SOFTWARE REVIEW: MUSIX32 by Richard Karsmakers
The German softwarehouse Tommy Software has recently launched a
music program that can be called revolutionary: "Musix32".
Although accompanied by a very clumsily translated handbook (if
you have the English version), this program might very well be
worth buying, especially if you are a music freak (like me).
On start-up, "Music32" asks you if you'd like to have German or
English language, which will further on be used in the program.
After a few more moments the actual working screen appears, which
looks nice and user friendly. The program works only on
monochrome monitors, which is understandable since there are too
many options at the screen at once to be able to put it on a
color resolution screen. The actual program should work on all ST
system configurations (with monochrome monitor).
Editing the music is done in much the same way as in The Music
Studio from Activision. You simply select a note (normal, sharp,
etc.) from the upper row of the screen, after which you can set
it on the music bar. You can compose one channel at a time. The
way in which the note types are selected has one disadvantage,
which is that you have to pick them from below. When you enter a
note box from the left or the right, you cannot select it, not
even with clicking.
The other editing possibilities, such as copy, cut and paste are
excellent. It is very easy to define a block, which may also be
greater in size than the actual screen. Scrolling left and right
is done in a really comfortable way.
The thing that makes "Musix32" noticable is the fact that songs
can be written to disk in two ways: There is the normal way,
which can be edited, and there is the "X32" way. The latter
possibility creates a music file (which is exactly Nx1 Kb in
size) that can be loaded and played from any programming
language; also GfA Basic, Pascal or C.
What is the key to this?
The Atari XBIOS knows a command called "DOSOUND", XBIOS function
number 32. All this function needs is a contiguous list of music
data, after which the soundchip will play the music. Actually,
the keyboard beep is also created through this method by the
Atari itself. "Musix32" creates these music data to be used in
your own programs. The music in this issue of ST NEWS also works
through that very same principle (although not made on "Musix32",
as far as we know). You may have heard of our PD offering "Puzzle
Puzzle", which is written by Tommy Software. This programs also
uses XBIOS 32 music (made on "Musix32"). "Musix32" would be much
better and more versatile if it would have been able to load
these "X32" musical pieces for editing, which it unfortunately
These are the main advantages of the program, which make it stand
out amongst other music programs. Now some of the disadvantages
or things that I found to be missing from the program: Firstly,
striking any key on the keyboard disables the music (the Atari
generates another XBIOS piece of 'music' that overrides the
"Musix32" music). When using the music in your own program, you
should also take care that nothing goes wrong with that. Further
on, "Musix32" only allows two different waveforms. The "Design
Instrument" option from The Music Studio was much better.
However, Tommy Software has announced a supplementary module due
for release in 1987. The envelope shaper that's currently
implemented is only available for channel A. To close this small
list of disadvantages, I would like to mention the absence of
MIDI-compatibility (also said to be due for release in 1987) and
the fact the the demo pieces of music supplied with the package
are a bit "dry". This may also be caused by the fact that
"Musix32" doesn't allow waveform editing yet.
Now, the rating for this program:
Publisher: Tommy Software
Mainzer Landstr. 147
D-6000 Frankfurt/M. 1
Author: U. Meyer
Price: DM 78.07 (+ DM 10 P&P) has to be prepaid
Musical possibilities: 7
Documentation: 7 (not very well translated English)
Value for Money: 7.5
Overall rating: 8
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.