Studio FM
This page was last modified 09:07, 16 May 2020 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Gdx and Grauw.
Studio FM - Main menu



Studio FM is a MSX-MUSIC song editor, created by Falco Dam and Ivo Wubbels. It was released in 1991 by the Dutch MSX-Engine team.

It uses patterns to reduce wasted space and combines MSX-MUSIC with PSG for the drums. It has been inspired both by the Notator utility on Atari ST (without the MIDI part) and the musics from the games of the Japanese Microcabin company.

This utility includes

  • a few songs created in the Studio FM format by Loek van Kooten
  • two replay drivers for the songs in this format
    • SFMDRV1.BIN that adds new BASIC instructions - see StudioFM BASIC
    • SFMDRV2.BIN that is more conceived for machine language programs
  • six voice libraries with a total of 230 voices

Note: An external MSX-MUSIC soundchip is not detected by Studio FM or the SFMDRV2.BIN driver, although there is no problem with the SFMDRV1.BIN driver.


Studio FM - Music pattern editor
Studio FM - Help music editor
Studio FM - Rhythm pattern editor
Studio FM - Help rhythm editor
Studio FM - Sequence editor
Studio FM - Help sequence editor

Studio FM includes three editors to compose music. A maximum of 64 music patterns and 42 rhythms patterns is possible. You can give a name to these patterns, so it's easier to assembly them in the sequence editor. All editors have a help menu (access with the GRAPH key) and the rhythm editor is provided with 10 instruments.

A disadvantage of these three editors is that you don't have a complete overview when you are composing a song. However, the F5 function key allows to send to the printer screendumps with the content of the current displayed screen.

Disk menu

Studio FM - Disk menu
Studio FM - Load submenu
Studio FM - Save submenu

The disk menu gives access to 2 submenus and allows to format the disk inserted in the active drive.

The Load submenu includes an option to load a song in the FAC Soundtracker 1 format, it will be internally converted, you can eventually modify it, then save it in the Studio FM format with the 'Save musicdata' option of the Save submenu. Strangely, it's not possible to improve an existing Studio FM song, as there is no option for loading it in the Load menu...

Note: Studio FM is not compatible with songs in the FAC Soundtracker 2 format.

Studio FM uses the following types of files:

  • PAT - pattern
  • APT - pattern data
  • MUS - music data (or song in the FAC Soundtracker 1 format!)
  • VOC - voice data


Studio FM - Settings

Access to the settings is possible with the SELECT key. You can here customize the colors of the utility by modifying the RGB values, then save them with F1.

Useful keys

F1 Play pattern (in pattern editors), play music (in sequence editor),
show current directory (in disk menu), save settings (in settings menu)
F2 Change pattern (in patterns editors), play voice (in sequence editor)
F3 Copy pattern (in music pattern editor), hear drum (in rhythm pattern editor),
toggle names (in sequence editor)
F4 Copy pattern (in rhythm pattern editor)
F5 Screendump
Cursors Change cursor position
0 to 9 Select instrument to be played (in rhythm patttern editor)
T Change tempo in sequence editor (0 to 63)
+ or - Change pitch in sequence editor (-7 to +7)
& Slide to next note (in music pattern editor)
CTRL + cursors Move 8 notes or sequence at once
CTRL + D Remove one note or sequence
CTRL + I Insert one note or sequence
DEL Remove last input
ESC Back to previous screen or main menu
GRAPH Access to help (in the editors)
GRAPH followed by
any key except ESC
Stop current playing action
HOME Move to begin/end of pattern (in pattern editors) or to begin of music
(in sequence editor)
RETURN Repeat last input (in the editors) or launch loading of selected file
(in disk menu)
SELECT Access to settings menu
SHIFT + cursors Move by length to next note (in pattern editors)
SHIFT + HOME Clean whole pattern

Usage of Studio FM musical files

Is it possible to play these musics in Studio FM?

Unfortunaly, it's not possible as you can't load existing Studio FM songs in the application.

How to use these musics as background for other applications?

Use StudioFM BASIC - see especially the example on the CALL MPLAY page

Is there a nice graphical replayer for these musics?

Yes, it's the Spectrum Analiser released by Hegega - see Spectrum Analiser.

Unfortunaly, this replayer is buggy, some Studio FM songs provoke the freezing of the spectrum analiser or are not recognized as valid Studio FM songs. For this reason, it's recommended to mention only one song on line 90.