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Stephan Bernsee – Master of Sound and Snow

Stephan M. Bernsee, founder of Prosoniq Products Software and DSP Dimension, is, among other things, an entrepreneur, an innovator, an audio expert, a soup-maker of sorts, and a giant among geniuses. He is a Signal Processing applications expert located in Mainz, Germany who now works as an independent technology provider licensing his developments to numerous companies in the audio market. “Stephan Bernsee is probably the greatest software engineer I ever met. He has a brilliant mind,” says Tolga Katas.

I first met Stephan in Colorado when he and Tolga were working on a project for GenAudio. Stephan M. Bernsee, founder of Prosoniq Products Software and DSP Dimension, is, among other things, an entrepreneur, an innovator, an audio expert, a soup-maker of sorts, and a giant among geniuses. This Signal Processing applications expert was born in Karlsruhe, Baden, Germany and currently resides in Mainz, Germany. Today he is working as an independent technology provider licensing his developments to numerous companies in the audio market.

Some of Stephan’s accomplishments will be interspersed between these remarkable photos provided from Stephan’s New Year and also 40th birthday in Southern Austria / Northern Italy. 

Speaking of his birthday, his gift from his friends will be a trip over the Alps in a hot air balloon. Stephan recently bought himself a brand new GoPro HD camera with a head mount so he could take pictures from his balloon trip.  “I’m so looking forward to it,” he said, “Though I’d imagine spending 4 hours at -22 F at an altitude of 16.000 feet will be pretty tough.”

Stephan is the inventor of the MPEX near-lossless time stretching and pitch shifting and continues to work on related projects. He also works on projects with auditory scene analysis and on the design and implementation of high speed neural computing and training methods. It’s no wonder that software engineers speak of this man with profound respect.

Being the audio icon that he is, I was happy to see him keeping his ears covered. I wonder if he has to have extra insurance for his ears?

His interest in music and DSP applications arose from his prior work as software consultant for a medical data processing company where he used Artificial Neural Networks for time series evaluation of medical data. He soon realized that the same technology could be successfully applied to audio processing and he subsequently developed the ANN-CASE Artificial Neural Network design tool for SGI computers that allowed parametrized development of ANN topologies and training methods on IRIX workstations. Did you get that?“Stephan is one of the world’s top audio DSP software engineers. His software development work is cream of the crop. ” Jerry Mahabub, GenAudio

Stephan has also pioneered several novel methods of analyzing and rebuilding audio signals at very high quality based on new transformation methods and highly optimized neural network processing. He also developed a multiresolution realtime resynthesis technology for sound reproduction for up to 56 voice polyphonic realtime sinusoidal resynthesis on a G4 processor. (I was actually thinking of doing something similar, but Stephan beat me to it. Darn.) No wonder Stephan needed a vacation in the Alps.

This is Stephan being domestic inside his Swiss chalet. Aside from being a DSP god, Stephan can apparently make soup.

He even adapted MPEX2 time compression/expansion technology for use in Steinbergs Cubase SX. Apparently, the music producers of the world owe a lot to this man and don’t even realize it.

“Stephan Bernsee is probably the greatest software engineer I ever met. He has a brilliant mind,” says Tolga Katas. “I have been an incredible fan of Stephan’s work going all the way back to the sonicWORX Audio Mastery program he wrote. His work is phenomenal.”

The accomplishments of Stephan’s are so in-another-universe that I confess I cut and paste phrases from his bio directly into this piece unaltered because I had no idea how to rewrite any of it. What I do know, however, is that Stephan is my friend on Facebook and he is nice, classy. His comments are kind, insightful, sometimes witty, sometimes direct, and I like him a lot. Everybody likes him.


Here’s more. Stephan Bernsee co-developed a product called “NorthPole” with Frederic Schelling. NorthPole is a 4pole resonant filter for the VST interface, to date still the most widely distributed free plug in for VST. Looking at the photos supplied, it seems like a fitting name, doesn’t it? He also developed realtime lead vocal reduction software based on adaptive, model-driven transform technology, later implemented in Pandora Realtime for sonicWORX.

Stephan was the architect behind the development of the Neuron synthesis technology used in the Hartmann Music range of products, and he won several innovation awards for it. Stephan continues to work on forensic voice separation and blind signal separation software for various clients and institutions.

Aside from skiing, ballooning, soup-making, and being an audio expert, Stephan also works in optics.  He developed a wavelet based image decomposition tool to allow for optically pleasing image scaling and transformation, an image filtering toolbox based on local fractional Fourier transforms used to enhance research data collected by a LCD sensor, and a real-time vision-aided onset detection and phoneme recognition software to aid in collecting data for a TTS database. If you know what any of that means, please comment accordingly. (Where’s my interpreter Dan Sokol when I need him?) As for me, I feel more comfortable commenting about sweets as seen in the photo below.

The desserts Stephan is about to eat look more delicious than a Martha Stewart confection. Yum. (That was the only semi-coherent comment I could make with any authority.) On that note, I will end with a quote from the master himself. And it will have nothing to do with audio.

“The food in Italy is always excellent, they make great wine and local specialties that are great (like Kaminwurz [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaminwurz], a sun dried smoked sausage, and Schüttelbrot [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schüttelbrot], a crunchy local bread variety).”  Stephan Bernsee

Learn more about Stephan Bernsee here.

5 Comments on this Post

  1. Didn’t I meet Stephan in Dusseldorf in 08? Perhaps that was another person. I yearn to go back so I can study German again.

    Reply
  2. Stephan is my hero, he really has an amazing brain. Very few people share his talent for positional and 3d audio!

    Reply
  3. Tolga Katas

    Brilliant mind! love his work, used his software all the time, juice!!!

    Reply
  4. Kostas Boukouvalas

    Great photos, great place, great person!

    Reply

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