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Author Topic: Transition from normal music software to trackers.  (Read 6371 times)

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Dreamcube017

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Transition from normal music software to trackers.
« on: March 02, 2007, 02:33:57 »

Ok, I'm not at tracking, but not at producing music. I normally use FL Studio and Reason to do music, but I wanted to get into trackers. I tried Skale, but it is totally confusing and can't find a metronome, or a piano roll. Is there a simple tracker somewhere that can take samples and VSTs that has a metronome and a piano roll to edit the notes? It's too bad I can't somehow take my .flp files from FL Studio and use those. Oh well. Any help would be appriciated. Thanks.

-DC17-
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m0d

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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2007, 03:42:07 »

This isnt going to be easy, and I'm not really the best person to educate people about trackers (it's been a long time), but what you are after in a tracker simply doesn't exist (metronome, typical MIDI piano roll).

The format of tracking has closer resemblence to step-sequencing samples at varying pitches vertically, than what you have come from (piano-roll based horizontal sequencing). In a tracker, the step sequencing is done vertially in the columns of a tracker (channels). In these columns, (unlike midi) you can only trigger 1 sample at a time, but this makes perfect sense (and not a limitation) when you relalize that those scary looking  numbers (initially zeros) next to the notes in the column can be used to manipulate the sample sound in realtime.

By default, you start of with 64 lines (0-63) which is divisable by 4, so you stick in a drum kick sample at every 4th interval, you should (if you did it right) end up with a pattern that has a perfect 4/4 beat. There's your metronome.

You can put different samples in the same column, you just can't trigger those at the same time. So between your kick sample you can put a hihat sample, and so on... Obviously if you want to put a snare in you would be best off putting it in an extra channel in parallel with the drum kick.

Overall the principle is really staggeringly easy, it's just one of those things you have to have a Zen moment with, you know, like not seeing the Matrix for what it is until you've had the red pill ;) Belive me, once you've cracked it - it's amazing. It will just take a lot of patience and a willingness to learn, and also a willingness to drop your expectations, as to be quite frank - coming from something like Reason and FL seems like a bit of a backstep if you are intending to go further with proffesional music. Modules are indeed still execllent but you will be sorely lacking your comfort-tools that I believe many take for granted in those studio applications.

Well, welcome to the Mod Archive, and welcome to the world of tracking, if you stick around I'm very sure you will find it an awesome facet of the music scene.

One final piece of advice, I suggest you grab a tracker like Modplug, or Milkytracker - load up some modules and then _watch and learn_. Thats how I did it.
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Dreamcube017

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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2007, 03:58:47 »

Ah, cool. I can handle that. It's basically a virtical sort of piano roll sort of things. As for pitches, Skale lets you use a MIDI keyboard. Is modplug easier to look at because Skale does look confusing. The VST thing I don't get. If I use a mod player, will it know to load the VST too?

I can make a metronome. Thanks for the tip.

Have you ever heard of a game called Amplitude for the PS2? Well there's a simulator for the PC (and I think for DreamCast) that can use .mod, .it,  xm, and other file types. That's why I'm interested in doing this. I've even played some of the songs here in the game. If you haven't heard of it, try it. It's called Marfitude. It's a game where you go along these color tracks and you have to press cirtain buttons to make the song play. It's really fun. It doesn't look as good as the PS2 version, but it's still very cool. You don't even have to do anything extra to the mod files, just put them in and play.

I'm not trying to advertise or anything, just thought I'd tell you. I'm pretty sure a lot of you know already though.

XM... I wonder is this what some of the video games used.
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m0d

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« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2007, 04:12:21 »

To address a very specific question with a very specific answer:

Quote
The VST thing I don't get. If I use a mod player, will it know to load the VST too?



The answer is: no.


The only reason why *some* trackers support VSTs is so that people who  want to use the VSTs for sound generation use them in order to release prerendered audio files, not modules. When a VST is used, say, in Modplug, I believe the saved-file format is a custom non-standard one, meaning it'll never work in a standard module player.

The module formats on The Mod Archive, for example, do not and never have included support for VSTs. Hypothetically speaking, if you took a VST  empowered "module" and then distributed it just as a module which er... doesn't include the VST itself, it just makes the module "yet another proprietory format" which won't play back for anyone else unless they open it with the same tracker and the same VST setup. It's no longer a self contained file at all anymore.

VSTs are often not free either, which is why a format that hypothetically bundles the VST inside it are certainly out of the question for very obvious legal reasons.

Personally, I'd say you have no business looking into using VSTs if you are trying to "track", especially for what you named (that PS2 thingy) which supports the classic module formats.

So there you go :)

As for modplug ease-of-use. Personally, I hate it. It's windows, it's just wrong in my book. Other people will disagree, others will even recommend you try trackers like Milkytracker (Fast Tracker II clone which works in Windows XP nativly), BeroTracker (and Impulse tracker clone, again, native for windows), and eoooo... check the Tracker software list will ya ;)

Me? I'm a classic module tracker who's still glued to their past preferences of tracking on a real cream coloured Amiga. Sure, I only get 4 channels but then again, I have a studio with a big bunch of real synths if I want to truely express myself hehe :)
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Dreamcube017

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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2007, 04:19:20 »

Ok, thanks for the help. I'll just use a bunch of .wav samples. I have tons of them I can use.

Thanks.

-DC17-
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m0d

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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2007, 04:22:27 »

If you want to really get in touch and up close with the tracker community, i recommend you pop by the IRC channel. The entire network we sit on has a wide range of tracker sub communities, and be rest assured - there are many your age aswell. :)

If you care to find us, we are in #modarchive on irc.esper.net

Clients: Use the java one (it's crap though) or get HydraIRC or mIRC (google).

Btw it's 04:11 AM where I am writing this and our lot are mostly European, so it's dead at this hour. However, the #mod_shrine folks are usually awake, if that fails just idle :)

Edit: Crap, i forgot to mention that they hold compos (1 hour to make a jingle out of the provided sample pack), aparently it's supposed to be good to get newcommers trained up with technique. Personally I can't stand the pressure of working in just 1 hour ;) To each his own, though eh?
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Eagle

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Transition from normal music software to trackers.
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2007, 08:55:06 »

M0d pretty much told you all you need to know. But there are actually piano roll MIDI trackers like the XGTracker something (I can look that one up later, but it sucks, actually).

If you want a tracker which you can distribute modules with VST with, check MadTracker 2. It's not very fit for a beginner to the world of tracking though, as the interface is designed with experienced trackers in mind.

For someone pretty used to Reason and FL Studio, I think Renoise, MilkyTracker and the like are probably more fit to your taste in matter of looks and design.

Anyway, if you want to ask about each other tracker's strength - talk to me. I've got 93 trackers in my collection. :)

You can either contact me by mail/MSN, wait for me to popup in the IRC channel around 9-10 PM (CEST or GMT+1), post in this forum or hack into my PC while I'm programming, haha. I would love to help you out in any case.
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m0d

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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2007, 13:24:04 »

@Eagle, he was very specific about the formats he wants to release in, thus MT2 is totally out of the question as it's a propriatory format. Nuff said.
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zovik

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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2007, 15:53:42 »

(Who says trackers aren't normal?! :hrrhrr:)

I would also suggest finding some modules you like or have the style you want (on TMA for example) and opening them in a tracker (modplug for example) to see the `guts'. This is a very effective way to learn what's going on.
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