Saturday, February 13, 2016

MOD Players

Tricky Trackers!

I remember when I first heard tracker music, it was around 1989 and it was a pretty cool experience albeit not on the ST. To be honest, it was something that I never expected to hear from such a small file - after all, I am comparing it to a sound sample of course would eat up the entire space on any floppy disk (and then the Ram).

So, when I upgraded to an Atari STe in 1990, finding a MOD player was one of the first things I attempted. I think that I wanted to ditch chipmusic for this tantalising new style of computer music. It's weird but, back then, I felt disappointed in my Atari ST and its chip music but I don't feel that way now. In fact, I find many of those MODs I find poor and often quite irritating, excluding classics like R-Type, Menace, and a few others.

Today, I'm a chip guy, but that doesn't mean I'm completely against MODs. I just prefer chip. I see videos on YouTube and read people's comments of how they wished a particular ST game sounded more like the Amiga. I get that but, imagine IF our computer did sound the same. Would that be a good thing? I don't think so. The ST is its own entity with the ability to sound its own way using gorgeous chip music. If the ST had the same music capabilities as the Amiga (in games) then why not just buy the Amiga and have done with it?

No other computer out there has to justify itself like the Atari ST and that ... annoys me! Think about it. In fact, this is why I started AtariCrypt because I was tired of the way we were ignored. I want the ST to be an ST and not pretend to be something else. The YM is part of what makes the ST an ST, and that's a good thing and shouldn't be thought of in a negative way. With that off my chest, here is a selection of excellent MOD players for the Atari STe...

Atari STe MOD / Tracker Players

BackTrack - I wasn't too sure about this at first but I cannot deny its playback quality and the selectable frequencies is a brilliant idea that will be useful on every model of Atari. The audio playback sounds great, especially at 50KHz - but you might need a Mega STe for that!! (v4.04 - released 1993 - by Wizzcat)

CD Player STE - This is like a CD player from the 90s. Just copy the MOD files into the same folder as the program and boot it up. Obviously not a GEM program but something that works really well and is very effective and with a fantastic interface. Cracking program - leave it running while you work! (released 1990 - by Light)

DBE Player - Another GEM program to punch out your favourite MODS. The quality is excellent and has a decent playlist feature but it's pretty demanding of the basic model STe (v2.0 - released 1999 - by Sector One)

The MusicPlayer - Ignoring its quirky GEM interface (which is odd) I thought this program produced good sound quality and even supports 50KHz / 8 channels! (v1.0 - released 1994 - by Christian Dahl)

Sirius Player - This is another that refuses to use GEM and replaces that with its own beautiful UI and what a gorgeous player it is!! The sound quality is Grade A with support for 50KHz thus proving a normal 8MHz STe can handle outside of GEM. Also, 8-channel MODS can be played using features like presets /etc/etc. Don't forget to press the HELP key for all of the options. This is my favourite program of the lot because its playback quality is literally mind-boggling!! (v2.0 - released 2001 - by TSCC 2001)

Paula - A great program that makes you wish you'd have bought a Mega STe for that extra grunt! This is yet another example of the sound quality an Atari STe can produce - and in GEM too. My thanks to Pavel Puchala for alerting me to the freeware release! (v2.6 - released 1999 - by Pascal Fellerich)

JAM - A true jack of all trades that works either in GEM or using its own frontend GUI. It features a neat plugin architecture so lots of different file types are supported - not just MODs but various chiptunes. This is absolutely fascinating and JAM always produces excellent sounds! (v1.0 - released 2000 - by Cream)

The CryptO'pinion?

This page proves nothing. Well, except that the Atari STe can easily handle those Amiga MODs with quality playback, no matter what program you decide to use. They're all great. It just depends on your own needs: if you need a GEM player then any of the above is a good choice to install onto your hard drive/ultrasatan.

Yes, they are all great in their own way but I really loved how CD Player can be stacked up and left to play while you're doing something else. Also, JAM is great and can handle a wide variety of different formats too. Ultimately, I think Sirius is best (for me) with its astounding 50Khz playback, so I tend to prefer this above all others.

1 comment:

  1. BackTrack - APP working as ACCesory ! I have listened several modules typing text in 1ST Word Plus or playing Sim City.
    CDPlayer STe - the best GFX but replays the only modules up to +/-150KB.
    Paula - can override even TT !!! Very slooow replay procedure, but there is plugin / driver / resident PRG to replay via Yamaha at - I don't remember now in 100%: 5KHz & 9KHz
    The MusicPlayer - Now I have used this on the emulator Hatari. I discovered this PRG last year. In 1994 I used better players on my AtariFalcon030...