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Author Topic: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware  (Read 7600 times)

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Jay

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Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« on: January 07, 2014, 02:05:15 »

Hey all, since I've dusted off my account here recently I thought I'd post my latest tune. This song was made almost 100% using DOS tools, chiefly Impulse Tracker 2.14p5, on a Pentium 233:

Under a Foreign Sky (click through to Soundcloud for full description!)

I used all the advanced IT features that I never got around to trying back in the day when it was current - MIDI out (note data & sequencer clock!), instrument mode, resonant filters, NNAs, volume/pan envelopes, panning commands in the volume column, etc. I'm still impressed with how powerful and stable this 15+ year old program is.

The hardware synths involved were a x0xb0x (sequenced w/MIDI clock), Roland MC202 (DIN sync clock from the x0x), JV-1010 (notes played via IT MIDI instrument) and Yamaha PSR-36 (sampled.) My original samples were recorded with Allsound Tracker 1.62F and edited in SamplEd 1.24. I also (mis)used a Roland S760 as a DA converter.

There are also a couple samples from the Amiga ST-xx disks and a couple ripped from other old mods over the years.

Unfortunately it ended up a bit short but I'm pleased with the result anyway. Enjoy!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 03:38:17 by Jay »
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Saga Musix

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 14:16:58 »

Interesting concept - I think you're the first person of which I've heard that they used the MIDI out features in IT. Out of interest, did you use any customized Zxx macros for that job?
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Jay

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 22:44:59 »

Thanks! No, I didn't make any macros for this one. I had an idea to add MIDI pause/resume as a macro and use that in an 8-step breakdown in the middle of the song (i.e. pausing the 303 & 202 patterns for two bars) but I didn't have time to implement that properly as I was rushing to finish the track. The documentation for the macro system is not very well written.

ITs MIDI-out is very full featured and powerful, considering it came out in the last patch ever to the program - but it's also pretty clunky in some ways. If only it had been developed a bit further...
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 23:26:16 by Jay »
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Saga Musix

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 23:23:57 »

I dunno if it helps but I have written my own macro syntax documentation, maybe that's easier to understand than IT's MIDI.TXT :) If you have any questions, feel free to ask, since I re-implemented the whole macro mechanism in OpenMPT and also made use of it for controlling VST plugins through MIDI.
The MIDI macros are really powerful, and IT can do most things you need for MIDI, just one thing I find really disappointing is that the Pitch Wheel Depth must be the same for all instruments - I guess Jeff supposed that one would only use it to control a single synthesizer? Even FT2 could have per-instrument PWD settings.
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Jay

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 08:27:52 »

Cool, thanks for the tip. Have printed out your docs for reference. :D Noticed a couple mentions of a highpass filter - does IT have one or is that something you added for MPT? I can find no mention of it in the original Impulse Tracker files.

There is a HPF 'trick' in IT which involves differencing a sample with its inverse, LP-filtered. I love those sorts of hacks. Or there's the way I did highpass filters in this song - bake them in with a sample editor! That felt like cheating though.

I'm already working on some new tracks with this setup - so awesome being able to control my gear from an interface I really like again. Never had any luck using MIDI under Schism. Renoise is really good, but that involves fighting with ALSA+JACK config on my "modern" system which just saps out my creativity instantly.
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Saga Musix

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 09:33:46 »

The highpass filter is indeed an MPT hack that a few other applications (but not IT, naturally) support. Basically the only built-in macros supported by IT would be the F0 F0 00 xx (cutoff) and F0 F0 01 xx (resonance), everything else is external.
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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2014, 07:09:02 »

Another one - more Impulse Tracker acid:

Free Motion Machine (tech-house, 125 BPM)

This is my Flashback 2014 entry (where I placed 3rd!) Here I tracked the x0xb0x line as MIDI notes in IT instead of using the onboard sequencer and clock sync - worked great!

BTW I made all my samples on a Roland hardware sampler this time instead of messing with a laptop line-in. Aside from having to dig out a few zip drives to transfer them around this was by far the easiest way I've found to get really high quality recordings. I should have been doing this ages ago.

I am EXCEEDINGLY pleased with how this track turned out. The mixing & "mastering" especially - it doesn't even really sound like a tracker file to me.
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Saga Musix

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2014, 20:17:28 »

Nice one, and congrats on the 3rd place :)
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Jay

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2014, 12:04:52 »

Thanks! And thanks for the comments/rating on the main page too.

Yeah, I wasn't sure about the Waldorf sample at first (it was supposed to be a placeholder really) but after a while it grew on me, so I stuck with it. I might change it out for one of my own synths in a future version. :) (BTW 2MB compolimit was kicking my ass through the whole composition!)
« Last Edit: June 15, 2014, 12:22:14 by Jay »
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Saga Musix

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Re: Advanced Impulse Tracking w/hardware
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2014, 14:57:25 »

2MB limits? I had to fit this in 1.4MB (and I succeeded)... ;D
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