugin faust2rosgtk : ROS app with GTK UI faust2bela : BELA program faust2jack : JACK application with GTK UI faust2netjackconsole : NetJack command line program faust2rpialsaconsole : Raspberry Pi ALSA command line program faust2caqt : CoreAudio application with Qt UI faust2jackconsole : JACK command line program faust2netjackqt : NetJack application with Qt UI faust2rpinetjackconsole : Raspberry Pi JACK command line program faust2caqtios : iOS app with Qt UI faust2octave : Octave script faust2csound : CSOUND Opcode faust2owl : OWL Program faust2sig : SVG signal faust2jaqt : JACK application with Qt UI
Obviously, the corresponding dependencies for each of them must be installed on your system for compilation to be successful. For example, if you use
faust2jaqt, JACK and Qt libraries must be installed.
Documentation and Resources
/documentation/faust-quick-reference.pdfcontains the most up-to-date documentation of Faust.
/documentation/library.pdfcontains the documentation of the Faust DSP libraries.
- The Faust website contains useful resources around Faust.
- The Faust online course or the Faust Hero in 2 Hours tutorial might be good starting points for beginners.
- Julius Smith's website is an incredible resource on various topics around DSP and Faust.
Many persons have been contributing to the Faust project by providing code for the compiler, architecture files, libraries, examples, documentation, scripts, bug reports, ideas, etc.
I would like to thank them and especially: Fons Adriaensen, Tiziano Bole, Baktery Chanka, Thomas Charbonnel, Damien Cramet, Etienne Gaudrin, Albert Graef, Stefan Kersten, Victor Lazzarini, Matthieu Leberre, Mathieu Leroi, Kjetil Matheussen, Remy Muller, Sampo Savolainen, Nicolas Scaringella, Stephen Sinclair, Travis Skare, Julius Smith, as well as my colleagues at GRAME, in particular : Dominique Fober, Stephane Letz and Karim Barkati, and from the ASTREE project : Jerome Barthelemy (IRCAM), Alain Bonardi (IRCAM), Raffaele Ciavarella (IRCAM), Pierre Jouvelot (Ecole des Mines/ParisTech), Laurent Pottier (U. Saint-Etienne)
Questions and suggestions
If you have questions suggestions and comments, or if you want to contribute to the project, two mailing lists are available: