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Author Topic: absolute beginner!  (Read 9811 times)

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toneunkee

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absolute beginner!
« on: August 05, 2008, 03:26:44 »

Hello, I 'm an experienced Pro Tools guy but totally new to tracking.  It looks like Milky Tracker will be my platform for learning this.  Are there any tutorials out there for a n00b such a myself?  I do know that I will need instrument samples, but have no idea where to find them!!

My first project is for a friends cellphone game.  I have a 100k limit for the music and he wants a 4 channel MOD. 

I also would like to get into chiptunes, but that's for my own kicks  ;D

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raina

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2008, 10:33:27 »

There's a lot of reading available in the Documentation section of our website but there aren't any quick newbie tutorials at the moment. If you want to learn to use MilkyTracker by studying the theory, you should probably read the Tracker's Handbook, then the Fasttracker II manual (without getting stuck in the UI specifics because it's a little different from MT) and finally the MilkyTracker manual.

The other way is to just download a whole bunch of modules and look at them play while finding out what is doing what. Most of us old farts started like this 10 - 20 years ago. This trend of tutorials and reading is a little foreign to us ;) but maybe a combination of these ways will effectively give you an understanding of things.

About samples.. since you're not new to producing music, look at it like this: They're everywhere. Sure you can find places to download samples, but you can probably just make them yourself. Use VSTis and render wavs from your host app, load the wavs up in MilkyTracker, cut them up and resample to fit your limitations. That way you get the sounds you want, right?

You should know that a 4ch MOD is a particularly challenging first project. While you can write those in MilkyTracker, it was made to be a clone of the more advanced Fasttracker II so there are more features available than you can use in a MOD file. These are:

  • Pattern length is exactly 64 rows
  • You can only use octaves 3, 4 and 5 when writing the music
  • Volume column is not used
  • Only effect commands 0 - 9 and A - F are used
  • All instruments have to have the relative note value of C-4
  • There is no KeyOff-note in MODs
  • Instrument envelopes and auto-vibrato aren't used


Feel free to ask more specific questions when you're there. I'm not trying to scare you away with this stuff but I think it's good for you to know you've got your work cut out for you. Hopefully it isn't too much and your project is successful.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2008, 10:46:24 by raina »
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toneunkee

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2008, 09:29:55 »

Ok thanks Raina, I am now loving this program and already have a great sounding tune!!!  I have 4 tracks going and the whole thing repeats over and over. 

I also downloaded a few songs too listen to.  I am now wondering how the songs develop and change from the first loop.  It looks like the same part is looping, but their songs move into different parts and new instruments coming in.  Is there something really big I am missing here??

Also, since I am trying to make a mod, I saved as mod before closing and it said it was a linear file?  Anyway when I opened the file later, the song was totally messed up!  It was saved at 160 bpm but now is 120 and the instruments are all wrong....arrgghh all of the work is gone!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 09:36:57 by toneunkee »
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pailes

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2008, 11:01:35 »

MilkyTracker will warn you if the module is not protracker compatible. If that is the case, you should always save in XM until you finally found out what all the differences are about. XM will always include everything you've done while in mod a lot of stuff will be stripped.
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raina

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 12:28:22 »

I also downloaded a few songs too listen to.  I am now wondering how the songs develop and change from the first loop.  It looks like the same part is looping, but their songs move into different parts and new instruments coming in.  Is there something really big I am missing here??

The Pattern Order Table in the top left corner of the screen is quite essential for tracking. The loops or parts as you call them are called patterns, and in order to build a song you need to have quite many of them arranged into a sequence in the POT. When you start a song from scratch, the POT looks like this:

Code: [Select]
00 | 00

This means your song is one order long and that pattern number 00 (on the right) is assigned to order 00 (on the left). You can add orders by clicking [Ins] for insert. [Del] is for deleting the current order. The + and - buttons between the aforementioned buttons are used to increase and decrease the pattern number assigned to each order. Use these controls to make a sequence that looks like this for example:

Code: [Select]
00 | 00
01 | 01
02 | 01
03 | 02

Now, when you move around in the POT, you see your notes appear and disappear on the pattern. That's natural because your notes are on pattern 00 while the rest of them are still empty. You can copy sections from pattern 00 to the others and add variation. This is what you have been seeing in finished modules, and that's how you'll make your own.

There are a couple of buttons left to control the POT, although not necessarily needed: The [Seq] button is for inserting the next sequential empty pattern's number in the table and the [Cln] button clones the current pattern to the next empty one. There's nothing mysterious about this, it's what-you-see-is-what-you-get. But with .MODs you should pay attention to unused pattern numbers. Say if you used patterns 00, 01 and 03 in your song but 02 was unreferenced, heck, even empty, it would still take up space when you save your file. There's the song optimizer for automatically removing unused patterns (and more) but using it with the wrong boxes checked you can do a lot of unwanted stripping to your file so always remember to backup first.

Also, since I am trying to make a mod, I saved as mod before closing and it said it was a linear file?  Anyway when I opened the file later, the song was totally messed up!  It was saved at 160 bpm but now is 120 and the instruments are all wrong....arrgghh all of the work is gone!

We didn't have time to tell you about this because you got to work so fast. MOD files need to use the Amiga frequency table instead of the linear one (Config) but that is forced anyway. MOD files also don't save the BPM selector value, you have to use the Spd/BPM command Fxx to set it in the pattern: The hexadecimal equivalent of 160 is A0, so you can set the BPM to 160 writing FA0 on effect column in the beginning of the song. The instruments are probably all wrong because their relative notes are something else than C-4, see the instrument editor and use the sample editor context menu to resample your samples so that they'll sound right when the relative note is set to C-4.

And example:

You load a sample and in the instrument editor you see that it got assigned the relative note of F-6. That will not work for MOD and if you decide to adjust it to C-4 by using the instrument editor, you'll probably soon find that playing the sample on octaves 3-5, it is played too slowly. That's when you need to resample.

Open the sample editor, right-click on the waveform and select Advanced > Resample. You will see that the relative note value is 29, 29 halftone offset from C-4. You need to change that to 0, and better do it for fine tune too. Then you'll want to change the interpolation method to Precise Sinc for best quality results and then hit [Ok] to see if your instrument now works better for MOD files. If the relative note changed to C-4 and the sample sounds ok when you play it on octaves 3, 4 and 5, consider this success. If something went wrong, you can always click Undo in the sample editor and try again.

grimmeld

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 16:10:14 »

I just started trying out what differences were made when i saved my songs as MOD. It turned out for me that the columns represent left and right for the speakers as well (odd numbers left and even numbers right), is that correct?
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raina

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 16:36:02 »

It's configurable. XMs don't have channel panning and MODs are technically mono because you can't affect panning from the the MOD file. But if you go to Options and you're in either ProTracker playback mode, you can set the default panning for channels by clicking Set. There's a preset called Milky that works like you describe. Maybe you have enabled this at some point because I think the Amiga preset is the default one. If you click Amiga you can see that the sliders align according to the channel panning of the Amiga's Paula sound chip. Well, Paula can only play 4 simultaneous voices but anyway, the pattern is left, right, right, left, etc..

toneunkee

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 02:14:55 »

Ahh I see. This is getting more and more fun!  I am wondering about .IFF files? I downloaded some instruments and it looks like Milkytracker doesn't see this format.

I seems that with 4 channel AMIGA MODs, I am confined to 8 bit samples.  Is there a library out there I can purchase or download?  I am a lazy american and it's hard for us to make our own samples  :D  It would be great to have some nice instruments to compose with


I also tried to open a .MED file of a composition and wasn't able to. 
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 04:45:29 by toneunkee »
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dr_mabuse

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 05:34:57 »

MilkyTracker can load IFF samples  ;)

Here is a link to some samples from the Aminet:
(All are 8 bit & good useable for MODs)

http://aminet.net/mods/inst/
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toneunkee

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Re: absolute beginner!
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2008, 07:30:58 »

nope, it wont load those either.  when I go to samples, and click load.....I point to the file where they are and wont even show them. ??

This must have to do with the fact that I'm trying it in a project that's set for AMIGA frequency table and in MOD mode??  Unfortunately, I'm stuck with those settings for this project..
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 07:42:10 by toneunkee »
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