24 February 2019

At long last, we are happy to share these results from the 2019 SuperCollider survey! In total, we had 253 responses from friends of the SuperCollider project around the world. We’re incredibly thankful to everyone who gave their time and energy to respond so thoughtfully; these results will be invaluable in guiding future development work and in informing community discussion. Based on the enthusiasm we’ve seen, we certainly hope to do this again next year!

Here are a few of the top takeaways from this year’s results:

  • Platforms: a plurality of users work on macOS; Linux is the second most popular desktop OS, followed by Windows. Embedded platforms such as Raspberry Pi, BELA, and BeagleBone are also popular, with about as many users reporting that they use Raspberry Pi as Windows.

  • Version: about two-thirds of users are already on 3.10, the latest release at the time of the survey. This number is very important to us as developers, as it indicates how confident users feel in moving to new versions. We’re hoping to see this percentage rise in the next survey.

  • Client: sclang is the most popular way to interact with scsynth by a large margin; TidalCycles and Sonic Pi also seem quite popular.

  • Features: we provided a list of possible features and improvements we’d like to implement across the codebase; of those given, the top two most-demanded were quality pitch, formant, and time manipulation UGens, and (2) improvements to compiler warnings and error messages. This gives us a very clear idea of what projects to tackle next.

  • Development focus: when asked where the most development effort should go, votes were practically split in a three-way tie between documentation, sclang, and UGens, with scsynth a close fourth.

Below, we present aggregated data for each survey question. In the next few weeks you might see more posts from some of the developers sharing their thoughts on the survey. We’re very excited to see what the community thinks of these results!

The individuals primarily responsible for creating the survey and reviewing the responses were Nathan Ho, Brian Heim, Patrick Dupuis, and Josh Parmenter, with help from several other developers in crafting the questions and wording.

At the end of this post, you’ll find the data in these charts presented as text tables for easy access.

Results

Question 1

Chart 01-How long have you used SuperCollider?

Question 2

Chart 02-Which best describes your level of proficiency?

Question 3

Chart 03-As a user, I think of SuperCollider as

Question 4

Chart 04-What are the platforms on which you use SuperCollider?

Question 5

Chart 05-What version(s) of SuperCollider do you currently use?

Question 6

Note: Quarks with fewer than five mentions are not included in this list.

Chart 06-What quarks do you use, if any?

Question 7

Chart 07-Which clients do you use?

Question 8

Chart 08-Have you heard of supernova?

Question 9

These responses were difficult to categorize; answers that had fewer than four mentions are not included here. Hopefully, this chart gives a good sense of the broad range of uses people have found for SuperCollider.

Chart 09-What do you use SuperCollider for?

Question 10

This list is the top twenty most frequent answers we received; in total there were over 180 unique tools mentioned in response to this question!

Chart 10-What other tools do you use?

Question 11

These are the top ten most frequent answers we received.

Chart 11-What are the biggest pain points you have encountered while using SuperCollider?

Question 12

Responses with fewer than four answers are not included here.

Chart 12-What resources have been useful to you in learning SuperCollider?

Question 13: How would you describe your experience learning SuperCollider?

This question was very personal, and the responses were difficult to place in any sort of categorization. We have decided to keep them private, but future posts from the development team may reflect on them.

Question 14: How has your experience been interacting with the SuperCollider community?

The responses to this question were difficult to categorize. We hope you find this word cloud informative, or at least amusing.

Community Experience Word Cloud

Question 15

Chart 15-Where do you discuss SuperCollider?

Questions 16-41: Development project ideas

The methodology for calculating these scores was:

  • “I would love this” = 3 pts
  • “I would use this” = 2 pts
  • “I want this” = 1 pt
  • “Don’t care” / no response = 0 pts

Chart 16-Development project ideas

Question 42: Suggestion box: Any features you want to see?

We received a great variety of answers to this question, and it would be too difficult to try to boil them down to some aggregated format. Some of the more popular ones were:

  • make it possible to use scsynth as a VST plugin
  • add a specific UGen, or more UGens related to a particular topic
  • make it easier to visualize the state of the server
  • improve GUI objects and make writing GUI code easier
  • improve MIDI support
  • improve the IDE with a variety of new features

Question 43

Chart 43-Where you would like to see the most development effort go in the future?

Question 44

Chart 44-I use SuperCollider as a

Question 45

Chart 45-How do you identify your gender?

Text charts

1. How long have you used SuperCollider?

Duration Count %
more than 10 years 64 25.9%
6 to 10 years 56 22.7%
4 or 5 years 37 15.0%
2 or 3 years 49 19.8%
1 year or less 41 16.6%

2. Which best describes your level of proficiency?

Level Count %
I am new to SuperCollider and learning how to build basic things. 27 10.9%
I’m comfortable with basic features of SC, and learning how to put them to use in medium-sized project. 58 23.5%
I have completed small projects and can often help myself or other people. I’m learning to build complex projects. 69 27.9%
I have built complex, large-scale projects in SC, and feel comfortable helping myself and others. 93 37.7%

3. As a user, I think of SuperCollider as…

Adjective Count
powerful 240
fun 187
difficult 113
dependable 105
a toy 24
unstable 18

4. What are the platforms on which you use SuperCollider?

Platform Count
macOS 179
Linux 108
Raspberry Pi 64
Windows 57
BELA 21
BeagleBone 10
Prynth 5
Norns 2
FreeBSD 1

5. What version(s) of SuperCollider do you currently use?

Version Count
Unreleased development versions 31
3.10 164
3.9 90
3.8 18
3.7 10
3.5, 3.6 18
3.4 or older SC3 6
SC2 or SC1 1

6. What quarks do you use, if any?

Quark Name Count
wslib 39
mathlib 24
atk 17
superdirt 16
bjorklund 16
xml 14
ctk 13
modality 13
cruciallib 12
feedback 10
arduino 10
ddw 10
jitlibextensions 10
miscellaneouslib 10
batlib 9
wavesets 8
vowel 7
adclib 7
jitlib 6
filelog 6
utopia 5
tabbedview 5
safetynet 5

7. Which client(s) do you use?

Client Count
sclang 233
TidalCycles 41
Sonic Pi 18
Overtone 6
ScalaCollider 3
cl-collider 3
custom client / OSC only 3
FoxDot 2
Monome Norns 1
supercollider.js 1

8. Have you heard of supernova?

Response Count %
I have heard of it, but never used it 146 59.1%
I have never heard of it 37 15.0%
I use it occasionally, depending on the task 33 13.4%
I tried it, but I don’t plan on coming back to it 16 6.5%
I can’t use it because it’s not supported on my OS 9 3.6%
It’s my default synthesis engine 6 2.4%

9. What do you use SuperCollider for?

Response Count
composition/music/projects 120
sound design/sound synthesis 75
improvisation/live electronics 46
algorithmic composition 38
performance 37
live coding 35
installations 35
instruments 31
teach 28
prototyping ideas/prototyping DSP/experiments 27
DSP/effects 26
acousmatic composition 25
interface with other tools 25
learning 19
as a general programming language 17
interactive system 16
research 12
fixed media 10
data sonification 7
music production 6
visuals 6
sound analysis 4
making apps 4
dance pieces 4
sound art 4

10. What other tools do you use?

Response Count
Reaper 57
Max/MSP 53
Ableton Live 39
hardware synths 33
Logic 30
Pure Data 26
Python 25
Audacity 24
Processing 20
Ardour 16
openFrameworks 16
Arduino 15
TidalCycles 12
Pro Tools 10
Bitwig Studio 9
Renoise 7
Jitter 6
Csound 5
Lilypond 5
OpenMusic 5

11. What are the biggest pain points you have encountered while using SuperCollider?

Response Count
documentation is outdated/missing/unclear 30
error messages from sclang are difficult to understand 22
difficult to understand sclang/server separation 18
debugging in sclang is difficult 17
sclang syntax is difficult 15
tutorials/introductory material are missing/difficult to use 13
IDE is missing features I want 11
sclang has too many ways to do things 8
making GUIs is difficult 7
sclang has no dynamic class loading 7

12. What resources have been useful to you in learning SuperCollider?

Resource Count
project documentation, tutorials, and guides 163
mailing list 79
Eli Fieldsteel tutorials 70
The SuperCollider Book (Wilson/Cottle/Collins) 69
classroom education 30
forum 24
sccode.org 23
YouTube videos 21
Nick Collins tutorial 18
internet 17
A Gentle Introduction to SuperCollider (Bruno Ruviaro) 15
friends and colleagues 13
reading code 13
Introduction to SuperCollider (Andrea Valle) 13
Slack 11
GitHub 10
workshops 10
Computer Music with Examples in SC 3 (Cottle) 9
Facebook group 6
meetups 4

13. How would you describe your experience learning SuperCollider?

See note above.

14. How has your experience been interacting with the SuperCollider community?

See note above.

15. Where do you discuss SuperCollider?

Venue Count
sc-users mailing list 143
Facebook group(s) 94
scsynth.org Discourse forum 81
sccode.org 72
GitHub issue tracker 48
sc-dev mailing list 47
Slack 38
I don’t participate in the SC community 31
colleagues/friends 13
lines forum (https://llllllll.co/) 9
talk.lurk.org 9
local meetups 8
r/supercollider subreddit 5
classmates/teachers/students 3
concerts/events 2
workshops 1
Twitter 1
IRC 1
Discord 1

16.-41. Development project ideas

See note on methodology above.

Idea Score
[UGens] Quality pitch/formant/time manipulation 535
[sclang] More and better compiler warnings and error messages 523
[sclang] A debugger that can support breakpoints and step through code interactively 462
[UGens] More reverbs 458
[UGens] More virtual analog filters 446
[UGens] Physical models of instruments 416
[UGens] More compressors 402
[IDE] Metering panels (volume meter, spectrograph, etc.) integrated into the main window 387
[UGens] Antialiased distortion 377
[IDE] Better autocomplete 377
[scsynth] scsynth as a VST guest 376
[scsynth] scsynth as a VST host 370
[scsynth] Efficient single-sample feedback 369
[sclang] Being able to load or reload class files without restarting sclang (“dynamic class loading”) 353
[IDE] More control over indentation 323
[IDE] Multiline cursor/block selection mode 315
[scsynth] Oversampling in the UGen graph 313
[IDE] Support for macros or snippets 311
[sclang] Being able to easily write and use C++ code in sclang (“language plugins”) 296
[IDE] Code folding 288
[sclang] Better looking GUI components 279
[scsynth] scsynth in the browser via WebAssembly 268
[IDE] Refactoring tools 253
[sclang] A namespace language feature 250
[IDE] Custom syntax highlighting support 238
[sclang] Support for Ableton Link 214

42. Suggestion box

See note above.

43. Where you would like to see the most development effort go in the future?

Component Count
tutorials and documentation 123
sclang (language) 118
UGens 116
scsynth (server) 101
IDE 82
interfaces with other tools 76
supernova (server) 48
stability 3
standalone support 2
MIDI 1
embedded system support 1
language interoperability 1
OSC visualization 1
mailing list / forum 1
easier to create UGens 1
support for older OS’s 1
SuperCollider project concept 1
video tutorials 1
sample-accurate timing 1
graphic/musical notation 1

44. I use SuperCollider as a(n) ____.

Response Count
Artist 234
Researcher 86
Teacher/Educator 82
Student 52
Hobbyist 7
Developer 2
Game developer 1
Music producer 1
Sound designer 1

45. How do you identify your gender?

Response Count %
male 210 85.02%
prefer not to respond 15 6.07%
female 13 5.26%
nonbinary 9 3.64%