Symbolic Sound Corporation

Founded in 1989 by Carla Scaletti and Kurt J. Hebel, the Symbolic Sound Corporation is dedicated to producing innovative software and hardware for sound.

Symbolic Sound is based in Champaign Illinois' "Silicon Prairie" just a few blocks from other advanced-technology companies like Wolfram Research (Mathematica), Volition Inc (video and computer games), NovaNET Learning (PLATO), and numerous other spin-offs of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Champaign is also home to an active live music scene including everything from "heartland" to experimental new music and a radio station just down the street from Symbolic Sound that simulcasts on the Internet ("The WEB").

SSC's international customer base includes musicians, sound designers, engineers, and scientists, all of whom are brought together in a virtual studio/research institute--sharing ideas and developments via the Internet.

About the Founders

Carla Scaletti is the designer of the Kyma language and the president of Symbolic Sound. A composer and computer scientist, her music is available under the Centaur and Opus One labels and her research is described in several book chapters and papers published in Computer Music Journal, Proceedings of the OOPSLA and SPIE conferences, Perspectives of New Music, and elsewhere. Dr. Scaletti is the founder and chair of SIGSound, a special interest group on sound computation in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a member of the advisory board for the Electronic Music Foundation, a member of the executive committee for the IEEE Task Force on Computer Music, and was for three years an editor of the International Computer Music Association newsletter ARRAY. Her doctorate is in music composition (with a minor in psychoacoustics), and she holds a master's of computer science (both degrees are from the University of Illinois). In a former life, i.e. during the 70's, she worked as a symphony harpist and wrote music for acoustic instruments...but that was before she first stumbled across an ARP2600...


Kurt J. Hebel, vice president of Symbolic Sound, has a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois where he taught courses in digital audio engineering, sound synthesis and processing algorithms, and DSP-programming before coming to Symbolic Sound full-time in 1995. His research has been published in the IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, Computer Music Journal, as well as several book chapters and conference proceedings. The designer of the Capybara-66 hardware and interface cards, Kurt has been designing, building and programming hardware and software for computer music for over 20 years, starting out with the KIM-1 based synthesizer he built in his parent's basement while still in high school, and including the Sound Conversion and Storage System for the University of Illinois School of Music (1984), a microprocessor called the Pigtail for controlling the CERL Sound Group IMS digital synthesizer (1981), the Platypus-a discrete logic DSP that he built with Lippold Haken in 1983, along with innumerable software projects ranging from spectral analysis programs to filter optimization software, to microcode assembly languages, and even a Macintosh shareware program called BigScreen Init (popular back in the days of the Mac 512 K and SE/30!). Dr. Hebel is a member of the IEEE, the AES, and has served as both newsletter editor and secretary of the International Computer Music Association.