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Hints, Tips & News From The World Of Music Software

Hints, tips and news about your favourite music software.

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.



The Echo function on the Sequencer Plus Options page turns the MIDI Out from the PC Interface into a Thru. Echo must be turned on when using a controller keyboard to input MIDI data and a tone generator to replay it. If you use a synthesizer to input data to Sequencer Plus, and then route MIDI back from the computer to the same synthesizer, you must turn Echo off otherwise the synthesizer will try and play both the note you press and the same note it receives through its MIDI In port. This causes either a flanging or thinning effect (DX7) or halves the available polyphony (D50). If you need Echo to be on in order to address other tone generators in a chain, then use the Local Control function on your synth to turn off the front panel controls.


The OP4000, OP4001 and V4001 Voyetra interfaces available for the PC differ only in their sync capabilities. All three will read and generate MIDI sync (including Song Position Pointers). The V4001 will read and generate MIDI sync, while the OP4001 will handle FSK sync and Clock, and will convert between the two.


Backup disks available for Voyetra programs now include a 'hardware key' option. Keyed disks, which can be copied freely, look for a key in the computer before the program will run. The key can either be attached to the parallel port (printer port) or be a small expansion card. Standard Hard Disk install disks continue to be available.


The Voyetra Programmer's Manual documents the MPU-type interface using both Lattice C and Microsoft C examples. For those not familiar with C, the Toolkit offers the following programming languages: Turbo C, Quick C, Turbo Pascal 4.0, Quick Basic 4.0, Microsoft Macro Assembler.


While Voyetra uses PAN (Performing Artists Network) in the States for its on-line support network, users in the UK can use, CIX (Compu-link Information exchange) to talk to other Voyetra users. The conference is route66, in which there are a number of areas relevant to MIDI technology. 'PCMUSIC' deals directly with Voyetra support (CIX (Contact Details). In the future, Voyetra support will also be available on PAN UK or the Music Network.


All levels of Sequencer Plus now feature the XLibrarian page. This allows banks of data to be downloaded to a network of MIDI equipment (synths, drum machines, synchronisers, effects units, etc). Files are prepared on disk using either the PatchMaster program or the Sideman Editor series. On the XLibrarian page, pressing T (transmit) will send the complete network of MIDI equipment their respective data banks, each device recognising its own System Exclusive header.



When using Trackman, instead of recording drum parts on one track, try spreading the drums over several adjacent tracks. You will need to set the MIDI channel of each of these tracks to match your drum machine's channel. Because the screen faders work on note velocity, you can independently control each drum voice even though the drum machine is on just one MIDI channel. Now you can have a drum mix for each sequence. You can also do this to your existing drum patterns, just use 'Extract Notes' to separate the drums on to their new tracks. Remember to set the exempt tracks in the Pitch Transpose dialogue box to your first and last drum tracks. Then save this new setting with 'Save Preferences'.

Use the same trick to split a keyboard part. Extract the left or right hand part to another track set to the same channel and get independent fader and solo/mute control.


Each Trackman sequence has its own patch memory, MIDI channel and mixer settings. To copy this information from an old sequence into the one you are working on, first make a copy of the old sequence, append your new one to it, then delete the bars from the old one.


If you use the D50 as your master keyboard, remember that the D50 can have a different MIDI transmit channel for each patch. This is a potential source of surprises! With Local Control at the D50 switched off, it will be sending patch changes to itself over MIDI. Hit a patch change with a strange transmit channel number and the synth will go dead! You can clear this by switching Local Control on or using 'Patch Edit, MIDI' to change the channel number back to 1. Some patches on the memory card supplied with the D50 contain unusual transmit channel numbers.


Trackman supports the Atari blitter chip. This chip is fitted to Atari's Mega ST computers and can speed up the graphics. If your machine has a blitter, you can switch it on or off from the Desktop using the Options menu. When using the blitter with a monochrome monitor, you might see faint lines in some of the pattern fills. This is not caused by Trackman - try moving windows around the Desktop, for instance. Apart from looking rather unsightly, this does no harm.


Many people forget that they can use their MIDI sequencer to provide all sorts of traditional musical effects.


To create a delay effect with Pro24, try copying a pattern to a free track. You can introduce a fixed delay by copying it to a position 1/16th after the source start, or you might use the delay in the Track Info Box after copying. A 16th note works out at 24 of Pro24's clock pulses. Go for multiples of 8 if you're seeking a triplety feel.


You can extend the above technique to create echo by doing several copies, shortening the delays successively, and lowering the note velocities of each successive echo. You might want to do a Mixdown of your completed effect on to a fresh track and then delete all the 'by-product' patterns.


Make an exact copy of the source part you want flanged on to any free track. Now set up the same synth patches on another MIDI channel, or if you have an S900 sampler play the second track on the same channel as the first. If you have enough expander modules, take the first route and use two MIDI channels. Now overdub very slight amounts of Pitch Bend and lots of Aftertouch and Modulation. You want to 'choke' that second channel with MIDI data, so that the timbre which it controls is quite animated in comparison to the original.


Record a bar of yourself going bananas on the Pitch Bend wheel. Now go into the Event Edit page and Quantise the bend data to 32nd notes. If you have the patience, go through the values and make them alternately negative and positive (you can use the Logical Editing facilities to great effect here). Having made your adjustments, return to the main screen to Repeat your one bar pattern another three times, turning the whole lot into one pattern which is four bars long. You now have an 'effects bar' which can be copied to the most suitable points in your song. You can adjust the sensitivity of the patch to the bending by altering the Pitch Bend range on your synth or expander. This sort of thing works great with sampled drum machine sounds.


Here are a few tips to help you get more out of Creator and Notator.


The Note Off icon in the Edit page is unlike the other icons in the Partbox in that it acts only as a display filter, stopping Note Offs from being displayed in the Event List. If you have missing Note Offs in your music, for whatever reason, use the 'Check' function to insert Note Offs where they belong.

The 'close-up' graphic display to the left of the Event List is there to help you quickly spot chords or doubled notes and relative lengths of notes. For instance, in Notator, a note could 'hide behind' another, such as C and C# - this editor lets you see that straight away. Although the beams are interactive with the mouse, it is far easier to manipulate the new Matrix editor's beams, which are designed for that purpose. As before, the details of editing are carried out in the Event List.

Do read the manual carefully. It may not be God's gift to the music business, but there is more information in there than you think. Gone are the days when you could busk it without looking in the manual - if you do so, you run the risk of not using C-Lab's full power and flexibility.


Feel free to make full use of all Notator and Creator parameters even while the program is running, especially if you have 'come over' from using another sequencer. The rules which apply to other sequencers do not apply to C-Lab: you can hop about between the Main and the Edit pages while the music is playing, change quantisation, alter velocity, edit events, copy, do virtually anything you like without ever having to stop the music.

The vast majority of the functions can be altered in real time without the slightest effect on timing. Some, such as Fast Forward/Rewind, are by definition bound to have an effect on the timing, so you would obviously not use them if you were recording to tape: this is what the speckled white bar is for in the Overflow display - to show which functions you can use in real time but which lead to a slight interruption in the transmission of MIDI data (you can ignore any grey 'blips').


What is the Auto-Off Channel option for in the MIDI Thru window? In a nutshell, if you are using a synthesizer both as a master keyboard and as a sound generating module, and that synthesizer has no MIDI Local Control facility (like the DX7 Mk1), you will need to stop the MIDI messages from being sent back to it. Otherwise, for every key you press, you will trigger two of its voices instead of one, so halving your polyphony and adding other gremlins.

By setting the Auto-Off Channel value to match the transmit and receive channels of the offending master synthesizer, you prevent that channel from being used as a MIDI Thru channel. If your master synth has MIDI Local Control (switch that feature on) or if you are using a MIDI mother keyboard, set Auto-Off Channel to 'blank/zero'. Whenever possible, it is best to avoid buying keyboards that have no MIDI Local facility.


Some people still do not realise that Creator and Notator are not just able to record music in patterns, with all the flexibility which that entails, but can, with equal ease, record music in long tracks just like a tape recorder. You can work without using the Arrange mode, in which case you work entirely within the pattern and have up to 16 tracks at your disposal. Better still, you can work in Arrange mode by placing your patterns in the Arrange chains and setting them to all commence at the same start bar, in which case you have your usual 64 tracks all ready and waiting.

This linear approach has the advantage of allowing you to record entire drum parts or solos from start to finish without interruption. The down side is that you are using a somewhat inflexible way of working if you only use the linear method, since you are having to use a 'data-altering' approach in your music (such as Segment Copy, etc), which involves time and mental effort and does nothing for your musical flow. It is far better to use a balance of the two methods, pattern and linear, as provided for by C-Lab.


It is dead easy to record with the Arrange mode on; the main thing to remember is to be in the right track in the right pattern. If you have switched Arrange/Pattern Couple off, then it is irrelevant where the Arrange cursor is located when you go into record. If this menu's 'Flags' feature is on, however, then the Arrange cursor dictates which pattern you are in. When you are working with C-Lab's Unitor, or any other SMPTE sync unit, you may find it advisable to switch Arrange/Pattern Couple off, especially where you have no control over where the sound engineer starts the tape prior to your recording into Creator or Notator.



A few users of Releases 1 and 2 of the Music 2000 system disk have experienced difficulties with user-defined System Exclusive messages, due to the fact that some receiving instruments (eg. Yamaha FB01) forget the running status state after a Sysex message. The quick fix is to send a dummy Channel message (such as an undefined control change) immediately afterwards, causing running status to recommence correctly on the next true Channel message. To do this, simply add a line at the end of your user Sysex definition, as follows:

...% existing message
0 0 MIDICONTROL % added

This problem is fixed in Release 3, obtainable free-of-charge by sending your original Issue Disk to Hybrid with return postage.


Though the User Guide doesn't explicitly tell you how to shift parts in time for MIDI delay/slow attack compensation, this is done with / (hold), eg. -4, / to shift back by four time units. If you use named MIDI Program Changes, include the hold here so that each patch automatically gets the required amount of shift, as follows:

"czstrings" -3, / 4 MIDIPROGRAM

Note that, unlike conventional sequencers, AMPLE uses formal event scheduling so that when a shifted section overlaps its neighbour, notes are interleaved correctly in the pre-MIDI music domain, and only then converted into MIDI Note-On and Offs, so ensuring the correct sequence for the receiving device. You are free to use this effect for 'TARDIS-wise' polyrhythmic scoring, provided you watch out for the inevitable time paradoxes with crescendo's, accelerando's, etc.


Unfortunately, the AMPLE Mixing Desk does not send MIDI Volume and Pan controls, so it only affects Music 5000 voices. However, if you are lucky to have an expander that responds to these controller messages, you can define channel-specific MIDI mix controls as follows and use the Notepad to position them in your own screen design:

"pan" 0 MAX 127 MIN 10 MIDICONTROL



When using your Universal Sound Designer to swap samples with friends who have other makes of sampler, remember that you'll have to re-programme the analogue parameters of the sampler you transfer the sound to. You should also remember that you'll have to change the sample rates if you want the same transposition to be in effect. Though there is no fancy 'sample rate conversion' function on Universal Sound Designer, at least you'll find a large number of supported samplers in the menu bar (just about every sampler on the market in fact!).



Ludwig is a new Hybrid Arts program which does for a composer what DX/CZ Android's Android functions do for synthesizer programmers. It is a program for generating musical sequences which can be used as is or modified and incorporated into a larger composition.

Ludwig's real-time parameter control enables sequences to be modified while they are playing. It organises music into eight parallel tracks and offers drum machine style programming and real-time algorithmic composition with note and chord improvisation from a user-definable scale. Tracks do not contain MIDI data but lists of up to 1024 instructions instead, which are used to generate MIDI data in a 'play buffer'. This can be played from within Ludwig or saved as a SNG. file, or to another Hybrid program's KEEP buffer via the HybriSwitch data sharing mechanism.


The 'Buy Back' path is one of Hybrid Arts' central philosophies. Any software that has an upgrade path, such as sequencing, scoring and ADAP, is included within this system. Hybrid's UK distributor, Syndromic Music, will buy back your existing software at the price you paid for it (less VAT) - you pay the difference between that price and the retail price of your required software, plus a £12.50 upgrade fee. However, for this to occur your warranty card must have been returned.

Software updates up to 'final release' versions are free of charge. After the final release, future upgrades and enhancements will be charged for accordingly.

Previous Article in this issue

Recording the Soundtrack for TV Commercials

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Sounding Off

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 - Dec 1988

Donated & scanned by: Mike Gorman


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