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Audio Magic!
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321
Author:dhomas trenn
Published by:CU-Amiga magazine (UK)
Date:August 1998

Samplers & Sequencers

SoundFX
SoundFx is probably the best shareware digital audio processor for the Amiga. It includes over 50 effects (everything from echo to surround sound encoding). All functions have extensive parameter and modulation options and the capability to save/load effect configurations.

An extensive ARexx command set gives you almost complete control over this application, with the ability to automate functions or even create custom effects.

Support is included for all common audio file formats and many unusual ones, too. Audio output is possible through the Amiga's built-in audio hardware (with 8 and 14 bit implementations) or using the AHI system.

SoundFX

Sound FX

SinEd
SinED offers some synthesis, effects and sample editing functions, but perhaps more notable is its drumfill generator.

Studio 16
Studio 16 was the first serious audio hard disk recording system to appear for the Amiga. It features a powerful time line editor which not only triggers audio samples but can also control external programs through ARexx, making it a full multimedia system. Its frame accurate timing and ability to sync to SMPTE time code make it perfect for video/film projects.

It is capable of playing up to 8 tracks (AD516) or 4 tracks (AD1012) at 44.1 kHz, with simultaneous record and playback.

The software has not been officially updated since 1994. However, due to the recent surfacing of some long lost developer documentation, the program has been getting some new attention and the hope of some new enhanced modules in the future.

Related: QMaster (cuelist file manager), Studio16add (developer documentation and add-on tools), Studio16-Dev (v2.05 developer documentation), SuperModel (GUI patch) and the Studio 16 support website (FAQ, email list, files).

ProStationAudio
The soon to be released ProStationAudio promises to begin a new era for digital audio processing on the Amiga. Directed at high-end Amiga audio professionals, this digital recording/processing system will combine all the best features of existing Amiga software (multi-track graphic time-line editing, graphic mixing, high quality effects processing, ARexx, B&P synchronization, greater than CD quality) with that of more advanced MAC/PC audio applications.

This program is sure to create some excitement in the Amiga music community, so watch here for a full preview of this great new Amiga offering.

Bars and Pipes Professional
Bars and Pipes Professional is the most powerful MIDI sequencer available for the Amiga. Its interface is a bit different, but once you get used to it, it presents many creative possibilities that are unavailable with similar programs.

Although B&P Pro was abandoned during the Microsoft takeover, the availability of developer documentation leaves it open for further expansion. With it now being freely distributable it is an application that every Amiga musician should have.

Related: websites (Modern Plumbing and Richard Hagen's B&P), an email List and the Triple Play Plus (48 channel MIDI interface).

Bars&Pipes

Bars & Pipes Professional

Music-X
Before B&P Pro came along, Music-X was the best MIDI sequencer available. The addition of an ARexx module opened up lots of new possibilities for creative MIDI message processing.

Music-X provides for additional MIDI channels (>16) though custom drivers; however, most of the supported hardware is difficult if not impossible to find.

Related: Music-X_Macros, MusicXMagic and MusicXRexxMacs.

MusicX-1

MusicX-2

Music-X

Camouflage
Camouflage is a promising looking alternative for MIDI sequencing, which seems to be on the right track. But, it appears that with no updates for over 2 years and unreachable web and email addresses, that this project may have been abandoned.

Dominator
The author of Dominator, Luc De pauw, has moved on from the Amiga, but will be releasing one final update that adds AHI support and event editing. It will appear on his website in early July, and will also include a free key-file. He is looking for someone to take over the development, so if you are interested get in touch with him.


54 Tools & Other Hardware Bits

Sound File Convertors
AmiSOX is the "Swiss Army Knife" of sound file conversion. It supports most of the common formats as well as some more unusual ones. If you have a sound file to convert this is the first program to look at. It can also perform some simple digital processing functions.

If you want to convert audio files for writing to CD or for use on the Flyer, Audio Thunder is the answer. In addition to conversion, it also provides basic cut/paste/effect and auditioning functions. A time sequencing editor, for merging multiple audio clips into a single clip, is also included.

MPEG audio is becoming a very popular music format because of its high compression; though unfortunately, it is mostly being used for music piracy. The encoding process can take a long time, so a fast machine is recommended. However, either mp3enc or the newer 8hz-mp3 should do the job nicely regardless of your system speed.

No known Amiga applications will load RealAudio sound files, but most can load something in raw format. The tool to make this conversion is RA.

Sample Players
At the top of the list is Play16, providing support for most popular sound formats up to 16 bit at 56 kHz in stereo. It supports playback through the Amiga's built-in hardware (Paula), AHI and the MaestroPro and Prelude sound cards. For low memory conditions or large sound files, Play16 can even perform real-time play from hard disk. It also works well in conjunction with RA to play RealAudio files.

If you want to play the popular MPEG-3 song files that proliferate the internet, AmigaAMP (formerly MPEGAHI) is the program to use. If you do not like the Amiga gadgets, it will load WinAMP compatible "skins" for a nice, but slow loading, 256 color interface. AmigaAMP is capable of doing real-time decoding on an 060 at 50 MHz or at half the sampling rate on an 040 at 40 MHz. PPC users will enjoy additional functions.

AmigaAMP

AmigaAMP

The problem with MIDI song files is that the only people who can listen to them is other MIDI musicians. Even those people will not hear the song properly if they do not own similar sound modules. GMPlay is a virtual GM module that substitutes MIDI channel notes for hard disk sample triggering. The distribution includes many GM standard sounds, but if they are not to your liking, there are several alternative archives available. You can also use your own custom sounds, so non-GM compositions can also be played or arranged.

MIDI Tools
With many MIDI setups, it becomes more and more difficult to organize the ever-growing accumulation of MIDI data files. One possible solution is a MIDI librarian like Patchmeister. Designed to be used as a stand-alone program or a B&P Pro add-on, it covers many of the basic needs of a librarian. However, with no available documentation and some dead-end limitations it is not the final solution. But, being one of the Blue Ribbon freebies, it is worth having a look.

Another option is an upcoming program called MSE-Snapshot. With it, you simply define a project (song) and assign MIDI devices to it. Then, with a click of a button, MSE-Snapshot will retrieve all MIDI data from the associated devices. To recreate the song setup, select an existing project and let the program do all the work for you.

With so many different user interfaces on musical devices it can become very confusing to edit sounds. What would help is a common interface for all devices. The solution is the "Universal Patch Editor" (UPE); a great idea, but the reality is that with so many different and changing MIDI implementations the UPE is a myth.

A more realistic solution is MIDI SYStem EXplorer (MSE). It does not claim to be a UPE, but does strive to solve many of the problems. It comes with everything you need to create your own fully customized MIDI control systems. To create device specific modules, MSE uses a special definition language that even non-programmers should find easy to use. With it, you can customize almost everything, including: screens, windows, fonts, colors, graphics and gadgets. MSE can control all kinds of MIDI data, so it can be used for almost any MIDI control applications, including: patch editing, mixing, lighting and laser displays.

MSE

MIDI SYStem EXplorer

Programmers will want to have a look at Commodore's camd.library developer documentation. Also of interest is Bill Barton's midi.library and MIDI utilities.

Maestro Pro
The Maestro Pro is a fully digital audio card. It includes one digital input (selectable: optical or coaxial) and one digital output (optical). Do not let the coaxial input fool you, although it is an RCA connector it will not work with analog device outputs (synth, cassette player, etc.). It is capable of operating at 48 kHz (internal sync) and at 32/44.1 kHz (external sync).

Why would you want one? One of the problems with sampler cards is that they are subjected to all kinds of computer interference, which can add noise to your recordings. A better alternative is to use an external digital recorder (such as DAT) to record analog signals and then transfer them digitally to the Amiga using this card. Or you could directly transfer sounds/songs from a CD/laserdisc player or other device that has a digital output without any loss of quality. It can also be used to remove SCMS copy protection from DAT recordings. As an audio output card (AHI) it is capable of better than CD quality output.

Related: maestix.library (programming interface), Maestix AHI (AHI driver), MaestixFX (real-time effects) MaestroBR (DAT backup) and Samplitude Opus (hard disk recording).

MaestixFX

MaestixFX

AD1012/AD516
The AD516 is an analog sound card/sampler with dual 16 bit A/D converters, 64 times oversampling and preset anti-aliasing filters. It is capable of recording and playing back in stereo at rates up to 48 kHz.

Its predecessor, the AD1012, has a single 12 bit linear A/D converter and is capable of record/playback in mono at rates up to 48 kHz. Unlike the AD516, its anti-alias filters are variable (which can be used for some often interesting effects).

Both cards are equipped with an LTC SMPTE time code reader and an ADSP2105 sound coprocessor rated at 10 MIPS.

The AD516 was rumoured to have a digital audio add-on, but this never made it past the prototype stage. An AHI driver does not exist for either of these cards at this time.

Related: AD1012-Dev (developer documentation) and Studio 16 (hard disk recording).

MIDI Interfaces
There are dozens of MIDI interfaces available for the Amiga. They can be easily found, new and used. In most cases, they provide one MIDI IN, one THRU and one OUT. It is important to note that most devices that have additional OUT connectors do not allow for more MIDI channels. One exception is the Triple Play Plus, which was designed specifically for B&P Pro. This device provides three independent OUTs, allowing an additional 48 channels of MIDI transmission.

Most interfaces connect to the serial port and are compatible with the majority of MIDI applications without the need for a custom driver.


6 Soft Synths & Stuff

AHI
With so many different sound cards available, the Amiga needed some kind of standard to access them consistently. So, Martin Blom created the Audio Hardware Interface (AHI). AHI makes it easy for audio application developers to add support for most sound hardware without having to create custom drivers for each. It allows programs to share audio resources so that several programs can process sound simultaneously. AHI drivers already exist for the Amiga's internal audio hardware, as well as most popular sound cards. Most major audio applications, and many games, include support for AHI.

Related: AHIRecord (hard disk recording) and AHI-Tool (B&P sample player tool).

AHI

AHI

Speech
The Amiga's built-in speech system (narrator.device/translator.library) is quite powerful. Though, using the Say command, you would never know it. SpeechToy adds fourteen more variable parameters to that of Say, giving control of everything from articulation to enthusiasm of the computer speech. It also adds direct phonetics entry and translation.

SpeechToy

SpeechToy

There is also a replacement translator.library which adds the capability of multi-lingual speech. It includes a system of pronunciation rules, called accents which extend the speech beyond the American English bias of the original. Many accent files are available, including: Polish, Italian and even Kligon. This new translator is backward compatible with the old and also faster at phonetic translation.

Wish you could capture the Amiga speech as a sound file? There is a rare and little known utility, called Say To Raw, that will let you do just that. It re-routes output from the Say command to a raw audio file.

WaveBeast
WaveBeast emulates a two oscillator analog synthesizer, including: multiple waveform selection, filters, envelopes, modulation, and basic effects. It can be programmed using its 64 step sequencer, which provides control of tempo, transposition, slide and portamento. Sound generation requires an intensive calculation process, so the more CPU power it has the better. The length of created sounds is dependent on the amount of memory available.

WaveBeast

WaveBeast

FMSynth
FMsynth emulates a six operator frequency modulation synthesizer (such as the Yamaha DX7). It includes parameters for pitch and amplitude envelopes, modulation, key scaling, phase, level, detune, feedback, transposition and more. Sounds are created in 8 bit and saved as 8SVX format. The calculation process is very fast. Almost 300 patches are included as examples.

FMSynth

FMsynth


For More Information
NOTE: All outdated links have been removed.

AHI - Martin Blom
 www: www.lysator.liu.se/~lcs/ahi.html
 aminet: mus/misc/ahiusr.lha

AHI Record - Thomas Wenzel
 aminet: mus/play/AHIRecord.lha

AHI Tool - Giles Jones
 aminet: mus/play/AHITool.lha

AmigaAMP - Thomas Wenzel
 aminet: mus/play/AmigaAMP.lha

AmiSox - David Champion
 aminet: mus/edit/AmiSOX33.lha

camd.library - Commodore-Amiga
 aminet: mus/edit/camd.lha

Camouflage - I.S.M.
 aminet: mus/midi/camouflage149E.lha

Dominator - Luc De pauw
 aminet: mus/midi/dominatorV1_51.lha

FMsynth - Christian Stiens
 aminet: mus/misc/fmsynth37.lha

GMPlay - Christian Buchner
 aminet: mus/midi/GMPlay13.lha
 aminet: mus/midi/gmtones1.lha
 aminet: mus/midi/gmtones2.lha

Maestix AHI - Richard Köerber
MaestixFX - Richard Köerber
maestix.library - Richard Köerber
 aminet: util/libs/Maestix.lha

midi.library - Pregnant Badger Music
 aminet: mus/midi/MidiLib20.lha
 aminet: mus/midi/MidiLibUtils.lha

MIDI SYStem EXplorer - young monkey
 www: www.youngmonkey.ca/hands/files/MSE/index.html
 aminet: mus/midi/MSE.lha

mp3enc - Mike Cheng
 aminet: mus/misc/mp3enc.lha

MSE-Snapshot - young monkey
 www: www.youngmonkey.ca/hands/files/MSE/index.html
Music-X Macros - Gareth R. Craft
 aminet: mus/midi/Music-X_Macros.lha

MusicXRexxMacs - Dick Doyle
 aminet: mus/midi/MusicXRexxMacs.lha

ProStationAudio - AudioLabs
 www: www.audiolabs.it
RA - unknown
 www: www.honeypot.net/audio/

QMaster - Kenneth Nilsen
 aminet: mus/misc/QMaster.lha

Samplitude Opus - A.C.T. Germany
www: www.act-net.com/
SinED - Jarkko Vatjus-Anttila
 aminet: mus/edit/SinED.lha

SoundFX - Stefan Kost
 www: www.imn.htwk-leipzig.de/~kost/SoundFX.html
SpeechToy - Chris Demiris
 aminet: util/wb/speechtoy2.lha

Studio 16 Support Website
 www: www.youngmonkey.ca/hands/files/Sunrize/index.html

Studio16add - Kenneth Nilsen
 aminet: dev/misc/Studio16add.lha

SuperModel - Kenneth Nilsen
 aminet: util/misc/SuperModel.lha

translator.library - Francesco Devitt/M.L. Barlow
 aminet: util/libs/translator42.lha
 aminet: util/libs/Tran43pch.lha