Real-time Gong Synthesis

Stefan Bilbao; Craig Webb; Zehao Wang; Michele Ducceschi
DAFx-2023 - Copenhagen
Physical modeling sound synthesis is notoriously computationally intensive. But recent advances in algorithm efficiency, accompanied by increases in available computing power have brought real-time performance within range for a variety of complex physical models. In this paper, the case of nonlinear plate vibration, used as a simple model for the synthesis of sounds from gongs is considered. Such a model, derived from that of Föppl and von Kármán, includes a strong geometric nonlinearity, leading to a variety of perceptually-salient effects, including pitch glides and crashes. Also discussed here are input excitation and scanned multichannel output. A numerical scheme is presented that mirrors the energetic and dissipative properties of a continuous model, allowing for control over numerical stability. Furthermore, the nonlinearity in the scheme can be solved explicitly, allowing for an efficient solution in real time. The solution relies on a quadratised expression for numerical energy, and is in line with recent work on invariant energy quadratisation and scalar auxiliary variable approaches to simulation. Implementation details, including appropriate perceptuallyrelevant choices for parameter settings are discussed. Numerical examples are presented, alongside timing results illustrating realtime performance on a typical CPU.