Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

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BrokenARM
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Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby BrokenARM » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:25 pm

I have unearthed an old archive of 8-bit music I made on the Archimedes in the early 1990s.

What has come as a bit of a surprise is that one of my 8-channel sound modules was released in 1991 which means it pre-dates many commonly known 8-channel music module players/editors on the Archimedes or the Amiga with the exception of Oktalizer which was released in 1989.

PL259 was made by Dan Wilson (aka BrokenARM) on a beta test copy of !Tracker by Fabrice Mercier on an Archimedes A-310 computer in early 1991. !Tracker was essentially an Amiga Soundtracker clone but, unusually, it supported up to 8-channels with soft panning unlike its 4-channel hard-panned counterpart. It is therefore possibly one of the earlier 8-channel Soundtracker music modules to be released on a home computer. The module comprises mostly of 8-bit samples from the infamous ST-01 sample library disk originally bundled with Karsten Obarski's infamous Ultimate Sound Tracker in 1987 on the Amiga.

!Tracker made good use of the 8-audio channels available each with stereo panning natively supported in the Archimedes audio hardware (although there was a very noticeable decrease in signal to noise ratio when switching from 4 to 8 channel operation!)

Its a rather unusual/experimental progressive one which may not appeal to some but I've uploaded it to my SoundCloud rendered in a modern oversampling player for posterity:

https://soundcloud.com/hideaway-studio/pl259-edit-l2-eq-final/s-1Mjrq

Its a bit scary to think I was only 19 when I wrote this!...
Last edited by BrokenARM on Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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dhg2
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby dhg2 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:41 pm

Nice song, great atmosphere! I like it a lot, it's really got that nostalgic early soundtracker style to it.
Regards,
- Patrick

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simonm
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby simonm » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:33 pm

That's ace! :) It sounds really familiar too, so I wonder if I must have enjoyed it bitd too.
Gets me all nostalgic, I had a ton of archie tracker files somewhere or other but can't seem to find em.
Thanks for sharing!

BrokenARM
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby BrokenARM » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:28 am

1987 to around 1992 was a truly magical era in computer music and its great to know that the retro computer demoscene and its music lives on through superb sites such as Nectarine (scenemusic.net), AmigaRemix and the The Mod Archive.

Most of the native 8-channel modules on the Arc were of my doing - the vast majority of the rest of the music found on the platform were 4-channel Soundtracker modules ported from the Amiga.

I owe a big thank you to Karsten Obarski for bringing Soundtracker to the world in 1987, Hugo Fiennes for his early ARM assembler Soundtracker playroutines/Amiga module ports and Fabrice Mercier for !Tracker... all three of which played a strong part in shaping my future....

Seeing my name albeit in tiny print on the last three Jean-Michel Jarre and the the last two Goldfrapp album CD inlays left me feeling quite emotional!!

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Pernod
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby Pernod » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:47 am

BrokenARM wrote:Seeing my name albeit in tiny print on the last three Jean-Michel Jarre and the the last two Goldfrapp album CD inlays left me feeling quite emotional!!

That's awesome! Just checked my Oxygene 3 and you're there, not even that tiny.
- Nigel

BBC Model B, ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, etc.

BrokenARM
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby BrokenARM » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:01 pm

Pernod wrote:
BrokenARM wrote:Seeing my name albeit in tiny print on the last three Jean-Michel Jarre and the the last two Goldfrapp album CD inlays left me feeling quite emotional!!

That's awesome! Just checked my Oxygene 3 and you're there, not even that tiny.

:D JM's great.. I had an almost uncontrollable grin in his studio for a day with him in Paris back in 2011...

Image

His studio is amazing - its like a shrine to his entire life - all of his famous instruments are there!

I was delivering some custom equipment I designed for him including the Triple Tube Hybrid Phaser:

https://soundcloud.com/hideaway-studio/triple-tube-hybrid-phaser-an-uber-rare-beast-in-action

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Pernod
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby Pernod » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:06 pm

BrokenARM wrote: :D JM's great.. I had an almost uncontrollable grin in his studio for a day with him in Paris back in 2011...

Even more awesome! First saw him back in '88 at Docklands and most recently last October at the O2, and a few times in-between.
- Nigel

BBC Model B, ATPL Sidewise, Acorn Speech, 2xWatford Floppy Drives, AMX Mouse, Viglen case, etc.

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qUE
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby qUE » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:45 pm

VIDC supported 8 channel so I assume that's why it was probably the first home computer to do so.

VIDC can actually do more channels since the samplerate is dependent on a division of the IO clock, it's only limited on the stereo panning to 8 channels. Only trouble is every time you add a slice to the TDM, the sound gets quieter and VIDC sound is noisy on RISC OS (IMO).

Also I assume the reason 8 channels Trackers weren't made so often is that the more you up the sound clock the heavier the interrupting becomes, whilst this is probably fine for a static title screen on a game, it's no good for in-game music.

Still VIDC is a pretty flexible IC for it's time. The !Tracker format also fixed some limitations of the original Sound Tracker format (pulling data after the MUSX tag from memory dumps, saved my bacon a few times when !WIMPTracker decided to bomb out :)
Last edited by qUE on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BrokenARM
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby BrokenARM » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:47 pm

Pernod wrote:
BrokenARM wrote: :D JM's great.. I had an almost uncontrollable grin in his studio for a day with him in Paris back in 2011...

Even more awesome! First saw him back in '88 at Docklands and most recently last October at the O2, and a few times in-between.

Very cool you were at Docklands.. that show so very nearly didn't happen and his kit still wears the resulting surface rust from that infamous event.

Its very nice to see JM still going after all these days - I just don't know where he finds all his energy!!

Its an absolute wonder so much equipment managed to staying running through that show.. not to mention still survives to this day!
Last edited by BrokenARM on Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby BrokenARM » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:53 pm

qUE wrote:VIDC supported 8 channel so I assume that's why it was probably the first home computer to do so.

VIDC can actually do more channels since the samplerate is dependent on a division of the IO clock, it's only limited on the stereo panning to 8 channels. Only trouble is every time you add a slice to the TDM, the sound gets quieter and VIDC sound is noisy on RISC OS (IMO).

Also I assume the reason 8 channels Trackers weren't made so often is that the more you up the sound clock the heavier the interrupting becomes, whilst this is probably fine for a static title screen on a game, it's no good for in-game music.

Still VIDC is a pretty flexible IC for it's time. The !Tracker format also fixed some limitations of the original Sound Tracker format.

Yes, it was a great shame the original VIDC audio was so noisy. I recently purchased an Amiga 1200 for a project and I'd forgotten how clean and quiet the audio is on the Amiga in comparison. In !Tracker the noise levels very noticably increased when you switched from 4 to 8 track mode. The anti-aliasing filter on the original Archimedes 300 series was also terribly muffled and again its a shame there wasn't a means to switch it on and off in software like the Amiga. I modified all of my Arcs back in those days to do this and added common mode/virtual ground output stages and it made a huge difference.

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qUE
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby qUE » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:13 pm

BrokenARM wrote:
qUE wrote:VIDC supported 8 channel so I assume that's why it was probably the first home computer to do so.

VIDC can actually do more channels since the samplerate is dependent on a division of the IO clock, it's only limited on the stereo panning to 8 channels. Only trouble is every time you add a slice to the TDM, the sound gets quieter and VIDC sound is noisy on RISC OS (IMO).

Also I assume the reason 8 channels Trackers weren't made so often is that the more you up the sound clock the heavier the interrupting becomes, whilst this is probably fine for a static title screen on a game, it's no good for in-game music.

Still VIDC is a pretty flexible IC for it's time. The !Tracker format also fixed some limitations of the original Sound Tracker format.

Yes, it was a great shame the original VIDC audio was so noisy. I recently purchased an Amiga 1200 for a project and I'd forgotten how clean and quiet the audio is on the Amiga in comparison. In !Tracker the noise levels very noticably increased when you switched from 4 to 8 track mode. The anti-aliasing filter on the original Archimedes 300 series was also terribly muffled and again its a shame there wasn't a means to switch it on and off in software like the Amiga. I modified all of my Arcs back in those days to do this and added common mode/virtual ground output stages and it made a huge difference.


Yeah, I bypassed the filter on my A3000, it's nice to have some top end!. Interestingly the noise appears to come from the sound handling chain in RISC OS. I've got my own routines in AMCS (amcs.3rdevent.net) which is an OS so it doesn't use any of ROS's code, and the noise is almost non existent by comparison.
You can reduce the noise on ROS by blanking the screen although unfortunately because of Tracker's reliance on the refresh you can't disable video on the VIDC (iirc), it makes a big difference but it's still not as quiet as my routines. *shrugs*

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KarateEd
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby KarateEd » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:51 pm

That's a really cool production. If you want to be awake in the morning with your heart pumping and energizing you, this song is the ticket. Even better than coffee.....

Ed...... :-)

BrokenARM
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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby BrokenARM » Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:53 am

Just found another old 8-channel !Tracker module I released in February 1991 on a music demo disk on the Arc which some might remember....

https://soundcloud.com/hideaway-studio/carnival/s-K4iiB

Still can't believe I was 19 when I wrote that!!

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Re: Early 8-Channel Music Uploaded (!Tracker Module)

Postby Trapper » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:25 pm

I still love Blitzwing2 - no idea where it came from.
My wife hates it. She doesn't mind the Digital Symphony version of Red Dwarf though!


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