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Hints, Tips & News From The World Of Music Software

This month, helpful hints for users of C-Lab and Opcode software.



Last month I began explaining how to use Adaptive Groove — this month I'll continue by explaining how to use the Minimum parameter in this context. The function is very important for the successful operation of Adaptive Groove — Minimum determines the minimum number of notes required to make a particular Quantise or Groove become active. For example, in the 1632 example, if you had played only one 32nd note amongst the 16ths, and the Minimum number on the 32nd-note Quantise level was set to 3, you would hear no 32nd notes.

Segment is a useful addition to the Adaptive Groove page. The values available are 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 (the numbers correspond to note values). If you select an 8 in the Segment column for a particular Quantise line, ie. 16, then Adaptive Groove will correct the music to 16ths, for the first 'eighth' of a Segment. If you reduce the value of Segment to 16 (smallest note value) and for another Quantise you have a Segment value of, say, 8, the 16 Segment value will take priority over the 8 value. For example:

Line 1: Quantise = 16; Segment = 16; Minimum = 4; Advantage = 7
Line 2: Quantise = 32; Segment = 8; Minimum = 1; Advantage = 5
Line 3: Quantise = 8; Segment =12; Minimum = 2; Advantage = 7

In the above example, the order of priority relating to Segment is 16ths, then 8ths, then 32nds (Quantise). However, for a Quantise of 16 to take place, there must be a minimum of four 16ths recorded in that duration. If this is not the case, then whichever line in the example more closely fits how many recorded notes there are in the track will be the one that takes priority. There are so many interrelated parameters that can pull the notes in various different ways — experiment!


As the name implies, Bend To allows the redirecting of a Quantise or Groove value into a different value. For example, to convert a rhythmic part to a half-time feel, try this: Quantise = 16, Bend To = 8; Quantise = 32, Bend To = 16. Now set Bend from Original positions to On, then Do Adaptive Groove — done! Or try this, to convert a 16/32nd to a strong swing and triplet feel: Quantise = 16, Bend To = 16C; Quantise = 32, Bend To = 24. Now simply Do Adaptive Groove.

It's quite a formidable task trying to put Adaptive Groove, with all its interrelated variables, into writing. All the above examples will give slightly different results for different people. Your timing (ironically) has a big influence on how successfully Adaptive Groove performs. Time and time again, experimentation holds the key.


Last month we should have wrapped up our look at Postscript compatibility, as discussed in May's Software Support. So, better late than never, here's the extra info...

I described how you can take advantage of Postscript printers by importing .IMG files from Notator into DTP programs such as Calamus SL or Pagestream 2. Note that on a Postscript printer you will see a vast improvement in quality over conventional laser output from Notator. But the real benefits come when your work is output on a professional typesetter (eg. a Linotronic) at high resolutions; you will need to set the notation at optimum size for a 300dpi laser as described in March and April's Software Support, then proceed to include text in your layout, save the document in Calamus as a Postscript file on an MS-DOS disk, and send it to a typesetting or similar print bureau. You will then have, at relatively little cost, your work reproduced to a very high professional standard. You can produce, in your own time, work that is of sufficiently high quality to appear in a book or magazine without subcontracting the work to a graphic designer or a professional music publisher, which could be expensive. If you are in the field of publishing a good deal of music, you could find the investment in additional DTP software well worth it.

Thanks to Pete Dudley of Holiday Music.



Studio Vision's 'Lock Audio To Tape' feature is very useful for locking MIDI and digital audio tracks to either video tape or audio tape when the timing of events is critical. This feature changes the sample rate of the digital audio according to slight fluctuations in the speed of the incoming SMPTE. Remember that changing the sample rate changes the pitch of the sample. If you have sound effects or narration on the digital audio tracks this can be extremely useful, since the timing of the sound effects has to be exact, yet their precise pitch is generally less important. Likewise, with narration and 'lip-synced' audio, timing is very important, whereas a slight variation in pitch is less noticeable. In these cases you can often use the Lock To Tape feature while synced to SMPTE right from the audio or video deck, although for best results the use of a synchroniser is still recommended (see below).

If you have a pitched or drawn out sound, such as a piano chord or cymbal decay, Lock To Tape is not so useful. Its use will make noticeable changes to the pitch of a sound as Studio Vision tries to keep the timing of each sample in line with incoming SMPTE; but remember that your ears provide the ultimate test, and if you find that the use of Lock Audio To Tape does not produce any audible side effects, then use it.


When synchronising Studio Vision to an analogue multitrack or a video deck, for the best results use Digidesign's Pro I/O interface with its house sync input (also called a 'black burst' or video input) and a tape deck transport synchroniser with house sync input and MTC output.

Using a black burst or video sync generator, or the video output of a professional video tape player as the master sync, send the master sync signal to both the input on the Pro I/O and to the tape deck transport synchroniser. The SMPTE timecode, or LTC (Longitudinal Time Code), from an audio track on the tape deck is converted to MTC to sync Studio Vision. (The MTC would reach Studio Vision via a MIDI cable to the MIDI interface used by the Macintosh.) The MTC is also referenced to the master sync input on the tape deck synchroniser so it never varies. If the video tape has VITC (Vertical Interval Time Code) on it, which is SMPTE that is embedded in the video signal itself, without LTC, this can also be converted to MTC by some tape deck synchronisers.

Using the house sync input on the Pro I/O will control the playback speed of the digital audio in Studio Vision so it never varies. The synchroniser should be set up so that it is receiving the SMPTE from the tape deck and comparing its rate to the master sync. When the incoming SMPTE from the tape deck doesn't match the rate of the master sync, the synchroniser will adjust the 'tach' (motor controls) of the tape deck to make it match. This way the speed of the MTC received by Studio Vision never varies, the MIDI and digital audio won't change (the tape deck is the system component whose speed will change), and you can ignore the Lock Audio To Tape and Tape Calibration functions.

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 board' service for SOS readers who own or use software lor 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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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 - Jul 1992


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