MIDI SOFTWARE by Piper
The ST, with it's inbuilt MIDI interface, has been an obvious
choice for musicians wanting to make use of computers. The German
firm G.C.Geerdes has come out with a whole range of products to
try to appeal to them. Piper takes a peek.
Sometimes you see the adverts, ask the shops, read the reviews,
and still, somehow, you end up with a real turkey. Now if it's
only a game, you're a little peeved, but just chalk it up to
experience. If it's a piece of serious (or, to put it another
way, horrendously expensive) software, it's rather more difficult
to be so philosophical about it. Recently, I was presented with
what seems to be a wonderful idea, to whit, make the software so
that it can carry out all its functions on screen, but it needs a
piece of hardware in the ROM port to be able to save work or send
information out, then distribute the software to anybody who's
interested for minimal cost so that they can make sure that it's
what they want before they invest large amounts of hard earned
cash in it. Brilliant.
The company concerned was G.C.Geerdes, based in Berlin, who
produce MIDI software for the ST. The first package I received
from them contained two double-sided disks, each with three
programs on. The first had an FB-01 editor, a K-1/M editor and a
program called Tape-Op, the second was made up of an R-50 editor,
an MT-32 editor and a Prophet VS editor. All of these run on
monochrome monitors and need a 1040 to be useful. Not having
enough time to give a proper review of any one of them, and also
not having the relevant keyboards available, I'll just try to
give a general impression of them all.
After having a look at the programs, I was reasonably
impressed. They all have a nice feel to them, allowing you to
change all the parameters of a sound on any of the instruments
from within just one or two screens. Using them is almost like
going analogue, there are sliders to move up and down on screen,
and you can see the wave form changing as the values change. The
Prophet VS editor has the added advantage of being able to edit
and manipulate samples, and contains a sequencer module, where
you can record up to twenty four tracks of MIDI information, a
very valuable addition to any program.
Wanting to see what a complete package was like, I phoned
Geerdes and asked them to send me what they would normally send
to a customer, minus, of course, the vital key. What arrived a
few days later was a very professional looking folder with a
fifteen page manual (in English, though you can have it in German
if you prefer) and a disk with another editor, this time for the
D-50*MT-32. Again, the editor contained the 24-track sequencer,
and again, it felt very friendly and easy to use. It acts not
only as an editor, but also like a database: you can arrange the
sounds in alphabetical order, or re-arrange them in any way you
The manual is not the best thing I've ever read, and the
English was very understandable rather than fluent, but it does
generally manage to do its job reasonably well, and does make a
brave attempt at being friendly.
Something I've left until last is the Tape-Op program. This I
liked a lot. Basically, it's a notebook for keeping track of
what's on each track of a multi-track recorder, but it can also
give details of things like what reverb unit is being used, what
setting it's on, the parameters for that setting, the
bass/mid/treble settings on the parametric equalizers and so
forth. Having done a fair amount of multi-track work myself, I
know how confusing the whole business can get, especially when
you start bouncing things around and changing the original track
order, trying to rub out the felt tip pen mark on the white tape
that goes across the top of the faders, giving up after the third
change and tearing the whole strip off... a really pleasant way
to spend an afternoon.
As an added bonus, a cut-down version of Tape-Op is available
on the same disk as a desk accessory, so you can even use it in
conjunction with another program such as Pro 24. Well thought out
concept, well implemented.
Generally, the whole range looks worth checking out if you're
in the market for MIDI software. Prices range from around 100
gulden to just over 500 gulden, but the software without keys can
be bought for just 10 gulden per disk, no obligation. Full marks
to G.C.G. for being confident enough of their products to let
people try it out before buying.
Price: fl. 10 (without key, double-sided disks, need 1 Meg and
Value for Money: 9.5 (excellent way of avoiding disappointment)
Thanks to G.C.Geerdes and Cuddly Cactus for the review copy.
Cuddly Cactus International
1074 GN Amsterdam
Nederland Tel: 020 - 6644022
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.