Hints, tips and news from the world of music software.
Here's a useful tip that involves creative use of Creator's new Transform function Randomiser on a drum track to introduce a live, fresh feel to the snare.
Record your drum track using a single snare as usual, then sample three or four different snare hits into your favourite sampler; assign each snare hit to a separate (consecutive) note. Now go to the Transform window, click on 'Default'. Then, in the 'Value 1' column of the 'event to be transformed', scroll to the 'equals' condition and scroll or type in the note of your existing snare; leave the Result line as it is. Now, in the lower lefthand area, insert 'one' where it says 'value X may be processed'; switch Multiply on and set to 0.0. Switch Random on and insert the MIDI notes of the lowest and highest note you have assigned to the snares where it says 'Start' and 'End' (remembering to add one extra note to the End value, since all Start or Left values are inclusive, and all End or Right values are exclusive). Now click 'OK'.
The result of all this is that rather than playing your original snare sound all the time, each snare strike in the drum track will be a random choice of one of the several different snare samples you have assigned. A variation on this technique would be to use the same sampled snare, but assign detuned versions of it to consecutive keys: not quite so convincing, but it saves on sampler memory space.
Perhaps the best part of this is that you can do all the above in real time, as you play! When in the Transform window, set everything up as above, then click in the black real-time area; this takes you into the input handling window, where you should scroll to the Transform set number you are using (1-10) under the relevant MIDI input (choice of three with Unitor). From now on all your playing of the main snare key will be automatically randomly assigned to the other notes. Bliss.
C-Lab's new tape synchroniser, Unitor, is so quick to start that in most cases there is no delay between starting the tape and hearing Notator or Creator - the whole tape machine/sequencer system acts as one, since Unitor does not have to convert SMPTE timecode to MIDI clock data. Instead, Unitor injects the code straight into the Atari's processor. Entering tempo changes is simple: first put in P-User tempo changes into a track where you want them to happen, then run the tape to feed SMPTE into the synchroniser and press [Shift] + [W], Run the program for as long as you need the music to last, then stop. All your tempo changes are now stored in the 'Sync Reference' and you can delete the P-User track; you can edit the SMPTE offset to round it off to the nearest second, if you like.
An even quicker way to load tempo changes (but which does not allow for the positioning of specific changes to the nearest pulse, as above) is to change the tempo while you are writing the sync reference. All tempo changes and SMPTE offsets are stored as part of a song.
Real-time 'Ghost Tracks' is an invaluable feature for addressing more than one MIDI channel at a time as you play, with the added flexibility of being able to give each Ghost its own set of parameters (transpose, velocity compression/expansion, zone, plus delay when the program is running).
To set a real-time Ghost Track, make an empty track ghost another empty track by scrolling up the appropriate Ghost value (you can then make copies of the Ghost track by copying it to other empty tracks using the mouse dragging technique). Then assign different MIDI channels to all the tracks involved and play the keyboard: your playing is instantly assigned to all the tracks and therefore to the MIDI devices receiving on those channels. This means never having to touch the devices and switch them to 'Omni On' or switch them to the same channel if you want to layer sounds prior to or while recording.
The resolution of Notator and Creator is currently set at 192 pulses per quarter note (768 pulses per bar), which is eight times higher than the MIDI clock rate (24 ppqn). A lot of disinformation is put out by various sources about the internal resolution of sequencers. The bottom line is this: at 192 ppqn, Creator and Notator almost reach the limits of what MIDI is able to recognise in terms of timing; a Note-On plus a Note-Off require just under two milliseconds of transmission time. One C-Lab resolution pulse (at a tempo of 120 bpm) arrives every 2.6 milliseconds; you could make out a case for increasing the internal resolution to match the two millisecond timing, but what you certainly do not want to do is to reduce the resolution to make the recognition rate coarser. C-Lab believe that a resolution of at least 192 ppqn is essential to fully capture the subtleties of human playing. The other vital benefit of a high resolution is the ability to shift data to the nearest 2.6ms (at 120 bpm) to create the exact timing environment you are seeking - it all makes sense really, in the same way that you would use a fine paintbrush, and not a yard broom, to paint a beautiful picture.
We were a little dumbfounded to receive a call on the Help Line from a user asking about the Centronics lead which came with their SMP24 MIDI/SMPTE Processor, which they had been using with their Pro24 for "some months now". We informed the caller that the lead was used to connect the SMP24 and an Atari running Pro24, so that synchronisation control could be exercised from the computer. We invite any other owners of this hard/software combination who are not using their Centronics leads to get in touch for clarification.
SMP24 owners should also get in touch with Evenlode Soundworks in order to ensure they receive software update 1.6. The engineers at Steinberg are working so fast that press times and EPROM blowers cannot keep up. Those of you who were updated to 1.5 might like to contact us again.
We've noted that a few recent releases of MIDI equipment have what we can only describe as 'weedy' implementations in terms of their electronics. Naming no names, if your synth 'disappears' from your MIDI setup when in use, check that it isn't a case of too many MIDI Thru connections in the line. It seems that in some cases the Thru voltage drop is too large for the next synth to register information reception.
Pro24 users should note that Global Cuts affect the Mastertrack parameter changes. This only becomes a problem if you are not cutting some muted tracks, for which you wish to retain the original Mastertrack changes. Use the 'Copy Mastertrack' function to move the changes to another section of the 1-999 bar theoretical 'workspace' of Pro24. You can then re-copy the section of Mastertrack changes into any location they are required.
There are two ways of getting Pro24 onto a singled-sided disk. Both methods require two formatted single-sided disks and two disk drives (one of which may be a RAM disk).
1. Copy the file TWENTY_4.PRG from your master disk onto each of the two formatted single-sided disks. Then copy the file CTAPE.RSC onto one disk (this will become the Colour version of the program), and copy the file TAPE.RSC onto the second disk (this is the Mono version).
You may like to copy the Module files onto a third disk, which will then become your synth library.
2. Alternatively, copy the file TWENTY_4.PRG from your master disk onto one disk, and copy all other files onto the second disk. Now try loading the TWENTY_4.PRG file - you should get a TOS Error 35 displayed on-screen. Do not worry. Simply remove the first disk and insert the second disk, then click on 'OK'. The computer will then find the files it needs to finish loading the program.
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.
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