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Shareware Round-up
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21
Author:dhomas trenn
Published by:CU-Amiga magazine (UK)
Date:February 1998

NOTE: All outdated links have been removed.

Though most Amiga commercial audio and music development has been dormant, users have continued to support their trusty computers through shareware/freeware software, support websites and discussion groups.

This month we will update you on some of the latest and greatest offerings and have a look at some information and software that every Amiga musician should know about.

New Life For Studio 16
Along with many other Amiga companies, SunRize Industries closed their doors and left AD516 and AD1012 sound card users out in the cold. A few people, including myself, made some efforts to improve the situation but a lack of up-to-date developer documentation meant that this would be much more difficult than one might hope. But, in the tradition of many Amiga programmers before him, Kenneth Nilsen took on the challenge.

Kenneth's tremendous efforts to decode the Studio 16 file formats have finally paid off and the result is detailed developer documentation and a growing collection of utilities to work with Studio 16 data files. Already included are programs to convert from the more standard AIFF, CDDA and RAW audio formats to Studio 16 format. If you use Studio 16 enough, eventually you will encounter corrupt audio files. If so, Kenneth comes to the rescue with a file repair utility, designed to recover as much data as possible. As well, you will find programs to change and read frequency, panning, SMPTE timecode and volume settings.

But Kenneth did not stop there. He also started a discussion mailing list and contacted other Amiga programmers to get support for Studio 16 in popular software such as: AHI, AmiSOX, OctaMed, Play16 and SoundFX. Some of which have now implemented support. The mailing list already has many serious users who can help with problems and are willing to share their experience and ideas.

To subscribe to the Studio16 mailing list, send email to: ???? with the following command in the body of your email message: subscribe studio16 <your email address>. You can get the latest archive from aminet: dev/misc/Studio16add.lha or visit the Studio 16 and AD516/1012 support area: www.youngmonkey.ca/hands/files/Sunrize/index.html.

This project is a great effort and serves as another example of the dedication of true Amigans. Kenneth would like to thank John Blyth for his assistance on this project, and me for giving him the inspiration.

Blue Ribbon SoundWorks Software for FREE
As you might already know, Blue Ribbon SoundWorks was bought by Microsoft a few years ago. Shortly after, Microsoft made all of the Blue Ribbon Amiga music software freely downloadable from Compuserve. If you do not have access to Compuserve and want these programs, you will be pleased to know that you can now get these programs on the web at: ????. There you will find freely downloadable archives of: Bars & Pipes Professional (sequencer), Patchmeister (generic patch librarian) and SuperJam (improvisational music generator). You can also download the following expansion kits for Bars & Pipes Professional: Creativity Tools, Performance Tools, Power Tools and Pro Tools. Be sure to read the Microsoft End User Licence Agreement before downloading any of this software. You will also find a previously commercial algorithmic composer that turns algebraic equations into music for Bars & Pipes.

Blue Ribbon SoundWorks Software Support
If you already have the software, or plan to get it, you might be interested to know that several long time users have set up mailing lists and/or websites. One of the more detailed websites is called Modern Plumbing which includes support for Bars & Pipes, Patchmeister and SuperJam. Here you can find helpful tips and tricks, workarounds for bugs, new tools, accessories, drivers and styles: ????. Or visit Richard Hagen's website for more information and links to other support sites: ????. To subscribe to the B&P (and related software) mailing list, send email to: ???? with the following command in the body of your email message: subscribe b&p <your email address>.

SoundFX: the Ultimate in Digital Audio
Probably the best digital audio processing software available for the Amiga is a shareware program by Stefan Kost called SoundFX.

This fabulous software includes extensive digital effect algorithms (over 50). The more common types: amplifier, chorus, delay, echo, envelope, equalization, filter, noise gate, pan, phaser, pitch shift, reverb, and vocoder are all included along with some more unusual effects: clap, crosstalk, fold, gamma, logic, morph and smear. One of the more interesting features, is SoundFX's ability to generate surround sound encoding. As well, you will find audio analysis functions (2D and 3D spectrum analysis, Fourier transformation) and even sound synthesis support.

Every function has extensive parameter and modulation options and the capability to save and load your own effect configurations. Through it's fully developed ARexx port you can create automated processing scripts or even generate your own digital effects.

Sound FX includes loaders and savers for all common audio file formats, and adds some more professional support, too: Sample Dump Standard (SDS), Studio 16 and Yamaha's TX-16W.

Audio playback can be done through the Amiga's built-in audio chip, Paula, with 8-bit and enhanced 14-bit modes. Support for soundcards is also included through use of AHI.

Sound FX requires at least OS 3.0 and, as with any program like this, the more CPU power and memory you have the faster and better it will work. Support for virtual memory is currently under development.

You can get recent archives from aminet:

mus/edit/sfx-bin_00.lha
mus/edit/sfx-bin_20.lha
mus/edit/sfx-bin_20m.lha
mus/edit/sfx-bin_30.lha
mus/edit/sfx-bin_30m.lha
mus/edit/sfx-bin_40m.lha
mus/edit/sfx-data.lha
mus/edit/sfx-doc_eng.lha
mus/edit/sfx-doc_ger.lha

or visit the author's website for the latest version at: www.imn.htwk-leipzig.de/~kost/SoundFX.html.

SoundFX

Sound FX

WaveBeast: Virtual Synthesizer
WaveBeast is a freeware software synthesizer developed by Marco Thrush and Jan Krutisch. It is currently in a beta stage, but is publicly available.

Sound generation is controlled by two oscillators with standard waveforms (noise, pulse, sawtooth, sine, square and triangle), two 24dB 4 pole filters (low, high or bandpass), four multi-stage envelopes (VCA, Pitch, VCF1 and VCF2), five LFOs (pulse width, pitch, VCA, VCF1 and VCF2) and digital effects (delay, fuzz and reverb).

It also includes a 64 step sequencer with adjustable tempo, sequence transposition, and step settable slide and portamento parameters.

WaveBeast requires at least OS 3.0, MUI and AHI. An intensive calculation process is necessary to generate waveforms, so it does not operate in real-time. Lots of CPU power is good but not required. Because waveforms are generated in memory, the more memory you have the bigger your generated waveforms can be.

You can get the latest version from the support site at: ????

WaveBeast

WaveBeast

AmiSOX: File Converter
SOund eXchange (SOX) is an audio file format converter. It has been ported from the UNIX version to the Amiga by David Champion. AmiSOX has been around for several years, but remains a favourite and efficient conversion utility.

Currently, the Amiga version supports the following formats: RAW, IRCAM sound files, Sound Blaster, SPARC .AU, Mac HCOM, PC/DOS .SOU, Sndtool, Sounder, NeXT .SND, Windows RIFF/WAV, Turtle Beach .SMP, and Apple/SGI AIFF and 8SVX.

In addition to format conversion, it can also do some simple digital processing: echo, filtering (low, band and high pass), mix, resampling and vibrato. You can get the latest archive from aminet: mus/edit/AmiSOX33.lha.

Algorithmic Music Generator
If you would rather leave the song writing to your Amiga, or perhaps you just need some inspiration or entertainment, then Thomas Schürger offers his giftware program AlgoMusic.

Computer generated music has been explored for many years on many different computer platforms. Songs are "randomly" composed based on a series of rules or algorithms pre-programmed into the software application. A good program can often generate some very impressive and original compositions.

Generally, programs of this type generate music in a specific style. AlgoMusic is designed to create Techno/House style music. Among it's numerous parameters, it includes a real-time mixer for setting the levels of the different tracks: acid, bass, back beat, chords, drums, melody, main and speech; and also real-time controls for tempo and tuning. You can also tell AlgoMusic whether or not to include acid, break beat, echo, free melody and speech parts in its compositions.

The program comes with many of its own samples, which it randomly chooses from when composing. You can, if you want, add your own samples.

AlgoMusic requires at least OS 2.0 and if you want to use the preferences program, MUI is also required. CLI parameters are also available if you do not have MUI installed. You can get the latest archive from aminet: mus/misc/AlgoMusic2_4.lha or visit the author's website for the latest version at: fsinfo.cs.uni-sb.de/~schuerge/AlgoMusic/.

AlgoMusic-1

AlgoMusic-2

AlgoMusic

Audio Hardware Interface (AHI)
In an attempt to bring a standard to Amiga audio, Martin Blom developed the freeware (donations appreciated) software called AHI.

AHI is an audio subsystem, designed to be expandable, hardware independent, and system compatible. It allows applications to share the audio resources, so that several programs can process sound simultaneously.

AHI currently supports the following sound hardware: Aura, Clarity, Concierto, Delfina DSP, Delfina Lite, DraCo Motion, Maestro Pro, Melody MPEG, Paula (Amiga built-in), Prelude, Toccata and Wavetools.

You can get the latest archives from aminet:

dev/misc/ahidev.lha
docs/misc/ahiman.lha
mus/misc/ahiusr.lha

or visit the author's website for the latest version at: www.lysator.liu.se/~lcs/ahi.html.

AHI

AHI

MIDI SYStem EXplorer
We finish off with my own shareware offering to the Amiga MIDI world: MIDI SYStem EXplorer.

MSE has been designed to control all types of MIDI data through a programmable graphic user interface or by external software control. MSE can be used as a simple MIDI Controller or a complex patch editing system, allowing the user to enter MIDI information from manuals to control almost anything. Possible applications include: MIDI volume/pan mixer (with automated fading), sound editor and patch librarian.

With the definition language you can design the entire user interface to meet your needs. Screen mode/size (Amiga/CyberGFX/etc.), window size and position, fonts, borders, colors, gadget placement, etc. can all be customized. As well, you can define the character set, MIDI port and much more.

MSE has direct support for the BlueRibbon.library (B&P, TriplePlayPlus), CAMD.library (DeluxeMusic) and MIDI.library (PD) allowing simultaneous use with other programs that also use these libraries.

You can get the latest archive from aminet: mus/midi/MSE.lha or visit the MIDI SYStem EXplorer support area: www.youngmonkey.ca/hands/files/MSE/index.html.

MSE

MIDI SYStem Explorer