Hints and tips for users of Gajits' software.
Firstly this month, we'll deal with a concern which several Breakthru/Breakthru Plus owners have raised — trouble encountered when trying to make backup copies of their original Gajits' disks. In order to get as much software as possible onto a single floppy (and therefore to avoid the increased cost of supplying supplementary disks) we have used a format which allows more software to be accommodated. Whilst this represents no problem for a disk drive, the same cannot be said for the software which some owners are using to back up the disk. This is because such software has no method of telling the drive to create the backup disk utilising this 'denser' format. Happily, the solution is simple. Format two disks in the normal way; then using any usual method for copying files, back up the files in the 'root' directory/folder onto one disk, and the remainder onto the other. You should end up with four files (BREAKTHR.PRG; BREAKTHR.CFG; VER_LOG.TXT; DESKTOP.INF) on one disk, and two folders and six files on the other (SAMPLES, containing BTHRU_16.AVR; GAJITJ6.AVR; PHONEJ6.AVR; and SONGS, holding PERCUSSN.BTS, TOCCATA.BTS, and WELCOME.BTS). You can then put away your original Gajits disk and use the first of the backups to run Breakthru/Breakthru Plus. Should this become corrupt (we all know someone who has mistaken a precious disk for a designer coaster) simply repeat the relevant part of the back-up procedure. Remember you only need to use this method if you are having trouble with taking a back-up!
To avoid future user difficulties, Breakthru/Breakthru Plus is now to be released on two 'normal' disks. This means there should be no problems making backups (don't forget that registered users can call the Gajits Helpline on (Contact Details) if necessary).
This point relates equally to Breakthru/Plus and Sequencer One/Plus. We're occasionally asked:
1. Why the mouse is disabled when playing back samples;
2. Why samples cannot be played without the sequencer running;
3. Why editing action via the mouse is 'jerky' when moving notes on sample-based tracks.
The answers to these questions are connected. As regular Sound On Sound readers will remember, last month we explained why playing back samples is a processor-intensive affair; well, surprisingly enough, so is keeping track of the mouse! Sample users will appreciate the paramount need for high output quality; to maintain this standard, sacrifices must be made and, as mouse movement is not absolutely essential, it is 'frozen'. As all the sequencer's functions can be operated from the computer console this inconvenience should not be too telling.
The answer to the second question can be derived from the first, providing you accept the fact that the mouse has to be disabled during sample playback. Usually, it is MIDI data that triggers the samples and the sequencer can receive such MIDI information at any time. Consequently, to allow samples to be played at any instance would mean that the sequencer would have to be constantly 'ready' (at least whenever the current record track was set up for samples). Hence the mouse would need to be constantly disabled! This is not really acceptable. Therefore MIDI-controlled sample replay is restricted to when the sequencer is playing or recording (when mouse action is of less significance). But, I hear you exclaim, samples are replayed during step editing and score editing. This is quite true. However, then the sequencer is in a particular state (effectively a non-running record mode). In this case it is not MIDI information that is activating the samples; rather, the program knows what to play from the note's screen position.
If you observe closely, you will notice that even during editing, samples are not replayed while notes are being moved (bear in mind that in this case, the normal mouse icon becomes the note itself). The third question can now be answered. Imagine you are editing a note; when you move your mouse up or down you want to hear the effect of the sample at the new pitch. Thus, when you move a note a considerable distance, the sequencer provides you with a short, intermittent 'sound-bite' of the sample along the way (in case you have already reached the desired note). As the sample cannot be played whilst the mouse is moving, you see a momentary 'snapshot' on screen (at the relevant pitch) before the note leaps to the new mouse position. This explains the apparent 'jerky' motion.
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