Roni Music Sweet 16
sequencer for the Atari ST, TT and Falcon
Article from Music Technology, December 1993
A 16-track package from weden for the ST, TT or Falcon. Any resemblance to Creator is not coincidental
A Swedish program which owes much to the basic principles of Creator at a knock-down price. Ian Waugh sucks it and sees...
Without getting drawn into such questions as, "Why does anyone want to write another sequencer for the ST?" let's take it for granted that someone does. And, indeed, someone has - one Rolf Nilsson from Sweden. The accompanying blurb claims the design is "based on tried and trusted 'Creator' principles", leaving one to wonder what C-Lab/Emagic think about it.
There are resemblances, in a cut-down sort of way; Sweet 16 allows 16 patterns each of 16 tracks to be linked together in a Song window. There are several Creator-type functions and the program can support an additional 16 MIDI channels using a device such as ModemMIDI or MIDI+.
The program may be copied to a hard disk but it uses the original disk as a key disk. It will run in high or medium screen resolution and only requires half a Mb of RAM for a storage capacity of around 45,000 events. It even worked on my Falcon.
The tracks have Mute, Transpose, Loop, Delay, Compress, Velocity, Quantise and MIDI Channel parameters, all of which may be applied in real time during playback and don't permanently affect the tracks. Altering values may be carried out by means of the Modify Track function; this lets you apply changes to a section of a track so you can quantise just a couple of bars if you wish. Nice.
You can copy, merge and delete tracks a la Creator by clicking and dragging, and copy part of a track to another track and pattern using locator boxes - not unlike those used by Creator. There are also similar Keep and Delete functions, and a cut-down Transform. In lieu of a scale function, remap lets you convert Modulation into Volume data, for example, to create fades. Other functions shorten notes to prevent them overlapping and insert missing Note Offs.
A piano roll editor running vertically down the screen (rather than left-to-right) allows you to move notes and alter their length by clicking and dragging, and also to delete and insert notes - the snap function ensuring these fall on the required divisions of the beat. There's also an event editor - again similar to that in Creator - with a filter for masking events you don't want to see.
The manufacturers claim you can do anything you like while playing (let's, for the sake of argument, assume it means to the program). This is true for the most part but a few functions (such as splitting a track into individual MIDI channels, a process the program calls Remixing) make playback go out the window.
In Song mode you can link up to 32 patterns, setting the pattern length and a Transpose value. And it's possible to use tracks which have an upbeat by setting a 'Pre Start' value. Similar to but not quite as beefy as Creator's arrange facilities.
As well as saving complete Songs, you can load and save patterns and tracks along with Standard MIDI Files and the program supports external sync and Song Pointers - which is more than some sequencers do.
Such a budget program is bound to have shortcomings, but functionally these are surprisingly few. That said, it does require the Buttonfix accessory (which is supplied) to enable double-click functions such as naming patterns and tracks. This is ostensibly for the STE but I found I had to use it on my STF. And even with Buttonfix, the double-clicks don't work on the Falcon. There are keyboard alternatives for naming patterns and tracks but not entries in the Song list.
The manual is minimal to say the least. Only 12 pages long, it has no index, no contents page and no piccies. It endorses James Joyce's opinion of the paragraph, and it has the temerity to include a loose two-page list of New Features!
It seems to have been translated by the author and although there are no major bloomers there are enough minor ones to offend my grammatical sensibilities. Not that the program is difficult to use, but I'd estimate it would have taken about half a day to run the manual past a native English muso and perhaps a couple of days to add some pics and knock it into shape. Sweet 16 could have been a good first sequencer but with this manual a raw beginner may well find it hard going. I had few problems with the program but then I have the advantage of being fully Notator literate.
In spite of its 'cut-down' feel, the program has a goodly number of powerful features and when stacked against other very low-budget programs it comes out rather well. If you have a smattering of sequencing ability and have hankered after Creator it could be just what you've been looking for. But don't expect too much. After all, it's only fifty quid.
|Ease of use||A cinch for Creator users|
|Value for money||Lots of features at a nice price|
|Star Quality||It basks in reflected glory|
|Price||£49.95 (plus £1.50 p&p)|
|More from||Hands On MIDI Software, (Contact Details)|
Gear in this article:
Review by Ian Waugh
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