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11
General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by Saga Musix on November 22, 2020, 12:58:37 »
Maybe this middle ground you want doesn't exist for a good reason. Because this middle ground will look completely different for everyone else and thus there is not a single solution: There simply is no one-size-fits-all synthesizer for everyone. The closest to a completely self-contained, high-quality music production system (until they added VST support) was probably software like Reason, and for that very reason it also wasn't exactly portable. Quite frankly, I'm tired of people who propose gigantic dream worlds like what you describe here and asking for attention for their ideas without ever trying to implement that idea themselves. Synthesizers come and go. 4klang can sound great but it's a lot of work and difficult to use, it's not a tool I would want to force people to use for all their music. And many people already grow tired of its "standard" sound and use different 4k synths instead. Similarly, any of the other synthesizers you mentioned are all there to fulfil a specific niche, and they will be superseded by the next, better tool. Synthesizers come and go, but trackers/DAWs that do not enforce a specific type of synthesis are here to stay, if OpenMPT's age of more than 23 years is any indication. Similarly, synthesizers that can be used in any tracker/DAW the user chooses are here to stay, because that allows them to be used by anyone, and not just those that are willing to study a specific music creation paradigm.

And this is my last word on this discussion, because there simply is not anything more to say.
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by Midori Mizuno on November 22, 2020, 12:24:10 »

I want the source file to play by themselves, without extra setup for external dependencies.

I don't understand your point here at all. All formats created with OpenMPT play without any external dependencies other than libopenmpt (or any other compatible playback engine/tracker. Save for MPTM of course, which is only supported by libopenmpt) as long as they're not using VST plugins, which is a feature exclusive to OpenMPT.

VST is out of sync with those ideals and is really just desperation to appeal to a changing industry. MadTracker, Sk@le and Renoise are also guilty. OpenMPT's bleeding edge is really just a mere sequencer that just sends MIDI data to plugins rather than something that can compete or blossom with its own sound engine.

What's your actual issue here exactly? OpenMPT's aim had always been to implement a few popular legacy sample-based tracker formats and it succeded at it very much. VSTs are just a nice afterthought feature, many people enjoy having access to them in OpenMPT. You're not forced to use them if you don't like them and i don't think OpenMPT is or had ever been striving to "appeal to any kind of industry". It's an open source project made out of love and passion for tracker music, rather than something trying to "sell itself". I feel like your thinking is too fixated on mainstream music industry in this context.

I don't want to choose between highly restrained chiptune formats or squeaky clean DAW recordings. I want the middle ground that doesn't exist, I want fancy synths in music formats that play in the browser via WebAssembly and xmplay/foobar2k.
MPTM is too restrained for you? Well then you don't have other choice than use other software. And who said that music made with DAWs must sound "squeaky clean"? You can process it whatever way you want, even pass it through analogue gear. Or if you want something yet more different, you could buy an old MIDI synth like Yamaha's MU2000 which supports XG MIDI and has a built-in sampler if that's your thing. There's lots of possibilities and ways to create digital music and making it sound the way you want. What you're imagining, regarding modern tracked formats played in realtime and utilising fancy internal synths isn't very likely to happen, and even if there was some kind of project matching your description i don't think it would gain lots of traction. Be the change you want to see i guess, instead of complaining about what OpenMPT isn't.

EDIT: On the second thought. there already are things that could become that, like KlysTrack. except as of now it doesn't have any external playback engine implenentations. Or, as you mentioned, VGM format which supports emulating various old gaming systems, including arcade sound hardware incorporating PCM and FM synths for example - there's DefleMask which can make use of some of those systems, even though it's a generally very clunky tracker.
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by zikey on November 22, 2020, 00:08:08 »
There are thousands of songs using those plugins featured in KVR OSC as well. It's just that most people are not going to label their music as being made with those synths. I'm not sure what the point here is.

The point is, I cannot use OpenMPT or Renoise the way I want (nor is there anything nice that does what I want). I want a rich, dynamic sound, keeping the size small. Lossy / compressed samples and real-time synthesis/effects. I want the source file to play by themselves, without extra setup for external dependencies.

I like MPTM for what it is, a conservative IT derivative, like how HVL relates to AHX. I'm not trying to downplay your work on it. It contains some of the best module players in any library. I understand the apprehension to do drastic or exotic things like OPL3 or MED instruments. However, those would at least be supported by libopenmpt. VST is out of sync with those ideals and is really just desperation to appeal to a changing industry. MadTracker, Sk@le and Renoise are also guilty. OpenMPT's bleeding edge is really just a mere sequencer that just sends MIDI data to plugins rather than something that can compete or blossom with its own sound engine. And it's held back in a lot of ways - relying on ImpulseTracker's dated 90s sampler. it can only import samples rather than store the original files. So I can't even keep my Opus or GSM files small in OpenMPT.

Renoise has a far more advanced internal sampler and built in FX, but it still is pressured by the music industry, and plays second fiddle to external plugins, external sampler libraries etc. Renoise doesn't even have built in synths. It's sampler engine could easily form the basis of a wavetable/granular synth. And there was nothing stopping Renoise from doing their own plugin format, doing a better job than Buzz did, etc.

I'm not sure what more I can say to explain myself. I don't want to choose between highly restrained chiptune formats or squeaky clean DAW recordings. I want the middle ground that doesn't exist, I want fancy synths in music formats that play in the browser via WebAssembly and xmplay/foobar2k. Something like OpenMPT, but with a more fancy sampler (timestretching, granular) and extensible built-in synthesizer engines. An API/modular system for doing custom synths/effects that get bundled in the module like samples, stuff like that.

Is it really hard to imagine? Look at how good 4klang can sound. libopenmpt can't achieve that fidelity without tons of samples or external plugin installations. Look at PreTracker, AmigaKlang and Cinter. Synths that pre-generate samples, hardly real-time, but still saves a lot of space, and offers a lot of sonic possibilities. Combine that with highly optimized Opus drum samples and CD quality music can be represented under 60kb fingerprints easily.

Basically modern chiptune.  Speaking of chiptune, there's a lot of things you can't quite do, like combine different sound chips. 4mat's FMX combines SID with FM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbeoLqEpb9s. But it's a combination that no tracker can handle. I'd love a tracker that mixes and matches whatever chip you desire, and still produces small files. VGM format has incredible untapped potential in that regard. But actual soundchips aren't as good as real synths and samplers.
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Free Music Downloads / (deep house) Prawn Soda (ogg)
« Last post by Exhale on November 21, 2020, 14:23:54 »
I hope you enjoy the tune
it was made specifically for you  ;)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-2Q5RAYhcSSF-esvtGbAA0R7MNZhrUk7/view?usp=sharing
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by Saga Musix on November 20, 2020, 18:35:36 »
But there's 38,149 XM files on Modland. 76,420 MOD files. HVSC has 52,884 SID files so far. You look at the KVR OSC (one synth challenge), and there's only 40 songs per synth that demonstrate a synth's capabilities. Despite the fact every single one is more capable than SID or XM.
There are thousands of songs using those plugins featured in KVR OSC as well. It's just that most people are not going to label their music as being made with those synths. I'm not sure what the point here is. It was fun to participate in KVR OSC but it also showed me very well that I would never want to rely on only having a single synthesizer available to write a piece of music, no matter how powerful it is. This is essentially what you suggested before, if I understood you correctly. A tracker with a built-in synthesizer will only be alive as long as people are happy to use that one synthesizer, and outside of an enthusiastic fan base, that won't be the case for very long. There's simply no one-size-fits-all synthesizer or even sampler engine.

Quote
MPTM and XRNS aren't successors because they no longer act as standalone modules, they're just project/session files.
Sorry but that's a gross misunderstanding of the features and capabilities of those formats. MPTM was not (just) made to support VST plugins. MPTM is a logical evolution of the IT format with features such as per-pattern time signatures, custom tunings and lately even OPL3 support - so there you have your built-in synthesizer, even if it's a very old and not exactly powerful one. If you don't use VST plugins, a MPTM file is just as independent as any IT file, but it can make use of features that IT can't.
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by Midori Mizuno on November 20, 2020, 14:38:48 »
I'm gonna be very blunt for a second here. Not gonna address every single issue that had been tackled since the beginning of the thread, but for the most part the discussion reads like a pointless complaining along the lines of "back then everything was Z, today it's less Z, we should be doing Z exactly the same way it had been done before".

First of all, trackers definitely aren't dead, and while they aren't mainstream music tools i don't think they ever were to begin with (even though their presence seems to have decreased even more over years - although Saga's mentioned that OpenMPT alone has enjoyed an influx in recent times, and this is just one tracker among numerous other software projects like this!)

Game music written the way it's being written nowadays wasn't that uncommon even in the 90s, especially later into the decade - there were numerous titles utilising rendered, streamed music, coexisting with those utilising realtime sequencing.

Proportions also change, depending on the target system we take under consideration - realtime sequenced music was still a very common practice well into the late 2000s on handhelds like NDS beacuse of space efficiency.

But in the end, a question to ask yourself is... Does it really matter? No one is stopping you from using your favourite tools to do whatever you want in your own projects, but also no one should be requiring others to follow your idea of "ideal music production methods". Whatever tools get the job done for you, basically.

Also the fact we don't see raw source module files in the wild as often doesn't mean at all that the game/music album/insert whatever project here/ wasn't made with heavy usage of trackers - the music might just have been rendered or encoded into a proprietary container for example.

Someone mentioned that people don't care about limitations and the creative aspect that they're providing. Well, that's very far from true, because there still are entire communities of passionate people who are interested exactly in those qualities among other things, like Battle of the Bits, Chiptune Cafe or events like S3xmoditMania to name a few. Same goes for old Desktop MIDI modules with places like DTM MIDI Central Discord, and associated YT channels.

Interestingly, sample-based trackers also seem quite popular in YTPMV circles for some reason, and while I'm not really into YTPMV. i know about this because of few friends with YTPMV history.

Sure, it's not the mainstream approach, but it's never really been - back in the day people were working with limitations not necessarily out of their conscious choice, but because of the fact those limitations were a standard or even state of the art consumer grade technology at the time.

Traditionally tracker music is considered, so-called, Demo-Scene. And where other styles?
Why they so are not enough? Today in Tracker it is possible to make almost any style...
As for this one, you certainly must have remained in your own bubble, because i heard lots of very different styles of music made in trackers, be it sample-based or otherwise. You're almost implying that trackers are exclusive to the demoscene (which isn't true, despite many of them having demoscene roots).
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by zikey on November 19, 2020, 23:55:24 »
I know I've been casting aspersions on this, saying there's no way it would work, but if you're actually going to make these tools then I would sincerely be really excited about helping you fulfill your nostalgic utopian vision. I'm talking 1000% support in making the tools, writing plugins in this new API, participating in a scene, and just generally getting stuff going (I'm a lousy developer but this sounds like a great way to get better).

I appreciate the enthusiasm ;). It's definitely 'utopian', and a lot of work. I'm still just in the research/prior art phase. There are a lot of things to consider, including old abandon projects that simply need a new mantle. But something already exists with a similar scope: https://bintracker.org/. A "A hackable Chiptune Audio Workstation". It's focused on actual chiptune emulation, but should be pretty extensible for a lot of uses. There's also SOUL: https://soul.dev/. Which is a new audio language like csound. Can be used to implement all sorts of audio code.

Again, have I totally misunderstood what 4klang is for?

4klang is a modular synth for 4k demos, there's also a more advanced 64klang version for 64k demos. It's just a VST plugin that spits out MIDI data for inclusion in a demo/app. Yes, it can play music. And it's pretty flexible (read: incredibly complicated). But it still relies on a separate sequencer, doesn't support samples, and it actually uses a ton of CPU due to it designed around being as small as possible. Optimized synth code can actually be quite fast though, and would need to be in a real-time format.

Something closer to what I mean is actually the predecessor to Renoise known as PreTrekker: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rumqR9Refo. It has a built in synth (only one), effects and supports samples. But it's old and the concept can be taken further.

There's also Jeskola Buzz which also tries to solve this, but it's a bit problematic and not as well defined as VST, and still relies on external plugins that are hard to find.

SunVox (https://www.warmplace.ru/soft/sunvox/) is also very close. Even has a JS library for playing music in browser. So probably foobar/xmplay plugins can be made too.
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by dem1 on November 19, 2020, 21:42:34 »
Alright, maybe I'm old fashioned and adverse to change. I don't know. All I can say is no one ever listens or buys your music these days unless you're Jeroen.Tel or Dubmood. I don't understand killing underground scenes for a music industry that can't even support everyone.
Things seemed better, more productive, more innovative, more open, in the MOD/XM days. I just cope by telling myself I do music for myself, but I simply am not satisfied enough with proprietary DAWs always killing old obsolete features with each new version. I want full control. When commercialism goes out of the window, there's nothing to stop one from just making their own tools to suit their needs. I don't know why this niche isn't filled. I've been considering making such a tracker for myself, designing my own plugin API, so I can port and reverse engineer VST synth engines and optimize them and.. yeah.  It sounds crazy, but you only need to look around GitHub to see I'm not alone. Even BeRo is making his own DAW recently.

I know I've been casting aspersions on this, saying there's no way it would work, but if you're actually going to make these tools then I would sincerely be really excited about helping you fulfill your nostalgic utopian vision. I'm talking 1000% support in making the tools, writing plugins in this new API, participating in a scene, and just generally getting stuff going (I'm a lousy developer but this sounds like a great way to get better).

Quote
I'm really just saying that trackers are becoming the same thing as a traditional DAW. Will there ever be a new plugin API that makes full use of all Renoise and OpenMPT commands? Who knows, probably not. But sound engines are dead, that's for sure (and sad to me). Self-imposed limitations are dead, no one cares or finds it interesting. No one cares whether the soundtrack of your demo has moving parts under the hood, just that it looks nice.

But there's 38,149 XM files on Modland. 76,420 MOD files. HVSC has 52,884 SID files so far. You look at the KVR OSC (one synth challenge), and there's only 40 songs per synth that demonstrate a synth's capabilities. Despite the fact every single one is more capable than SID or XM.

Again, have I totally misunderstood what 4klang is for?
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by zikey on November 19, 2020, 20:42:07 »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVddGSTjEd0

Alright, maybe I'm old fashioned and adverse to change. I don't know. All I can say is no one ever listens or buys your music these days unless you're Jeroen.Tel or Dubmood. I don't understand killing underground scenes for a music industry that can't even support everyone. Things seemed better, more productive, more innovative, more open, in the MOD/XM days. I just cope by telling myself I do music for myself, but I simply am not satisfied enough with proprietary DAWs always killing old obsolete features with each new version. I want full control. When commercialism goes out of the window, there's nothing to stop one from just making their own tools to suit their needs. I don't know why this niche isn't filled. I've been considering making such a tracker for myself, designing my own plugin API, so I can port and reverse engineer VST synth engines and optimize them and.. yeah.  It sounds crazy, but you only need to look around GitHub to see I'm not alone. Even BeRo is making his own DAW recently.

I'm really just saying that trackers are becoming the same thing as a traditional DAW. Will there ever be a new plugin API that makes full use of all Renoise and OpenMPT commands? Who knows, probably not. But sound engines are dead, that's for sure (and sad to me). Self-imposed limitations are dead, no one cares or finds it interesting. No one cares whether the soundtrack of your demo has moving parts under the hood, just that it looks nice.

But there's 38,149 XM files on Modland. 76,420 MOD files. HVSC has 52,884 SID files so far. You look at the KVR OSC (one synth challenge), and there's only 40 songs per synth that demonstrate a synth's capabilities. Despite the fact every single one is more capable than SID or XM.
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General Chatter / Re: Future of tracker music
« Last post by LPChip on November 19, 2020, 15:42:36 »
Quote
We should be using tracked music in games and demos.
Actually, no we shouldn't.

When your aim is to distribute something really small, yes, you should use the tracker format because it will give you small files for music.

But in 2020, when making games and demos, filesize is not an issue in most cases. There are demo competitions where filesize is still a choise, but then tracker music is one of the possibibilities.

But if its not, then quality becomes the thing you strife for. In a demo competition where filesize restrictions are not an issue, viewers will easily choose a demo with a well mixed/mastered song over a demo that uses a module.

When it comes to gaming, having a 150 gig game is not unheard of. (looking at MS FlightSim 2020). So if filesize is not an issue, and if you compare what a module can do with only samples, vs using plugins, then the choice is easy. Plugins will bring you more than just sound. VST effects can master the music too, giving a much richer experience.

If you were to allow the VST effects and modules to work in the game, then suddenly, you add a lot of CPU usage to a game that the gamer wants to be gone, as their system is not too powerful. So a .wav or .mp3 file is always going to be preferable.

The same applies with demos.

When it comes to the art, one just simply wants to get the best they can and not settle for less. Using modules is really settling for less or complicating the workflow so much that it simply isn't worth it.

And yes, I've used my OpenMPT to make commercial music, make music for games and for demos, so I know what I'm talking about. For small demo competitions, sound quality is a bonus, filesize is a must, so tracker modules all the way. For anything else, sound quality is the most important thing, so the end product is always a .ogg or .mp3.
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