Greetings all,
                      It has been a while since I last posted here.

Intro:
I have played around with hardware drum machines, synths and samplers for about 10 years but when it comes to finally sequencing the song on a computer there has always been some technical issue that got in the way from completing most of my work. I would end up pulling my hair out and rarely got anything finished. It wasn't until recently that I finally worked out what most of my issues were with. MIDI timing and jitter!! I have been through 10 years worth of computers and MIDI interfaces, all of which have had some sort of timing issue, ultimately ruining the flow of my work. I have never been interested in soft synths so didnt go down that route. My best expeience with music is actually LSDJ! Compared to what ive used before; it is flawless and super tight!

Ive decided to take the plunge and buy an Atari ST after reading that it still has the best MIDI timing. 1ms! The lowest I have been able to achieve with a windows PC is around 10ms. And thats with a clean install of XP/7, MOTU interface, Renoise. It just sounds like a DISASTER!

I work deep sea so my internet is very very limited. Alot of sites I can not view so hence the reason for posting here.

My Requirements:
- Must have at least 1 MIDI out
- Be able to be modified to output to VGA, Scart or HDMI.
- Tight MIDI timing
- Good tracking software

Which ST would you recommend for me? I only really plan to use it as a MIDI sequencer but may use it later for some synth sounds. Im not sure yet.

What the main differences between the models? I don't necessarily  need the best one as I sometimes like working with constraints, but I would like to know the options. Im not really fussed about the cost but it would be nice to know the prices also.  Im in the UK.

I see an Atari STFM 1040 for sale in the UK. Is this a good option?

Doing modifications isn't a problem. Im an electrical engineer.

Any help would be much appreciated.

:-)

Last edited by Anonymouse (Nov 16, 2015 11:56 am)

Don't get an ST or STFM, you will be needing to get at least a 520 STE, then upgrade the RAM. STE Ataris are where the audio got really serious.

katsumbhong wrote:

Don't get an ST or STFM, you will be needing to get at least a 520 STE, then upgrade the RAM. STE Ataris are where the audio got really serious.

Extra RAM is good if you're going to do sample-heavy stuff, otherwise it's not needed. My software recommendation is maxYMiser (http://www.preromanbritain.com/maxymiser/).

The only downside I see to maxYMiser is that it has no default values for instruments, so you have to fill in all the basic values yourself before it'll make any sound at all. That said, it's not hard to do, you can save and load instruments and this forces you to learn more about the basics of the YM anyway.

Thank you for your replies. Just to clear something up: Is an STe 1040 with 4MB or RAM the same as an STe 520 with 4MB of RAM?

Is maxYMiser good as a MIDI sequencer? Im wanting to buy an ST to take advantage of the tight MIDI timing to control my hardware with.

Does anyone have their hooked up to a flatscreen monitor? If so, what is the quality like and how did you get it to work?

I'm not sure about the RAM differences, although I imagine there shouldn't be too much difference between the two once upgraded. If you're purely after MIDI sequencing, then you don't need an STE, any ST will do, the STE's are just preferable as they do really good audio output (not needed for MIDI).

The main MIDI software for the ST was stuff like Cubase for ST, Notator, and Creator (Fatboy Slim used Creator for all his stuff). These are all really good however they do require specific Dongles that act as a key to 'unlock' the software (to stop piracy), so you'll have to buy one of those to use it. MaxYMiser is good for MIDI, but if you're not used to trackers then it's a steep learning curve, and it can only do 3 voice MIDI polyphony (I think?).

You can also hook it up to a flat screen using something like this (click for link). Don't know about quality though.

maxYMiser is not a midi sequencer but a sound tracker. You can enter notes with it, but I don't think you'll be able to play them back on your keyboard / synth.  It's a very good tool for creating chiptune music though.

1 ms, do you really need that much precision for your midi recordings?

Last edited by garvalf (Nov 16, 2015 11:32 pm)

Anonymouse wrote:

Thank you for your replies. Just to clear something up: Is an STe 1040 with 4MB or RAM the same as an STe 520 with 4MB of RAM?

I think the only diff with the STe models is the RAM amount, same mobo.

Is maxYMiser good as a MIDI sequencer? Im wanting to buy an ST to take advantage of the tight MIDI timing to control my hardware with.

All the STs will work for midi, but the STe does sampled sound via DMA in addition to the YM PSG. So the STe has the advantage of much better Mod/digi tracking.
MaxYMiser really is aimed at chiptune tracking. It does midi but only to support the main function.

Does anyone have their hooked up to a flatscreen monitor? If so, what is the quality like and how did you get it to work?

I have an STFM so I've used a LCD composite TV as well as a VGA monitor. With high res, you can use a wide range of multi sync VGA monitors. In this mode you get B&W and very crisp pix.
   For Color, Med and Low res, you will need either a 'special' Multi sync monitor (some models can handle the lower sync frequency) or a scan converter to re-sync the signal to a more modern frequency. Depending on how you re-sync, the Med and Low are not as sharp as High res.
  Best Computer maintains a list for the monitors that will work and there are a few threads over @ AtariAge.org covering this topic smile
Yogi

Last edited by yogi (Nov 17, 2015 12:00 am)

garvalf wrote:

maxYMiser is not a midi sequencer but a sound tracker. You can enter notes with it, but I don't think you'll be able to play them back on your keyboard / synth.  It's a very good tool for creating chiptune music though.

1 ms, do you really need that much precision for your midi recordings?

MaxYMiser does have MIDI support but can only sequence a limited number of channels (though it can do it on top of sequencing the internal chip).

Anonymouse wrote:

Thank you for your replies. Just to clear something up: Is an STe 1040 with 4MB or RAM the same as an STe 520 with 4MB of RAM?

Yes. The only differences between the two is the amount of RAM that they came shipped with.

If you want VGA + Full MIDI sequencing tracker. The best way to do it is the most expensive one ! sad
You will need a Falcon030 with Digital Home Studio
http://dhs.nu/files.php?t=single&ID=40
The only way to Full MIDI sequence on other models are software like Cubase (which are not trackers) and you can only do MIDI in these (except if you use EPSS with Cubase but you will totally need at least an Atari STe with 4mb of ram ! ...and the VGA adapter/cable for ST/STe are for High res stuff only (Monochrome screen and only Musicmon 1.0 and XLR8 trackers works on them...and they don't do any MIDI stuffs)
Like Jeff said (and thanks to him to have nagged gwEm for years for this cool feature) MaxYMiser can sequence MIDI but you can't full control it and you can just have 2 notes polyphony (since it is using the dma tracks of the tracker to do it !)

Some blah from me.

> Ive decided to take the plunge and buy an Atari ST after reading that it still has the best MIDI timing. 1ms! The lowest I have been able to achieve with a windows PC is around 10ms. And thats with a clean install of XP/7, MOTU interface, Renoise. It just sounds like a DISASTER!
----------------
Yeah, modern hardware is not good for MIDI. Mostly because it's crap and its rule is "to sell worse sh*t for more money" but also the MIDI protocole itself it actually obsolete, to be honest.
Last times I played my old MIDI songs from 1996, taken from 1040STfm into PC. The FruityLoops plays them internally (I don't actually think it's even real MIDI) and they were much coherent/smooth/fast-on-track-gluing then the original ones.

> - Must have at least 1 MIDI out
---------------
Always 2 of them, IN and OUT, in all the 16/32 Ataris.

> - Be able to be modified to output to VGA, Scart or HDMI.
------------------
Hmm. There must be some RGB to VGA converter for sure.
But Panda Chan is actually right - this cable http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/like/3903222 … mp;viphx=1 is very good.
I connect it to the SCART

and it works perfectly well. For low-res progs (like trackers).

About the ST/STE. There should be standard PC memory slot in all STE, so it's easy to espand its memory into 4Mb.
They use 4x "1Mb short 8bit SIMM" like from old PC or AWE32 sound-card.
All STEs have 5 channels on the Maxymizer (3 synths + 2 digi channels).
Most of STE models has a factory bug having the cinch sound-ouptut strongly distorted. More or less, but still.
My Atari friend Mono has an STe that - no matters what music it plays - it sounds always like this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIf2GgA1rGc

As for me, I was searching for the most clean sound, hence I stick with possibly the earliest models, like 520ST or similar. Their sound is almost clear. But You have only 3 channels of synthesis there.
Of course I play on them 6 channels digital music but it has nothing to do with MIDI.

Maxymizer - like they wrote on the site mentioned by JeffTheWorld - "maxYMiser is free, features a full MIDI implementation". So, I gather, it's true. What does it mean for You as a musician? Dunno. I have never merged chiptunes with MIDI this way, there were usually totally separate worlds to me.


Yogi:

> I think the only diff with the STe models is the RAM amount, same mobo.
-----------------
I suspect so, too. having regular SIMM slots might be an issue here but I'd rather suspect all STEs to have those, after all.


Panda Chan:

> The main MIDI software for the ST was stuff like Cubase for ST, Notator,
--------------------
Yes. And I don't think You can use YM with those.

> These are all really good however they do require specific Dongles that act as a key to 'unlock' the software (to stop piracy)
-----------------
Cubases from 80s are abandonware as far as I know.
Several such programs are downloadable from AtariMusic.Net:
http://atarimusic.net/index.php?option= … Itemid=221
althought You'd have to test which prog works on Your machine. It WILL take time.


...and all the Xyno said, I suppose. Including the monochrome mode of Cubase. This one would required VGA indeed. There was some converter, I recall...?
Yes, there was - http://atariage.com/forums/topic/170385 … y-adapter/

Last edited by YERZMYEY (Nov 17, 2015 1:41 pm)

I didn't read your post, but wanted to share this.
There is a full article on an atariST setup in the latest issue of "sound on sound" magazine.

>> maxYMiser is not a midi sequencer but a sound tracker. You can enter notes with it, but I don't think you'll be able to play them back on your keyboard / synth. /.../

> MaxYMiser does have MIDI support

sorry, it wasn't clear. I meant:  You can enter notes into MaxYMiser by using a MIDI keyboard, but you won't be able to play back midi sequence from maxymiser to the midi keyboard.


The MiST fpga board has midi support too, and native VGA output. It seems some people are using it for this reason.

https://github.com/mist-devel/mist-board/wiki/Midi
http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.ph … ng#p258893

so the timing is very close to a real ST

Thank you for your replies. Which of the MIDI sequencing programs use the hi res mode? This will dictate my choice of display.

All MIDI progs I've seen were using hi-res.

Renoise is my favourite sequencer. Is there anything similar to this that is good. Sorry, my internet is very limited at sea so it is difficult for me to research without asking. Is notator a tracker?