Hints, Tips & News From The World Of Music Software
Spurred on by the successful reaction to our previous Steinberg and Dr.T support pages, we bring you a regular new column of hints, tips and news from the world of music software.
PLEASE NOTE: Product information contained within these pages is supplied directly by the software manufacturers, their UK distributors or agents. The intention is to provide a 'bulletin board' service for SOS readers who own or use software for any type of computer. Although we will occasionally publish new product information, the intention is to publicise update/upgrade news, bug fixings, hints and tips about any piece of software and computer peripherals. It is therefore up to all software companies to keep us posted.
When using your Universal Sound Designer to swap samples with friends who have other makes of sampler, remember that you'll have to re-programme the analogue parameters of the sampler you transfer the sound to. You should also remember that you'll have to change the sample rates if you want the same transposition to be in effect. Though there is no fancy 'sample rate conversion' function on Universal Sound Designer, at least you'll find a large number of supported samplers in the menu bar (just about every sampler on the market in fact!).
Christmas has come early this year for those lucky people who populate the ever-expanding world of MIDI: C-Lab Software are releasing updates for Creator, Notator and X-Alyzer, and have brought out three new products, Unitor, Explorer 32 and Explorer 1000.
Sound Technology must be in receipt of your registration to be able to notify you of updates, so this is an urgent request for everyone to ensure that Sound Technology knows of your existence by writing to them with your name, address and retailer's name. We will be starting a C-Lab 'Users' Club' soon, so any comments on what you would like to see in a newsletter would be welcome.
Version 2 of Notator adds a whole bunch of enhancements and additions, both to the integral score editing and printing capabilities, as well as to the sequencing side. We now have drum, guitar and chord notation, multiple clefs/key changes, snap entry of notes, a new part-box, etc.
Creator Version 2 brings existing Creator users up to the same level that Notator users have enjoyed, with features such as User-Defined Groove Design, Real-time MIDI Generation, Real-time Ghost Tracks etc, and additional enhancements (also now available in Notator) such as a new interactive display of note events called Graphic Matrix; a new step input method; the capability of re-mapping and/or altering incoming data as you play, called Real-time Transformation; nine different ways to record your music, including the possibility of changing tracks, instruments, etc, while cycle-recording without stopping the flow of music, called Dub Drop; MIDI File compatibility, and compatibility with Commander's Lynex Atari-based sampler.
C-Lab's new SMPTE/EBU synchroniser is fully supported by the new versions of Notator and Creator. This inexpensive but powerful piece of good-looking hardware comes in a soft bag and plugs into the Atari's cartridge slot at the side. Not only is it precise in its vertical timing (to within 100 microseconds) and very quick to transmit Song Pointers once SMPTE is detected (around 500 milliseconds), but all commands including unlimited tempo changes are conducted via the special synchroniser dialogue box. In addition, you have two more MIDI inputs with MIDI merge (all three inputs are individually addressable in the program) and two more MIDI outputs, giving you 32 further channels to play with, bringing the total number of channels the program will support to 96! The unit can both read and write SMPTE, EBU, and film code, and has a tempo resolution of 0.0001 bpm. Since Unitor is dedicated to Creator and Notator, it is the natural choice for those of you requiring synchronisation to the outside world.
X-Alyzer Version 1.2 contains updates for C-Lab's DX/TX librarian/editor/sample dump transformer, including a randomiser, duplicate sound eraser, and more.
Explorer 32 is a librarian/editor/convertor for the latest Roland synthesizers, the D110, D10, D20, MT32. With similar features to the semi-intelligent X-Alyzer, it allows you to have a single library of any length with a 'random access' approach to file retrieval, and the editor is highly graphic in its approach.
Explorer 1000 does similar things for the Oberheim Matrix 1000, 6 and 6R.
Only very occasionally will a PC-compatible computer not run Sequencer Plus. Of the new computers available we have found full compatibility with the model 25 and 30 versions of the new IBM PS/2 range of PCs. These retain the standard PC architecture, and will thus accept the OP4000/V4001/OP4001 MIDI interface cards. Also compatible are the Research Machines X series computers, and the Atari PC. The new Amstrad PC2000 series of PCs will also be compatible.
Sequencer Plus can take advantage of an EGA enhanced graphics card, showing 32 tracks per screen rather than 14, and 2½ octaves for note editing. To do so, boot Sequencer Plus from DOS with the command SEQ/EGA rather than just SEQ. Further tracks and a wider screen edit can be displayed using the Window Size command.
The command Add is useful for creating new blank bars, as it allows you to create bars of different time signatures within a track. But for a quicker method, move the cursor to a new bar location and press the Insert key. This will insert blank bars up to the cursor, using the default time signature.
If you are planning to print your Sequencer Plus files by exporting them to either The Copyist or Personal Composer, remember to quantise notes using the Transform command. Quantise on the main screen is non-destructive, ie. it just quantises notes on playback. Similarly, Transpose on the main screen functions on playback only. To make Transpose and Quantise permanent, use the appropriate Transform command. You will notice on the edit pages that notes have been permanently shifted. Quantising the duration as well as the start of notes will ensure a neater and more readable score.
ZSave will save your Sequencer Plus files in the old format (pre-Version 2.0). This will mean that it will convert your songs back to the 96 ppqn resolution. The new version of Dr.T's Copyist levels I to III still accept only these old format files.
If you need to dump a drum machine pattern or song across to Sequencer Plus, proceed as follows. Connect the MIDI Out of your drum machine to the In of your MIDI interface. Ensure that your drum machine is sending both note data and MIDI clock. Put Sequencer Plus into Xternal MIDI sync mode, and go into record on a track. Press Play on your drum machine, and wind the tempo up to maximum. Sequencer Plus will remain synchronised to your drum machine, and will faithfully record all your drum note data at maximum tempo (thus reducing the time it takes to transfer your drum parts).
One of our users has written a mouse driver for the Amstrad PC and Sequencer Plus. While on most pages the mouse is a pain, and you're better off using keystrokes, on the edit pages the mouse can be useful. The two mouse buttons enable the inserting and deleting of notes, and dragging increases the note duration. The driver program takes up very little memory, and is installed before running Sequencer Plus. Contact Computer Music Systems for full details.
From the number of enquiries we receive, even the new Pro24 Version III manual insufficiently explains the potential of the Iterative Quantise functions. These facilities are available on the Grid and Drum editors of Pro24, as 'Q' in the Grid editor and from the 'mini-menus' of the Drum editor. The basic idea of this form of quantisation is to move the relevant note events half the distance towards the 'frame' dictated by the current quantise values. So, if a note occurs 6 clocks alter a beat, and you perform an iterative quantise, the note will be moved 3 clocks towards the beat.
There is a trick in that the finer the quantise framework, the smaller the fraction. This can make the after-effects of your quantisation much more acceptable in that the playing retains its humanity. There are also a whole lot more tricks which you can try in conjunction with the other facilities of the Drum editor.
Now that you've grasped the idea of 'half-quantising' things, consider also the notion of quantising specific notes individually. You might dwell upon the idea of iterative quantising particular notes to 'threes'. Try the following recipe for a fresh Pro24 song; loop a bar of the Drum editor and write a kick drum hit for every other beat (at a tempo of about 85). Now switch the 'grid' of your snare to 8T, and write a snare hit on the third 'mini-beat' of each beat. Now for the tricky bit: switch the snare grid back to 16 and then perform an iterative quantise on the snare. This will move all those snare hits halfway back. Now repeat all of that bar for the duration of your pattern. Anything further which you add on a 'square' pulse will pull the groove to 4; anything suggesting a triplet will pull to 3. For the moment, just fill in the groove a little bit with some Hi-Hat on some of the empty 16th hits.
After getting four bars of the above together, record four bars of an 8th note bass groove on another track. You might quantise this firmly to 8ths. This will root your groove in a square time. Your snares will tug at the beat, sort of 'playing' with the bass and the kick drum. Now you can go mad on the Drum Edit. Any snares which you fire on the 16th notes will bounce, they end up sounding early to your brain. Of course, you can extend the technique to all your percussion sounds too. Another good starting place is to write hits with the grid set to 16T and then iterative quantise them to 16 or 8.
Using Pro24's Song Arrange feature can give you a lot of freedom when considering how best to order the sections of your song. You can very quickly change the structure of your work and try out new schemes. However, because the feature works in conjunction with separate patterns, if you want to do some Logical Editing, or similar, you'll have to perform the operation on each pattern you are using for that track.
One of the easiest ways to make such editing a 'doddle' is to simply Mix Down your Song Arrangement onto a spare track (remember to set that track to play no MIDI Channel). Then you can treat the track as a single unit for editing purposes, or Re-Mix the MIDI Channels back out to their separate values in order to make things easier to see on the Edit screens.
Many users seem to be unaware that on most Steinberg programs virtually every number which you can edit directly with the mouse buttons (scrolling their values up or down by holding the Left or Right mouse buttons) can have its 'scroll rate' increased by a factor of 10.
There are a couple of strategies you can use to set your Locator positions on Pro24. Depending on how you work you may like to use one of them exclusively. To set the Locators you can: Press the
Yes, SMP24 Version 1.5 is finally ready for shipping! Please make sure that Evenlode Soundworks knows that you are an SMP owner, that way you will be sent the necessary EPROM automatically. Did you know that there is editing software available for your SMP24? Just ask and you shall receive!
The latest version of EZ Score Plus, Version 1.1, is now available, and incorporates many new features suggested by users as well as preparing for the data sharing features when used together with HybriSwitch. These include: improved print quality; ability to move individual notes and choose vertical placement of Metronome marks. Rehearsal marks and Endings; free placement of text (in any font) anywhere on the screen; and more sophisticated beaming and note tying features.
Ludwig is a new Hybrid Arts program which does for a composer what DX/CZ Android's Android functions do for synthesizer programmers. It is a program for generating musical sequences which can be used as is or modified and incorporated into a larger composition.
Ludwig's realtime parameter control enables sequences to be modified while they are playing. It organises music into eight parallel tracks and offers drum machine style programming and real-time algorithmic composition with note and chord improvisation from a user-definable scale. Tracks do not contain MIDI data but lists of up to 1024 instructions instead, which are used to generate MIDI data in a 'play buffer'. This can be played from within Ludwig or saved as a SNG. file, or to another Hybrid program's KEEP buffer via the HybriSwitch data sharing mechanism.
The 'Buy Back' path is one of Hybrid Arts' central philosophies. Any software that has an upgrade path, such as sequencing, scoring and ADAP, is included within this system. Hybrid's UK distributor, Syndromic Music, will buy back your existing software at the price you paid for it (less VAT) - you pay the difference between that price and the retail price of your required software, plus a £12.50 upgrade fee. However, for this to occur your warranty card must have been returned.
Software updates up to 'final release' versions are free of charge. After the final release, future upgrades and enhancements will be charged for accordingly.
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