Jeskola Buzz: Trying to use tracker effects (and other issues)

Discussion in 'comp.music.midi' started by Marc Brown, Jun 19, 2003.

  1. Marc Brown

    Marc Brown Guest

    I used to compose tracker "mod" songs about a decade ago. Lately I've been
    looking into today's PC-based compositional tools, and for now it looks
    like it'll either be Cubase or Buzz.

    I tried Buzz out several months ago. It has one very nice, intuitive idea
    (a machine window, with connect-the-dots generators and effects) and even
    has a tracker-like sequencer interface, which is a heck of a lot more
    flexible than any GUI could ever be. But at the time, the program was
    simply too buggy, and even some of the things that came with the
    installation didn't work right.

    Just a month ago, I finally got to sit down with Cubase SX. The 100% GUI
    interface lends the software a very professional feel, but I quickly began
    to encounter some of the consequences. Using a tracker program, if I
    wanted to introduce something basic like a series of rapid decays, the
    operation would take literally ten seconds. In Cubase, I had to struggle
    with its GUI-driven amplitude graph, and in the end, my poor approximation
    of what I wanted had taken about ten minutes. In fact, for the time being,
    I'm going to have to abandon Cubase because the pure GUI interface is just
    too limiting.

    So I'm back to Buzz. I can deal with the constant, constant crashing, by
    saving my progress every 60 seconds. But I am currently stuck.

    Actually, there are a few things I don't understand:

    1) Why is it that Buzz acknowledges my external MIDI keyboard when I use the
    Polac VSTi, but ignores it when I use any other VSTi? Obviously, the MIDI
    is working fine.

    2) Even in the case of the Polac VSTi, using the external MIDI keyboard does
    not serve to enter notes into a pattern. Only the PC keyboard works. Why?

    3) Here's the thing I'm currently stuck on. Each VSTi has its own unique
    list of available parameters as represented in the pattern editor. Just
    about none of them support tracker-like (or MIDI-like) effects such as
    volume slide, vibrato, portamento etc. This is no surprise. But is there
    a Buzz machine I can use to introduce these tracker effects? Obviously it
    would have to be positioned between the VST and Master on the machine window.
    Or does Buzz have more direct support for this sort of functionality?

    4) Is there any way AT ALL to get an oscilloscope for Buzz? Even a totally
    unrelated app that just monitors soundcard activity and generates the scope
    would be great. I mean, even Winamp has one without any plugins added. It
    is just no fun to watch the flashing LEDs or scrolling horizontal line
    (which bugs out if you right-click anywhere on the sequence editor).
    Cubase's oscilloscope ("Scopion") has a sucky framerate, but at least it's
    there.

    5) The "Overloader" in Buzz is supposed to do some things I had long
    considered essential, such as add scrollbars to the machine window and
    decrease the size of the machines themselves. But, even though the latest
    version of Overloader supposedly comes with the Buzz install, it doesn't
    seem as though it is doing either of these. How does one activate these
    functions?

    6) Is there a way to use a smaller font in the pattern editor? Even at a
    decently high resolution, the amount of text I can access in the pattern
    editor without needing to constantly scroll left and right isn't all that
    much.

    If anyone has answers for any of these questions, I'd appreciate the info.
    Thanks!
  2. Paul Ward

    Paul Ward Guest

    > to encounter some of the consequences. Using a tracker program, if I
    > wanted to introduce something basic like a series of rapid decays, the
    > operation would take literally ten seconds. In Cubase, I had to struggle
    > with its GUI-driven amplitude graph, and in the end, my poor approximation
    > of what I wanted had taken about ten minutes. In fact, for the time

    being,
    > I'm going to have to abandon Cubase because the pure GUI interface is just
    > too limiting.

    I never used a tracker, so maybe I'm missing the point, but are you
    confusing volume and velocity, maybe?

    To create volume ramps, all you need to do in Cubase is use the pencil tool
    and draw over the velocity values in an editor window. Simple. Unless
    velocity is set to control something other than note amplitude that would do
    the job just fine. Far easier than messing with volume curves.

    P.
  3. Marc Brown

    Marc Brown Guest

    Somebody recently told me there was an effect I could use in Buzz which does
    a good job of precision volume control a-la mod trackers. I think he called
    it "cheap amp" but there doesn't seem to be a "cheap amp" available from the
    list. All of the Buzz amps I tried turned out to be distortive amplitude
    modulators, as opposed to something I could use to manually decay / increase
    the volume or set it to specific values or cut it off and bring it back,
    etc.
  4. Paul Ward wrote:
    <heavily snipped>
    > To create volume ramps, all you need to do in Cubase is use the pencil
    > tool and draw over the velocity values in an editor window.


    You could also try drawing some controller graphs. Just pick the controller
    which is bind to decay time (either amp or filter envelope) of your synth.

    --
    With kind regards Veli-Pekka Tätilä (vtatila@mail.student.oulu.fi)
    Accessibility, VG music, synthesizers and programming:
    http://www.student.oulu.fi/~vtatila
  5. Paul C

    Paul C Guest

    I'll give it a go...

    1) Polac VSTi is just the VST host. I.e. The actual VSTis run within
    the Polac machine. There has recently been a NEW Polac VSTi machine
    released. A major update and has many more MIDI features. Check it
    out!

    2) Is there a problem with using the PC keyboard in the pattern
    editor? I think that's the whole point of it! :)

    3)You choose the effect and the value for the effect in the pattern
    editor. The effects Polac VSTi allows you to use are the effects the
    VST instrument supports. Download the BIG buzz pack from Buzzmachines
    and you will have LOADS of FX. Also run the stereo wrapper - this
    makes all the FX accept setero input.

    4)Of course!! Right-click on the white triange that joins machines and
    choose 'Signal Analysis' to view individual signals between machines
    (this only works for mono signals). Right-click on 'Master' and choose
    'Signal Analysis on output' to view the output.
    If you want other FX, there are machines for Buzz that do this or if
    you want *Really* fancy get the Winamp Bridge to make Buzz output to
    Winamp. Make sure you download the latest 'BIG' pack once again to
    make sure you have everything and it's up to date.

    5)I don't know about that... check out the overloader website or ask
    on #Buzz [efnet]

    6)I've never needed to change font size. TAB moves across nicely.

    BuzzMachines.com is where you'll want to check out.
    The Buzz Stability isn't too bad. I suppose it just depends on your
    setup. There are various issues you might want to read up on.

    Hope this helps you & good luck!

    Paul C

    retsa2@hotmail.com (Marc Brown) wrote in message news:<9dc342ba.0306191006.5130e90d@posting.google.com>...
    > I used to compose tracker "mod" songs about a decade ago. Lately I've been
    > looking into today's PC-based compositional tools, and for now it looks
    > like it'll either be Cubase or Buzz.
    >
    > I tried Buzz out several months ago. It has one very nice, intuitive idea
    > (a machine window, with connect-the-dots generators and effects) and even
    > has a tracker-like sequencer interface, which is a heck of a lot more
    > flexible than any GUI could ever be. But at the time, the program was
    > simply too buggy, and even some of the things that came with the
    > installation didn't work right.
    >
    > Just a month ago, I finally got to sit down with Cubase SX. The 100% GUI
    > interface lends the software a very professional feel, but I quickly began
    > to encounter some of the consequences. Using a tracker program, if I
    > wanted to introduce something basic like a series of rapid decays, the
    > operation would take literally ten seconds. In Cubase, I had to struggle
    > with its GUI-driven amplitude graph, and in the end, my poor approximation
    > of what I wanted had taken about ten minutes. In fact, for the time being,
    > I'm going to have to abandon Cubase because the pure GUI interface is just
    > too limiting.
    >
    > So I'm back to Buzz. I can deal with the constant, constant crashing, by
    > saving my progress every 60 seconds. But I am currently stuck.
    >
    > Actually, there are a few things I don't understand:
    >
    > 1) Why is it that Buzz acknowledges my external MIDI keyboard when I use the
    > Polac VSTi, but ignores it when I use any other VSTi? Obviously, the MIDI
    > is working fine.
    >
    > 2) Even in the case of the Polac VSTi, using the external MIDI keyboard does
    > not serve to enter notes into a pattern. Only the PC keyboard works. Why?
    >
    > 3) Here's the thing I'm currently stuck on. Each VSTi has its own unique
    > list of available parameters as represented in the pattern editor. Just
    > about none of them support tracker-like (or MIDI-like) effects such as
    > volume slide, vibrato, portamento etc. This is no surprise. But is there
    > a Buzz machine I can use to introduce these tracker effects? Obviously it
    > would have to be positioned between the VST and Master on the machine window.
    > Or does Buzz have more direct support for this sort of functionality?
    >
    > 4) Is there any way AT ALL to get an oscilloscope for Buzz? Even a totally
    > unrelated app that just monitors soundcard activity and generates the scope
    > would be great. I mean, even Winamp has one without any plugins added. It
    > is just no fun to watch the flashing LEDs or scrolling horizontal line
    > (which bugs out if you right-click anywhere on the sequence editor).
    > Cubase's oscilloscope ("Scopion") has a sucky framerate, but at least it's
    > there.
    >
    > 5) The "Overloader" in Buzz is supposed to do some things I had long
    > considered essential, such as add scrollbars to the machine window and
    > decrease the size of the machines themselves. But, even though the latest
    > version of Overloader supposedly comes with the Buzz install, it doesn't
    > seem as though it is doing either of these. How does one activate these
    > functions?
    >
    > 6) Is there a way to use a smaller font in the pattern editor? Even at a
    > decently high resolution, the amount of text I can access in the pattern
    > editor without needing to constantly scroll left and right isn't all that
    > much.
    >
    > If anyone has answers for any of these questions, I'd appreciate the info.
    > Thanks!

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