Our regular column devoted to readers’ hints and tips about their recording equipment, instruments, software and playing techniques.
If you have discovered any special techniques or tricks on your instruments or recording equipment that might help other readers, send them to us. The sender of the best tip each month will win a prize. This month we are awarding 2 FREE Rendar mains interference filters.
Here's a tip by Lowell Levinger that I read about in 'The Interface', the newsletter for Passport software owners, telling how you can transfer Master Tracks Pro MIDI files between the Atari 1040ST and Mac Plus computers.
You can dump data from any MIDI sequencer to Master Tracks Pro in real-time, recording all MIDI channels on one track simultaneously. Then you can use the 'Strip Data' command from the Change menu to separate the channels one by one, pasting them onto their own empty track.
If both computers are not in the same location, however, you can use 'modems' to send MIDI files back and forth over the telephone network. They should be sent and received as XMODEM files. On the Macintosh end, you need to disable Mac Binary format to send data as a standard XMODEM file. Some communications programs (like Red Ryder) don't recognise MIDI files when Mac Binary is disabled. Other programs (like Microphone) do. You need to use one that does. (Your MIDI files show up in the 'Open' or 'Send' dialogue of the modem program, available for selection.)
When sending from Mac to Atari, name the incoming Atari file, making sure that the filename extension (the three letters after the full stop) says 'MID'. An example would be MIDITEST.MID. Master Tracks Pro for the Atari looks for the .MID suffix to identify a MIDI file. Then just 'Import' the file and you're in business.
It's not quite as easy sending from the Atari to the Macintosh. You still want to send and receive as an XMODEM file with Mac Binary disabled, but the Mac operating system is going to think the MIDI file is a text file. To avoid this you need to change the Type and Creator of the file and you need a special program to do that! One such program is a desk accessory called Developer's Tool by David Berry, (Contact Details). Another program that will do this is ResEdit from Apple Computers themselves. With either program, select the file in question and 'Get Info'. You will then be presented with the opportunity to change the Type and Creator. Change the Type to "Midi" and just leave the Creator blank (upper and lower case letters are meaningful here). Save the file and you will then be able to 'Import' it.
Greg Morrison, Birmingham.
Here is a real time-saving tip for Yamaha TX81Z owners:
If you use your TX81Z slaved to a sequencer in Performance mode, you'll be glad to learn that there is no need to stop everything in order to edit a voice. Simply press 'Edit' on the TX81Z, select the required parameter and make the necessary changes. The TX81Z will continue playing whilst you do this and you can hear how your changes affect the sound without having to stop and restart the sequencer. Also, the changes are 'read' by the TX81Z without causing drones or digital stuttering.
Eugene Braack, South Africa.
We all know that the Yamaha QX21 isn't the hottest machine when it comes to editing, and dropping-in a part halfway through a track can be a real headache because the sequencer requires each bar from the beginning to the start of your drop-in to be filled, even if it's only with empty space. Chucking the QX21 into real-time record mode and then sitting around waiting to add that orchestral blast at bar 75 can be frustrating and time-consuming.
To get around this, simply throw the sequencer into step-time record mode instead and then scroll through the music, using the +1 key, to the point at which you wish to start recording, then hit the STOP key. This has the effect of adding in blank bars as quickly as you would usually scroll through an already-occupied track.
This next tip may be completely obvious, but you know when you come to do that final CHAIN or INSERT to round off your song, and that dreaded 'FL' sign comes up in the display to tell you that you've not left enough memory space? Well, rather than going off and liquidising the cat or flushing the QX21 down the toilet, just try using Job D1 to retrieve the Temporary Buffer contents onto track 1. If you are in the habit of quantising your music, you are likely to find a lot of unnecessary data which has been automatically stored in this Buffer the last time you auto-corrected something.
If it's there, then erase it and repeat Job D1 to return the contents of track 1 to their rightful place, thus liberating a good 10% or more of memory space which you can then use to complete your song.
Gareth Hobbs, Macclesfield.
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