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JB Computing
Jason Board
1987
Utility: Music
£14.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Undetermined

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97
Jon Bates
Chris Bourne

MAKING TRACKS

The second program s an eight-track MIDI recorder and player, Ram Tracks. This is a comprehensive recorder with all the usual facilities. Recording is done on the selected MIDI channel in either mono or poly mode and in real time. The number of bars to be entered is preset by the user and there is a click metronome that comes either from the headphones or line-out socket.

Each little section recorded forms a pattern which is filed away. It can later be assembled with the other patterns into a song - very much in the manner of the Specdrum. For each pattern the notes are displayed and scrolled graphically and the pitch shown on a screen piano keyboard.

Notes can be edited, removed or entered via the MIDI keyboard in this fashion. A pattern recorded on any channel can be swapped to any other channel and it magically and visually jumps from track to track. Patterns can be copied so that similar patterns can run concurrently.

Ram Tracks will also recognize incoming MIDI channel information and put the notes into the correct channel/track automatically, which is quite useful if you're recording on several separate channels simultaneously.

At this point I have to confess that either my version of the program or my Music Machine went a bit bananas and started putting out a one-volt metronome pulse into the MIDI Out cable. The result of this was that my new superwhizzo multikeyboard wentinto immediate hibernation and remained comatose till the voltage was removed from its port. Investigation of the program was rather abruptly curtailed. (I seem to remember that Mr Goodwin did borrow the hardware from me at some point, but I'm sure that's merely coincidental!)

Suffice to say that Ram Tracks seems a pretty good utility, and if you have the hardware it'll save you having to purchase another interface and program and spending a lot more cash than you need to. A couple of minus points: it doesn't record note velocity or patch changes, it only works in 48K mode and I've never liked the idea of replay speeds notated in anything other than beats per minute. Why set another standard when there's a universal one already? A more expensive update of Ram Tracks is round the corner, but you could dive in now and send £14.99 to J.B. Computing, Box Bush Farm, Summer Lane, West Wick, Weston-super-Mare, Avon BS24 7TF.

Screenshot Text

Ram Tracks from J.B. Computing records Machine music for MIDI use.