Grandad, what was it like making music back in the day?

Cheetah Specdrum!!! I still have mine, and my Spectrum and 2 Amigas.

Yes this is how you had to create music back in the day, although I have to say The RAM Music Machine on the Amstrad (or other computers) rocked more than the AMS – great for no additional hardware but you were stuck with that sound – now fashionable, or was – but then it really didn’t cut it if you wanted to sound like what you heard in the charts! Or create echo or sample – one of the amazing things about the RAM is it could sample – 1.22 seconds! WOOH!

Myself and Kirk produced many tracks on his RAM Music Machine before I graduated to this:

And yes my Amiga A500 made those annoying clicking noises too, I think it was a particular bug in A500+s!

This is OctaMED – what is called a music ‘tracker‘ rather than the usual ‘bar’ notation that is usually used in sequencers – most of the Amiga demos were created in trackers like this and Protracker, Fasttracker and the llike. I started with MED and graduated to OctaMED, and also used AudioMaster audio editor and dallied with Bars and Pipes – might sound a bit like an old fogey but actually I’ve not found any programs as good or as easy to use as these early programs – it seems with the PC and Mac modern software complexity and bloatware is the way – only Renoise, Ableton and Sony’s Acid have come close.

The recently RavEvil was produced originally like this, and remixed in Renoise – because I’m glad to say tracking is still going on the PC – with Renoise (I have bought Renoise) and the soul of Protracker continues in the open-source Madtracker!

And if you’re into chiptunes I recommend you use a tracker – either OctaMED Sound Studio emulated on your computer via Amiga Forever or the free WinUAE (you’ll need to hunt around for Kickstart ROMs and Workbench – I still legally own these, I suggest torrent sites) or use the PC version of OctaMED, MED Studio which has the chip synth creator in it – or use something like MilkyTracker if you can find it – site is currently down! I know you can get plugins etc. but really for that authentic Amiga-demo chiptune sound you need to use the original or similar tools, and understand all the slides etc.

Madtracker and Renoise:

Relatio Clash

One Comment

  1. […] Da findet man zunächst einen schönen Clip mit Ilja Richter und einem Herren mit einer tollen Frisur, die 1985 erklären, wie man mit einem C64 und einem Sinclair Spectrum und diesem seltsamen neuen Konzept namens MIDI Musik macht. Und weil das ein Ausschnitt aus einer Serie namens „Micro Live“ ist, schaut man nochmal vorsichtshalber auf Google Video und voila: Noch einige weitere komplette Folgen und dieser halbstündige Ausschnitt aus dem Eingangs erwähnten Video. Ein Clip mit lustigen Frisuren und tollen Rechnern nach dem Klick und nein, das ist nicht wirklich Ilja Richter. (Youtube Direktmicro, via Mutant Pop) […]

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