Trackers!

Absolutely! If you plan to, there’s a ton of good resources on the discord as well, since that’s where all the convo is happening.

The three things that really set it apart as a fantastic machine are; tables (think a tracker INSIDE a tracker). It’sa totally separate page that triggers each time an instrument is triggered. You can program envelopes, automation, midi CC or just about whatever in there. Have a specific arp idea, that’ll do it! Cool thing is, these aren’t tied to an instrument! There are a bunch that can be accessed through a simple TABLE command FX.

Instrument sanding and settings: have specific midi layouts and CC’s for a synth of yours? No problem! Set it up once on the instrument page and save it! Now, you can pull up that profile any time you like! Just like that!

Macro and micro synth; there are actually sound engines built in! The wave synth or whatever it’s called is a simple chip tune style Pwm and wave generator. Sounds great! Second is a ported version of the braids engine! Super cool!

I ended finding the M8 was more my speed than the Polyend tracker, so I clearly have strong feelings for it. If you chose to build one let me know!

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Can you talk me about the M8 sample playback features? The specs says it reads 16bit mono wavs. Can you modify sample start, end, reverse,…?
It’s difficult to find info about it

So, stereo is added in a beta, which is a nice plus, but could cause some overloading if you’re running 8 samples at huge speeds, but it should work well as a stem or creative playback (meaning instruments and drums)

As for play modes; forward, backwards, pinging pong, loop and more, all definable in the CMD column. Finally, there’sa simple sample slice mode where you turn it on and define the number of slices equal size slices. This is good for chopping loops or building drum kits.

You can also choose start and end offsets. Then apply similar sets of envelopes and sends as a normal instrument.

As an example, here was a test I did for loop chopping and internal instruments.

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That’s very nice! I am in doubt between Nerdseq and M8 to sequence my modular, and playing samples creatively is also something I want, and it seems the M8 is more advanced than the Nerdseq in the sample area.

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So, I will say that having a Poly2 with the M8 has been extra fun. The ability send weird midi CC’s means I have a TON of options for all the custom CV ports on the Poly 2 and can sequence a huge number of bonkers nonsense that really outstrips even what I can come up with good uses for!

Also, on the potential road map (who knows if and when), sampling and resampling along with a 4op FM Synth are potentially on the table as future developments.

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I know it’s been mentioned already but…

What is really cool about it is all the non-linear goodness it comes with, which makes it a bit different from most other trackers.

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Big fan of trackers here, glad to see this thread pop up. Spent over a decade composing and performing primarily with LSDJ. These days I do most of my sequencing with a Cirklon but trackers are still near and dear to my heart. Exciting to see them having a bit of a renaissance lately with things like nerdseq, m8, and polyend coming out.

Was just thinking about Buzz the other day. Been a long time since I last used it but it’s a special one – way ahead of it’s time. Recently learned that The Field makes all his tracks with it and records them in a single take.

From a working-within-technical-limitations perspective HT2 is one of the most impressive pieces of software I’ve ever used. Here is a track called Never Obsolete that I wrote with it a couple years back.

And if anyone is interested in hearing an example of what Deflemask can do, Virtua Heaven is my best take on what diva house would sound like on the Sega Genesis.

Long live trackers :call_me_hand:

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The NerdSEQ’s development has been progressing nicely around its sample channels:

But that may not be the best reason to get one, however, since the price-point makes it something of a commitment, and heavily weighted around CV and expansion. I already own one, myself, but I also have a strong inclination to supplement its use with a M8, primarily owing to its convenience and the fact of its being opensource (the NerdSEQ is not) and my general regard for the prolific Trash80. For my part, I can imagine using the M8 predominantly for interfacing with a DAW or mGB (MIDI Gameboy) or standalone, but I would also possibly use it to interface with my rack by way of the NerdSEQ’s MIDI-in and sequence recording.


@kasselvania, can the M8 record over MIDI/USB? Also, do you know what price-point it’s shooting for?

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I agree, Buzz was sort of mind blowing way back. For someone who had made tracks in FT2 with samples sampled from mostly borrowed synths, recorded with a crappy karaoke microphone, ripped from tracks by other people and general single cycle mayhem, it was pretty crazy to suddenly have sort of an modular, open environment of soft synths and effects (way before dipping one’s toes into the whole VST thing) in one’s hands.

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I would also like to put PlayerPro in the pile too! Capable of a lot of cool stuff including microtonal scales, it’s a great program for getting WEIRD with it.

Plus, it was used to make Aphex’s Druqks, which is obviously a pretty solid claim to fame.

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I have been making some stuff with the M8 and modular. It’s just so fantastic, as a long time tracker user, to have this device. Having braids AND sampling built in on top of the ability to track MIDI has made for quite literally the most productive workflow I’ve had ever.

Trash80, the hero, has just announced a headless mode for the M8 that just requires a teensy and a computer. Could be a way for people to get involved before more hardware units are available.

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Olav Sorenson (aka 8bitbubsy) has made some very portable fasttracker 2 and protracker 2 clones using SDL and C. They seem pretty well built, though I’ve only used them minimally.

Sources on github: ft2-clone and pt2-clone. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the clones (EDIT: this ft2player project happened to be uploaded a few hours before I wrote this, so probably things are pretty accurate), but the code itself is pretty readable. I had a very pleasant time building and modifying the ft2-clone codebase to work on Alpine Linux (musl) using JACK (this was done before it was on GH): https://github.com/PaulBatchelor/ft2-clone.

I don’t know if it has been mentioned, but protrekkr is/was a surprisingly impressive 3rd-gen tracker.

It’s pretty fun, if you can manage you compile it. In addition to the usual sampler features you see in trackers, protrekkr had a built-in tb303 synthesizer, a subtractive wavetable synth, and reverb generator! I believe protrekkr is also related to noisetrekkr, which was the precursor to Renoise. You can kind of see it.

FalkTX added some JACK support on Linux (the repo above). For a while, I tried hacking on the codebase to try and integrate it with sporth. It was going to be a long-term project for me, but I gave up after a few tedious months. The codebase is a MESS, and was very rage-inducing. I concluded it wasn’t worth saving.

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It can’t record, all samples are live streamed from the SD card in the teensy.

But it has an audio input that comes into the main mic of the M8, which goes through the M8s master limiter and effects if you want it to (adding some of the common reverb is often desired for me). So you can send MIDI out to your modular rig and take line audio back in to then record via USB out or Audio out of M8 on your phone/PC/whatever. It behaves like a sound card when you plug it in to stuff.

To be clear, I’m referring to recording over MIDI/USB, meaning the recording of commands into a sequence (like when recording the notes/gates/velocity/PW/MW/CC from a MIDI controller).

One of the biggest regrets I have as an adult is that the teenage me with a new Atari ST never encountered a tracker. I had other music software, and even a MIDI Korg piano module (which is still in my closet somewhere) but somehow the whole tracker scene passed me by.

I rediscovered it with the Polyend, and I can say that that’s the best piece of kit I’ve bought since my OP-1. I need to go back and check out some of the software trackers now, too — although I don’t see why; the Polyend is great and when I make music, I want to get away from the computer and use an instrument.

This is a great thread!!

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Way back, Atari ST owners were practically always the MIDI guys & girls, and Amiga people used trackers (there was OctaMED for those who used trackers AND had MIDI gear but…). So I suppose it’s understandable / natural that as a ST user one wouldn’t have stumbled upon trackers too easily, considering ST had a very good MIDI support, software and ports built in, whereas Amiga’s sound chip was excellent for sample playback and people tended to capitalize on those.

(I know there have been both trackers for ST and “proper” MIDI sequencers for Amiga, but practically all MIDI studios I visited had a ST, and practically all demoscene / tracker musicians I knew had an Amiga and later possibly a PC with ST3/IT/FT2.)

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buzz was one of the best in terms of simplicity and possibilities

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Radium is worth mentioning as modern tracker. very innovative. has pd and faust embedded, expands on Buzz approach (modularity + trackerness)

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Buzz was incredible back in 2000-2004. I was like a kid in a candy store with my $75 pawn shop Pentium. The sample recorders in particular were way ahead of their time, basically like Octatrack flex recorders that could be sequenced for live sampling. And there were a ridiculous amount of synths and effects, too.

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Yeah. Not to hijack the thread, but I bought the Atari ST for two reasons: it had MIDI, and it was one of the personal computers with a whole megabyte of RAM built in, addressable in one go. Imagine that — a whole megabyte!

Back to the thread topic. :slight_smile: I am interested to hear about trackers on Android and iOS, too. Especially Android right now; I’ve swiped a Galaxy Tab from work for a couple of weeks, and want to see if the music production scene on it is any less bleak than the last time I used an Android tablet.

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