Difference between revisions from 2017/01/16 12:06 and 2017/01/16 11:59.
Here are some music trackers I know and would recommend. The comments about pros and cons are only my own experience (linux user who prefer open source software) so it can differ from your, of course. Most of them are free to use.


There are at least 4 major ways to create "chiptunes":

+ Use native software on original machines (for ex SidWizard on C64, Maxymizer on Atari ST) or on emulators.

+ Use cross platform software on modern computers (for ex. famitracker, DefleMask, vortex tracker), targeting original hardware: you can export to file format compatible which you can replay on real C64, real Sinclair Spectrum, Amstrad, Megadrive / Genesis etc

+ Use VST emulating the sound of original chips or for creating new sound designs (like LMMS, Sunvox, picoloop on linux). It can sound rather genuine, but some VST for example won't have limits like original chip would had (you can have 10 voices for sounding like a C64, while the original had only 3 voices). But even if you stay in the limits of the original, you won't be able to replay your music on original hardware. It's like creating a game which has a look and feel of a gameboy, but with something like SDL, rpg maker or gamemaker, it will look and behave similar but you won't be able to run the game on an old gameboy.

+ Use sample based sounds, generally with trackers (originally on Amiga, now everywhere, for example MilkyTracker, Modplug Tracker). The "problem" with samples is when you transpose them (for example from C2 to C6), it can sometimes sound different than it would have been with an original instrument (flute, piano) or with an original sound chip. You can also create instrument with a different samples assigned to a group of notes (most trackers can do that), or even every note (like for soundfonts or on digital piano. Sunvox and LMMS can do that as well)


It's not always possible to start a song in a tracker and continue onto an other (or convert a song from one chip into an other) but some trackers can import/export midi or mod/xm so there is often a way.

There is also the [[MML|articles_pmd98.en]] language, which is a different way to create chiptunes and music.



== 1-bit music ==

//It's a well delimited field: for some people because of the restricted possibilities, they can feel somehow limited. But for some others, it will boost their creativity. You don't need to bother with instrument creation (unless you program your own beeper engine.//

|| Tracker | + Pros + | – Cons – | export | Website |
| Beepola | very easy to use, compact and efficient (only one binary) | Only for windows, but works with wine. Closed source | 1-bit spectrum beeper | [url http://freestuff.grok.co.uk/beepola/] |
| 1tracker | Multiplateform, Open-source |  | 1-bit spectrum beeper  | [url http://shiru.untergrund.net/software.shtml] |
| houston tracker 2 | native to TI calculators. Quite easy to use and intuitive once you get used to it. Open-source | several keys to learn | Texas instrument calc beeper | [url http://irrlichtproject.de/houston/] |
| milkytracker + beeper engine  | Open-source | needs a converter + z80 compiler   | 1-bit spectrum beeper  | [url http://milkytracker.org/] | 


== 8-bit ==

//8-bit is the "true" sound of chiptunes. On the other hand, it can be somehow repetitive.//

|| Tracker | + Pros + | – Cons – | export | Website |
| DefleMask | multiplateform (win/linux/mac os x). Easy to use. multichip | closed source | YAMAHA YM2612, Texas Instruments SN76489 PSG, Z80 Game Boy, Hudson Soft HuC6280, Ricoh 2A03, MOS Technology SID, YAMAHA YM2151, SEGA PCM | [url http://www.delek.com.ar/deflemask] |
| Famitracker | very intuitive and easy. Open-source | native to windows only / works well with wine | NES | [url http://famitracker.com/]
| GoatTracker | Works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X. Rather easy to use interface. Can import / export xm midi. Open-source | Difficult to create new instruments | SID | [url http://cadaver.homeftp.net/tools.htm] |
| lsdj / little sound dj | very intuitive and well design | closed source | gameboy | [url http://www.littlesounddj.com/]
| nanoloop | original interface | closed source | gameboy / GBA / android | [url http://www.nanoloop.com/]
| maxYMiser | good manual. Powerful. Native Atari ST | Interface is a bit cramped (it would have been better to have several screens to handle so many informations). Quite difficult to create new instruments. Closed source  | sndh (atari)  | [url http://www.preromanbritain.com/maxymiser/download.html] |
| musicmon | Quite easy to create good instruments. Native Atari ST | Some parts of the tracker are really awkward and clumbersome (orderlist). Almost no manual. Closed source  | sndh (atari)  | [url http://woolyss.com/chipmusic-chiptrackers.php?s=Atari]
| SidWizard | Native to C64: runs everywhere with an emulator. Can import and export to midi, to xm. Easy and well designed interface. Open-source | No mouse, no fancy, no high resolution screen | SID | [url https://sourceforge.net/projects/sid-wizard/] |
| starkos | very well designed interface and shortcuts. The player is open source | The tracker part is closed source. | ym (amstrad cpc) |  [url http://www.grimware.org/doku.php/documentations/software/starkos/start] |
| arkos | very well designed modern interface and shortcuts. | windows only. closed source. | ym (amstrad cpc) |  [url http://www.grimware.org/doku.php/documentations/software/arkos.tracker/start] |
| vortex tracker 2 | can export to sinclair zx spectrum or atari st | closed source | ay, sndh | [url http://bulba.untergrund.net/vortex_e.htm] |


== More than 8-bit ==

//You'll get more "possibilities", on the other hand, it can sometimes be labelled "fakebit" (when it's using samples)//

Some tools here are not necessary real "trackers" per se (lmms, musescore, picoloop), but I present them anyway because they can be useful to musicians.

|| Tracker | + Pros + | – Cons – | export | Website |
| amusic | fm opl2 synthesis | dos  | amd (fm)  | [url http://adlib.wave460.net/trackers.html]
| adlib tracker II | fm opl3 synthesis. Very powerful once you'll get used to it. Open-source  | some shortcuts are rather counter-intuitive |  a2m | [url http://www.adlibtracker.net] | 
| LMMS | easy to use, easy to create new instruments, Open-source | No midi export | wav | [url https://lmms.io/]
| milkytracker  | Open-source |  | mod, xm, it, wav | [url http://milkytracker.org/] |
| schismtracker | Open-source |  | mod, it | [url http://schismtracker.org/]
| modplugtracker / openmpt | Open-source  | windows-only (works with wine)  | mod, xm, it, wav | [url https://openmpt.org/]
| klystrack | multiplatform. Open-source  | Doesn't target any historical chip | wav + own format |  [url http://kometbomb.github.io/klystrack/]  | 
| sunvox | multiplatform, well designed, can import/export midi | closed source | midi, wav | [url http://warmplace.ru/compo/sunvox/2015.10/] |  
| picoloop | multiplatform, clone of nanoloop with several sound engines. Open-source. Ergonomic once you've got used to it | some limitations | wav | [url https://github.com/yoyz/audio/] |
| musescore | multiplatform. Open-source. | - | midi, pdf, wav, flac   | [url https://musescore.org/] |

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