Dr T's Tiger Cub
Commodore Amiga Software
Following its success as an Atari ST sequencing/notation program, Tiger Cub finds itself available to Commodore Amiga owners. Ian Waugh gets a new pet.
THAT BASTION OF Amiga music, Dr T's software emporium, has been at the conversion juice again. This time it's the turn of Tiger Cub (review v1.0) the Atari ST incarnation of which was reviewed in depth in our September '90 issue.
Operation is virtually identical to the ST version so swallow your pride, Amigies, and read the original review. Of course, where improvements and enhancements can be made to take advantage of the Amiga's extra facilities, Dr T's have done so.
On booting, the program asks how much memory you want to reserve for it, and then you're into one of the two main screens - the Tape Recorder screen.
In case you missed it, Cub is based on Dr T's TIGER graphic editor program but unlike TIGER, Cub is a fully-fledged sequencer with 12 tracks and simple scorewriting facilities.
Editing is performed on a grid editor which is relatively easy to use and quite powerful. The traditional horizontal bars which represent the notes have attached vertical bars which represent velocity. One of the most interesting features is the graphic display of information such as Program Change, Velocity, Pitchbend, Aftertouch, Mod Wheel, Breath Controller, Foot Pedal and Volume. These can be edited, graphically, with the mouse, allowing you to draw in controllers which your transmitting equipment may not possess.
A 13th track is also available from the Edit screen. This is a Conductor track where you can insert time signatures and tempo changes.
Another extremely powerful feature of the program is its ability to select sounds by name. You can create a list of the sounds stored in up to six separate MIDI instruments and enter the number(s) of the MIDI channel(s) they can receive on. If something is recorded on one of the channels, the instrument's name appears in the Instrument column on the recording screen.
Taken a stage further, this would allow you to specify sounds by name rather than by MIDI channel and program change number. A module is already under consideration which will interrogate your system and read the connected instruments so the process will be as automatic as possible.
Dr T's MPE (Multi Program Environment) allows two or more programs to exist in memory at the same time and, if their design allows, to share the same music data. The Amiga version of the MPE can handle up to 18 MPE modules - but you won't be able to load all those in a 1Meg machine. There doesn't seem to be a facility to delete a MPE module, unlike the ST version.
The Quickscore module runs in the MPE although, like the ST version, the supplied program only works with Cub and not from within any other program's MPE which sort of defeats the object of the MPE exercise, methinks. Although it stops you passing it onto a friend who may have KCS.
I gotta say, too, that I had problems getting Quickscore up and running. It either didn't want to load and sent me back to the workbench (insufficient free memory, I suspect) or it seemed to load but locked out the controls when I re-entered Cub. Accessing the menu bar locked the computer up completely. When Quickscore did load, the menu options had no effect, not even the Quit option. Either my system was acting up or there's a software problem (I'm prepared to accept either explanation). Having said that, I had problems with the ST version crashing, too.
Quickscore is actually a cut-down version of Dr T's Copyist. It converts music within Cub into music notation. It's purely a display option and any editing you wish to do to the music must be done from within Cub rather than Quickscore, although there are many display options to help get the display right. You can select a treble, bass or drum clef. This uses a set of drum notation symbols corresponding to the note/drum assignments on Roland's MT32.
The other major benefit of the Amiga version is the facility to use the Amiga's sampled sound system to play the music. You do, of course, need a keyboard or MIDI input device to put the music into Cub in the first place (unless you're happy to click notes into it) but if you're short of sounds, the IFFs can help out.
It's worth remembering that these use memory and some files refused to load all the samples with an Insufficient Memory error, even on a 1Meg machine. It's also worth remembering that Quickscore requires memory, too, and if you give it all to Cub on booting, you won't be able to load it. Memory is not assigned dynamically.
The sounds can be handled individually or in banks and there are a couple of cute hip hop demos on the disk. Samples include a dog bark which I thought sounded a bit wuff (all this tiger talk is making me catty).
The same gripes I had about the ST version apply here, too, but the Amiga is not so well endowed with sequencers as the ST so picky criticisms become less relevant.
The main competition comes from some of Dr T's own programs and none is a direct competitor. For a budget-priced program it's extremely well specified and even includes features not found on top-of-the-range sequencers on any machine. Just make sure Quickscore loads into your machine.
Price £99 including VAT
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Review by Ian Waugh
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