Author Topic: Future of tracker music  (Read 2203 times)

Offline Saga Musix

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Re: Future of tracker music
« Reply #30 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.

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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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Offline zikey

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Re: Future of tracker music
« Reply #31 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.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 01:42:09 by zikey »

Offline Midori Mizuno

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Re: Future of tracker music
« Reply #32 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.

Offline Saga Musix

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Re: Future of tracker music
« Reply #33 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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