Moonsound Music Editor and Replayer Using only Samples

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By norakomi

Paragon (1084)

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31-05-2020, 14:32

Alright, I am going back to the thought of the DAW on the msx. That seems the only possible solution right now.
So I really like the design in Cubase. Two screens.
Screen 1: (an overview of the different instruments)

Screen 2: Per instrument the piano roll. Now this image is 512x212 and is a possible screen 7 msx image:

In the top you see the options: file, edit, project etc etc to save and edit
below that you see the toolbars to copy, paste, cut, rewind, fast forward, stop, play etc
In the middle of the screen you have your timeline in which you can put your samples at the desired pitch
And in the bottom you can set the volume per sample.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9818)

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31-05-2020, 14:56

Cubase-style (like many DAWs) and trackers are totally different paradigms. The only non-tracking thing that comes close would be a score editor. Of course, you can just drop your notes in a pianoroll editor, but then it's time to compare navigation and functionality. Here a good tracker wins, big time. The only thing you could say is that MBWave and MBFM are heavily dated, and were in fact already dated when they came out, and were certainly limited compared to what the OPL4 can do. It was a quick hack because the Moonsound needed something, so the old Moonblaster was given a paintjob, and not much more than that.
Your pianoroll with notes and velocity bar is slow. You might like it, but when I'd be entering the same notes in a (good) tracker, I'd be halfway the next game already when you're done finishing one song. For the same reason, it's faster to type/add values in an Excel sheet rather than having a graphical representation where you need to mouse around and use graphical methods/conventions to add data.
Having said that, and let me emphasize that you may certainly like a piano roll editor, it'd be even better whether there'd be a Moonsound VST with full access to samples and FM. Then anyone can use any editor you want, be it a piano roll or a VST-tracker. I might even propagate that openMSX should also become a VST, then from any DAW you can have access to all PSG, FM, SCC, OPL4 sounds you'd want. ^_^

By Grauw

Ascended (9342)

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31-05-2020, 15:42

@norakomi Yeah I think making a GUI editor on PC is a lot of work. I once made something like it (“Gaia Tool”, a parameter editor for a Roland synthesizer) and it kept me busy for quite a while, and it wasn’t even complete yet.

@wolf_ I dunno, I’ve started two such projects, and the response has been minimal. Look at this thread where I’m having a conversation with myself. Thus I conclude that there is very little interest in the MIDI-synth workflow from people other than myself.

I share norakomi’s “meh” feelings about trackers. For me trackers are not a medium where I can be very creative. I myself am looking for an environment where I can play on a real instrument rather than “the Excel sheet” experience :). Get some natural velocity, non perfect quantization, and find some happy accidents, like a syncopation I wouldn’t otherwise think of. Record the MIDI, and then polish it up. That’s why I like the BeatStep Pro a lot, it’s a great instrument.

By Meits

Scribe (6011)

Meits's picture

31-05-2020, 15:55

A while ago I was fooling around with Deflemask. It's a tracker with which you can input notes through your connected midi keyboard, be it after you put the cursor there where you want it, but it's nice.
Played a bit with a pianoroll tool a while ago as well. Must've been a very bad one because I can not see how anyone could prever that above a good tracker. One big mess on the screen as soon as I added more parts.

By norakomi

Paragon (1084)

norakomi's picture

01-06-2020, 15:08

Alright,
I have been working on the replayer in assembly.
I now have working:
* changing sample
* changing volume
* changing frequency
* playback sample
* change panning
* rest (x amount of frames)
* loop
I have made a testsong with 8 tracks, and as I expected it's incredibly fast.
Changing the border color white during playback of the song results in 6 lines.
So it's really superfast !!!

I think I'm going to code a bit on the DAW. The piano roll environment. So far so good !
If anyone has some requests, please tell me, this is the right moment for that !

By Meits

Scribe (6011)

Meits's picture

01-06-2020, 15:11

One request could be to import MBWAVE/MBFM data. That way you can have musicians work for you even if they're not comfortable with piano roll.

By Parn

Hero (607)

Parn's picture

01-06-2020, 15:47

I'll leave my two cents: I prefer making music in tracker software because I can't perform on a keyboard to save my life, and I find using piano roll interfaces very frustrating and slow to use with mouse and keyboard. And despite TriloTracker being great, it has some (mostly memory-based, but also interface-based) limitations that could be overcome with a PC tracker.

Not being bound by 8-bit constraints is really useful when making music. Of course, it should be possible to export it to an MSX-friendly format for real hardware replay, like VGM if we only want to play music or a proprietary binary format and matching driver for use with games and stuff.

My real dream software would be something that supported every sound chip ever supported on MSX, but I would be already really happy with full OPL4 and/or MSX-Music + SCC + PSG support.

By norakomi

Paragon (1084)

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15-06-2020, 11:28

So, I have been working more on this, and in the end I am using the moonsound cartridge to play back midi files.
In any Digital Audio Workstation/DAW (I'm using Cubase 10) I create a track in midi.
I do however assign my own .wav file samples to the midi tracks.
These .wav files I then load into the moonsound cartridge, and my replayer then plays back the songs on the msx.

So far it's working pretty good, and the replayer is very fast. (5 screenlines at max per frame)

Next thing I wanna do is utilise also the 512 sounds which are already present in the moonsound cartridge.
Is there a list of all these sounds ? Because eventually I would like to have samples of all those files,
so that I can use them in a DAW as well.

I listened to the first 8 sounds:
0= sine wave
1= blender, chopper wtf
2= synth sound
3= sound of a fax machine
4= piano
5= piano/ac guitar
6= keyboard trumpet sound
7= keyboard trumpet sound
8= ocean water / sand sound

By Grauw

Ascended (9342)

Grauw's picture

15-06-2020, 12:04

You can probably find them most easily in MBWAVE.

Also this Linux driver has a GM mapping of the sounds in the YRW801 ROM that’s in the MoonSound, which can give further clues to what the instruments are for.

By norakomi

Paragon (1084)

norakomi's picture

15-06-2020, 12:29

Thanx, I got it !!

It seems now that im trying to use the sounds that every instrument is in a different pitch.
If I take my song, and put a piano sound on channel 1, a guitar sound on channel 2 and a banjo sound on channel 3,
the whole song is out of tune....

Why didn't they sample all the sounds on one fixed frequency ?

Now I have to adjust the frequencies per sample in my replayer ??? Am I seeing this correct ?

@grauw
Another thing I notice is that in the list of the linux driver you just gave me I see these instruments:
00[] = { /* Acoustic Grand Piano */
01[] = { /* Bright Acoustic Piano */
02[] = { /* Electric Grand Piano */
03[] = { /* Honky-Tonk Piano */

while my list of sounds that I tried are completely different:
;000= sine wave
;001= blender, chopper wtf
;002= synth sound
;003= sound of a fax machine

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