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Interview with Philippe GOUTIER !

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Philippe Goutier, the single-handed creator of WaveLab ! Isn't he great ? We briefly met him at the music exhibition 2000 in Paris and he had the kindness to give us a little interview. Philippe thus created WaveLab, as well as numerous Studio Modules of Cubase. Version 3.0 of WaveLab doesn't leave any doubts about his talents ! Christophe CHENEVARD, a fundamentalist "WaveLabian" and FeedBack asked him a series of innocuous questions. If you dreamt of becoming rich by developing audio software, you will see that the level required is not accessible to everybody, sorry guys !

ECVST : First of all, could you introduce yourself ? Your age, studies, etc?

PHILIPPE : Master of physics (a long time ago !). 39 years old, married with three kids.

ECVST : : An innocent question : are you originally a musician ?

PHILIPPE : No, but I've been fond of sound since I got 11 or 12.

ECVST : How did you discover computing ?

PHILIPPE : When I was at the university, we were supposed to present a project for the Master degree. At the time I had just got a Roland Juno-6 (for which I had to give lessons of math and physics for months). I then chose to include the Juno 6 into a program. From the settings of the Juno, the program gave us a series of curves showing the theoretical movements of each sound's harmonic. It was a fascinating project, which enabled me to get a very good grade and let me get through a disastrous exam of quantum physics !

ECVST : You could have decided to use it without devising it. How did you come to programming ?

PHILIPPE : After having been sent to Honduras as a VSO teacher (math/physics), and after having fantasized for two years about synths, I decided to buy a rack of 8 DX7 (during my VSO I had associated the DX7 to a Tandy computer). Having no interface, this rack of 8 DX7 needed a program. I quickly understood that there was nothing suitable at the time and I then undertook something. I can still remember my joy when I launched the first "dump request" and saw the parameters of the DX graphically written on my ATARI screen 640x400.

ECVST : Can you tell us how you met Steinberg ? The "myth" has it that you presented a graphic editor to Charlie for the DX 7.

PHILIPPE : Beingg proud of my program for the DX, and also aware of the fact that no such equivalent existed, I visited Steinberg's booth in Frankfurt (1987). Steinberg became immediately "hooked" at the program. At the time, I think there were only five people at Steinberg's. It took me two hours and a half to go to my job and I worked very late every day (thinking about it, I wish to thank my wife for her patience !). Three months later, it was on sale. I then left my job and enthusiastically started a new program for the Roland D-50. The range "Synthworks" was born. I can still remember my boss's disappointed face when I told him that I was quitting my position as executive-engineer (with a big computing company) to start a new career in musical micro-computing.

ECVST : What is your situation regarding Steinberg (independent programmer) ?

PHILIPPE : : Independent for the beginning, but working only for Steinberg.

ECVST : Can you tell us more about the birth of WaveLab ?

PHILIPPE : In 1995, toward the "end" of the Atari, I was looking for something new. Manfred RURUP proposed me to create a "small" editor of samples. In fact, I have never been satisfied with something small :-)

ECVST : : Tell us everything about version 4 !

PHILIPPE : I have a 14-page document (almost one idea per line?) I still don't know what version 4 will consist in. Before that, I think I will release version 3.02 in a few weeks. (editor's note : interview made 20th May, 2000 !)

ECVST : Are you fully busy with Wavelab or do you have other products that one hardly knows ?

PHILIPPE : WaveLab takes all my time. There is a litght version of WaveLab entitled "get it on CD" but that you can't buy in France.

ECVST : Would you consider adapting WL to MacOS, Linux or BeOs for instance ?

PHILIPPE : Nothing is planned yet, but it is not out of the question.

ECVST : Do you know some sound engineers that use WL for mastering ?

PHILIPPE : Yes, but I am mainly in touch with foreigners (via Internet !)?

ECVST : Which advice could you give to a young programmer in sound ?

PHILIPPE : No advice in particular for this business (except that a good knowledge of math can really help as well as a musical background). In fact, as is the case in most of the human activities, a good touch of passion, enthusiasm, care and luck are necessary...

Once more, ECVST wants to thank Philippe for his patience, kindness and availability...

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Christophe CHENEVARD et FeedBack, on the 23-05-2000

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