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Hacked-2-Basics 0.9

by Jeff Robertson <>

What does it do?

Hacked-2-Basics mixes and continuously loops up to 10 sounds. Each sound is mapped to one of the numerical keys of the keyboard which is used to toggle that individual sound on and off.

Hacked-2-Basics is designed to run on low-end computers with low-end soundcards. It was developed and tested on a 133 mhz machine with 80 megs of RAM and a Soundblaster 16. It has a simple text UI, no fancy graphics. I suppose it is theoretically possible that your hardware might even be "too good" to run Hacked-2-Basics.

What does it not do?

This is a very basic program. It only works with raw, 8-bit, mono, linear PCM files. You will need to use SOX or something similar to convert other formats.

It should be trivial to write a shell or Perl script to autoconvert sounds with SOX before invoking Hacked-2-Basics. I would do this myself but I'm too lazy.

What does it look like?

Here's a screenshot, which mostly goes to show how basic the interface is:
hacked-2-basics screenshot

Okay... what does it sound like?

Here is a recording of me messing around with the sounds that are included by default when you download it.

Why was it written?

Mostly because I've never done anything involving (sorta) real-time audio processing, and I find the whole subject quite fascinating. This project was sort of a way to play around with stuff and get my feet wet.

Also, in my professional career I've been writing high-level business-related code for so long that I really wanted a chance to do something more basic.

Where did the name come from?

The name is a reference to Back to Basics by Operation Reinformation. This program was very loosely inspired by me playing with the Windows beta version of Back to Basics for about 15 minutes one day. This is not by any means an attempt to clone the features of O.R.I.'s product. Hacked-2-Basics is a toy. If the name bothers anybody I will change it.

What do I need before I can use this?

Where do I get it?

Download the source code from the SourceForge project.

How do I compile it?

If you have everything listed above, just untarring it and typing Make should work.

How do I run it?


h2b [options] soundfile1 [soundfile2 ...]


-f <n> DSP fragment size (will be rounded DOWN to nearest power of 2)
-b <n> Size of buffer to use for mixing sounds
-r <n> Sample rate
-o <file> Save performance as audio file
-d Clip oversamples to simulate analog distortion


What's next?

I'd like to maybe re-write this so it uses ESounD instead of claiming exclusive use of /dev/dsp. If anyone is interested in helping with this, let me know.

What kind of license does this have?

Hacked-2-Basics is in the public domain.