Getting and installing it

Time to update this page a little bit for 2009….

First, a little reminiscing…When I first wrote this I was making the transition from Windows 2000 to XP. Well, my descent to the Dark Side is complete and I have to admit I am now content with XP. Along the way I got a new computer as well (a purpose-built extremely quiet system based on an Intel Core 2 Quad).

So I have to reiterate that although Csound is available for MacOS and Linux I’m going to concentrate on Windows in this blog. I’m sure there are plenty of other references for other platforms. Besides, if you have the guts to try to run Linux to begin with, you certainly don’t need any help from the likes of me.

In fact, you actually get the Csound source code and compile it yourself, if you’re the hardest of hard-core hackers. But for my taste I download the pre-built executables and installer for my Windows system. Not having a spare several dozen hours on my hands.

As of this writing (6 Apr 2010) the latest released version of Csound is 5.12! But at the moment, there aren’t any built executables for we Windows users. This will hopefully be rectified in short order; of course you can use previous versions until.

As always, the best place to start to download the package is at this URL: (A direct link to the list of recent available versions is here: )

(Incidentally, the SourceForge page also appears to be updated and is much more informative and helpful than before. The place to get the software is via the DOWNLOAD link.)

Unfortunately, in order for SourceForge to continue, they are now needing to sell advertising space. So when you go to the download link you’ll see what looks like a form you have to fill out. Just ignore it and your download should occur automatically.

For recent versions there are “-d” and “-f” versions, which you can identify by looking at the names of the files to download. For instance, for version 5.10 there are two options which are explained as follows:

Csound 5.10 (“double precision” version) Windows installer with a Csound that uses 64-bit floating-point samples. Includes CsoundAC, language wrappers, and other optional components.
Csound 5.10 (regular “floating point” version” Windows installer with a Csound that uses 32-bit floating-point samples. Includes CsoundAC, language wrappers, but a smaller set of optional parts than the ‘d’ installer.

These are both approximately 29 MB downloads.

I personally can’t imagine why I would require 64-bit samples, but it seems the -d download version contains “everything.” So why not go ahead and download it? In terms of this issue, of late I’ve seen a couple postings on the csound discussion list, where someone did some performance testing of the -d vs. -f versions and found there was essentially no difference (on a relatively new machine.)

The installation should proceed without too much fanfare. This part is not so hard!

Once you have the package downloaded and installed, I recommend you trawl through the various subdirectories and examine the tutorials and examples. Beware of getting wrapped around the axle however; because of the great age of Csound, there’s tons of obsolete, irrelevant and dead-end stuff in there that has never been removed. There’s really no master roadmap that gives you the simplest way to start–experimentation is required!

Last updated 20100406

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