Tag Archives: signal

siggen: Much to see, much to hear

Another brief tool this morning, and not so much because I don’t know how to use it, but more because I’m not sure what I’d use it for. This is siggen:


siggen is, as you might have already deduced, a signal generator, and in layman’s terms that means a sound creator. siggen lets you pick the quality, audio shape, gain, mono or stereo and so forth, and will produce a sound of those dimensions.

Using siggen is very easy; the tab key will cycle you through the fields, arrows increment the values or you can edit them directly. This means you can call on very specific shapes and sound forms, provided of course that your speakers can generate them.

siggen has some command-line flags, but they appear to be mostly settings that are available to you through the interface. So you can use them to set “default” values, if you like.

A few caveats: First, siggen is slightly old, and so it still seeks out /dev/dsp as your sound device. The easiest way I found to corral siggen was through the alsa-oss tool, and simply start both as aoss siggen. Perfectly usable and hearable.

Next, be aware that the settings are applied as soon as you change them. There’s no “apply” button or any sort of delay. So be careful with the gain value, if you’re tinkering with siggen at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. 😯

And like I mentioned, the real bottleneck in using siggen — or any other sound generation tool — is the quality of your speakers. It’s easy to see where hardware is the real limiting factor here, since crappy speakers probably won’t do much to make siggen enjoyable.

Having said all that, and knowing what little I know about signal generation, I’m still searching for a reason to need this tool, aside from oscilloscope calibration. 🙄 It’s none of my business I suppose, since everyone uses a tool in their own way.

One last thing: I usually give points to programs for using color, but this time I’m on the fence. siggen’s color scheme is a bit of an encumbrance to me, but I’ll let it stand as proof that I don’t just hand out gold stars to any colorful interface. 😐

P.S.: In Debian, but apparently not in Arch/AUR.