The Rubber Man

SoundTracker ZX81

A guide/instruction by Yerzmyey/AY-RIDERS.

The SoundTracker's main screen.


Important: self-repeating keyboard has been programmed in this piece of software! GOOOOD!!
Bows to the Author.

Your controls are:

SHIFT+ENTER (changing 2 main-screens).

I, K (up/down)
U,O (left/right).

ENTER=fire. Accept. You know what.

EDIT music = SHIFT+E
STOP EDITing music = SHIFT+E.

S = STOP playing music.

To enter anything press... ENTER. Yes. Shocker.

But! To change:
P-LEN (pattern lenght. ALL patterns will be in THE SAME lenght!!),
POSITIO (position, yes),
HEIGHT (nobody uses it for 20 years or so. Don't You start),
S-LEN (song lenght),
PATTERN IN EDITOR (changing the patter being now edited)
press ENTER on any of them, and then use I/K (up/down) for changing the values. ENTER again to accept. Phew. Done.

After the program's loaded, change P-LEN (pattern lenght) into 64 value (for 4/4 measure metre song).
Or 48 - for 3/4 measure song (waltz or similar).
SPEED might be confusing, as it goes 'backwards'. For example: 4 is faster and 6 is slower. All trackers have it.

EDITING pattern:
directions/controls You know already.
ENTER is "delete note" here.
R is pause/silence.

G 4 1000
G is a note. 4 is its octave. 1 is a number of instrument.

G 4 1F001
G is a note. 4 is its octave. 1 is a number of instrument. F is "ornament ON". The last "1" digit is a number of ORNAMENT. (F000 is "ORNAMENT OFF!!!")
There are 16 ornaments: 0-F (hexadecimal numbers).

EFFECTS. Mostly we use 4 effects in ZX world of AY/YM. Buzzers, like we call them. smile Or "hardware envelopes". E & C + their reverses: A & 8.
E and A are more soft and 'warm'. C and 8 are more aggressive and expressive, sharp.
Tunning of them is MANUAL in ZX world. On the one hand it's more difficult, annoying and generally a pain in the a*se. On the other hand, we have a full control over those 'buzzers'. Unlike in Atari ST trackers.
However nobody has control over the buzzers' volume. They can be only turned-on or turned-off. The rest of song must be adjusted by its volume to the buzzers.

G 4 1E05
G is a note. 4 is its octave. 1 is a number of instrument. E is "E effect/buzzer ON". The last "5" digit is a number of the effect. Choose those numbers/values by experiment.
The same goes for A, C and 8.
There is 00-FF values of effects. (hexadecimal numbers).
We use buzzers mostly for bass. When You play with SoundTracker more, then You can learn also how to use them for leading instrument (however it's very difficult to tune them properly and sometimes it's impossible. Then we have to change our composition to adjust the leading part to proper buzzer - if we DO want to use it. A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse. Yupp).

To TURN OFF the effect, You must use F000 command!!!

There are some more effects but nobody uses them (except me) and mostly they sound like crap.

In general we can use only one channel of effects/buzzers. Officially there cannot be 2 or 3 buzzers in 2 or 3 channels. Only one.
However. The truth is - You can put even 3 effect in 3 channels IF they're ALL THE SAME EFFECTS (but they can be with various instruments in various octaves, so it would change the outcome).
Also - You can _experiment_ with various effects in more than 1 channel simultanously but it requires a lot of skills and experiments.

POSITIO is position.
In every position You should place a pattern You want to use.
After it - please remember to use S-LEN (song's lenght) to make LONGER the range of Your song while it grows. It's important as every tracker LOOPs songs by default. At the end of Your song You can add some positions with an empty pattern, to make a break/silence at the end.

OK, the prog has an additional... "less-main" screen. Yeah.
You go there (and return too!) by SHIFT+ENTER.

You prolly know what LOAD and SAVE stuff is.
WIPE various stuff means to DELETE it, if You've been wondering. CLEAR. DESTROY. KILL. KIIIIIIIILL!!!! KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILL!!!
Erm. OK, stop. I'm calm, all right.

I think things are rather understandable here. ORN is ornament.

If You have some song made by anybody and You don't wanna make Your own samples, You load the song, press WIPE-PATTERN, SHIFT+A, Y (for "yes") and then the same with WIPE-POSITION.
Now You have an empty song with all the instruments staying there for ya.

COPYING - it all should be pretty understandable there, but one thing: to copy entire track use (when the program asks You) -
(now You have just marked entire track)
and then, when You give data for 'copy TO PATTERN' -
Later You can experiment with copying only parts of traxx or moving them lower in another channel - for delay (3 lines lower btw).

It has 3 screens of edition.

The first SampleEdit screen.
It's simply VOLUME of the instrument. ENVELOPE, for youth. wink
You change it with I, K (up/down) for building an instrument and U,O (left/right) for moving within the instrument.

0 = test/play the sound. Supposedly there's some bug: Your cursor should be on "A" channel in the pattern. Dunno why. Hmm. Also, after editing the instrument first time You should go into the pattern, edit anything with the instrument, and go back to the SAMPLE-EDIT. Now You will hear sound while testing - "0". Weird. Yes.

SPACE - clear/delete entire column.

ENTER - next screen of SAMPLE-EDIT.
P - previous screen of the above. wink

M - on this screen it changes those "00000000000000000000...." into "11111111111111.....".
"00000000000000000000...." means: square wave (tone) along with white-noise.
"11111111111111....." means: white-noise only.
Pure tone - erm. Later.

So You leave this screen with ENTER and go to the second one.

It is the same like the previous one. But it's related only with white-noise.
You can control its width/depth whatever You call it. So now those columns are NOT volumes. Now they're various sounds of the white-noise. For drums. Snares. And so on. Test it by Yourself.

M - on this screen changes those "00000000000000000000...." into "11111111111111.....". But now -
"00000000000000000000...." means: square wave (tone) along with white-noise.
"11111111111111....." means: pure tone (square wave) only.

The third SAMPLE-EDIT screen.

We don't use it very often. It's only for bass-drum (very fast glissando/slide down) or some slides or fast shifts for special effects.

Moving is:
I, K (up/down)
U,O (left/right).

Q/A - change by only 1 degree.
W/S - change by 128 degrees.
M - here it's changing +/- (up/down tone).
All of this works only for square-wave (tone). Not for white-noise.

SPACE: delete value.

0 = test/play/hear sound.

ENTER = exit the SAMPLE-EDIT section.

Ornament editor (ORNA-EDIT) is a bit similar like the stuff above. But we use it often. For additional effects on our square-wave (tone) instruments.
Here we make chords, for example.
2 main chords:
0,3,7,0,3,7 - and so on.
0,4,7,0,4,7 - and so on.
0 is the main/base frequency. 4 is "plus 4 semitones from the base frequency". 7 is "plus 7 semitones from the base frequency". Just like You'd put Your hand on the synthesizer's keyboard and pressed a chord.

Moving is:
I, K (up/down)
U,O (left/right).

Q/A - change by only 1 degree (SEMITONE)
W/S - change by 12 degrees (12 SEMITONES. Yes. An octave).
SPACE: delete value.
M - here it's changing +/- (up/down tone).
Sadly there is no "0 = test/play/hear sound" here. A reeeeeeal pity.

ENTER = exit the ORNAMENT-EDIT section.

The newest version of the program: … php?id=815

It requires ZX81 with ZXpand and ZonX standard AY/YM interface.

The Rubber Man

A result:

Entire stuff made with a ZX81 with original case, with original touch-sense (membrane) keyboard. No cheating, heh. It was a harsh&hard work. wink


wow cool song! i love the ay sound smile

The Rubber Man

Heh, thx dude.
Making music on a home-computer as big as adult human's hand-palm was a really weird experience. wink
And I intend to repeat it. wink


Dat bass...