Trackers Handbook

Trackers Handbook by Cools.  Link here.
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The Tracker’s Handbook v0.5 – 10-Jan-99

 

By Cools

Contents

 

  • Introduction
    • Contributions
    • Distribution 

  1. Beginners
    • Erm, just what is a tracker?Choosing a trackerChoosing hardwareGetting started
      • Ordering your resources
      • Let’s go

      The Effects CommandsSampling

      • TheoryPracticeOverusing voice samplesRipping
      • Copyrights

      Releasing

    • Techniques 

  2. Intermediate
    • Effects
      • Panning
      • Virtual Sound Sources
    • Techniques
      • Echoing Gating How to Avoid Doubled Up Channels Sampling CD Ripping
      • Filtering 

  3. Advanced
    • Effects
      • EQ Get Your Frequencies Sorted Out
      • EQ – in Theory and in Practice 

  • Going commercial
  • Production of Audio CDs
    • Sampling 

  1. General Techniques
    • Spicing Up Your Percussion
      • Fat Beats Echomania Bring Out Your Dead
      • On A Ragga Tip

      Zen of Tracking Advanced Tips and Tricks

      • Indian Food for Thought The Amiga Scene and You Very Cool Reverb
      • Phased Leads

      Sound & Sampling Explained What It Means To Be A Tracker

      • Why Do YOU Want To Be A Tracker? How To Act When You’re A Tracker
      • The Ethics of Sample Ripping
    • Adding Swing/Groove 

  2. MIDI
    • Setting Up 

  3. Internet resources
    • General Trackers Samplers Players Samples
    • Modules 

  4. Glossary 

  5. Closing words
    • Thanks to… Contributors
    • Future? Introduction The Tracker’s Handbook has been written, not as a guide to one specific computer or tracker, but to cover every single aspect of tracking, every single tracker, and every single machine available ever. It is intended to be, when completed, the most comprehensive guide to tracking ever made, and a one-stop source of help for every level of tracker out there, from total beginners through to seasoned masters. It is not intended, however, to replace the other great tracker tutorials and FAQ’s such as the alt.binaries.sounds.mods FAQ. Hopefully I can steer this guide away from any sort of bias, but if any occurs, it is only due to my own and any contributors experience and preferences. Music style bias is quite likely, but that can only be expected, after all, its human nature to like and hate certain styles. However, I will not allow any machine, tracker, sampler or player bias here, due to the fact that each has it’s good and bad points. This is an early beta version, with quite a lot unfinished or inaccurate, if you have any comments or contributions, or have spotted any mistakes don’t hesitate to contact me at: –

E-mail – cools@viscose.freeserve.co.uk

WWW – http://www.viscose.freeserve.co.uk

Post
Matthew Coulson
16 The Pines Cilfrew Neath SA10 8AL Wales UK

Please don’t mail me requests for resources like trackers, modules, or samples. If I tried to satisfy every request this will never get finished, so you’ll just be wasting your time. Anyway, there’s a list of Internet resources at the end, so use that… If you want to receive the latest version when it’s released, then please send an e-mail to “trackershandbook-subscribe@egroups.com” (without the quotes of course).

Cools

 


Contributions

 

Contributions are badly needed, and any contributors will have their names included in the contributors list at the end of the handbook, unless you specify otherwise (Even if your contribution doesn’t get used your name will still appear here, unless you specify otherwise). If you want to contribute something, but don’t know what, simply search for “(Information needed)” for some ideas. Anyone can contribute, no matter how experienced they are. So if you’ve just started and have found out something interesting, then send it in, you may be the only person that knows about it. Please realise that you can contribute anything – if you don’t see it in here then send it! If I’ve included some tips or whatever, of yours without your permission, and you don’t want it to be included, just contact me so we can sort something out. Remember that nobody is making any profit out of this… One last point, don’t send me anything if you want it to remain exactly how you wrote it. I WILL edit virtually everything, to keep the same sort of style right the way through.

Distribution

 

The Tracker’s Handbook is Freeware. This means that you can distribute it freely, as long as it stays unmodified. It can be included on magazine coverdisks, and on shareware disks etc. without the need to pay me or anybody else any fees. I would appreciate it if I am notified of its inclusion (a copy of the magazine/disk would be nice, if at all possible :v). This will show just how far it has spread. Feel free to send donations, letters, junk etc. to show your appreciation of it if you so wish. You are NOT obliged to send me anything. A significant portion of this wasn’t even written by me!

  1. Beginners Help! I don’t know where to start!

Being at the beginner stage is possibly the most difficult part of tracking, and it’s where most people give up. The key is perseverance and practice. Listen to what others have to say about your initial attempts, but only listen if you know you’ll get an honest opinion from them. Take on board any criticism, and use it to your advantage. Practice makes perfect, the more modules you compose, and sampling you do, the better you’ll get, simple…

Erm, just what is a tracker?

 

A tracker is a piece of software that allows music to be made using only a computer and some sound samples. These sound samples are then played back at varying pitches and with various effects so as to produce music. The musical data used to describe how to play each note is arranged in a list like form, as shown below.

    Note   Instrument   Volume   Effect command   Effect parameters
    C#5        1          40            1                01

        C#5 1 40 101    F-6 2 38 330    G-3 3 20 F05    ---   -- 000
        ---   -- 102    ---   -- 300    D-2 3 24 A0F    C-4 4 -- 472
        C#5 5 -- E93    ---   -- 300    --- 3 P0 A0F    ---   -- 400

 


This data scrolls up the screen, and when it passes the cursor it gets processed and played. Not all trackers have this same layout; I’ve used FT2 above.

Trackers produce files called modules, which is usually abbreviated to MOD. The term MOD originally meant a SoundTracker module, but over the years it has become a generic term for any type of module. MODs are a sort of hybrid MIDI/sample file. They contain sequencing information as well as the instruments (samples) that are used for playback. It’s actually quite hard to give trackers and MODs a ‘definition’ that can be understood by everyone. If you have Internet access then do a search for ‘MOD Trackers’ and quite a number of definitions should pop up.

Choosing a tracker

 

May as well start at the beginning I suppose…Choosing a tracker to begin with is probably the most important choice you can make as you start out, some trackers have extremely difficult interfaces to learn. Which, if you are only just starting out and have never used a tracker before, pose an extra challenge that will need to be undertaken.There are six systems with trackers that I know of, classified as -

  • AmigaDOSWindows 3.1/9x/NTMacUnix/Linux/Sun/NeXT
  • Atari

Obviously the system you own dictates what you can use, but the Amiga, Atari, and Mac based trackers are split up into a few different areas, depending on your hardware. Whatever tracker you decide on using, before you even start tracking with it, be sure to read the manual. Load a few already made modules in so you can play around with the various features and find out how they work. Spend a day figuring out every feature of the tracker. The only way to find out what tracker is best for you is to try out a few and then decide. I would recommend that you choose a tracker that produces a standard module format for the platform you are producing on e.g. if you own an Amiga a MOD based tracker would be a good choice, on a PC an IT or XM tracker would be a good choice etc. Don’t use a tracker just because someone else does, or because it offers more features. Choose a tracker for its interface every time. There’s no point having something hugely powerful but not being able to use it.

Choosing Hardware

 

The basic hardware requirements to track are: -A computer – You probably already have one of these. If you don’t, then how on earth are you reading this! Your computer MUST have some sort of digital audio capabilities. If you have an Amiga, Atari, or Mac then you should be okay for now. If you have a PC (and by that I don’t necessarily mean an IBM compatible) without a digital sound card of some description, then you’re finished before you’ve even started. Go out and get one now!

Monitoring Equipment – All that’s needed is a pair of speakers and/or a pair of headphones. Since we’re talking about basic requirements here, practically anything will do to get you started.

Getting Started

 

Ok, so you’ve got hold of a tracker that you like the look and feel of, the next thing to do is to get hold of some samples and/or modules. These should preferably be in a style that you like and be of a reasonable quality. Just go to the Internet resources section for a list of places to look. If you don’t have Internet access, then any local shareware libraries or BBS system should be able to sort you out with some. Samples are preferable to modules, but it’s easy enough to rip the samples out of modules. Alternatively, you could sample your own sounds, but this can be quite difficult to do if you don’t know what you generally use or need. As you don’t yet know how to track properly yet, I would recommend you choose which to learn first, tracking or sampling. This will ease the learning curve. If you want to learn the key points to good sampling, skip to the sampling section. When you’ve finished that, come back here.

Ordering your resources

 

First of all you’ll need to set up a few directories in which to store your music stuff. There are many different ways to do this, but I’ll describe mine for you to have a base to build on. Obviously you don’t have to follow this. It’s just to give you an idea of a structure. I use a separate partition or CD-ROM for my music stuff. This brings benefits such as easy organisation and security from corruption on other disks/partitions. The structure of this is as follows: -

E \FT2 - Fasttracker II and its utilities
\HANDBOOK - The Tracker’s Handbook
\INSTR - Instruments
\IT - Impulse Tracker and its utilities
\MODULES - Other trackers modules
\MYMODS - My modules
\8-BIT - 8-Bit versions of my modules
\PATTERNS - Saved Pattern data
\RESOURCS - Holds tracking guides etc.
\SAMPLES - Hmm, I wonder…
\309
\BASS
- Quasimidi Rave-O-Lution 309
\BRASS - Brass Instruments
\BREAKBTS
\DRUMKIT
\BASSDRUM
\CLAP
\CLOSEHH
\CRASH
- Breakbeats
\MISC
\OPENHH
\RIMSHOT
\SNARE
\TOM
- Shakers, tambourines
\TR-606 - Roland TR-606
\TR-808 - Roland TR-808
\TR-909 - Roland TR-909
\DSS-1 - Korg DSS-1
\FX
\GUITAR
- Sound Effects
\JP8000 - Roland JP8000
\JUNO60 - Roland Juno 60
\MC-202 - Roland MC-202
\PADS
\PIANO
- Looped synth and string sounds
\SH-101 - Roland SH-101
\SYNTH
\VOCALS
- Synth stabs and hits
\WIND - Wind Instruments
\TRACKS - Saved Track data
\UNFINISH - Unfinished Modules


This allows me quick access to the samples I want (I can remember what most of them are called and sound like, damned good memory!). I also regularly clean out my sample collection by getting rid of any that are bad quality – clipped, noisy etc. Any that I’m unlikely to ever use, or I have already used and don’t want to use again are also got rid of. In every directory there is a text file called DETAILS.TXT. This lists each file contained in the directory, along with where I got it from. When you have thousands of samples, and you’re trying to credit the authors, it saves a lot of time and much hair pulling to have the information in one place. I would recommend you start off by creating some sort of structure, it’ll stop your disk getting cluttered and enable you to work more efficiently. If you’re running off floppies then use separate disks for different types of samples, and regularly defragment and check for errors (this also applies for hard disk owners).

 

Let’s go

 

By now you should have a tracker you’re happy with, some samples, and/or some modules. You’re ready to begin being a tracker. I’m going to teach you how to produce a simple tune, and this should hopefully guide you as to what you should be doing. This can be done in two ways, either in step-time or in real-time. The majority of modules are produced in step-time, maybe with a small amount of real-time just to see roughly where the notes need to be placed. If you have a MIDI keyboard connected to your sound card, then you could use that to input the notes. Generally though, due to the harsh amount of quantisization that occurs with a tracker you are better off doing it in step-time. I would recommend that you try producing a few 4 channel modules first, use one channel for drums, one for bass, one for lead, and one for chords. This should help as you’ll always be able to see what’s going on, on the screen. If you find you do want to use more channels to begin with, then by all means go ahead, but bear in mind that most of the great tracker musicians today started on 4 channel modules…The best way to learn how to do something is to watch someone else do it. This applies to tracking as well. You can learn a lot just from listening to the great ones in the scene. If you come up with a tune idea and you know what you want it to sound like, it helps a lot to look for a tune from one of the masters that sounds similar to what you want to write, and listen to their tune over and over again. Look for the things they do with their tune that sets that tracker apart from the others in the scene, and if you can adapt their techniques into your song in an original way, do it. Start by writing music that you really like listening to – don’t try and write an orchestral piece if you don’t listen to it – it’ll show.

If you want to make a tune realistic, try to imagine how the instrument would be played. Pretend you are a musician when you write a part. Also, if you use an instrument such as a piano, try to use more than a single piano note – a real piano will have more than one note playing at a time – use some chords etc.

Originally, people used to sample whole chords to save sample space. Now we’ve got these wonderful trackers with gazillions of channels. Constructing chords from notes because you have the space to do so gives a better and more a professional sound. However, be very careful! If you decide to construct a chord rather than use a single sample, some musicianship is required. Simple major chords are easy, but inversions really add to a piece. If you are able to do it this way, you’ll get a professional, crafted sound. But it does take a long time before you’ll get a smooth flowing part. For a nice fill to the sound, try to balance the usage of low and high frequencies, tunes with too much bass and too little treble sound rough, tunes with too much treble and too little bass sound insubstantial.

The Effects Commands

 

By now you should be wanting to experiment with some effects, to make your music more interesting and more professional. Before we start, lets just get something straight. Effects should only be used when they are needed. Using effects just because you can doesn’t automatically improve the quality of your music. This section will only cover effects with letters/numbers that can be used in ProTracker MODs. Practically all trackers support these basic effects. However many trackers use different letters/numbers to represent the same effect, so check before trying anything. If you try an effect listed here and it produces a result completely different to how it is described here, then consult your trackers manual. Effects are typed into the rightmost column of each channel in every tracker. They consist of an effect command and a value. Different trackers have different letters and numbers for the same effect command. But pretty much all of them can work with hexadecimal for the value. If you don’t know what Hex is, then the following extract, taken from the Impulse Tracker manual, should help.”Instead of using a decimal system (i.e. base 10), it is more natural for the computer to work with hexadecimal (often abbreviated to simply ‘Hex’) – numbers which operate in base 16. The first 9 numbers in Hex are denoted by ’1′ to ’9′ and the next 6 are denoted by ‘A’ to ‘F’. So if you count in Hex, it will be as follows: (0), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 2A etc. To convert a Hex number to decimal, multiply the ‘tens’ column by 16 and add the value of the second column i.e. 32 Hex = 3*16+2 = 50 decimal. 2A Hex = 2*16+10 = 42 (because A = 10). The maximum number that you can represent with two Hex digits is FF = 255 decimal.”Let’s start with the most basic effect, the Set Volume command: C. Input a note, then move the cursor to the effects command column and type a C. Play the pattern, and you shouldn’t be able to hear the note you placed the C by. This is because the effect parameters are 00. Change the two zeros to a 40(Hex)/64(Dec), depending on what your tracker uses. Play back the pattern again, and the note should come in at full volume.The Position Jump command next. This is just a B followed by the position in the playing list that you want to jump to. One thing to remember is that the playing list always starts at 0, not 1. This command is usually in Hex.Onto the volume slide command: A. This is slightly more complex (much more if you’re using a newer tracker, if you want to achieve the results here, then set slides to Amiga, not linear), due to the fact it depends on the secondary tempo. For now set a secondary tempo of 06 (you can play around later), load a long or looped sample and input a note or two. A few rows after a note type in the effect command A. For the parameters use 0F. Play back the pattern, and you should notice that when the effect kicks in, the sample drops to a very low volume very quickly. Change the effect parameters to F0, and use a low volume command on the note. Play back the pattern, and when the slide kicks in the volume of the note should increase very quickly. This because each part of the effect parameters for command A does a different thing. The first number slides the volume up, and the second slides it down. It’s not recommended that you use both a volume up and volume down at the same time, due to the fact the tracker only looks for the first number that isn’t set to 0. If you specify parameters of 8F, the tracker will see the 8, ignore the F, and slide the volume up. Using a slide up and down at same time just makes you look stupid. Don’t do it…The Set Tempo command: F, is pretty easy to understand. You simply specify the BPM (in Hex) that you want to change to. One important thing to note is that values of lower than 20 (Hex) sets the secondary tempo rather than the primary.Another useful command is the Pattern Break: D. This will stop the playing of the current pattern and skip to the next one in the playing list. By using parameters of more than 00 you can also specify which line to begin playing from.Command 3 is Portamento to Note. This slides the currently playing note to another note, at a specified speed. The slide then stops when it reaches the desired note. The best way to describe this is to give an example.

C
2 1 000 – Starts the note playing
— 000
C
3 330 – Starts the slide to C-3 at a speed of 30. — 300 – Continues the slide — 300 – Continues the slide

One thing you can note about this and many other commands are that they have a memory. Once the parameters have been set, the command can be input again without any parameters, and it’ll still perform the same function unless you change the parameters. This memory function allows certain commands to function correctly, such as command 5, which is the Portamento to Note and Volume Slide command. Once command 3 has been set up command 5 will simply take the parameters from that and perform a Portamento to Note. Any parameters set up for command 5 itself simply perform a Volume Slide identical to command A at the same time as the Portamento to Note. This memory function will only operate in the same channel where the original parameters were set up. There are various other commands which perform two functions at once. They will be described as we come across them.The next command we’ll look at is the Portamento up/down: 1 and 2. Command 1 slides the pitch up at a specified speed, and 2 slides it down. This command works in a similar way to the volume slide, in that it is dependent on the secondary tempo. Both these commands have a memory dependent on each other, if you set the slide to a speed of 3 with the 1 command, a 2 command with no parameters will use the speed of 3 from the 1 command, and vice versa.Command 4 is Vibrato. Vibrato is basically rapid changes in pitch, just try it, and you’ll see what I mean. Parameters are in the format of xy, where x is the speed of the slide, and y is the depth of the slide. One important point to remember is to keep your vibratos subtle and natural so a depth of 3 or less and a reasonably fast speed, around 8, is usually used. Setting the depth too high can make the part sound out of tune from the rest. Following on from command 4 is command 6. This is the Vibrato and Volume Slide command, and it has a memory like command 5, which you already know how to use.Command 7 is Tremolo. This is similar to vibrato. Rather than changing the pitch it slides the volume. The effect parameters are in exactly the same format.Command 9 is Sample Offset. This starts the playback of the sample from a different place than the start. The effect parameters specify the sample offset, but only very roughly. Say you have a sample which is 8765(Hex) bytes long, and you wanted it to play from position 4321(Hex). The effect parameter could only be as accurate as the 43 part, and it would ignore the 21.Command B is the Playing List/Order Jump command. The parameters specify the position in the Playing List/Order to jump to. When used in conjunction with command D you can specify the position and the line to play from.Command E is pretty complex, as it is used for a lot of different things, depending on what the first parameter is. Let’s take a trip through each effect in order. Command E0 controls the hardware filter on an Amiga, which, as a low pass filter, cuts off the highest frequencies being played back. There are very few players and trackers on other system that simulate this function, not that you should need to use it. The second parameter, if set to 1, turns on the filter. If set to 0, the filter gets turned off.Commands E1/E2 are Fine Portamento Up/Down. Exactly the same functions as commands 1/2, except that they only slide the pitch by a very small amount. These commands have a memory the same as 1/2 as well.

Command E3 sets the Glissando control. If parameters are set to 1 then when using command 3, any sliding will only use the notes in between the original note and the note being slid to. This produces a somewhat jumpier slide than usual. The best way to understand is to try it out for yourself.

Produce a slow slide with command 3, listen to it, and then try using E31.

Command E4 is the Set Vibrato Waveform control. This command controls how the vibrato command slides the pitch. Parameters are 0 – Sine, 1 – Ramp Down (Saw), 2 – Square. By adding 4 to the parameters, the waveform will not be restarted when a new note is played e.g. 5 – Sine without restart.Command E5 sets the Fine Tune of the instrument being played, but only for the particular note being played. It will override the default Fine Tune for the instrument. The parameters range from 0 to F, with 0 being -8 and F being +8 Fine Tune. A parameter of 8 gives no Fine Tune. If you’re using a newer tracker that supports more than -8 to +8 e.g. -128 to +128, these parameters will give a rough Fine Tune, accurate to the nearest 16. Command E6 is the Jump Loop command. You mark the beginning of the part of a pattern that you want to loop with E60, and then specify with E6x the end of the loop, where x is the number of times you want it to loop.Command E7 is the Set Tremolo Waveform control. This has exactly the same parameters as command E4, except that it works for Tremolo rather than Vibrato.Command E9 is for Retriggering the note quickly. The parameter specifies the interval between the retrigs. Use a value of less than the current secondary tempo, or else the note will not get retrigged.Command EA/B are for Fine Volume Slide Up/Down. Much the same as the normal Volume Slides, except that these are easier to control since they don’t depend on the secondary tempo. The parameters specify the amount to slide by e.g. if you have a sample playing at a volume of 08 (Hex) then the effect EA1 will slide this volume to 09 (Hex). A subsequent effect of EB4 would slide this volume down to 05 (Hex). Command EC is the Note Cut. This sets the volume of the currently playing note to 0 at a specified tick. The parameters should be lower than the secondary tempo or else the effect won’t work.Command ED is the Note Delay. This should be used at the same time as a note is to be played, and the parameters will specify the number of ticks to delay playing the note. Again, keep the parameters lower than the secondary tempo, or the note won’t get played!Command EE is the Pattern Delay. This delays the pattern for the amount of time it would take to play a certain number of rows. The parameters specify how many rows to delay for.

Command EF is the Funk Repeat command (Huge thanks to T-Jay for this info!). The command needs a short loop to work. It moves the loop through the whole length of the sample, e.g.: You have a sample that is 10000 (decimal) bytes long. You have set the sample loop to 0-1000. When EFx is used, the loop will be moved to 1000-2000, then to 2000-3000 etc. After 9000-10000 the loop is set back to 0-1000. The speed of the loop “movement” is defined by x. I don’t know exactly how the speed is specified, but E is two times as slow as F, D is three times as slow as F etc. EF0 will turn the Funk Repeat off and reset the loop (to 0-1000). Some information can be slightly wrong, e.g. the loop MAY be moved from 0-1000 to 1002-2002, but it isn’t important. Very few trackers actually support it.

Sampling

Theory

 

Let’s talk about all the business that goes on before a sound ever gets to your computer’s memory. Sound in the air is continuously changing, and when it gets converted to an electrical signal the changes are still continuous. Your computer, however, can only store numbers using a limited number of digits or precision. Continuously varying sound is called an analogue signal. Once the computer grabs the sound, it doesn’t have enough precision to store all the information about the sound in order to perfectly reproduce it. What the computer has stored is called a digital signal representation. Your sound card captures information about an analogue sound signal by measuring its intensity at a given instant. This corresponds to one single point on the waveforms we’ve been looking at. In order to capture an entire waveform, the measurement process must be repeated at a high rate, usually thousands of times a second. Since the hardware has limited speed and memory capacity, there are only so many points it can capture. Any information between those points is lost forever. This process of capturing the sound in small intervals is called sampling. To play back a sound, we just reverse the process and convert the digital samples back to an analogue signal. Of course, the new signal will probably retain some of the staircase effect, so the reproduction won’t be perfect.

There are four main things to consider when sampling. The sample resolution and frequency, amplitude, and copyright (very important). The sample resolution is another term for the number of bits a sound is sampled at. All trackers can handle 8-Bit samples, and most modern ones are able to use 16-Bit samples as well. Sampling in 16-Bit will render the better quality sound all the time. 8-Bit samples can be difficult to distinguish from 16-Bit samples, if they are recorded with good hardware. But most people would advise 16-Bit samples all the time.

The main problem with a lower resolution is that you are likely to get some or a lot of noise, depending on the quality of your source. The only trouble with 16-Bit samples is that they are twice as large as 8-Bit ones. A good trick to use is to sample in 16-Bit, do all of your editing in 16-Bit, compose with 16-Bit samples, then for the release convert the all the samples to 8-Bit. You’ll find you can halve the size of your MOD this way (But make sure you keep a copy of the 16-Bit version). The listener may lose a small amount of quality, but this is usually masked by the mixing routine of the player. This may also deter some rippers from using your samples.

More important than the resolution of the sample when determining quality is the sample frequency. The sample frequency refers to the number of “snapshots” of the incoming sound taken per second. The higher the sampling frequency, the better the reproduction of the sound is. So just how many snapshots do we need? If you look at audio specs much, you’ve seen CD sampling rates of 44.1kHz, or 44,100 samples per second. That’s a lot of snapshots! A well-known signal processing theorem (Nyquist Theorem) says that to accurately reproduce a signal, you have to sample at a rate at least twice the highest frequency component in the signal. So the CD sampling rate of 44.1kHz will capture frequencies up to 22.05kHz. You might be wondering what happens if you don’t sample at a high enough frequency. Well, what you get is something called aliasing. This sinister sounding term just means that since the sample points aren’t close enough together, it looks as though you sampled a lower frequency that really wasn’t part of the original signal. Alias frequencies are like ghosts – poltergeists really – you can’t see them but they make a lot of noise. So by sampling at too low a rate, not only do you miss some of the high frequencies; some of them get thrown back into the mix as unwanted guests at lower frequencies. They are audible as background noise and distortion.

Monitoring the volume of the incoming sound is vital to produce a good quality sample. If your sampler uses oscilloscopes to “view” the sound then make sure the waveform gets as close to the top and bottom of the window, without flattening out (clipping). If your sampler uses volume meters instead you want to get the sample as near to 0 dB as possible, without going above.

Practical

 

Okay, you’re probably fed up of reading about sampling and actually want to do some for yourself. First of all you need some sampling hardware; on a PC virtually every sound card in existence can do some sort of sampling. On an Amiga or Atari you’re going to need some extra hardware on top of the built in chips. Sample editing isn’t really that hard, it’s mainly lot of trial and error, searching for the precise point where a sound begins and ends. It takes a long time before you’ll be able to read a waveform like a book. This is where tracking scores 100% over MIDI. MIDI samplers will rarely have an accurate, easy to see waveform display, and they don’t have mice either. One of the few reasons I use Windows 9x is for its sample editors and a nice high resolution screen. Start by centralising, and then normalising the sample. Then, starting at the end of the sample zoom in and look for a point on the centre where you think your sample ends. Always work from the end first, as any computer will find it easier to fill an area of memory with 0s than shifting a large chunk of memory around. If you’re using virtual memory this can speed up editing by a huge amount. Zoom back out to the whole view, does it look like you’ve marked the right place, if it does then mark from that part to the end of the sample and delete it. Play back the sample. If it gets cut off too soon, then either paste the cut part back in, or use the undo function built into many sample editors. Centralise, and normalise again. This is because the part you chopped off may have been off centre and/or louder than the part you want. Zoom in, and look for where your sample begins. Cut off anything before that. Play the sample to check you cut off the right part, not too much and not too little. If you cut off too much, then simply paste the data back in. Keep on cutting bits off, and playing the sample back, until it sounds how you want it to sound. Do a final centralise and normalise, and save the sound to disk. Give it a meaningful name. If the sample was from a synthesiser preset or a Sample CD then the name from there would be a good choice. If you use a DETAILS.TXT or similar then update it to include this new sample. Take the time to tune all your samples as accurately as possible. To do this, play a long, clear, looped sample, then move to another channel and tune ALL your other samples to this one sample (so they all have the same reference). Many potentially excellent modules have been spoilt because they were poorly tuned. Of course, this doesn’t count the cases where samples are intentionally slightly sharp or flat for effect (which should be a rarity instead of a rule).

Overusing Voice Samples

 

An extremely common mistake made by even some experienced trackers is finding a voice clip that they think sounds absolutely great or hilarious, and sticking it into their latest song approximately 87 times. People often do this with dance tracks. This very frequently kills what would otherwise be some truly great songs. No matter how funny or cool something sounds the first time you hear it, there are only so many times you can hear and still enjoy it. Also, music is about hearing a melody or grooving to a cool beat, not hearing somebody say the same thing over and over again, so your song shouldn’t rely on voice clips to sound good. If you delete the voice clips from one of your songs and find that it sounds terrible without them, that means that you relied too much on the voice clip and don’t have enough music. Using a truly funny or interesting voice clip once or twice can make a good song great, but it can’t make a bad song good.

Ripping

 

There are a number of very important points that should be kept in mind when ripping samples. Look for samples that sound clear and don’t have any clicking sounds at the point where it loops. If you’re looking for a sample of a real instrument, make sure it really sounds like the instrument or else it will sound stupid. Also, the newer the sample, the better. And finally, if you rip samples, it helps a lot if you e-mail the person who made them to get permission to use them, but if you don’t get permission, at least thank the person in the Sample Text. That’s just basic politeness.

Copyrights

 

Following on from ripping comes copyrights. If you’re not planning to ever release a tune commercially then use samples from wherever you like. It’s extremely unlikely anybody will bother chasing you when they know you won’t be making any money from it. If however, you eventually want to be able to release your music, then pay close attention. If you sample individual sounds, such as a single bass note, you should be able to get away with it (especially if you hear the sound in a few commercial tunes). When you sample large and/or easily recognisable parts of any tune, get the samples checked out before you even think about releasing yours. After all, I don’t expect you fancy paying out large sums of money just because of one simple little sample.

Releasing

 

Once you’ve produced a tune you like, you’ll probably want other people to listen to it, give you feedback etc. The most important thing to remember at the moment is NEVER to publicly release your first couple of tunes. There are very few people who are gifted enough to really make a quality tune the first time – it’s all practice and experience! Once you have finished a tune, listen to it a couple of days after… see whether you can view it from another point of view. Get a couple of friends to listen to it and ask for some constructive criticism. You know, what’s good as well as what’s bad about the tune. When you feel ready to release a tune, probably the best way of doing so is via the Internet. There are a number of good FTP sites which will allow you to upload to them. Unfortunately most of them are incredibly busy, making them very slow. If you don’t have to worry about the telephone bill, then by all means use them. If your phone bill plays a part, then probably the best way of releasing is to post your tune to alt.binaries.sounds.mods. You could also set up your own web site if you have some web space. This could be either on your own ISP, or on a free site provider like http://www.geocities.com, http://www.fortunecity.com, and http://www.crosswinds.net.

Techniques

 

  1. Intermediate Ok, I know my way around, I can sample and use effects, and I’ve released some MODs, but just how are certain things done?


Effects


There are a number of effects available in the newer trackers that we didn’t discuss in Section 1. Be sure that you are familiar with all the standard effects before you embark this next voyage of discovery. These effects -have- to be used properly, or they can completely destroy what would otherwise be a good track.

Panning

 

Let’s start with Stereo Panning. This is the method by which a sound appears to come from a certain place between two speakers. Panning is accomplished by use of command 8 (In FT2, in others substitute for whatever command they use). It’s a simple command to use. 800 will pan the sound to the far left, and 8FF will pan far right. Values in between these pan the sound accordingly – 880 places the sound directly in the centre, 860 places it a little to the left, 8D0 places it quite some distance to the right.

There is also a Stereo Surround feature in a few trackers. Stereo Surround is actually far simpler than it sounds. Once everything has been mixed, either the left waveform or the right waveform of the stereo pair will be inverted (turned upside down). This effect gives the impression of the sound (yes, you guessed it!) surrounding you. Stereo Surround works best if you are positioned directly parallel to the centre of where the two speakers are e.g.:

Left Speaker ———+——— Right Speaker
You


It helps if you are fairly close to the speakers as well. Increasing the distance between the speakers increases the surround sensation. There is an inherent problem with this method of Stereo Surround though. It only works well if the sound being made surround consists of mainly treble frequencies, since most of the lower frequencies get cut out. This gives the sound a hollow feel. Of course, you can combat this by siting yourself left of the left speaker or right of the right speaker, to reduce the surround effect. But why would you want to?In most of the newer trackers, panning can also be accomplished through the use of the Instrument Parameters. There will almost certainly be a default panning setting. If you are lucky there will also be a panning envelope. The default panning has a similar job to the default volume. It sets the instrument to a particular panning position, which gets used every time the instrument is played without a panning command. Panning envelopes offer greater flexibility over the stereo positioning of an instrument.

The problem with panning is that many people don’t know anything about panning theory and how to set up their equipment. Most seem to end up using sounds that swing wildly from left to right. This is agony to listen to! Soft bouncing pans can be effective, but should only be used in moderation.

 

Virtual Sound Sources – By XRQ

 

As we all know, musicians and music technicians left mono sound a long time ago, simply because the stereo sound sounds much better. The first question is WHY?
In mono there is only one source of sound and, therefore, many problems occur when one tries to put several instruments on only one speaker. It is very difficult to distinguish between them. They practically eat each other and do not come out like they’re supposed to. Stereo brought us two sound sources and it seemed that the problem would be two times easier, however this is not the case. It’s not the fact that there are two speakers, it’s just that they can give us many more sources of sound. The second question is HOW?
The answer lies in (what I call) “virtual sound sources” that are created in stereo sound. Everyone who has ever listened to music notices that some instruments come from far left (e.g. guitars), some from approximately centre (vocals or drums) and some from the right (make up your own example). It is described by saying that the instruments are scattered across the PANORAMA FIELD. Numerous experiments have shown that a man can tell apart seventeen points in the pan-field. To hear this many he would have to have perfect hearing and years of studio work behind him. We, the common mortals, hear only 11 or 13, if we’re lucky. These points are, in fact, my precious “virtual sound sources”, because the sound comes from there, and there, and there… But only with two speakers! The purpose of this writing is to accent the importance of carefully balanced music, of a full pan-field, of a volume of every instrument in that field which we recognise as the music. So, the third question is – WHAT ONE SHOULD DO WITH THIS KNOWLEDGE? Well, it would be very advisable to look on the pan-settings of your tracker and divide the field onto as many points as you wish (not less then seven). Well you don’t have to, I did it for you! That is, if you use Fasttracker 2.0x. Here’s the table (hex values): -

7 points

00 2A 54 7F AB D5 FF

9 points

00 1F 3F 5F 7F 9F BF DF FF

11 points

00 19 32 4C 65 7F 99 B2 CC E5 FF

13 points

00 15 2A 40 54 6A 7F 94 AB BE D5 E9 FF

 

You may have noticed that 00, 7F, and FF are always there; those are extreme points – left, centre and right. That’s it, then. Balance your music right!

Techniques

Echoing

 

Do you use echoes on various parts of your MODs? If not, why not? They are an easy way of filling out the sound. Really easy to do as well. Simply copy a channel into another empty channel, change the volume of the channel down to under half of its current volume, and insert a row in only that channel. Play back the pattern, if it sounds nice, you’ve succeeded. Inserting only a single row will only work well at slow BPMs, however, so keep on inserting and playing back until it sounds nice. One point to remember, and this is something I’ve seen in many MODs, even ones produced by masters (I won’t give any names), is that if the echo is fairly long a few notes will be chopped off the end of the echoed channel when you insert rows. But these notes still exist in the original channel. When the tune is played back the echo will appear to stop at the beginning of each pattern, and then start again. This reduces the ‘live’ feel of the entire module. Just remember to copy the chopped notes onto the beginning of the next pattern in the playing list, and everything will sound fine.

Gating

 

Another cool effect (IMHO) is gating. This is usually done with command A. Load a long/looped sample and set it to maximum volume. Now input the channel below (The notes can be anything, but keep the effects the same) (No Volume Column)


C
5 1 A0F – Starts note, slides volume — 1 A0F – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A0F – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A0F – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A0F – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A0F – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A0C – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A08 – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume
E
5 1 A0A – Starts note, slides volume — 1 A0A – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A08 – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A06 – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume
D
5 1 A08 – Starts note, slides volume — 1 A08 – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A06 – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume — 1 A04 – Sets volume to sample default volume, then slides volume

Now play the pattern, and you should find that you get this choppy sound that gets less choppy with the slower slides. That choppiness is gating. Gating works best when used on strings and vocals, but just play around and see what you come up with.

How to Avoid Doubled Up Channels

Doubled up channels, simply to increase an instruments volume, are extremely bad work. Not only do they decrease the number of free channels, but playback of the instrument will be affected. This is usually due to slight timing errors, and can result in a muffled sound from the mix routine.

There are a couple of ways to avoid having to use doubled up channels. First of all, the not so good ways: -

 

  1. By physically altering the samples volume. This is possibly the worst way of doing it. Altering the samples volume can cause both overdrive from too much amplification, and loss of sample data when individual sample ‘snapshots’ reach the zero point. Repeatedly altering the volume WILL cause these problems and result in a sample of far lower quality than was started with. 

  2. By changing the default volume. This may or may not cause any difficulties, it all depends on what tracker is being used. In one like FT2 or PT, the default volume is the same as using a volume command all the time. To explain this, here’s an example. You have an instrument that has a default volume of 40 (hex), and you are well into composing the tune when you decide that the instrument would sound better at 20 (hex). You change the default volume to reflect this. But you now have a problem; all the volume commands and slides for this sample were designed for a sample played at 40 (hex). So now the sound gets played back far too loud or disappears occasionally, when it didn’t before. It is also far more difficult to get smooth sounding volume slides as you only have half as many volume positions as before. Something like Impulse Tracker overcomes this problem through the use of a Global Volume instrument parameter. This is a relative volume level, which means that any changes to it do not affect how commands work with it whatsoever.

And now the really good ways: -

  1. Using volume envelopes. This is my personal favourite. It works in much the same way to the Global Volume in IT. Therefore IT users and the like can ignore this method completely. This is how this method works. Load a sample, and create a simple two node volume envelope that looks something like this.
Max Volume
* Node 1
|

|
|
|
Min Volume – * Node 2

 


The first node should be at the top of the graph, and the second node at the bottom. They should be as close together as possible, creating a near vertical slope. Set Sustain on node 1. That’s it! Now, to set the samples default volume, simply slide Node 1 up or down.

 

  1. Halve the default volume on loading. Easy, quick, and effective. Whenever you load a sample, change its default volume to half. This can be done using whatever method you like (preferably through Global Volume or method (3)). If you find when mixing that the sound needs more power you can increase its volume, without needing to alter any other setting.

Removing the need to use doubled up channels not only improves the sound quality and mix speed, but it makes it easier to produce a track as well. There’s less scrolling around, and you can see more of the pattern on screen at one time.

Sampling

CD Ripping

 

Do you have a CD-ROM drive? If so, do you use a CD-Ripper? You should do. A CD-Ripper will allow you to get perfect copies of audio on CDs. You will require a CD-ROM drive and drivers which allow raw data to be read off CDs. Below is a compatibility list that should let you know what drives have this capability.

Drive & Interface

 

LG/GoldStar GCD-R540C – IDEBTC 36x – IDE(Ok, so it’s a little incomplete at the moment!)If your drive is listed but you seem unable to get it to read raw data, there may be a few possible solutions. One problem you will more than likely find in Windows 95 OSR2 and possibly Windows 98 is that CD-Rippers will not seem to work with them. To get around this you’ll have to bypass Windows 95′s 32-Bit disk drivers by going to Control Panel/System/Performance/File-System/Troubleshooting/Disable All 32-Bit Protect-Mode Disk Drivers. Note that you must have DOS CD-ROM drivers installed for this to work properly. Certain drives and set-ups will have other problems. One of which is that the first read attempt after every reboot will fail or take forever to start. If this happens, eject and reinsert the CD, and try reading again.

As far as I know, FT2 is the only tracker to have a ripper built in, but it isn’t very compatible. If you use DOS for tracking then a CD-ripper called CD2Wav seems to work very well, it’ll also take advantage of any 32-Bit CD-ROM drivers installed if you run it under Windows 9x/NT. However it can’t rip specific sections of a CD. If you want a small 2 second bite of sound from the end of the track, you have to rip everything before the part you want, which is inconvenient and sometimes impossible. If you want to rip CD-DA on Windows 3.1, then the only package I know of is Digital Domain. This is quite basic, but it does the job quickly and effectively. On Windows 9x/NT, CD-Worx would be a good choice. CD-Worx comes in separate versions for 9x and NT, because NT uses a different way of handling things. CD-Worx is a nice program, with features for ripping from a variety of CD formats. Audiograbber is the one I currently use, simply because it always seems to work, and you can specify that if any errors do occur simply to carry on. The free version of Audiograbber does have one slight limitation. It can only grab from a randomly selected set of half the tracks on the CD in one session. If you want a specific track, you have to keep on reloading it until that particular track is available!

Filtering

 

There are a number of features available in most good sampling programs that can be used to improve the quality of the sound. First of all we’ll take a look at filters, usually there will be some sort of controllable low/high pass filter that you can use. At their most basic form, filters are used to remove (filter) various frequencies from the input signal. The frequencies removed may be lower than the cut-off frequency (low pass), higher than the cut-off (high pass), in the range between a low cut-off and a high cut-off (band pass), or outside of a similar range (band stop). Low pass filters give a sound a deeper, more booming One purpose of using a low pass filter is to remove noise from a low pitched bass sample, it can also add fatness to the sample as well. The most important thing to remember is not to use a low pass which lets too high frequencies through. A low pass of about 8kHz seems to work fine in removing noise from most bass samples. High pass filters are also useful, and can make very interesting sounds. When used on a bass type sound, they can give it a “hollow” quality. The higher the cut-off of the filter, the more hollow the sound.

  1. Advanced

I know everything :v) – what next?


The essential thing to remember when you’re at this stage is that everything must be professionally done, whether it’s sampling, tracking, and use of effects, absolutely everything must be at top quality. Take your time over your tracks, and make sure that they are as perfect as you can get them.

Vocals

 

Chances are that some time or other you are going to want to incorporate some sort of vocals into your music. This can be very hard, and there are two important things to remember: the vocalist, and the words. Both should be of equal importance in your mind. A good vocalist singing crap words sounds unprofessional, the same goes for a crap vocalist singing great words. Few people can sing well, and even fewer can write respectable songs. Your best chance of getting good vocals is to find someone who is willing and able to write some lyrics for you, and then hire a studio and a vocalist for a couple of hours. The main reason for hiring a studio is that it’ll probably have VERY expensive and VERY nice microphones. They’ll know all about using them and have the best environment to record in. Remember that you’ll probably want to take a recording of your tune with you so the vocalist will have something to sing to! You can then sample the vocals and incorporate them into your tune. Obviously you’ll have to check that the studio has a sampler that can save onto disks that you can use. The actual sample format isn’t too important as there are plenty of converters around. An alternative method would be to find out if the studio has a CD- Recorder. You can then record the vocals direct to CD and rip or sample them at your leisure. The same goes if you have a DAT machine, you could record to DAT in the studio and then sample the vocals when you want. Using vocal samples does have a number of drawbacks. One, your modules will instantly increase in size. We’re not talking a few hundred KB here, more like a good few megabytes, depending on the amount of vocals used. Another problem is one of performance. Although this may not bother you. If you’re playing a song to an audience and there’s no-one singing it, the performance will look quite strange!

Effects

EQ

Get Your Frequencies Sorted Out – by XRQ

 

Imagine the following: you are listening to some music, every instrument has the same volume throughout the frequencies (from 50Hz up to 20kHz). The result would be a noise that one could hardly call “music”, and, on the other hand, it wouldn’t be possible to differ the instruments, all melodies would be melted into “peeping, shouting, roaring mass”. Therefore, the instruments should be separated by frequencies. I’ll make an example. Let’s say that we’re planning to have some vocals and let’s say that that particular vocal sounds best if we let all frequencies near 8kHz out on a speaker and suppress all other frequencies a bit. So, we’ve situated vocals on 8kHz. If we wanted to put a guitar next to the vocals we should force some other frequency for it – 6kHz e.g., and so on. Every instrument will have its own “major” (“capital”) frequency, they will all be “frequent neighbours” (“neighbours by frequency”), there must be no frequency occupied by two instruments. Even if a situation occurs where two of them MUST be on same frequency, make a compromise,

put one a bit higher than the other and kick them apart in panorama (left and right instruments) or make one of them more leading and push the other on some insane frequency (very low or very high or which would be an “uninhabited” one). This is extremely important. It’ll sound better. You’ll experience a difference which you will not believe.

This is to be done in some sample editor by EQ settings or Parametric EQ’s or… You know what I mean, I’ve given you the goal, but the choice of a tool is yours.

EQ – in Theory and in Practice – by DNATrance

 

EQ is very important to make individual sounds in a mix fit together like one big happy family. Usually you have EQ on each channel of a professional mixer or you can use your favourite sample editor to EQ your samples to go into a tracker or sampler.

Basically, an EQ is a filter which has the following characteristics:

Frequency Low frequencies are bass, high are treble.
Gain The amount of volume you wish to cut or boost the frequency by.
Q(Resonance) The bandwidth (amount the filter spreads out from the centre frequency both up and down equally)

 

A low or high pass filter is the same, only the frequencies above or below the frequency of cut or boost are lost as well.

There are usually the following on an EQ:

Low cut off The lowest frequency of your sound which gets past.
Low gain How much you want to cut or boost your bass frequencies.
Low frequency At which frequency you wish to boost your lows.
Mid gain The amount you want to cut or boost your mid frequencies.
Mid frequency At which frequency you wish to boost your mid frequencies.
Mid Q The bandwidth at which you wish to boost your mid frequencies (can also be called resonance).
High gain How much you wish to cut or boost your highs.
High frequency At which frequency you wish to boost your highs.
High cut off The highest frequency of your sound which gets past.


Depending on the EQ, you may not get all of these features. For example, the low frequency may be pre-set, or you may not have a mid control at all, like a conventional hi-fi with only pre-set frequency on bass and treble (high) with only gain controls.Possibly the best is a parametric equaliser which has many filters to alter the characteristics of the sound.Anyway, what you have to do to get your mix sounding professional is to EQ sounds as a mix. So if you have a bass and a kick drum, boost them at separate frequencies to make them fit together. You may wish (and is advisable) to lower the volume (gain) before EQing.A bad habit of trackers is sometimes to make the kick drum too loud. This is because the other sounds in the mix have far too much bass in them, and all the sounds except the actual bass and kick drum, should not have a lot of bass in them. It might sound like nothing. Just one instrument with bass in it, but when you add the rest of the mix with toms, etc. it can add up to make a ‘mushy’ mix. If you don’t have a mixing desk, don’t worry. If you use hard disk recording, you may be at an advantage, because when you apply EQ to a section of a sequence, you can usually ‘see’ which parts the EQ is effecting. Although, your ears are the final judges – the most important tip I can give you.You may like to turn the gain up full and play with the frequency to hear or ‘feel’ where the resonance of the sound is more easily, then turn down the gain to a lower setting. Remember that 3dB doubles the gain, and 6dB is much louder, because it works on a logarithmic scale, depending on the type of scale on your EQ (it may be linear which has much less of a steep curve)

EQing the high hats so that it’s only the high you can hear might sound like a good idea, but try moving the frequency down a little and you might be surprised at how much less tinnier they sound, and have more of a tuned sound.

 

Going commercial

 

Releasing commercially when you use a tracker is nigh on impossible, due to the lack of respect trackers have from ‘proper’ musicians. There have been, and will be, a lucky few who have done it. Names that I know of are Bjorn Lynne (Dr. Awesome), Dex + Jonesey, Eric Giesen (Sidewinder), Vivid, Ganja Man, Holy Ghost, Oona, Assign, Blue Adonis, Purple Motion, Mark Knight (The Dark Knight), Allister Brimble.There are two ways of getting paid for your music. Selling it commercially, and/or getting it used in computer games. Tracked music still plays an important role in games, as unlike CD Audio it can be altered while it is being played. This allows for context sensitive music, where the music changes to suit the action on screen. Even MIDI files cannot easily be used in this way.

The main problem with getting your music released is the output format. Here’s a short table to determine whether or not you’ll have this problem.

Soundcard qualityDAT machineCD-Writer Problem?
Good, with digital
outputYesYes
No
Good, with digital
outputYesNo
No
Good, with digital
outputNoYes
No
Good, with digital
outputNoNo
Yes
Bad, no digital
outputYesYes
No
Bad, no digital
outputYesNo
Yes
Bad, no digital
outputNoYes
No
Bad, no digital
outputNoNo
Yes


Basically, as long as you have a CD-Writer or a good quality digital output and DAT machine, you won’t have a problem getting a good quality recording. Which means you’ll be able to produce good quality demos without the need to hire a professional (!) studio or mastering company.

Something else to consider when you’re going professional is the quality of your samples. The number of times I’ve heard a tune good enough to be released that has been spoiled by bad samples is ridiculous. Drums are generally the culprits, especially those with high frequencies in them. Synthetic hi-hats and cymbals pitched up too far lose their distinctive sound, and get changed back into what they really are – noise. Don’t settle for anything less than CD-Quality, unless you specifically want that “lo-fi” sound. Try not to overdrive samples simply to increase their volume. This can result in a loss in quality as the sample loses definition. Instead, reduce the volume of the rest of the samples being used, and up the playback volume on your sound system.

 

Production of Audio CDs

 

Audio CDs are one of the most popular formats for the production of high-quality demos. Although the initial outlay for a CD-Recorder is quite a large amount, one should last for a good number of years if it’s only used for the production of CDs – and not for general use as a CD-ROM drive.

Sampling

 

  1. Techniques


Take your time


An essential point about producing a quality tune is the amount of preparation you put in, before you even begin to start. This is especially important if you intend to produce in a style unfamiliar to you. Take the time to get good samples, and see how they could be made to fit together. Listen to the style, you don’t have to buy tons of new music, just see what friends have lying around, and the radio can be a good source. Play around with various ideas in your tracker, you needn’t save them. Get hold of a few MODs and see how they work. We’re not talking about a few hours here, not even a few days. It may take a few weeks or even months before everything’s ready. But when it is you should find that you’re able to produce, fairly quickly, a quality piece.

Spicing Up Your Percussion

 

(Taken from CU Amiga May 1994 – Slightly edited to be more generic)

Fat Beats

 

There are a number of things you can do to add a bit of life to your percussion. One of the best ways to beef up a drum sample is to mix it with another sample. You’ve probably already experimented with this, mixing kick, snare, and hi-hat samples, in order to fit your entire rhythm into one track. However, to get a really kickin’ sound, try mixing your percussion samples with samples of tuned instruments. For instance, mixing a really deep analogue-type bass sound with a kick drum produces a really heavy, squelchy, dance floor sound. Similarly, try mixing snare and guitar sounds, for an unusual and funky effect try adding Laser-type pulse sounds to 808 style snares for an authentic Sheffield clunk and bleep sound.

Echomania

 

Another way to add a bit of life to a rhythm track made up of individual samples is to echo the entire track. This is a quick way of funking up your percussion, and you’ll find you can create a great track with only kick, snare, and open hi-hat when you use echo in this way.

Bring Out Your Dead

 

You’ve probably got quite a collection of hackneyed breakbeats, which are instantly recognisable, and therefore pretty much unusable. One way round this is to sample some more, but in theory at least, you always have to be careful of the copyright laws when sampling other peoples material. You could always buy a sample-compilation CD, but most of these are a tad expensive for the casual user. On the other hand, it’s quite possible to breathe new life into a dead breakbeat. One method is to apply some sort of sound effect to the sample, preferably in stereo. Most sampling software nowadays has a range of effects built in with which you can process you sample, but most of these produce fairly unsubtle results when applied to percussion samples. So what’s the alternative, if you can spare the memory and two tracks (a stereo pair is what we’re looking for here) is to use the tracker itself to produce a real-time phasing effect. To do this, load the same breakbeat sample into two different sample locations. For best results, pick a breakbeat that stretches over two bars (32 lines of a standard 64 line pattern). Play the first instance of the sample (at a reasonable rate!) on line 0 and line 32 of a 64 line pattern, on one track. Do the same thing on track 2, but this time with the second version of the sample. Now for the clever bit. Fine Tune the second version of the sample up or down one or two points. Now when you play the pattern, you’ll get a phasing effect, with the rhythms moving in and out of the stereo field – great for trance techno type extravaganzas. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try playing one of the samples an octave down from the other. If you can’t spare the memory or two tracks for the rhythm, you can get a similar effect in mono as follows. Load up the first and second breakbeat as before, and resample or pitch shift the second by a few points, then mix them together. The effect is a lot less subtle than the stereo version, but can be just as effective in the right circumstances.

On A Ragga Tip

 

Another way to squeeze the last bit of life out of a dying rhythm is to change the playing length and sample trigger positions from the normal start of the bar. This is a technique much favoured by breakbeat and jungle techno groups like SL2 and The Prodigy, and works best at fairly fast BPMs. Play your breakbeat on lines 0 and 32, and adjust the tempo so that the rhythms trigger in time, with no glitches. Now trigger the sample on the following lines: 0,6,16,26,32,42,48 and 54. When you play this back, you’ll have a rhythm track that sort of rolls around the beat – perfect for just adding a baseline and calling it your finished song! For a brutal stereo version of this, try playing the same sample on a different track (on the opposite stereo channel) on the following lines: 0, 10,16,22,32,38,48, and 58. You might even go the whole hog and combine this with the stereo phasing effect.

The Zen of Tracking Advanced Tips and Tricks

Indian Food for Thought

 

You can get a very Indian-sounding “24-tone” scale in Impulse Tracker by using this technique: (FT2 users will have to accomplish the same thing via the “tone” setting)

Load your sample twice. Look at the second one, and write down the sample rate. Multiply that number by 1.0304 and put the result in the “playback rate” field of the first sample. Now you have a consonant tone in the second sample and a semitone above that in the first. By playing the second at C-5 then the first at C-5 then the second at C#5 then the first at C#5 (and so on), you get a semi-tone chromatic, which is pretty weird. If you’re really bold, you might get some cool Indian sounding stuff going out of it. Good luck tracking it, though. It’s a whole new set of musical theory.

The Amiga Scene and You

 

If you either release or listen to MODs (not XMs, ITs or S3Ms, etc), then you’re probably aware of the Amiga scene, which still uses the MOD format today. If so, hold this in mind: the Amiga plays music 1BPM faster than PCs. For example, at speed ’6′ in a MOD, a PC is playing it at 120BPM (I would assume, anyway), and an Amiga is playing it at 121BPM.What this means to you, the listener, is certain drum loops and riff samples will sound off-kilter, rhythmically. So be a little more forgiving in such circumstances. If you want to hear it as it was originally written on the Amiga, put it in Fasttracker (or whatever your favourite tracker is), save it as an XM (likewise with the favourites), and change all the tempos in the song to their appropriate fine-tempos (BPM), plus one. (Remember to do the reverse if you’re producing a MOD on the PC that’ll probably get played on an Amiga. When the tune is finished convert all the primary tempos to 1 less. This BPM thing sometime gets more extreme too, maybe 2 or 3 BPM out in certain circumstances. ModPlug and various other players overcome this BPM problem. – Cools) There are also some other effects that don’t convert well from Amiga to PC, which are apparent in chip tunes. For the best reproduction (though still not perfect), look for a player called “Midas Player”, since it handles things a little better than most with MODs.Radix has a few things to add:

Well; in ProTracker the EFx command is used a lot… it actually changes the waveform in the sample (only in the beginning). So in chip tunes, chip sounds can get some kind of wave sequence sound, “weeeeeeeeoooong” that does not work on any program on PC I have seen. Arpeggio on PC is not that fun either. I don’t know really, but chip sounds sound better on Amiga… Another thing is that PC with a GUS can sound really awful while playing a high and a low tone of the same sample at once. This is really lame. Like a C-3 and a C-7 (same sample) sound really out of tune.

Very Cool Reverb

 

Sure, you have an echoed lead. But do you have a reverberated lead? This sounds very cool indeed. Load the lead in your favourite sample editor (mine’s Cool Edit), reverb it however you like (I use a straight reverb, on the “last row seats” setting), so that it’s REAL deep. Now load the tracker. Create the echo track as usual (copy the lead, offset it by a few rows, and change the volume by less than 50% of the lead). Much nicer, eh?

If you want a reverb that’s not-as-deep to use somewhere else, you can widen it for the echo track, creating this weird echoed attack kind of thing, like this (FT2 Format, 1 is the lead, 2 is the reverb):

01 C-5 01 40 000 C-5 02 08 840
02 — — – 000 C-5 02 10 8A0
03 — — – 000 C-5 02 20 880
04 — — – 000 — — – 000
05 F-5 01 34 000 F-5 02 08 8C0
06 — — – 000 F-5 02 10 860
07 — — – 000 F-5 02 20 880
08 D#5 01 3C 000 D#5 02 08 840
09 — — – 000 D#5 02 10 8A0
0A D-5 01 30 000 D-5 02 08 8C0


Of course, you don’t need to keep retriggering the note. I just thought it sounded cool with bouncing pan. In any case, I think a reverberated lead sounds even better than an echoed version. Try it and see for yourself.

 

Phased Leads

 

A very cool effect for writing leads, commonly used by advanced trackers, is a phased synth string. (In fact, it’s almost hard to call this an ‘advanced’ trick). You can find samples that work for this is a lot of different places (any good ‘sweep’ string sample will do), but the way that they’re used is the important aspect…

It’s quite simple, really. You just create an instrument with a volume envelope typical of a lead. Something with a sharp attack, a moderate length sustain, and an exponentially quieter decay (my ANSI art is miserable, but I’ll try):

           .  <-- Full volume here
           |\______
          /        \
          |<-- 60%  \_
              volume  \__
               here      \____
                              \________
                                       \ <-- 10% volume here (or less), and a
                                              moderate (300ish) fadeout.

 


The total length of the envelope should be about twice as long as the average length of the note (i.e.: an average length of a quarter-note should have an envelope that lasts about as long as a half-note). Now, as you write your lead, keep the notes in the same channel, and slide to them at a very fast rate (‘F’, generally), like this:

 

          01  C-5 01 40 000   <-- This starts off the sweep
          02  --- -- -- 000
          03  --- -- -- 000
          04  --- -- -- 000
          05  F-5 01 34 3F0   <-- You slide to the note here
          06  --- -- -- 000
          07  --- -- -- 000
          08  D#5 01 3C 3F0   <-- And here...  See the effect?
          09  --- -- -- 000
          0A  D-5 01 30 3F0   <-- Etc.  Retrigger the note
                                  to 'start over' the phase.

 


It’s important, however, that you echo this lead in another channel, since it will sound fairly flat otherwise.

 

Sound & Sampling Explained

 

By Rubz/Hertz

As you probably know from physics, sound is essentially made up of waves travelling through the air – sound is merely vibration caused by some object or another. Of course, that isn’t entirely accurate, as sound can pass through solids and liquids as well (in fact, the denser the medium, the better the sound is conducted – that’s why whales can communicate with each other over distances of miles, because water is denser than air.) The medium through which the wave is travelling doesn’t actually move, either, or at least not much more that it takes for one molecule to bump into the next one (think of a Mexican wave at a football match, and you’ll get the picture). The vibrations remain vibrations until they come into contact with something that can hear, i.e. an ear (but not a microphone, because a microphone merely captures some of the vibration and sends it down a wire). The faster the vibration, the higher the frequency, the higher the pitch of the sound; humans can hear from about 20hz to about 20,000hz (although the more you abuse your ear by pumping high decibel sound into it, the less high the frequency you can hear). There isn’t much, musically speaking, between the 12Khz to 20Khz ranges – you would notice the difference if you compared a song through 12Khz and 20Khz ears, but there wouldn’t be much. It is claimed by many that we are sensitive, although not actually aware, of sound well above 20Khz and below 20hz, and this is why professional equipment will have such a wide frequency response. The intensity of the sound wave determines the loudness of the sound (the harder you strike a drum, the bigger the oscillation of the skin, and hence the louder the drum – the frequency is unaffected), and sound is traditionally measured in decibels. Literally, 0 decibels (0 dB) is equivalent to an sound pressure level of 20 microPascals, which is the lowest possible level of sound that your average Joe will be able to hear. Clearly, this is a relative figure, as everybody’s hearing is slightly different. The decibel scale is logarithmic, because that is the way our brain interprets a change in sound level (for example, the brain reckons that 40,000 microPascals is only twice as loud as 4,000 microPascals; the figure in decibels represents our perception of it.) Now you are likely aware that computers operate entirely digitally (with the only possible numbers at the lowest level being 1 or 0, one of two states, on or off). So how do we translate an analogue vibration into an internal, digital, package of data? Well, imagine the sound coming into the computer on a conveyer belt, and every few thousandths of a second the bit coming past is chopped off, and measured. Got it? That is essentially, the way a computer samples a sound – a wave file on disk is essentially a large stream of numbers, each representing the level that was measured in that particular time interval. That time interval is what we are referring to when we talk about sampling at 11.025kHz, 22.05kHz, 44.1kHz, or even 48kHz. The number refers to the number of times the knife comes down on the wave, chops off a slice, and measures it; accurate sound reproduction requires a sampling rate of around 40kHz, CDs are done at 44.1kHz, and DATs at 48kHz. Generally the sampling frequency is around twice the highest frequency that can be represented; so if you sample at 22.05kHz, you are restricting the discernible sound to between around 20Hz to 11.025kHz. Which is why the lower your sampling rate is, the lower the quality of your sound. Of course, sometimes you actually want it to sound that bit rougher. Also, if you know that your sound won’t use higher frequencies at all, then it is fine to sample at a lower rate, and you’ll be hard pushed to spot the difference. But as you’ll know, if you’ve used Cool Edit or something similar, you also get the choice between sampling it 8-Bit or 16-Bit. So what difference does that make? Well, if you know anything about binary numbers, you’ll probably be way ahead of me here, but just in case: A decimal number is made up of units, tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and so on, in effect powers of 10 (10^0, 10^1, 10^2, 10^3, 10^4, etc.). So when you write 3252 you are in effect saying 3 thousands, 2 hundreds, 5 tens, and 2 ones or 3 10^3s, 2 10^2s, 5 10^1s, and 2 10^0s (any number to the power 0 is always 1). Similarly, a binary number is made up of ones, twos, fours, eight’s, sixteen’s (or 2^0s, 2^1s, 2^2s, 2^3s, 2^4s, etc – 2, because there are two possible states, 1 and 0). For example, the binary number 1101 is in effect 1 2^3, 1 2^2, 0 2^1, and 1 2^0, or 8 + 4 + 0 + 1, 13. An 8-Bit number can represent 256 ((2^8) – 1) different states (0000,0000 through 1111,1111), and a 16-Bit number 65,536 ((2^16) -1) different states. You remember earlier we said that when the computer measures the level of the incoming wave on the conveyer belt, it stores it as a number. With an 8-Bit sampling resolution, it has to choose that number from 256 possible states, so if the wave happens to fall between 2 of those 256 numbers at that particular time interval, the computer has to choose the nearest. You’ve probably seen the same thing happen in primitive graphics packages – draw a diagonal line, and you end up with a stepped line. 16-Bit, therefore, provides a lot clearer sound quality, as you have more levels to choose from; even 16-Bit, however, is not perfect, and studios commonly work with 20-Bit resolutions, which provide 1,048,576 different possible levels, or 24-Bit resolutions, which provide 16,777,216 different levels. Similar to there being a relationship between sampling rate and the frequency response of the sound, there is also a relationship between the dynamic range (the possible variation in level of the sound) and the sampling resolution. A 16-Bit resolution gives a dynamic range of 96dBs, or 6 times the resolution. Don’t worry about why, just accept it. When we say a dynamic range of 96dBs, we do not of course mean that the loudest possible level is 96dB, we simply mean the range of possible levels is 96dB wide (any amplifier can make something louder or quieter quite easily.) One thing you should ensure when sampling, then, is that your source is within the dynamic range of at the resolution you are sampling at. As an experiment, shout or scream into the microphone at 8-Bits, and then repeat at 16-Bits. When you look at the 8-Bit one, you’ll notice that the wave is cut off at the highest possible point, it is just a straight line or block going as high as the top of the screen. What this means is that there were sounds at higher levels than the resolution allows, but the computer couldn’t cope with them because it was only sampling at 8-Bit; thus it assigned them to the nearest level, which was the highest possible one. This is known as clipping. Your 16-Bit sample will probably still have some clipping, but considerably less. To get round this, either use a compressor, so that all sounds are restricted to a certain dynamic range, or adjust your gain and input levels. If you know you are going to be recording a very loud noise, drop the gain right down, to keep it all within the range. Of course, if you are looking for weird effects and so on, you may wish to try ignoring the guidelines for good quality sounds; things sampled at low resolutions, frequencies or with clipping can sound interesting. It is important that you understand what they mean, though, as you can only properly experiment with something that you understand.

What It Means To Be A Tracker

 

By Ganja Man/LOK

Before I start, I’d just like to say that I expect to be flamed for some of the opinions expressed in this article. A lot of people probably won’t agree with what I say. Fair enough. This is what I believe tracking should be about. Doubtless, there will be those who have a different opinion. I’m perfectly happy to merely ignore them.

Why Do YOU Want To Be A Tracker?

 

There are no definitive good reasons for wanting to be a tracker. There are, however, I believe, a number of reasons that are not suitable for those who wish to be trackers. Tracking will NOT make you money. Don’t ever think it will. There are a number of trackers, including myself, who have got recording contracts/game contracts/whatever through tracking. The numbers are few and far between, and if you want to be a music ‘professional’ quite frankly you’d be better saving up for some decent MIDI equipment/samplers and making demo tapes to pass along to record companies. That route is how most artists get into the business, and I can’t see it changing much. Tracking is NOT about making money. Don’t track for respect. Sure, it’s nice when someone e-mails you and tells you how great (s)he thinks your latest track is, but it isn’t a reason in itself. Of course, tracking merely to get feedback on your music is something different; without tracking my music would be infinitely worse, because I would never have got the insights into what I’m doing wrong. Don’t expect to become another Necros/Skaven/whoever overnight, or ever. Very few people become recognised as major trackers, no matter how good they are. Most will simply go along unrecognised, doing their thing, good, or bad, without too many people paying attention. If you’re the sort of person that is going to be phased by this, then maybe tracking isn’t for you. You should be happy merely writing the music; if you’re not maybe you’re in the wrong game.

How To Act When You’re A Tracker

 

First of all, above all else, DON’T become a tracker too early. DON’T release your first five or six tracks, they will absolutely suck. By all means pass your tracks around to friends etc, and get opinions, but uploading to FTP sites should be avoided until you’ve got at least half a year of tracking under your belt. You may think your tracks sound great; when you listen to them in two years time, you certainly won’t. I never did. I made the mistake of releasing one of my first tracks, and live to regret it to this day. Fortunately when I released it the Internet was not a major force, it just got spread around a few local BBS’s and nothing else. With things the way they are now, your tracks could come back to haunt you much more easily.

Secondly, take all criticism with good grace. If someone emails you to tell you they hate your track, ask them what it was they hated, and you can put it right the next time. Conversely, if people write to tell you they liked your track, email back and thank them. A number of ‘top-name’ trackers merely ignore comments they receive, or at any rate never reply. Personally, I try to reply to every comment I get, good, or bad, even if it’s just a short ‘thanks for your comment’. Elitism should have no place in our scene.

The Ethics Of Sample Ripping

 

Sample ripping is a highly contentious issue. To some, it is a plague that is out to destroy the scene. To others, it is the life-blood of the scene. Here are my views on the matter.

I do not think there is a tracker in existence who can honestly say they’ve never used a ripped sample. Everyone does it, especially when they’re starting out. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this. A sample belongs to no one person. When you sampled it, it did not belong to you. If it came off a CD, it is ‘owned’ by the record company that produced the CD. If it came from a keyboard, it is in the public domain; it neither belongs to Roland or whoever, or to you. There are those, however, who will say that ripping samples is stealing. I do not blame them for believing this; they have been indoctrinated through their life into believing that private property is sacred. They are, of course, blatantly wrong. If a sample is ripped from you, are you deprived of its use? Of course not. Was that sample ever your private property in the first place? Even by the standards of the capitalist state? No. When I hear one of my samples ‘ripped’, and used in another tune, I feel proud. Proud because I have, in some small way, contributed to creating this entirely new track. Proud because I have assisted a fellow tracker in his pursuit of musical excellence. Those who speak out against sample ripping claim that they can no longer use their own samples, because since they have been ripped, they sound too ‘samey’. I would argue that the person ripping your sample has done you a favour; by ripping your sample, they have stopped you from using a sample numerous times and falling into a rut where every track you write sounds the same. Some also argue that if everyone ripped from each other, there would be no new samples. This is true. But it is quite clear that everyone will NOT just rip from each other. By sampling yourself, you have the chance to use sounds no-one has ever used before. Some claim that those who use entirely ripped samples are just ‘sponging’ off the rest of us who do sample. I disagree entirely; those of us who create our own samples always get first use of them, and have the chance to create something unique; those who rip do not. In conclusion then, my advice to you would be this: if you hear a sound you like in a MOD, rip it. There can be no point in sampling something again if you will only achieve exactly the same sound. But when you rip, make sure you credit the original author of the sample. It’s only common courtesy, and I personally see it as a mark of respect to those who I rip from. If you want your tracks to have a sound that does not exist in any MOD format, sample yourself. Simple as that. The tracking scene is about community, not any stupid idea of private property.

Adding Swing/Groove

 

By Kevin Krebs

The traditional method of adding swing to a track is to systematically alter the speed to produce syncopation:

000 C-5 01 .. F02
001 … .. .. F04
002 C-5 01 .. F02
003 … .. .. F04
004 C-5 01 .. F02
005 … .. .. F04
006 C-5 01 .. F02
007 … .. .. F04
008 C-5 01 .. F02

This method works, but forces you to put a swing on every channel. By using the Note Delay effect (EDx), it is possible to add syncopation exclusively to a single channel:

000 C-5 01 .. .00
001 … .. .. .00
002 C-5 01 .. ED1
003 … .. .. .00
004 C-5 01 .. .00
005 … .. .. .00
006 C-5 01 .. ED1
007 … .. .. .00
008 C-5 01 .. .00

This also allows for easier “morphing” into and out of the syncopation by fading between the syncopated and normal channels. N.B. ED1 delays a note by 1 tick — you may need to use greater values depending on the tempo and speed of the track you’re working on and the amount of swing you want, so experiment.

There is also another way of adding syncopation to a track that involves the use of longer patterns and a faster secondary tempo. Set the primary tempo to whatever you like. Then, if you would usually track in a speed of 06, change it to 04. Then change the pattern length to 60 Hex. Now, instead of treating a single beat bar as 04 rows, use 06 rows. Every half beat will come every 3 rows e.g.

000 C-5 01 .. .00
001 … .. .. .00
002 … .. .. .00
003 C-5 01 20 .00
004 … .. .. .00
005 … .. .. .00
006 C-5 01 .. .00
007 … .. .. .00
008 … .. .. .00
009 C-5 01 20 .00

This doesn’t instantly add swing however. But by placing notes in between the beats, it is possible to get very nice syncopation. This method has one main advantage – your effects column is free. By increasing the pattern length and the speed again, you get the ability to do the same sort of thing as method two (note delay).

  1. MIDI

What you’ll be able to do with MIDI and trackers together very much depends on what tracker you use and what MIDI capable hardware you have. Many of the MIDI functions available are up to and depending on the external synth.

Setting Up

 

Connect your MIDI I/O cable to your soundcard. If you are not sure which port it should be plugged in to then check with your soundcard manual. When connecting the cable to an external device you should remember that the MIDI “in” cable should go in to the synth’s/keyboard’s “out” and the MIDI “out” should be plugged to the synth’s/keyboard’s “in” (this can be quite confusing in the beginning for the new MIDI user). Then you have to change the MIDI data I/O transfer on the synth/keyboard to “external” instead if “internal” (which you use when playing sounds through the synth). How that is best done is documented in your synth’s/keyboard’s manual. Remember to always turn off all power before connecting any cables. MIDI hardware is a bit sensitive, and could break.

  1. Internet Resources

Links marked with a * haven’t been tested by me.

IRC

 

These are the various channels that most trackers hang out in: -Most networks – #traxDALNet – #modulez

irc.scene.org – #trax (you can find me in here when I’m on IRC)

Usenet

 

alt.binaries.sounds.mods
alt.binaries.sounds.mods.d
alt.binaries.sounds.mods.techno
alt.music.mods

Conversions

 

Here are the links to all the various conversions of The Tracker’s Handbook that are currently available.

HTML
http://egnatia.ee.auth.gr/~nalevrid/files/Handbook/Handbook.htm http://united-trackers.org/resources/handbook/

General

 

Cools Productions – http://listen.to/cools

United Trackers - http://united-trackers.org/
MAZ Sound Page - http://www.maz-sound.com/
Mod Resource Web - http://www.armory.com/~greebo/mod.html
LOK - http://www.loknet.demon.co.uk/
ModPlug Central
Resources
- http://www.castlex.com/mods/
Novus’s Wide
World of MODs
- http://surf.to/novus
Temple of MOD - http://egnatia.ee.auth.gr/~nalevrid/
SynthZone - http://www.synthzone.com/
Everything Impulse - http://www.vrone.net/gorenfeld/
AKA’s MOD Page - http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/~aka/
a.b.s.m FAQ - http://welcome.to/modfaq


Trackers

 

Amiga

OctaMED – http://www.octamed.co.uk/

Windows 3.1/9x/NT

 

ModPlug Tracker – http://www.castlex.com/modplug/

SoundStudio - http://www.octamed.co.uk/
Buzz - http://buzz.scene.org/


DOS

 

Impulse Tracker – http://www.noisemusic.org/it/

Fasttracker II - http://www.starbreeze.com/
Real Tracker 2 - http://www.utbm.fr/les.personnes/arnaud.hasenfratz/rt/
Velvet Studio - http://velvet.home.ml.org/
Digitrakker - http://home.pages.de/~nfactor/
AXS 

Mac
~~~~~

- http://www.wins.uva.nl/~gdehaan/
PlayerPro 

Unix/Linux
~~~~~~~~~~~~

- http://www.quadmation.com/pphome.htm
Maube 

Samplers
~~~~~~~~~~

- http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~conradp/maube/
Cool Edit - http://www.syntrillium.com/
GoldWave - http://www.goldwave.com/
Sound Forge - http://www.sonicfoundry.com/
AWave - http://hem.passagen.se/fmj/fmjsoft.html
AWave is a Win9x 

Players
~~~~~~~~~

program to convert samples. It’s shareware, limited to a single convert per run.
MikMod - http://www.stack.nl/~mikmak/mikmod.htm
The Mik range of players covers a wide variety of platforms.

 

Amiga

 

Windows 3.1/9x/NT

ModPlug Player – http://www.castlex.com/modplug/ (9x/NT)

Mod4Win- http://www.mod4win.com/ (3.1/9x/NT)
OctaMEDPlayer 

DOS
~~~~~- http://www.octamed.co.uk/

(9x/NT)
Cubic Player - http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/4107/
Multi Music Player- http://www.cerise.ml.org/charles/


Mac

Unix/Linux/Sun/NeXT

 

CD-Rippers
~~~~~~~~~~~~
CD2Wav - http://sunny.aha.ru/~gw/
Audiograbber 

Samples
~~~~~~~~~

- http://www.audiograbber.com-us.net/
Soundwave - http://www.volftp.vol.it/soundwave/samples.html
Only go to this site if you are prepared for some LARGE D/Ls.
Hyperreal - http://www.hyperreal.com/
Tons of samples,
inc. the complete TR-808 and 909 sets. There is another site, the Drum Samples page, which is missing a lot of the 909 Snares, and the 808 Hi-Conga file is corrupt. I recommend Hyperreal.
SampleNet - http://www.samplenet.co.uk/
FTP Server - ftp.futurenet.co.uk/samplenet/
The WWW site provides all the links to the files on the FTP site, plus descriptions. However, directly accessing the FTP site, whether through a browser or an FTP program (make sure it allows D/L of multiple files and/or directories), is far faster.

Modules

 

The ModArchive – http://www.modarchive.com/

Trax In Space - http://www.traxinspace.com/
Mod Heaven - http://www.modheaven.com/


If any of the above links are missing or down then contact me so I can remove them. If you have any to add, then send me the category and the URL…

 

  1. Glossary


A


Analogue – Voltage controlled as opposed to pulse controlled. Analogue sound can more easily be used to accurately represent the original sound that it recorded than digital can. The disadvantage is that analogue has more imperfections in the sound.Arpeggio – A method used by synthesisers that did not have enough voices to constantly have chords playing (like the SID which only had three voices). Instead, it would rapidly play the notes in sequence by taking the instrument and sliding it past the three notes rapidly. This effect is still used to reproduce that sound.Art Of Noise – (Information needed)

AWE32/64 – Basically an SB16 with wavetable synthesis built in

B

 

BPM – Beats Per MinuteBuffer – A buffer is used in many players to store extra music data in case something slows down the computer. It can still read from the buffer and play the music.

BUZZ – Windows 9x Real-time Synthesis Tracker.

C

 

CD-DA – Compact Disc Digital AudioCD-Quality – 44.1kHz, 16-Bit, Stereo sound.Centralise – To centre a wave on the 0 mark.Channel – What notes are put on in a tracker. In earlier trackers, one channel could only have one note at a time (one note would cut the other off). By using NNAs, one note on a channel can ring out past another note on the same channel.Chip tune – A module that is made to sound like an early computer music synthesiser, usually sounding like the Commodore 64 (SID), or Game Boy sound chips. However, this has come to mean any module that is small in size, usually anywhere from 5 to 20kbytes.Clipping – When a sample is amplified up so that the peaks of the waveform go past the maximum level allowed and gets flattened out.Column – A section of a channel. The first column is the notes column which keeps track of the note (A-G) and the octave (0-9). Between the note and the octave, there is either a dash (-) or a number sign (#). The number sign says that the note is sharp. The second column is the sample/instrument column. This column says what sample or instrument number is used to play the note. The third column is the volume column. This is the volume (in the 0-64 range) that the note is played at. In recent trackers, this can also be used for limited effects. The fourth column is the effects column. This starts with the number of the effect (for example, 3 is slide-to-note) and ends with a number which is how the effect will operate. 34A would mean that the sound would slide into this note with a speed of 4A.

  • Composer 669 DOS Tracker, capable of 8 channels, text mode layout. Similar to Multichannel Tracker.

Cross fading – This technique is used to fade out one sound while another fades in (preferably at the same rate). The result is that one sound fades into the next smoothly.Cubic Player – MOD player for DOS.

 


The shareware version only converts the first 1000 lines. Beyond this point lines are converted only to indicate what AscToHTM can do. For this reason they are corrupted slightly. Please register the software if you want to convert files this large



CUt oFF – THe poiNt iN WHiCH a FilteR staRts to GRaDUaLLY CUt FReQUeNCies oUt oF tHe soUND tHat aRe aboVe tHe poiNt iN a LoW pass FilteR.

 

D

 

D/L – DoWNLoaD. WHeN YoU tRaNsFeR a FiLe FRoM aNotHeR CompUteR CoNNeCteD to YoURs.DeLiTRaCKeR – AMiGa baseD pLaYeRDiGitaL – A MetHoD iN WHiCH MessaGes aRe seNt betWeeN eLeCtRoNiC paRts UsiNG pULses oF eLeCtRiCitY iNsteaD oF a CoNstaNt FLoW WHiCH VaRies iN VoltaGe (aNaLoGUe). DiGitaL soUND is UsUaLLY MoRe pURe tHaN aNaLoGUe bUt Does Not RepRoDUCe tHe aCtUaL soUND as aCCURateLY.DiGitaL TRaCKeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)DiGitRaKKeR – CoDeD bY N-FaCtoR. Uses tHe MDL FiLe FoRMat. SiMiLaR CapabiLities to FasttRaCKeR 2 bUt WitH a DiFFeReNt iNteRFaCe.DMF – X-TRaCKeR MoDULe. CaN be 32 CHaNNeLsDSM – DYNaMiC StUDio MoDULeDUpLiCitY CHeCK – A MetHoD oF CoNtRoLLiNG NNAs. IF oNe Note eNCoUNteRs aNotHeR tHat MatCHes tHe CHeCK CRiteRia, it WiLL taKe a DiFFeReNt aCtioN tHaN UsUaL sUCH as FaDiNG it iNsteaD oF CUttiNG it.

DYNaMiC StUDio – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)

E

 

EaGLe PLaYeR – MoDULe pLaYeR FoR tHe AMiGa. SUppoRts a HUGe RaNGe oF FoRMats aND VaRiatioNs.ENVeLope – HoW a soUND is CoNtRoLLeD. SoMe eNVeLopes aRe GRapHiCaL aND HaVe VaRioUs NoDes, oR JoiNts, tHat HaVe LiNes DRaWN betWeeN tHeM to sHoW HoW tHat aspeCt oF tHe soUND WiLL beHaVe. SoMe otHeR eNVeLopes aRe ADSR tYpes. THis staNDs FoR AttaCK (HoW QUiCKLY tHe soUND appRoaCHes), DeCaY (HoW QUiCKLY tHe soUND FaDes oUt), SUstaiN (HoW LoNG tHe Note is HeLD beFoRe it FaLLs), aND ReLease (HoW QUiCKLY tHe soUND is ReLeaseD WHeN it stops).

EQUaLiseR, EQ – AlteRs tHe soUND so tHat soMe FReQUeNCies MaY be boosteD aND otHeRs MaY be MUFFLeD, LiKe MoRe CompLeX bass aND tRebLe settiNGs.

F

 

FAR – FaRaNDoLe ComposeR MoDULe. CaN be 16 CHaNNeLs WitH a MaXiMUM oF 64 8-Bit/16-Bit SampLes.FaRaNDoLe ComposeR – CoDeD bY DaNieL PotteR oF DiGitaL INFiNitY. SUppoRts GUS oNLY aND Has a bUilt-iN sampLe eDitoR. EDits 16 tRaCKs, 64 iNstRUMeNts, aN oWN CoMMaND set (Does Not CLaiM to be PT-CompLiaNt), 8 aND 16-Bit sampLe sUppoRt, sampLe siZe Up to 1 MeG. FeatURes sepaRate VoLUMe CoLUMN aND tRaCK paNNiNG. AbLe to DispLaY aLL tRaCKs oN sCReeN siMUltaNeoUsLY bY taKiNG aDVaNtaGe oF SVGA 132X50 MoDe.FasttRaCKeR – CoDeD bY MR H oF TRitoN. EDits 4, 6 oR 8 tRaCKs, 31 iNstRUMeNts, 8-Bit sampLes oF 64KB MaXiMUM siZe, PRoTRaCKeR CoMMaND set, tRaCK paNNiNG sUppoRteD bY eXteRNaL pLaYeRs, 100 patteRNs. ReLatiVeLY simpLe, easY to Use tRaCKeR, WHiCH is GooD FoR staRteRs, bUt it sUFFeRs FRoM its oUtpUt FoRMats’ DeFiCieNCies. PaRtLY MoUse DRiVeN.
FasttRaCKeR II – CoDeD bY VoGUe aND MR. H oF TRitoN. THe FiRst PC tRaCKeR to iNtRoDUCe 32 CHaNNeLs aND VoLUMe/paNNiNG eNVeLopes. Has it’s oWN bUilt iN WAV WRiteR, UseFUL FoR pRoDUCiNG aUDio CDs oR FoR MiXiNG sampLes FoR 4 CHaNNeL MODs.FilteR – ANYtHiNG tHat tHRoWs oUt soMe aND Keeps soMe paRts oF a soUND LiKe a sieVe.FLaNGe – AN eFFeCt tHat is CReateD WHeN tHe saMe soUND is pLaYeD oVeR itseLF bUt oNe oF tHe Copies is oFFset VeRY sLiGHtLY. AFteR tHe iNitiaL oFFset (WHiCH is Not ReQUiReD bUt is NiCe so tHe Note isN’t tWiCe as LoUD at tHe beGiNNiNG), aN eXtReMeLY sLiGHt pitCH beND WiLL pRoDUCe a “WHoosH” soUND. THis eFFeCt UseD to be DoNe WitH ReeL to ReeL tape ReCoRDeRs bY sLoWiNG DoWN oNe ReeL aND tHeN ReLeasiNG it to Let it CatCH Up.FLTX – StaRTReKKeR MoDULe.

FReQUeNCY – THe NUMbeR oF CYCLes a WaVe MaKes iN a seCoND, CaN aLso MeaN tHe pitCH iN sampLes peR seCoND.

G

 

GaiN – HoW MUCH tHe ampLitUDe is iNCReaseD bY aN ampLiFieR.GateD – IF a soUND is GateD, tHeN it alteRNates betWeeN a HiGH aND LoW VoLUMe VeRY QUiCKLY.GLobaL – A settiNG tHat eFFeCts eVeRYtHiNG.GRaVe ComposeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)GRaoUMFtRaCKeR – AtaRi FaLCoN 030 tRaCKeR. 32 CHaNNeLs aND MaNY eDitiNG FUNCtioNs. FFFF possibLe VaLUes FoR eaCH eFFeCt. INteRNaL 24-bit MiXiNG, 16-bit 50KHZ steReo oUtpUt. INteRpoLatioN CaN be set oN iNDiViDUaL tRaCKs. SampLe WRiteR, FLaNGeR, aUtoMatiC CHoRDs, DeLaYs.GT2 – NeW GRaoUMFtRaCKeR MoDULe.GTK – OLD GRaoUMFtRaCKeR MoDULe.

GUS – GRaVis UltRasoUND. A HaRDWaRe MiXiNG soUND CaRD FaVoUReD bY MaNY iN tHe DeMo sCeNe. UNFoRtUNateLY, tHe GUS is Not pRoDUCeD aNY MoRe.

H

 

HaRD PaN – WHeN a soUND is HaRD PaNNeD LeFt, it WiLL oNLY CoMe oUt oF tHe LeFt speaKeR iN a steReo sYsteM aND ViCe VeRsa FoR HaRD PaN RiGHt. HaRD PaNNiNG CaN be VeRY paiNFUL to ListeN to WitH HeaDpHoNes.HaRDWaRe MiXiNG – WHeN a MOD is MiXeD bY a soUND CaRD. ALLoWs eVeN sLoW CompUteRs to pLaY baCK HiGH QUaLitY soUND, DUe to tHe MiNiMaL CPU LoaD. THe PaULa CHip iN tHe AMiGa Does tHis.HeaD TRaCKeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)HeX – A sYsteM oF NUMbeRs tHat MaNY tRaCKeRs Use so tHat HiGHeR NUMbeRs MaY be Fit iNto Less DiGits. THis sYsteM CoUNts FRoM 0 to 9 LiKe tHe NoRMaL sYsteM, bUt tHeN CoUNts FRoM A to F beFoRe LoopiNG oVeR to 10.HiGH Pass – A FilteR UseD to CUt oUt LoW FReQUeNCies aND aLLoW HiGH FReQUeNCies to ‘pass’ tHRoUGH.HMI, HMP – HUMaN MaCHiNe INteRFaCes MIDI MUsiC FiLes.

HSC – FM sYNtH MUsiC UseD bY MaNY oLD GaMes, e.G.: FINTRIS, RoL CRUsaDeRs.

I

 

INeRtia PLaYeR – MOD PLaYeR FoR DOS. (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)

INstRUMeNt
AN iNstRUMeNt is tHe Data UseD to aFFeCt tHe pLaYbaCK oF a sampLe WitHoUt tHe NeeD FoR aN eFFeCt. IN tHe oRiGiNaL tRaCKeRs, tHe iNstRUMeNt iNFoRMatioN Was tHe sampLe VoLUMe, FiNe tUNe, aND Loop, aND it Was HeLD WitHiN a MoDULe. THe sampLe CoULD oNLY be saVeD as a sampLe aND it WoULD Lose VoLUMe aND FiNe tUNe iNFoRMatioN (I tHiNK sampLes WitH Loop iNFoRMatioN WoULD RetaiN tHis WHeN saVeD, aM I RiGHt?). NoW, WitH tHe MoRe aDVaNCeD tRaCKeRs, aN iNstRUMeNt CoNsists oF oNe oR MoRe sampLes WitH tHiNGs LiKe VoLUMe eNVeLopes, paNNiNG aND VibRato aLL iNCLUDeD. THese iNstRUMeNts CaN be saVeD aND tHeY RetaiN aLL oF tHeiR oRiGiNaL iNFoRMatioN.

INteRpoLatioN – A teCHNiQUe UseD to MaKe soUND sMootHeR aND taKe oUt tHe HiGH pitCHeD RiNGiNG soUND tHat oCCURs WHeN a sampLe is pLaYeD beLoW tHe sampLiNG Rate bY DRaWiNG stRaiGHt LiNes tHRoUGH tHe poiNts iNsteaD oF “steppiNG” tHRoUGH tHe sampLe. SoMe iNteRpoLatioN DRaWs CURVes iNsteaD, GiViNG CLeaReR soUND.IMHO – ALL MoDeM UseRs sHoULD KNoW tHis oNe, WHiCH oRiGiNates FRoM tHe DaWN oF MoDeMs. IMHO staNDs FoR IN MY HoNest/HUMbLe OpiNioN.ImpULse TRaCKeR – CoDeD bY JeFFReY LiM a.K.a. PULse. CURReNt VeRsioN is 2.14p4. ImpULse TRaCKeR is No LoNGeR beiNG UpDateD, DUe to tHe piRaCY tHat HappeNeD WHeN tHe steReo WAV WRiteR Was ReLeaseD. PatCH 4 oF ImpULse TRaCKeR iNCLUDes a DiReCt X DRiVeR – FoR tHose soUND CaRDs Not DiReCtLY sUppoRteD. THe DiReCt X DRiVeR aLso aLLoWs FoR sUppoRteD PCI soUND CaRDs to be UseD WitHoUt NeeDiNG eXtRa soFtWaRe oR HaRDWaRe.
IT – ImpULse TRaCKeR MoDULe.ITI – ImpULse TRaCKeR iNstRUMeNt. (ACtUaLLY tHese CaN HaVe aNY eXteNsioN oR NoNe at aLL, bUt tHe MaNUaL ReFeRs to tHeM tHis WaY, I tHiNK it MiGHt be soMetHiNG to Do WitH tHe FiLe HeaDeR…. HaNG oN a MoMeNt… Nope! THe HeaDeR Uses IMPI).ITS – ImpULse TRaCKeR SampLe. See ITI, eXCept tHe HeaDeR Uses IMPS.

IFF – INteRCHaNGe FiLe FoRMat. A VeRY FLeXibLe FoRMat GeNeRaLLY UseD oN tHe AMiGa. SoUND sampLes aRe GeNeRaLLY stoReD as a sUbset oF IFF CaLLeD 8SVX. 8SVX CaN oNLY stoRe 8-bit MoNo sampLes – it CaN HoLD tHe sampLe Rate bUt VeRY FeW pRoGRaMs tHat CaN saVe 8SVX sampLes aCtUaLLY Do tHis.

J

K

L

 

LFO, LoW FReQUeNCY OsCiLLatoR – AN osCiLLatoR tHat pUts oUt a FReQUeNCY so LoW tHat it is iNaUDibLe. THis is UsUaLLY UseD LiKe aN eNVeLope. A Neat eXpeRiMeNt iF YoU HaVe YoUR CompUteR HooKeD Up to speaKeRs is to taKe a siNe bass, Keep pLaYiNG it LoWeR aND LoWeR UNtiL YoU CaN’t HeaR it, tHeN tURN Up tHe VoLUMe aND tHe bass (WitH a boost peRHaps) oN YoUR steReo. TaKe tHe CoVeR oFF YoUR speaKeR aND WatCH it MoVe. Be CaReFUL Not to bLoW oUt YoUR speaKeR!
LiNeaR SLiDes – A MetHoD oF CaLCULatiNG pitCH sLiDes UseD iN ReCeNt MoDULe FoRMats tHat aRe CoNstaNt FRoM oNe sampLe/speeD/pitCH to tHe NeXt.Loop baCK PoiNt – A poiNt iN tHe patteRN tHat tHe pLaYeR WiLL Go baCK to WHeN a Loop baCK CoMMaND FoR tHat poiNt is eXeCUteD.LossLess CompRessioN – A CompRessioN teCHNiQUe tHat MaKes tHe FiLe siZe sMaLLeR WitHoUt saCRiFiCiNG soUND QUaLitY.LossY CompRessioN – A CompRessioN teCHNiQUe tHat saCRiFiCes soUND QUaLitY to MaKe tHe FiLe sMaLLeR.

LoW Pass – A FilteR tHat CUts oUt HiGH FReQUeNCies aND aLLoWs LoW FReQUeNCies to ‘pass’ tHRoUGH.

M

 

M.K. – PRoTRaCKeR/NoisetRaCKeR MoDULe. M.K. aRe tHe iNitiaLs oF tHe pRoGRaMMeRs – MaHoNeY aND KaKtUs.MaC-MiK-MoD – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)MaC-MoD-PRo – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)MaDTRaCKeR 2 – CoDeD bY MaDHoUse. MT2 Was DesiGNeD WitH tHe aiM oF ReDUCiNG tHe Gap betWeeN tRaCKeRs aND “pRoFessioNaL” MUsiC pRoGRaMs. MT2 iNtRoDUCeD soMe NeW FeatURes, aND bRoUGHt oLD oNes Up to Date – DRUM patteRNs, pRopeR MiXeR, steReo sampLes (Yes!) aND ReaL tiMe eFFeCts (DeLaY, FilteRs, FLaNGe). RUNs UNDeR WiNDoWs 9X/NT. MT2 is FULLY FUNCtioNaL sHaReWaRe, WitH tHe staNDaRD ReGistRatioN GiViNG a peRsoNaLiseD KeY tHat saVes YoUR NaMe etC iNto tHe MoDULe. PRoFessioNaL ReGistRatioN aLso iNCLUDes a WAV WRiteR, aND aNY NeW pRo FeatURes tHat Get iNtRoDUCeD.
MDS – MIDI MUsiC UseD bY MaGeSLaYeR GaMe.MED – MUsiC EDitoR oR OCtaMED MoDULe, CaN be 64 CHaNNeL WitH FULL paNNiNG.MeDitoR EPSILON TR3 – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)MeGaTRaCKeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)MiDas PLaYeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)MiKMoD – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)MMD0 – OCtaMED MoDULeMMD1 – OCtaMED MoDULeMMD2 – OCtaMED V5+ MoDULeMMD3 – OCtaMED SoUNDStUDio MoDULeMOD – PossibLY tHe Most DiVeRse MoDULe FoRMat aRoUND. JUst beCaUse a FiLe Has “MOD” oN tHe eND DoesN’t aUtoMatiCaLLY MeaN tHat tHe FiLe is a FoUR CHaNNeL 15/31 iNstRUMeNts MoDULe… oH No! THeRe aRe MaNY DiFFeReNt FoRMs oF MOD aRoUND; FasttRaCKeR MODs FoR eXampLe CaN HaVe MoRe tHaN 4 CHaNNeLs.MoD4WiN – A MOD pLaYeR FoR WiNDoWs 3.1 UpWaRDs. VeRY popULaR DUe to it’s CompatibiLitY aND FeatURes.MoDEDit (CURReNt VeRsioN RepoRteD to be V3.01) – CoDeD bY NoRMaN LiN. SUppoRts SB, DAC aND tHe iNteRNaL speaKeR UsiNG MaRK J. CoX’s pLaYiNG RoUtiNe (it RUNs eVeN oN 286 PC’s). ONLY eDits tHe M.K. FoRMat. MoUse-DRiVeN MeNU iNteRFaCe. THis eDitoR’s MaiN QUaLitY is its soRt-oF-MUsiCaL NotatioN. WHeReas aLMost aLL otHeR tRaCKeRs DispLaY tHe tRaCKs VeRtiCaLLY aND Notes aRe oNLY DisCeRNibLe bY tHeiR KeY CHaRaCteR, MoDEDit DispLaYs tHe CURReNt patteRN HoRiZoNtaLLY aND tHe Notes oN a VeRtiCaL spReaD. THis eDitoR is oLD bUt CoULD sUit soMe peopLe to Get staRteD oN. It Has a VeRY GooD DoCUMeNtatioN, WHiCH CaN UNFoRtUNateLY be a bit MisLeaDiNG at tiMes, HoWeVeR. MoDPLUG – A RaNGe oF MoDULe pRoGRaMs bY OLiVieR LapiCQUe. MoD PLUG-IN is a pLUG-iN FoR bRoWseRs so YoU CaN ListeN to MODs eMbeDDeD iN a Web paGe. MoDPLUG PLaYeR is tHe Most FeatURe paCKeD MOD pLaYeR FoR WiNDoWs 9X/NT. It aLso Has tHe best soUND QUaLitY oF aNY pLaYeR Yet. MoDPLUG TRaCKeR is a WiNDoWs 9X/NT tRaCKeR.MoDULatioN – CHaNGiNG aN aspeCt oF oNe soUND UsiNG tHe Data oF aNotHeR oNe.MT2 – MaDTRaCKeR 2 MoDULeMTI – MaDTRaCKeR 2 INstRUMeNtMTM – MUltiTRaCKeR MoDULeMUltiCHaNNeL MoDe – A MoDe WHeRe WHeN a Note is eNteReD iN a CHaNNeL tHat Has MUltiCHaNNeL MoDe oN, it WiLL eNteR it aND tHeN sKip to tHe NeXt CHaNNeL WitH tHe MoDe oN.

MUltiTRaCKeR MoDULe EDitoR – CoDeD bY DaNieL GoLDsteiN a.K.a. StaRsCReaM oF ReNaissaNCe. SUppoRts GUS, SB aND SB PRo. EDits Up to 32 tRaCKs, 31 iNstRUMeNts, FeatURes tHe PT CoMMaND set (WHiCH is Not CompLeteLY CompatibLe), 8-Bit sampLes (MTM FoRMat CaN stoRe 16-Bits). FeatURes tRaCK paNNiNG. ImpoRts RaW sampLes aND GUS patCHes (oNLY iN tHe ReGisteReD VeRsioN).

N

 

NNA, NeW Note ACtioNs – THese aLLoW MoRe tHaN oNe Note to be pLaYeD iN a CHaNNeL at tHe saMe tiMe.Noise TRaCKeR – THe FiRst SoUNDtRaCKeR CLoNe to be ReLeaseD aFteR tHe oRiGiNaL, WRitteN bY MaHoNeY aND KaKtUs.NoRMaLise – To ampLiFY tHe WaVe as FaR as it WiLL Go WitHoUt CLippiNG.

NST – A MOD FiLe pRoDUCeD bY Noise TRaCKeR, CaN HoLD 4 CHaNNeLs aND 15 8-Bit iNstRUMeNts.

O

 

OCtaMED – 8 CHaNNeL tRaCKeR FoR tHe AMiGa WitH VeRY GooD MIDI sUppoRt. CoDeD bY TeiJo KiNNUNeNOKT – OKtaLYZeR MoDULe, CaN be Up to 8 CHaNNeLs WitH 255 7/8-Bit iNstRUMeNts.OKtaLYZeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)OsCiLLatoR – A DeViCe tHat pRoDUCes a soUND bY VibRatioN.OsCiLLosCope – A DeViCe tHat sHoWs VisUaLLY WHat WaVeFoRMs LooK LiKe.

ORDeR – THe List tHat CoNtRoLs tHe oRDeR iN WHiCH tHe patteRNs oF a MoDULe WiLL be pLaYeD.

P

 

PanbReLLo – PaNs tHe soUND aRoUND LiKe VibRato.PaNNiNG – PaNNiNG ReFeRs to tHe VoLUMe at WHiCH a soUND is pLaYeD oUt oF tWo sepaRate speaKeRs. IF tHe soUND CoMiNG oUt oF oNe speaKeR is LoUDeR tHaN tHe otHeR tHeN tHe soUND WiLL seeM to be CLoseR to tHat speaKeR.PaN SWiNG – A settiNG tHat MaKes tHe soUND paN aRoUND FRoM Note to Note.PatteRN – EVeRY MOD is spLit Up iNto a NUMbeR oF patteRNs. A staNDaRD PRoTRaCKeR MOD CaN oNLY HaVe 64 RoWs peR patteRN.PaULa – THe soUND CHip tHat staRteD it aLL oFF, aLLoWs 4 MoNo oR tWo steReo CHaNNeLs to be pLaYeD baCK iN 8-Bit at a MaXiMUM oF 30KHZ.PHYsiCaL CHaNNeLs – THe NUMbeR oF CHaNNeLs UseD iN a MoDULe WitHoUt aCCoUNtiNG FoR eXtRa CHaNNeLs UseD FoR FaDes bY NNAs.PitCH-PaN SepaRatioN – THis WiLL CHaNGe tHe paNNiNG positioN DepeNDiNG oN tHe pitCH. THe PitCH-PaN CeNtRe is tHe Note WHeRe tHe iNstRUMeNt WiLL be pLaYeD iN tHe MiDDLe. To eitHeR siDe, tHe Notes WiLL be paNNeD bY aN aMoUNt DepeNDiNG oN tHe pitCH-paN sepaRatioN VaLUe.PLaYeRPRo – MaC tRaCKeR. CURReNt VeRsioN is 4.5.9PoLYtRaCKeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)PoRtaMeNto – PitCH beNDiNG/sLiDiNG.

PRiMaRY Tempo
IN a MOD, tHe pRiMaRY tempo is tHe oNe tHat CaN be set iN BPM, UsUaLLY betWeeN 31 aND 255.

PRoTRaCKeR – CoDeD bY tHe AMiGa FReeLaNCeRs.PSM – MoDULe MUsiC UseD bY EpiC MeGaGaMes PinbaLL, JaZZ JaCKRabbit, etC.

PTM – PoLYtRaCKeR MoDULe

Pulse Wave – Kind of like a square wave, except not so even in the time periods. __|”|___|”|___

 

Q

 

QUaNtisiZe, QUaNtisiZatioN – ReFeRs to tHe aCCURaCY oF tHe tiMiNG oF Notes WHeN tHeY aRe ReCoRDeD iN ReaL tiMe. IN a MIDI seQUeNCeR Notes CaN be QUaNtisiZeD to a VeRY aCCURate LeVeL, iN a tRaCKeR, tHe FasteR tHe oVeRaLL speeD tHe MoRe aCCURate ReaL-tiMe iNpUt WiLL be.

R

 

ReaL TRaCKeR – A DOS baseD tRaCKeR WHiCH CaN Use tWo eFFeCts CoLUMNs (Not JUst aN eFFeCt CoLUMN aND a VoLUMe CoLUMN). GRapHiCaL WiNDoWs LiKe iNteRFaCe WHiCH CaN Go Up to 1280X1024. CURReNt VeRsioN is 2.23

RippeD, RippeR, RippiNG – A RippeD sampLe is oNe taKeN FRoM a MoDULe, GaMe, DeMo, oR appLiCatioN, GeNeRaLLY DoNe WitHoUt tHe aUtHoRs peRMissioN. A RippeR is a pRoGRaM tHat Rips sampLes (aND/oR otHeR Data) oUt oF MoDULe, GaMe, DeMo, oR appLiCatioN.

RippiNG ReFeRs to tHe pRoCess bY WHiCH Data is RippeD, eitHeR bY HaND oR bY UsiNG a RippeR. THe etHiCs oF RippiNG HaVe beeN DisCUsseD oVeR tHe YeaRs, aND it is GeNeRaLLY aGReeD tHat iF YoU Rip soMetHiNG oUt oF soMeoNe eLse’s WoRK, YoU sHoULD aLso aLLoW otHeRs to Rip tHiNGs FRoM YoUR WoRK. YoU sHoULD aLso CReDit tHe peRsoN YoU RippeD tHe Data FRoM bY MeNtioNiNG tHeiR NaMe iN YoUR FiLe. UsUaLLY RippiNG is oNLY DoNe oN NoN-CoMMeRCiaL FiLes LiKe MoDULes aND DeMos, DUe to tHe LeGaLities iNVoLVeD iF tHe Data YoU Rip is CopYRiGHteD.

RoW – A siNGLe LiNe oF a patteRNRTI – ReaL TRaCKeR iNstRUMeNtRTM – ReaL TRaCKeR MoDULe

RTS – ReaL TRaCKeR sampLe

S

 

SampLe – A DiGitaL iMaGe oF aN aNaLoGUe soUND. SampLes CaN be LoopeD aND pLaYeD baCK at DiFFeReNt pitCHes. A sampLe CaN aLso be oNe ampLitUDe MeasUReMeNt iN a DiGitaL ReCoRDiNG.

SampLiNG Rate – THe tiMe iNteRVaL WHiCH speCiFies HoW oFteN ampLitUDe MeasUReMeNts (sampLes) oF a soURCe aRe taKeN at iN a DiGitaL ReCoRDiNG. A DiGitaL ReCoRDiNG WiLL Not aCCURateLY MeasURe FReQUeNCies aboVe HaLF oF tHe sampLiNG Rate. THe HiGHeR tHe Rate, tHe MoRe ReaL tHe soUND soUNDs.

Saw Wave – A waveform that zigzags, rising slowly and then dropping quickly. /|/|/|/|

SB – SoUNDBLasteR. Most PC tRaCKeRs CaN Use oNe oF tHese. A staNDaRD SoUNDBLasteR CaN oNLY pLaY baCK 8-Bit MoNo soUND, at a MaXiMUM FReQUeNCY oF 22050 HZ. THeRe aRe RaNGes oF SoUNDBLasteR VeRsioNs, FRoM 1.0 to 2.0.SB PRo – SoUNDBLasteR PRo. THe NeXt step Up FRoM tHe oRiGiNaL aLLoWs 8-Bit soUND at a MaXiMUM FReQUeNCY oF 44100 HZ iN MoNo, aND 22050 HZ steReo.SB16 – SoUNDBLasteR 16. THe NeXt step aFteR tHe SB PRo aLLoWs 16-Bit MoNo oR steReo soUND at a MaXiMUM FReQUeNCY oF 44100 HZ.SB32 – SoUNDBLasteR 32. THe FiRst SoUNDBLasteR CaRD to HaVe onboaRD MeMoRY.SeCoNDaRY Tempo – THis is pRettY CompLeX. THe SeCoNDaRY Tempo CoNtRoLs tHe NUMbeR oF tiCKs peR RoW. THe Less tiCKs, tHe FasteR tHe BPM. BUt Not iN aLL tRaCKeRs. IF YoU Use OCtaMED aND YoU set tHe PRiMaRY Tempo to SPD Not BPM, it seeMs to WoRK tHe otHeR WaY aRoUND! THe MoRe tiCKs tHe FasteR tHe BPM – WHY is tHis?SCReaM TRaCKeR 3 – A HYbRiD tRaCKeR tHat CaN Use botH sampLes aND FM sYNtHesiseD soUNDs (it CaN oNLY Use a SB FoR FM). SCReaM TRaCKeR 3 Was tHe FiRst tRaCKeR to Use botH FM aND DiGitaL soUNDs toGetHeR. CURReNt VeRsioN is 3.21.SiNe WaVe – A WaVeFoRM tHat CURVes sMootHLY aND eVeNLY iN aN S-sHape.SiNUsoiDaL – HaViNG to Do WitH siNe WaVes.SoFtWaRe MiXiNG – WHeN aLL tHe MiXiNG oF tHe MOD is DoNe Via soFtWaRe beFoRe beiNG passeD to tHe soUND CaRD FoR pLaYiNG.SoNG – (No I’M Not MaD!). A soNG iN tRaCKeR teRMs ReFeRs to a MoDULe tHat DoesN’t CoNtaiN aNY sampLes. SoNGs oRiGiNateD baCK WHeN DisK spaCe Was LiMiteD. THeY aLLoW a ComposeR to tRaCK aND saVe MoDULes WHiCH WiLL aUtoMatiCaLLY LoaD tHe sampLes WHeN NeeDeD. THe eaRLiest tRaCKeRs WoRKeD oNLY WitH soNGs, aND YoU HaD to CoLLeCt tHe VaRioUs sampLe DisKs iN oRDeR to pLaY tHeM baCK CoRReCtLY.SoUND TRaCKeR – THe FiRst tRaCKeR. ONLY HaD 5 eFFeCt CoMMaNDs aND CaMe WitH tWo DisKs oF sampLes! StRaNGe as it MaY seeM, tHis Was a CoMMeRCiaL pRoGRaM MaRKeteD bY ELeCtRoNiC ARts. It Was CoDeD bY KaRsteN ObaRsKi aND ReLeaseD iN 1987.SoUND TRaCKeR PRo 2 – THe seCoND VeRsioN oF SoUND TRaCKeR, ReLeaseD iN 1996. Has a siMiLaR iNteRFaCe, bUt CaN oNLY saVe MODs iN its oWN pRopRietaRY FoRMat, WHiCH is CompLeteLY iNCompatibLe WitH tHe oLD oNe.

SoUNDStUDio – BasiCaLLY a “pRoFessioNaL” VeRsioN oF OCtaMED, CoDeD bY TeiJo KiNNUNeN, WHiCH aLLoWs Up to 64 CHaNNeLs, paNNiNG, aN eFFeCt CoMMaND FoR pLaYiNG a sampLe baCKWaRDs, pLUs a WAV WRiteR. ORiGiNaLLY ReLeaseD FoR tHe AMiGa, SoUNDStUDio is CURReNtLY beiNG poRteD to tHe PC. ONe CooL FeatURe tHat SoUNDStUDio aLLoWs oVeR pRaCtiCaLLY aLL otHeR tRaCKeRs is its abiLitY to Use steReo sampLes.

 

Square Wave – A waveform that jumps sharply but evenly from one extreme value to the next. |_|”|_|”|.

StaRTReKKeR – AMiGa baseD tRaCKeR. SUppoRts 8 CHaNNeLsSTM – SCReaM TRaCKeR MoDULeStoNe TRaCKeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)S3I – SCReaM TRaCKeR 3 iNstRUMeNtS3M – SCReaM TRaCKeR 3 MoDULe

SYmpHoNie – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)

 

T

 

Tempo – THe speeD, at WHiCH a tUNe is pLaYeD, MeasUReD iN BPM.TReMoLo – LiKe VibRato, bUt FoR VoLUMe.

TRiaNGLe WaVe – A WaVeFoRM tHat ZiGZaGs, LiKe a siNe WaVe bUt WitH oNLY stRaiGHt LiNes. /\/\/\/\

U

 

U/L – UpLoaD. WHeN YoU tRaNsFeR a FiLe to aNotHeR CompUteR CoNNeCteD to YoURs.ULT – UltRaTRaCKeR MoDULeUltRaTRaCKeR – CoDeD bY MAS oF PRopHeCY. ONLY SUppoRts GUS. EDits Up to 32 CHaNNeLs, 8 aND 16-Bit sampLes, VaRiabLe C2SpD WitH FiNe tUNe, bi-DiReCtioNaL LoopiNG, iNstRUMeNt paNNiNG, 255 patteRNs, sUbset oF tHe PT CoMMaNDs, tWo eFFeCt sLots peR Note. BUilt-iN sampLe eDitoR. MoUse DRiVeN.UNIS669 – 8 CHaNNeL teXt MoDe tRaCKeR.

UT – UNiteD TRaCKeRs. AN oRGaNisatioN FoRMeD to tRY aND bRiNG tHe tRaCKiNG sCeNe toGetHeR.

V

 

VaNGeLis TRaCKeR – (INFoRMatioN NeeDeD)VeLVet StUDio – DOS baseD tRaCKeR WitH a Lot oF FeatURes. GRapHiCaL iNteRFaCe. CURReNt VeRsioN is 2.01VibRato – THe MoDULatioN oF tHe pitCH oF a sampLe WitH a CeRtaiN DeptH aND speeD CoNtRoLLeD bY a CeRtaiN WaVeFoRM (LFO) tHat iNCReases FRoM 0 at a CeRtaiN Rate.VipeRMAX – A GUS CLoNe. Not iN pRoDUCtioN aNY MoRe.ViRtUaL CHaNNeLs – CHaNNeLs tHat aRe CReateD bUt Not sHoWN oN tHe eDitoR to pLaY MoRe tHaN oNe Note siMUltaNeoUsLY oN tHe saMe pHYsiCaL CHaNNeL.

VoLUMe RampiNG – A teCHNiQUe UseD bY soMe pLaYeRs to taKe oUt CLiCKs bY sLiDiNG tHe VoLUMe oF a Note DoWN VeRY QUiCKLY (at a HiGH Rate too so it DoesN’t CaUse FURtHeR CLiCKiNG) iNsteaD oF JUst CUttiNG tHeM.

W

 

WOW – GRaVe ComposeR MoDULe

WSS – WiNDoWs SoUND SYsteM, aLLoWs 64KHZ 16-Bit SteReo aUDio. A Lot oF CHeapeR soUND CaRDs WiLL aLLoW SB PRo aND WSS CompatibiLitY. UNFoRtUNateLY, tHeRe aRe VeRY FeW DOS tRaCKeRs tHat sUppoRt it. So aNYoNe WitH oNe oF tHese CaRDs WHo Uses a NoN-WSS tRaCKeR is stUCK WitH 8-Bit 22.05KHZ SteReo, 44.1KHZ MoNo SoUNDBLasteR PRo.

X

 

X-TRaCKeR – WRitteN bY D-LUSiON. TeXt MoDe iNteRFaCe siMiLaR to BoRLaND’s TURbo RaNGe oF DeVeLopMeNt pRoDUCts – Uses WiNDoWs aND MoUse. SHaReWaReXCHN – FasttRaCKeR 1 MoDULeXI – FasttRaCKeR II iNstRUMeNtXM – eXteNDeD MoDULe – FasttRaCKeR II MoDULeXMI – THe MiLes eXteNDeD MIDI, UseD bY MiLes soUND sYsteM.XP – eXteNDeD PatteRN – FasttRaCKeR II patteRN

XT – eXteNDeD TRaCK – FasttRaCKeR II tRaCK

Y

Z

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

 

669 – MoDULe FoRMat UseD bY a VaRietY oF eaRLY PC tRaCKeRs. CaN be 8 CHaNNeL.

7

8

9

 

  1. CLosiNG WoRDs

Has aNYoNe NotiCeD tHat bY tRaCKiNG YoU eND Up HeaRiNG MoRe? “HeaRiNG MoRe?” I HeaR YoU saY :V). Yes, I MeaN tHat YoU eND Up CoNsCioUsLY NotiCiNG eFFeCts LiKe paNNiNG, aND YoU bReaK MUsiC DoWN iNto its CompoNeNt paRts. A CoUpLe oF MY NoN-tRaCKiNG MUsiCiaN FRieNDs teLL Me tHe saMe tHiNG HappeNs to tHeM. It’s ReaLLY aNNoYiNG!!!IF tRaCKiNG is to FLoURisH, We NeeD to sUppoRt eaCH otHeR. IF YoU’Ve eNJoYeD soMeoNe’s tUNe aND tHeY’Ve LeFt a MaiLiNG aDDRess, MaKe CoNtaCt, aND Let tHeM KNoW. IF YoU’Ve NeVeR HaD tHe eXpeRieNCe oF a CompLete stRaNGeR teLLiNG YoU tHeY’Ve eNJoYeD YoUR tUNe (eVeN iF it’s oNe YoU CaN’t staND aND tHiNK is CRap) tHeN YoU DoN’t KNoW JUst HoW GooD it FeeLs. JUst a sHoRt MaiL saYiNG “XXXXXX Was ReaLLY GooD” oR “I ReaLLY LiKeD XXXXXX” is eNoUGH, HoW HaRD CaN it be? THose oF YoU WHo HaVe beeN FoLLoWiNG tHis pRoJeCt FRoM tHe beGiNNiNG MaY HaVe NotiCeD tHat tHis VeRsioN CoNtaiNs Less iNFoRMatioN tHaN pReVioUs VeRsioNs. AFteR a GooD DeaL oF FeeDbaCK aND tHoUGHt I ReMoVeD tHe seCtioNs tHat DoCUMeNteD tHe FeatURes oF iNDiViDUaL tRaCKeRs, pLaYeRs, sampLeRs etC., aLoNG WitH tHe HistoRY seCtioN. THese HaVe beeN DeeMeD UNNeCessaRY, altHoUGH tHe HistoRY seCtioN aLoNe CoULD FiLL aN eNtiRe booK (aNYoNe FaNCY taKiNG oN tHat as a pRoJeCt?).

THat’s aLL FoLKs, tHe eND oF THe TRaCKeR’s HaNDbooK. I Hope YoU’Ve eNJoYeD it aND FoUND it UseFUL. ALL tHat ReMaiNs is FoR to seND oUt MY tHaNKs to tHe FoLLoWiNG peopLe, FoR tHeiR HeLp iN pRoDUCiNG tHis.

THaNKs to…

 

(IN No paRtiCULaR oRDeR)OVeRFUse – FoR beiNG tHe GUY beHiND tHe WRitiNG oF tHis, iF it WasN’t FoR His eNtHUsiasM iN WaNtiNG to QUiCKLY FiND oUt WHat to Do tHis WoULD NeVeR HaVe beeN staRteD.LeFtFieLD – FoR GReat MUsiC to ListeN to WHiLe WRitiNG tHis. LeFtisM is oNe oF tHe GReatest aLbUMs eVeR – iF YoU DoN’t HaVe a CopY tHeN Get oNe ASAP.ToNY HoRGaN – FoR GettiNG Me staRteD iN tRaCKiNG aND FoR aLL tHe tips aND sampLes GiVeN iN CU AMiGa, tHeY WeRe ReaLLY iNVaLUabLe to a beGiNNeR.KiM – FoR iNCLUDiNG tHis FiLe oN His GReat (aND VisiteD a Lot) paGe. THis ReaLLY Got eVeRYtHiNG staRteD. FUNNY HoW I HaVeN’t Yet ReCeiVeD aNY e-MaiL FRoM YoU!MAZ – FoR eNCoURaGeMeNt, sampLes, iNCLUDiNG tHis FiLe oN His paGe, aND tHe GReat iDea FoR tHe ZIP FiLe NaMe.KosMos – FoR eNCoURaGeMeNt, sUGGestioNs, poiNtiNG oUt tHat it sHoULD be CaLLeD THe TRaCKeR’s HaNDbooK (Not TRaCKeRs), UT NeWs LetteR aNNoUNCeMeNts aND FoR tHe HTML VeRsioN oN tHe UT Web Site.RUbZ – FoR pUttiNG tHe aDVeRt FoR HeRtZ iN FUtURe MUsiC. ALso FoR toNs oF HeLp aND CoNtRibUtioNs.DR. AVaLaNCe + HoWaRD tHe DUCK – FoR tHe HTML VeRsioN.

FUtURe MUsiC – THis is LeGeNDaRY eH? Woo! THaNKs!

CoNtRibUtoRs

 

(IN No paRtiCULaR oRDeR)

DaRReN IRViNe, JeReMY S RiCe, RaDiX, SQUaReMeisteR, KUpaN, PULse, ILpo KaRKKaiNeN, ToaLNKoR, SteReoMaN, DaN NiCHoLsoN, GReebo, MAZ, BaRRY NatHaN, RiCH “AKiRa” PiZoR, NoVUs, LoUis “FaRMeR” GoReNFeLD, DR. AVaLaNCe, RUbZ, TooDeLoo, LiNUs WaLLeJi, KosMos, TRiNitY, GaNJa MaN, AiRoN, VitoR PiNHo, SpatULaMaN, SiR GaRbaGetRUCK, BoNeHeaD, KeViN KRebs, T-JaY, MaXiMiZeR, pHUMe, CaptaiN PaRaDoX, AsatUR V. NaZaRiaN, XRQ, DNATRaNCe.

FUtURe?

 

I WaNt to iNCLUDe soMe MoRe ASCII aRt DotteD aRoUND tHe pLaCe, to DispeRse tHe teXt a LittLe. BeCaUse tHis is a MUlti-pLatFoRM DoCUMeNt, I CaN’t aLLoW aNY ANSI/Hi-ASCII. IF YoU’Ve Got soMetHiNG YoU’D LiKe to iNCLUDe tHeN seND it to Me, tHaNKs. ARGH! PLease CoULD WHoeVeR DiD THe HaNDbooK LoGo Get baCK iN CoNtaCt! I FoRGot to ReCoRD YoUR NaMe aND e-MaiL WHeN I Got YoUR MessaGe!

ReMeMbeR, be YoURseLF, tRaCK FoR YoURseLF.


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