Music Production > Tracking

Reverb, Delay, Filter (cutoff) effects in oldschool trackers?

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Hello, friends.
How do you, guys, create effects (reverb, delay, filter, etc) in trackers (Shism tracker, Milky tracker)?
As far as I know DSP effects are not available in those old school trackers.
Can't find any tutorials regarding the subject.
Could you share any links that might help?
Thank you.


On old-school trackers there are no build-in effects for reverb, delay and low/high pass filters.

You can mimic them a bit by playing the same note on another track, one or 2 steps down with a lower volume (like in this module ) but obviously it's not quite the same.

The amiga had a hardware lowpass filter that you could activate/deactivate using the E00 and E01 commands, but most non-amiga trackers ignore that.
If I'm not mistaken the Coma Rebels demo used that to great effect ( )

you could say it's one of the charms of old-school tracking: just raw sample manipulation and not much fancy effects like reverb or VST plugins.

Saga Musix:
The IT format has a resonant lowpass filter, so that is already possible in IT/Schism (with some trickery you can turn it into a highpass filter too).
Note that the Amiga filter Steffest talks about has no parameters, i.e. it is either on or off, but you cannot configure the cutoff frequency (since that's not what it was meant to be used for).

A delay can be achieved by pasting the same channel data into another channel but with a slight... delay. :) This is easiest in IT format where you can set the channel volume for this echo channel to e.g. 30% and hence do not have to adjust all volume commands manually.

For creating reverbs and other DSP effects, I would recommand loading a reverb plugin into a modern tracker like OpenMPT (or any other DAW) and "bake" the reverb into the sample data. Back in the days, people would have used early software reverbs or the well-established hardware reverb processing units for this.

You can emulate reverb with a volume envelope that has a very low volume sustain on note-off, add in slight vibrato and pan envelope to give it a bit of variety.

Taking a look at any of my one hour compo songs in tMA (files titled as ohck-*.it) should demonstrate a lot of the echo/reverb trickery that you can pull off in oldschool trackers. There are tons of ways to give your songs the depth echo/reverb can add, most of it comes down to clever use of the stereo picture and a lot of copy-pasting of channels and instruments.

Saga Musix:
To add to Ceekayed's trick, I sometimes do a similar cheap fake reverb in IT format by cloning the instrument and then fading the volume envelope from 0 to 100% in about 0.5 - 1 second, and fading the pitch envelope from minimum to center in one or two ticks. This way, you can simply duplicate the pattern channel for that instrument and replace the instrument numbers on the second channel, and put the second channel in surround mode.


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