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Hints, Tips & News From The World of Music Software

Article from Sound On Sound, January 1992

More hints and tips from the software publishers themselves. This month: C-Lab; Steinberg; Opcode; Passport; Dr. T's.



A reminder to all long-time users of Unitor: check how clean its contacts are where it inserts into the Atari. Use some Isopropyl alcohol on tissue or a cotton bud and give them a good seeing to. It's amazing how dirty they can get just sitting there in the ROM port week in, week out. And grubby contacts do affect the reliability of the software since they render Unitor invisible to the sequencer.


In the Sync Reference window, if you give the 'Display Offset' field the same value as the SMPTE start time in the 'SMPTE Offset' field, this allows the real-time counter next to the main bar counter to show the elapsed time of the song in terms of SMPTE, instead of displaying just the 'raw' SMPTE time. However, don't forget to return the Display Offset to zero when you need to see the time positions of events (in the event editor) in terms of their correct 'raw' SMPTE on-tape times (pressing Alt-Y in the main page or event editor activates the 'Position in frames' function). If the Display Offset still has a value when you use 'Position in frames', events' times will be shown offset as well, which is confusing if you are trying to line up a particular event to a specific video frame.



The commonest problem with an overly busy piece of music transmitted via MIDI is that the timing of the drums or rhythm appears to drift. This is a result of data queuing for the MIDI Out socket, compounded by your choice of MIDI channels for the drum parts, and the reception devices you use. You may like to do the following test.

On MIDI channel 10, set up a Part/Pattern that contains 16th-note hi-hats, quantised exactly to 16ths. Play this to your drum machine or sound module (I chose channel 10, as this is the default for the MT32 I run from Cubase). Now record or create another Part/Pattern and fill it with plenty of data — use the Key Editor on Cubase to 'brush' in loads of notes, and the pencil tool on the Key Editor's controller window to create a mass of controllers and pitch bend data.

It is important to adjust the instrument volume levels on your keyboards/modules so you can only hear the hi-hat. Organise the two Parts so both are playing together in a cycle. Leave the hi-hats playing on channel 10, but set the other part to transmit firstly on channel 9, then on channel 11, while listening only to the hi-hats. There is a distinct difference on my system: when the second Part plays on MIDI channel 9, it definitely affects the timing of the hi-hat. However, when it's assigned to channel 11 the changes are very difficult to hear. So in this case the lower numbered MIDI channels have a priority over the higher ones.

You really need to do the experiment yourself with your equipment to see what are your MIDI channel priorities. I think you will find that MIDI channel 1 is the least likely to be disturbed by a lot of activity on other channels. If this is the case it seems strange that the commonest default MIDI channels for drums are 10 and 16.


I want to clear up a bit of confusion over the Steinberg implementation of the control of Fostex's R8/MTC1. All you need is the Atari computer, Cubase or Cubeat and the R8/MTC1. That is all, apart from two MIDI leads, for a minimum system configuration. You certainly do not need any of Steinberg's SMPTE-based synchronisers such as Midex+, SMP24, Timelock, and you don't need to take advantage of Cubase's support for C-Lab's Unitor. All the communication is via MIDI Time Code, to the standard MIDI sockets. I cannot understand where these misconceptions have come from all of a sudden.



The following versions of Opcode software are fully System 7 compatible: Opcode MIDI System and OMS Setup Application; Galaxy Plus Editors version 1.1.1 and later, The Book of MIDI (HyperCard 2.1 must be used for full compatibility); Vision 1.3.

The following programs are fully compatible with System 7.0 provided Virtual Memory is turned off: all librarians and editor/librarians (versions 4.03 and later); Galaxy 1.0.2; MIDIplay 1.1; Max 2.0 and later; Cue 3.0.1; Track Chart 1.0; Studio Vision 1.3.

EZ Vision 1.0 and Vision 1.2 are compatible with System 7.0 provided that Virtual Memory and 32-bit addressing are turned off (use the system's Memory Control panel), and the keyboard equivalents for menu commands that use the Option key don't work (you can still choose the menu commands using the mouse).

Studio Vision 1.2.2 is compatible with System 7.0 with Virtual Memory and 32-bit addressing turned off. The Option menu commands work fine. The UpYourFCBs INIT is not needed and should not be used with System 7.


Items to be placed in the Extensions Folder include: Opcode MIDI System; MIDI Manager.

Items to be placed in the Apple Menu Items include; Studio 3 DA, Timecode Machine DA.

Items to be placed in the top level of the System Folder include: OMS Folder; Opcode MIDI INIT; Studio 3 INIT; OMS MIDI Manager; Opcode XCMD Connections (MIDIplay).


When you launch the Studio 3 DA, you are often asked "Is the Studio 3 using the printer port for MIDI?". When running System 7.0 the answer to this question is not always intuitive; this has to do with the way that System 7.0 handles desk accessories. If you bring up the Studio 3 DA with no other application running, the answer to this question should be 'no'. If you bring up the Studio 3 DA while a MIDI application is currently running, the answer is 'yes'. The only exception is if the currently running application is an OMS-compatible application set to 'Allow non-OMS Applications' mode, in which case the answer is 'no'. Answering incorrectly can result in crashes and hangs.

The Studio 3 INIT needs to be stored in the System folder under System 7.0, as opposed to the Extensions folder. If the Studio 3 INIT is in the Extensions folder the Studio 3 DA will not be able to find and update it with your current settings.



The following are System 7.0 compatible: MTPro 4.5x; Trax 2.x; Encore 2.x; Alchemy 2.2x; Audio Trax 1.0; HyperMusic; Clicktracks.

The following are not System 7.0 compatible: Notewriter; Sound Exciter (no update expected).

Alchemy will not run on the new PowerBooks, and Audio Trax can only record one track of audio on the Classic II.



Sometimes it can be useful to hear the effects of key changes in real time without altering the data. One way of achieving this interactively is to use Open Mode. Here sequences can be played asynchronously, that is to say you can start and stop them completely independently of other sequences — KCS is currently the only sequencer for the ST which permits this. Also, the behaviour of sequences that are playing can be modified by other sequences.

To create an interactive envelope to alter the key while a piece is playing, choose a set of sequences which you are unlikely to use, for example 40-49. This will end up giving you a transposition range of +/- 5 semitones. Select sequence 40 by clicking on a sequence selector at the extreme bottom right of the sequence select box and typing '40' on the numeric keypad. Type the following event list:

1-1: 1 1 0 PT * 1
1-1: 1 2 0 DE

This control sequence will pitch transpose everything up a semitone when played. Now go to Change Repeats and set this to '1' because this sequence is a one-shot operation; leaving this at 99 (ie. repeat forever) will send the pitch of a sequence soaring into the stratosphere. Clone this sequence to sequences 41 through 49, and go through each one changing the number under the 'Vel' column as appropriate. When you've finished this you should have sequences 40 through 44 with PT values from 1 to 5, and 45 through 49 with -1 to -5.

To make use of these sequences interactively, you need to use the Bank Lock feature. Press '4' on the numeric keypad and then this has the effect of locking the first digit of sequence. Start the music off, and then you can transpose the sequence 'live' by simply pressing keys 1 through 9 on the numeric keypad. If you have Align set to 'on' in the Environment Page, the music will not transpose until the music reaches a bar boundary; you may want this but it's more likely you'll want the transposition to occur instantaneously, so switch the function off. This technique can be extended to transpose single MIDI channels (or groups of channels if you like) by using the form:

1-1: 1 1 0 PT *6 1
1-1: 1 2 0 DE

where the notation under the Note column indicates the MIDI channel to be transposed, although in this case you'll need to ensure that any sequences on the specified channels start with a note event on the appropriate channel; the presence of any other data type, such as a mod wheel event, program change or similar will inhibit the action of this feature. Global transposes, without the trailing number after the asterisk, are not affected in this way, although they take a little more time to process. A specific sequence can be affected by putting the sequence number in the Note column.

PLEASE NOTE: Product information contained within these pages is supplied directly by the software manufacturers, or their UK distributors or agents. The intention is to provide a 'bulletin board1 service for SOS readers who own or use software for any type of computer. Although we may occasionally publish new product information, the idea is to publicise update/upgrade news, bug fixes, and hints and tips about software and computer peripherals. It is therefore up to all software companies to keep us posted.

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Publisher: Sound On Sound - SOS Publications Ltd.
The contents of this magazine are re-published here with the kind permission of SOS Publications Ltd.

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Sound On Sound - Jan 1992

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman


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> Guitarist's Grail

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> Russlings

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