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Steinberg Software Page

Another instalment of our column devoted entirely to Steinberg software, written and compiled exclusively for SOS by Steinberg's experts.

Welcome to a new experiment: the Steinberg Software Page. Each month in Sound On Sound we will bring you the latest news of current and forthcoming versions of your software, some 'in-house' tips and tricks on its use, and will discuss computer-based MIDI sequencing systems in general. It is our hope that everyone using a computer to assist them with their musical productions will find our subjects of interest, whatever software they use. Read on and respond!


If you want to try recording several versions of a section of your music on Pro-24, without pausing for breath, try using Cycle Record with all four Track buffers (A, B, C, D) set to record on four Tracks which you have set to the same MIDI channel number. You can use the Buffer Mute switches to select the current version, just mute the last one recorded as you record the next. When you've recorded into all four buffers you can 'preview' them before committing them to memory. Remember to Un-Mute any buffers you want to keep otherwise the software will automatically abandon them when you stop (you'll have to endure a moment of hearing all your versions playing with each other!).


The Steinberg Help Line has been receiving phone calls from frustrated users who complain that their Track Copy function does not work. Oooops, it's another 'pilot error'. What all these callers forget is that the Left and Right Locator Positions must be set to the Pattern Boundaries of the Track in question before copying will take place. That is, if you are trying to copy Track A to Track B, and Track A has three patterns on it, the first starting at 3/1/0 and the last finishing at 53/1/0, you must have 3/1/0 in the Left Locator and 53/1/0 in the Right Locator if you want to copy the entire track. If you only require certain patterns from the original track, their 'boundaries' must be in the Locators. Remember that the Track Copy function only works on whole patterns.


If you want to set your Locator Positions quickly and without fuss, simply drag the word 'Trade' or 'Patt:' from the Fast Access box down to the Locator displays. Let go of the mouse button when the cursor is between the two Locators, the Track or Pattern start and end points will then appear in the Locators.


One of the new features of Pro-24 Version III are the four programmable Controller Filters, which can be found on the MIDI Definitions page.

This function was introduced to ease the life of Pro-24 users who own machines such as Roland keyboards, which constantly send 'All Notes Off (Controller 123) messages. Such messages can interfere with your music when two tracks play on the same MIDI channel - one track's 'All Notes Off messages can cut off the other track's notes!

Unfortunately this is not a perfect world, and we have discovered that this new feature introduces a new difficulty, as some of these errant keyboards require the 'All Notes Off' messages to stop any sustained notes from droning. So, if you are using your MIDI Sustain pedal and a keyboard which blasts out these seemingly useless messages, adjust your Controller Filters so that they leave the 'All Notes Off' messages undisturbed. You'll have to take extra care if you play several tracks on the same expander.


You can use the 'Accept ANY Dump' and the 'Transmit ANY Dump' feature, found on the D50 Synthworks software, to store the MIDI Bulk Dumps from any of your expanders/keyboards/samplers which are capable of initiating the dump itself. That is, there is no 'hand-shaking' for this feature (a series of commands transmitted between the instruments which defines the parameters of the Bulk Dump and causes it to happen automatically).

The Synthworks feature just accepts a MIDI Dump, allows you to store it on disk, and to re-transmit the MIDI Dump at a later date. So you can use this feature with DX/TXs, S900s, etc.

While we're on the topic of the fabulous Roland D50, a lot of Help Line callers want to know how to find the 'Bulk Dump' function on the D50. Yes, their manuals aren't any better than ours! Just hold the Data Transfer button on the D50 while you select 'Receive' or 'Transmit', you'll then go into the non-handshaking Bulk Dump mode.


You can only select Pro-24's Erase mode when the sequencer is in Cycle Record. You select the mode by clicking the Mode box, not the word 'Record' (as many frustrated Help Line callers think). This mode, like the Functions, is only active during Cycle Record because that is when it makes most sense to have it at your disposal. If you are editing a section of work which has already been recorded, it is much faster to edit the pattern from within Grid or Score Edit.


One of the tricks record producers use to catch your imagination when you hear the intro to a song is to start the piece with a pulse which gets the beat established in the 'wrong' place, and then shifts when the song proper starts. This gives the listener a 'tingle' as the rhythm rolls over the beat, capturing their attention.

You can pull off this sort of production trick really easily on Pro-24 (and many other sequencers), without simply using a 6/8 metre! Try writing a 16th note pulse in a four-bar pattern, playing something like an FM Marimba. Now switch to the Grid or Score Edit for that Pattern, and select Logical Edit from the Functions menu. Go to the Position column and set 'Inside' as your Condition. Now move the mouse to the Bar display at the bottom of the screen, and drag an area encompassing just beat 1/1/0 and slightly beyond. Now select Delete at the bottom of the page. This will delete the first note of every bar in your Pattern.

Now drag an area around beat 3 of the Bar display, and select Delete again. This will in turn delete all the notes playing on the third beat. If you now allow this Pattern to sound on its own, your ear will place the beat on a position which you did not intend originally. If you run your song through your new section, into a straight 4/4 time, you'll get an excellent effect on the change. Try deleting all the beats of your pulse for real interest!


Try using the Pro-24 Version III step-time entry feature on Score Edit. Just click the Step or Insert box with the left or right mouse button (respectively), a 'tick' will appear and you can begin to enter notes directly from your keyboard. Select 16th notes as your type, and then hit the '0' key on your Atari, in order to start your line with a rest. If you then enter some three-note arpeggios, with rests in between, you'll create a really interesting groove. It works with almost any type of sound, but try some trumpets for starters.


If you hold down the Atari's key while you scroll a value on the Track Info display with your mouse buttons, you will cause Pro-24 to send all your parameter changes as you make them. This is a really useful facility for finding voices on devices such as a Roland MT32, and then adjusting their MIDI Volume appropriately.


Some months ago on this page we reported a bug in the Atari's operating system. We now think we were wrong. The real problem is not actually a bug, but a different type of Disk Drive which Atari seems to have fitted to some STs (which pretty much amounts to the same thing!). On some Atari STs you must always insert your disks into the disk drive with their 'write-protect' tab open. This forces the computer to update the part of its memory which stores the details of the files on disk, meaning that the Item Selector window will show the files on your disk accurately. Almost all the Atari ST models which act this way have the green/amber LEDs, and we have now also seen Mega STs with the same difficulty. BEWARE!


If you own an Atari with a 'Blitter chip' installed, switch it off before you start using Pro-24. The Atari's Blitter can interfere with the way in which Pro-24 tracks your mouse movements. The Blitter chip will not improve performance.


The MIDI Out socket on Atari ST computers is non-standard. Use only the middle three pin connections of the regular 5-pin MIDI plug, or treat yourself to a good quality Klotz MIDI lead.

There is no onscreen indication of the Atari keyboard's CAPS LOCK key having been pressed when running Pro-24 or indeed any other Steinberg program. Many software functions change their behaviour when this key has been pressed, so if things don't act as you would expect them to, check this out.

This page has been written and compiled for SOS by Evenlode Soundworks, the UK distributors of Steinberg software.

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Previous Article in this issue

Yamaha YS200

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Practically FM

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


Sound On Sound - Oct 1988


Previous article in this issue:

> Yamaha YS200

Next article in this issue:

> Practically FM

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