What we care about:
Inspiration vs. Emulation. We approach algorithms from a psychoacoustics perspective. For us, creating bigger and better sounds is more important (and fun) than exactly duplicating physical reality. Same goes for emulations of old gear. We’ll spend a lot of time reproducing the cool quirks found in old gear, but extending them into new realms. We want to pay homage and contribute something new. In the end, it is the sound that counts.
Minimalism. We crave clean lines, space and underlying order. Simplicity. We are rigorous with ourselves to remove anything that will slow you down. You can see this in our flat GUIs, minimalist algorithms and modular plugin design.
Evolution. Our tools stay alive because we add new algorithms and keep up with compatibility updates. Here’s our product release history:
Your Creativity. That’s why we’re here.
I’m obsessed. Seriously. I am utterly and completely obsessed with digital signal processing algorithms for audio. I am thankful that I am in a position where I can create the tools that I have been thinking about for all these years. My goal is to create powerful tools with simple interfaces, and for these tools to be used by musicians and other artists to create things of great beauty.
I approach algorithms from a psychoacoustics perspective: The most elegant math in the world doesn’t matter to me if it doesn’t sound good. Replicating physical reality is not nearly as important to me as creating the impression of sounds that are bigger and better than the physical world. My work is grounded in a deep appreciation and analysis of the analog and digital techniques of the past, and extending these foundations into new directions of awesome. I hang out at the intersections of the academic world of “computer music,” the commercial world of music gear and the popular music world inhabited by Black Sabbath, Brian Eno and Warp Records.
My earliest projects were conducted in my basement trying to teach myself analog circuitry and learning how to create different effects boxes for guitar. My theoretical knowledge ended up quickly surpassing my soldering skills, so I moved over to digital techniques in 1998 and talked my way into a year long course in computer music at the University of Washington. That was in the olden days, so I worked in Csound. It would take hours to compile a few minutes of sound. While in school, I developed a number of algorithms that continue to influence my work today, including emulations of analog frequency shifters, new filters, and time-varying reverberators.
I joined a small startup company in 1999 (Staccato Systems) that was developing physical models for video games, and spent way too much time working on car engine sounds. Fortunately, I worked with some real geniuses at Staccato Systems, who shared my passion for novel audio techniques. In 2001, Staccato Systems was purchased by Analog Devices, where I spent the next 6 years working on audio algorithms and development tools for the SHARC and Blackfin DSPs.
Starting in 2007, I struck out as a consultant, developing a wide variety of (mostly) interesting audio algorithms for several clients. In 2009, I worked with the good folks at Audio Damage, developing the reverberation algorithms for the mighty Eos. After Eos, I retired as a consultant, and dedicated my full-time energies towards my own company, Valhalla DSP.
In the late summer of 2009, I released ValhallaFreqEcho, which marked the first plugin distributed under my own brand. In October 2010, I released my first commercial plugin, ValhallaShimmer. 2011 saw the release of ValhallaRoom and ValhallaÜberMod, late 2012 saw the arrival of ValhallaVintageVerb, and 2015 saw the release of ValhallaPlate. I am currently at work on a variety of future plugins and other products.
Valhalla DSP represents a long-standing dream of creating and selling tools directly to artists. Me happy.