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Amiga.org Amiga computer related discussion Amiga Desktop Audio and Video Making music w/Paula

Amiga Desktop Audio and Video Discuss Amiga related Audio and Video creation & manipulation here. post links to your songs, videos, hardware/software reviews etc.....

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Old 11-27-2011, 12:06 PM   #1
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Default Making music w/Paula

Hey there. I'm curious what sort of music generation programs are out there for the A500. I'm especially interested in a program I could use to generate sounds from Paula via MIDI externally. I have my A500 and I've always loved the nasty 8bit sounds and music from the games I had. I did a lot of music production on my A500 back in the day, but I only used it to generate MIDI to external devices, (using Bars & Pipes) not to trigger sounds from Paula, which I don't think Bars & Pipes had the capability to do that.

I've been a long time fan (and user) of the C64's SID chip as well and have been using it for a lot of crazy stuff in the last 6 years or so. You can see some of the work I did using SID on some cartoons here:
(specifically I used HARDSID hardware w/4 SID chips installed)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Jn-61eEbAA
http://youtu.be/0y-S3qQmCxk
http://youtu.be/_Iwl7oPz-k0

and this one, that was half done with a live band and half w/a C64 (ok, an SX64 if you want to get technical...and I know you do.)

http://youtu.be/-vEBB4_75gI

In all honesty, the HARDSID only works in a PC environment, and while I do have PCs around, my mac is what I use in the studio. Also, I'd like to start experimenting with triggering sounds from my old A500 via MIDI, and learning more about Paula's synth capabilities.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

w
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Just to be clear, the best case scenario would be a program that allows me to send 4 channels of midi to A500 and trigger the 4 voices of Paula, and have the flexibility to allow me to program/edit the sounds (patches if you will) on each voice...

Thanks!
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

I am only aware of a few programs that allow MIDI triggering of samples through Paula. I know that OctaMED Professional can do this. But it seems to me that what you after is the real-time synthesis side of Paula? Musicline editor is the best at this I believe but I don't know if you can control this via MIDI.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Yeah, it's real time synthesis I'm hoping for... Maybe there's something somewhere?

Thanks for the reply. I will see if I can find the Musicline editor and experiment with that. It's still possible w/out midi, but not quite as efficient...
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Nice toons there! The sounds match really well to an oldie black and white cartoon like that.

How do you like the HardSID? Which one did you get ?
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Thanks! I was using the Quattro when I did those cartoons. Now I have a Hardsid 4u. It works, however there are no mac drivers, which is a real pain for me. The interface works, but there's some basic functionality (copy and pasting of paramaters etc) that's missing. They say they basically do it as a hobby, and it's a very niche market, so they don't really do much in updates, etc.

That being said, if they made mac drivers for it, (which they did promise for some time and was the reason I originally upgraded to a 4u) with all the music that's made on macs (especially in the US) and all the interest in 8bit music of late, I think they would be able to recoup their costs and then some. But what do I know? I'm a freakin' trombone player.

All in all, it's the only hardware oriented device out there that has the flexibility for folks like me that want to do more with it than play sidtunes. With 4 chips installed that's 12 voices of SID! How incredibly over the top!!! And, there's much less noise from these things than from using a C64 directly. (and much less a mad science project, too...)

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Old 11-27-2011, 02:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Ok, so it does more than just play back SID tunes, their website does not do a good job explaining it to musician types.

I can use it as a sound source, use it with a MIDI ?

I am trying to finish up my mad scientist C64 currently. Which is partly fun and a mess, true. If it all goes to flames, maybe I can put my chips into one of these.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Yeah, it can be used as a sound source. It's the only one that does with the potential of 12 voices, too. Not bad at all, considering what's (not) available in that world.

The "Buffalo Head" cartoon used a SX64, a midi interface through the cartridge port, and the program M64. Getting M64 from the internet to the SX64 was a serious science project... ended up somehow sending the program from my mac using a MIDI Sysex dump. Lots of fun, but only would want to do that once, you dig.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatboy View Post
Getting M64 from the internet to the SX64 was a serious science project... ended up somehow sending the program from my mac using a MIDI Sysex dump.
HFS! - We should send you an award / trophy for that.


Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatboy View Post
Yeah, it can be used as a sound source. It's the only one that does with the potential of 12 voices, too. Not bad at all, considering what's (not) available in that world.

The "Buffalo Head" cartoon used a SX64, a midi interface through the cartridge port, and the program M64. Getting M64 from the internet to the SX64 was a serious science project... ended up somehow sending the program from my mac using a MIDI Sysex dump. Lots of fun, but only would want to do that once, you dig.
You can use MSSIAH via MIDI, and it supports up to 2 SID chips. It also does samples - that you dump over MIDI sysex...


As for the Amiga most software just used Paula as a sample playback device. The synth capabilities were hardly used.

Older versions of Med and possibly Octamed support the synth functionality (IIRC they were called chip sounds).

Another program worth looking for is Aegis Sonix. It doesn't support MIDI but it is a proper synth.


For playing normal samples over MIDI there's a program called MidiIN that I believe supports normal 8bit Paula sounds. I haven't used it (I did download it but never installed it yet...)

I got it for much the same purpose as you - Playing 4 channel audio over MIDI (I also just ordered a C64 & MSSIAH).


There's a thread here about MidiIN here:
http://www.amiga.org/forums/showthread.php?t=53999
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:10 PM   #11
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Question Paula vs SID

Quote:
Originally Posted by minator View Post

As for the Amiga most software just used Paula as a sample playback device. The synth capabilities were hardly used.
Ya know, this is something I never quite understood, and I've contemplated on more than one occasion. Was the music on (for example) Beast II and NY Warriors sample based and not synthesized using Paula? Maybe I misunderstood how the music was created. No one really touts Paula like they do the SID, but the music that came out of my Amiga was (and still is) pretty great. I don't even see a lot of info re: the chip's synthesizer capabilities (waveforms, filters, etc) out here on the internets. Is Paula lacking in this area, or was it that the sample thing was such a new and exciting technology at the time that it overshadowed such antiquated technology as synthesis?

Just curious...
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:54 PM   #12
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Default Re: Paula vs SID

Holy smokes.

A little bit of research and suddenly I find Ultimate Tracker and Noise Tracker.... and the Demo Scene sound. Oh, my wasted youth. Had I only been hip to this stuff back in the day. I was aware of it through the software I obtained, but never was in a position to be a part of it. On top of that, I grew up in a pretty rural area before internet... and my parents were too cheap to let me use the phone to call up out of town BBS systems... Or at least that's the excuse I'll give.

So, those sounds WERE sample based, and mostly created using trackers. I may have to mess around with that a little to get a gist of what they were all about...

Fascinating.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Paula vs SID

Where did you find Noise Tracker? I can't seem to find that one in my collection, nor can I find a download link for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatboy View Post
Holy smokes.

A little bit of research and suddenly I find Ultimate Tracker and Noise Tracker.... and the Demo Scene sound. Oh, my wasted youth. Had I only been hip to this stuff back in the day. I was aware of it through the software I obtained, but never was in a position to be a part of it. On top of that, I grew up in a pretty rural area before internet... and my parents were too cheap to let me use the phone to call up out of town BBS systems... Or at least that's the excuse I'll give.

So, those sounds WERE sample based, and mostly created using trackers. I may have to mess around with that a little to get a gist of what they were all about...

Fascinating.
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:53 AM   #14
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Default Re: Paula vs SID

Paula was primarily a Sample chip, and to have 4 independent sample channels on a computer back in the mid 80's was pretty awesome (look at the prices of samplers like the Emulator, Fairlight and Synclavier at the time)... So it made sense to take full advantage of that if you were developing a game... Rich, full sounds rather than simple bleeps and bloops. IIRC Paula could modulate one channel with another, so you could set up a simple waveform (a very small looped sample) then mess around with it... Nothing really exciting. Sample playback was the exciting thing, but then all computers got that (at better quality), and it became the norm.

Personally I love the dirty sample sound of Paula, far more than the pure synth of SID... But it's much easier to make something which sounds a mess with Paula than with SID, so probably doesn't gain much traction with today's brain dead producers...
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: Making music w/Paula

I thought protracker/noisetracker/octamed would allow you to trigger samples via midi?

I also understood Paula was *only* a sample based synth and could not synthesise sounds itself? You always had to load a basic waveform 'sample'.
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