CDP Home Page

Composers Desktop Project Ltd. – a Social Enterprise
 Sound Design with a Difference
~ macOS and Windows ~

CDP: Software for Sound Design
  • The art of designing sound has been at the core of contemporary composition innovation for at least 100 years. This takes many forms, such as highly inventive 'Foley' sound-effects, designing all kinds of new instruments, sound installations, the synthesis of sound by computer, and the transformation of recorded sound 'samples' by both analogue and digital means, as well as real-time improvisations on laptops.

  • Already established in the fields of electronic and electroacoustic composition, sound design has become mainstream in film, computer games, animations, advertising, and songs.

  • The CDP software, first released in 1987, now contains hundreds of ways to transform digitally sampled sound. Its software belongs to the musique concrète category, as realised on computer. Processing is off-line. Although the processing is often faster than real-time, several processes could not run in real-time for technical reasons.

  • The CDP software can be run via one of the two available GUIs or via command line / batch file.

  • Based in the UK, CDP is an international network of composers and programmers guided by a vision of amazing sonic possibilities and how they can be woven into the fabric of music. We have been working together since 1986. About CDP and its approach.
Free Download: CDP Core Sound Transformation Software
A free download of our core sound transformation & editing software and documentation is now available. It is being released under a GNU Lesser General Public Licence (LGPL) and includes our full Release 7.1 package, the Soundshaper GUI for PC, and the Sound Loom GUI for both MAC & PC.
  • There is an excellent overview of what is available in the CDP software package prepared by Robert Fraser: CDP Guide

  • The full Reference Documentation can also be viewed on Robert's Site.

  • Visit the CDP System and the Options tabs for more information.

  • Among a variety of tutorial materials, our three primary CDP Tutorial Workshops are also a free download – for these please click on the Workshops tab.

  • There have now been over a terabyte of free downloads.

Donations/Sponsors Welcomed
The core CDP developers are working hard to re-imagine CDP in an online public domain context. Since free download, we are reliant on donations to maintain the organisation and the software. Please donate what you can when you can. Sponsors have the option to tie in with one or other specific project.

We would like to acknowledge donations from Arthur Green, Stephen Goldstein, Tom DeLio, Richard Dobson, Carlos Gonzales Bolaños and Gregorio Lozano Galan.

Featured Composer
Our most recent Featured Composer was Harry-Ed Roland, resident in Berlin and an imaginative CDP user for many years. His compositions that feature the use of CDP software are listed in Links to People and Music (scroll down to 'Harry-Ed Roland').

Sadly, Harry-Ed passed away in September 2022. Archer Endrich has presented a brief personal note here.

Online User Forum
The CDP online user forum, set up and run by Simon Kunath, enables the CDP community to ask questions about the software and get answers from other users, and also report possible software bugs. Software updates are regularly annouced here too.

CDP Privacy Policy
In line with the new government directives coming into force on 25 May 2018, CDP has revised its Privacy Policy. The text explains that since the advent of the free downloads, CDP no longer maintains a database of users as it is impossible to do so. We do not send out 'mailshots'. The Privacy Policy document describes in detail how any personal information is held and used.

Additional Information
  • Interview with Trevor Wishart, key creative programmer for CDP. He was awarded the Giga-Herz grand prize in 2008, and is here interviewed by ZKM Radio.

  • The Options tab is where you can purchase ProcessPack, a printed and bound copy of the CDP Desk Reference and 2 now rare CDs of Richard Orton's music: a selection of his electroacoustic music and Timescape, premiered in York Minster.

  • Visit the Links tab for information about other free software complementary to CDP and about composers who make use of the CDP software.

  • Archer has written a Personal Recollection of Richard Orton, who died on 12 February 2013. He also wrote a more detailed obituary for Organised Sound Vol 18(3) 2013, pp. 235-239.
  • Please note that CDP's main contact email address is now: cdpse9(at)

CDP:  The Composers' Desktop Project Limited, a social enterprise
The official name of CDP is now 'Composers Desktop Project Ltd' and it has a bespoke Articles that define it as a social enterprise. It is registered at Companies House, company number 8733839. The Directors are listed on the Contacts page.

Last updated 26 August 2023