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Music Production => MilkyTracker => Tracking => MilkyTracker Community => Topic started by: NoSpin on September 13, 2008, 19:35:01

Title: Spd?
Post by: NoSpin on September 13, 2008, 19:35:01
i'm new to trackers, but have been using several different modern sequencers for music for about 5 years. 

I'm having trouble understanding what "Spd" is. i mean, i can tell that when you lower the number, the pattern plays faster, but i dont really understand exactly why and how much and why there is a "BPM" and "Spd" control?
i tried searching, reading both manuals and the trackers handbook, and by the looks of it, some of you are very helpful when newer users ask questions.

so, does anybody care to explain it for me?

thanks in advance
Title: Re: Spd?
Post by: raina on September 13, 2008, 19:58:55
The basic time unit in traditional trackers is a tick which comes from the original implementation on Amiga computers where trackers began. The Spd value is actually the number of ticks per row, or a line of text you see in the pattern editor.

The BPM value has a misleading name since it controls the duration of ticks, not actual beats per minute. Setting Spd to 3, 6 or 12 makes BPM appear almost like actual BPM value, but it's not entirely accurate. Only a handful of Spd/BPM combinations result in song speeds that are synchronizable with modern sequencers. It's a little unfortunate but you can't rewrite history. :/

Some pointers on Spd values:

Using Spd 1 is not advised because it renders most pattern commands nonfunctional. This is because notes are triggered on the first tick and commands mostly come into effect on the following ones. If you only have one tick per row, they'll never get their chance.

If you're into making chiptunes and you like the sound of the 0xy arpeggio command..
Quote from: the Manual
it is wise to use a song speed value divisible by 3 in order that the arpeggio sequence can loop smoothly.

That's because a tracker arpeggio is made of 3 notes, the base note and 2 offsets. If you choose a Spd where those 3 notes aren't spread evenly among the ticks of your rows, some notes will get more attention from the replay. But that's a subjective thing, really. It may well be a desired effect sometimes.
Title: Re: Spd?
Post by: NoSpin on September 13, 2008, 22:51:25
thanks for the tips... am i wrong in concluding that BPM 120 with Spd 6 is pretty close to BPM 120 in other sequencers?

only a handful of Spd/BPM combinations result in song speeds that are synchronizable with modern sequencers.

do you know which ones?
Title: Re: Spd?
Post by: raina on September 14, 2008, 02:35:26
You're not wrong, that's what I was trying to say. Of course your near-120 BPM is easily made near-60 or near-240 depending on how you space your rhythmic notes (base kicks for example). You can think of the song speed as sequencer resolution in that sense.

An older version (1.5) of Renoise ( had this useful display (Song properties) of the actual BPM while the tracker itself works with the BPM/Spd values. The BPM display has 4 decimal accuracy so whenever it shows x.0000, you've hit a proper real world BPM value. I haven't been keeping up with Renoise that much lately as I've been pretty much preoccupied with Milky but I think the more recent versions are in fact operating with real BPM, so you cannot use them to look up tracker BPM/Spd vs real BPM equivalences.
Title: Re: Spd?
Post by: javamannen2 on September 15, 2008, 00:23:05
1 beat = 24 ticks.
Tempo = beats per minute = ticks per minute / 24.
Speed = ticks per line = beats per line * 24
Lines per beat = 24 / speed.
Speed  Line notevalue
24     1/4
16     1/4T
12     1/8
 8     1/8T
 6     1/16
 4     1/16T
 3     1/32
 2     1/32T
 1     1/64T