About Me

My name is Sean Costello. I have been developing audio DSP for the past 15 years, with 14 of those years in a professional context. My early work was in an academic context, using Csound as my programming environment.

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. 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.

From 2007 through 2009, I have been working as a consultant, creating a wide variety of (mostly) interesting audio algorithms for a variety of clients. Since 2010, I have released a number of audio plugins (VST/AU/RTAS/AAX) through my own company, Valhalla DSP.

My goal with this blog is to talk about some of the audio DSP subjects that I am obsessed with, in a manner that bridges the technical with the musical and philosophical.

9 thoughts on “About Me

  1. OK, so this may seem a little odd, and has nothing to do with audio in any way, but I have a question about your sig over at Gearslutz.com. That quote “College boy thinks he’s too good for the sing-along beard, huh?” is from a comic I’d seen online years ago that has since disappeared. Do you know who wrote it? Is it available anywhere?

    I apologize for spamming your about page, but I couldn’t find another way to contact you.

    Anyway, tia.

    • Hi Scott:

      The quote is from “The Magic Whistle” by Sam Henderson. You can find a link to his stuff here. I have several issues of his comic, and a book that compiles a bunch of his stuff, but I couldn’t find the original strip just now. My guess is that you can write him and ask where to find it.

      And yeah, I searched the web for any reference to this particular comic, and the only place I found any info was your website. Around 10 years ago, these comics were the hit of lunchtime at Staccato Systems, where I was working. Michael Kupperman was also mighty popular with the same crowd – better drawings, similar sense of humor. The Stranger (a Seattle free weekly newspaper) used to run strips by Henderson, Kupperman, Tony Millionaire, and some guy called Smell of Steve, Inc. All worth checking out.

  2. Awesome! Every six months or so I would search for that; I can’t believe that you, me, and K. Thor Jensen are the only ones quoting this. The rest of his Magic Whistle comics look like they definitely belong in the “how the hell am I just now learning of this” file.

    Many thanks. I owe you one internet.

  3. hi Sean, big Valhallashimmer fan here. Wish list: I wish it had a control change function that would *reset* the reverb in full flight. With this I could build a damper pedal like on the piano that wouldn’t be pressed down all the time (as it is now) but that could be lifted and pressed down again for a new chord. I’d love to have that

  4. Are your c++ audio modules going to be made available in some form? I’d LOVE to get high quality reverb algorithms into my PD patches! (without piping audio into an external application that is)

  5. Sean – I have loved you and your inane computer chatter – bleep blorp – since college. I once read that Valhalla, in old Norse, meant “home of the world’s best haggis”. How has that affected the obvious tension in your work between you being Irish but trying to co-opt Scandinavian counter-culture?

    • First of all, Bik, Haggis is a Scottish food. Drisheen would be a more properly Irish dish.

      Secondly, a cursory study of Irish history, and the habits of the Vikings that visited Ireland, makes it highly likely that there is more than a little Norseman in me.

      I’ve got the reverb beard nowadays, which I like to think makes me look like a Viking, but ends up looking way too much like Kris Kringle in “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” Or a straight bear.

  6. Sean, I´ve just purchased your Valhalla card for Tip Top DSP, and I can say that your effects are stunning, really capturing the essence of the imperfection and warmth of the old digital reverb algorhythms, congratulations!! They stay right beside my Binson Echorec II to créate spiralling walls of suspenden sound!! Greetings from CHile!! Ottavio

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