Sonic State Studio / Sequencers / PASSPORT trax

Average rating: 10.0/10 out of 10

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STILL WARM a Professional user from USA writes:
TRAX is the MOST basic of all sequencers. It was created by Passport Designs in HalfMoon Bay in the early '90's and was a very intuitive piece of software. The interface is extremely simple, and if your are familiar with a tape deck transport, then you can understand the basics of the program.

While it does not have all of the fancy bells and whistles of todays sequencers, it is still full of features, they are just a little different to implement than they would be on the newer sequencers. There are alot of neat little tricks that you can still do in this software that make it easy to use, a few of which I will go over.

Data Input

You can input midi notes with the mouse in the Step Editor, but I prefer a midi keyboard. The nicest thing about this is that you can set up the sequencer to record velocity and pitch bending in step time, so you can essentially "randomize" steady notes or even hi-hat notes for a more realistic feel, or if you set up your sound module to open the cut-off or resonance filters at different levels depending on the velocity , you can achieve some very random sounds that really are distinctive. It will also record in real time, straight from your midi controller (any controller that supports midi), so data input is pretty simple. You can also enter data in tuplets, and set the range for them, change the conducter and create odd timings, and do smooth changes in tempo speeds or abrupt ones. Nothing groundbreaking here.


Basic Editing commands are present, and they support short cuts. All of the basic cut, paste, copy undo, commands that you would acces from your keboard are there, for mac any ways, as well as insert measure, delete measure, mix data, etc. Editing can be done in all of the windows, using the same commands, so you are given basically three levels of editing capabilities, which is helpful if you want to edit whole sections, or just a note or two. You can also go to a different window and edit velocities, key transpose, etc., so it really does have all the basic features of a modern seq. Again, nothing new here, and to think this program was out in the early 90's.


The MIDI is a bit lacking on this,in terms of channels and compatability with todays standards. You really only have two midi managers to use with this program: Trax or Patch bay. Trax midi magr. allows you to basically plug 'n play, Patch bay allows you to virtually tie it into other programs that support patch bay like Megalomania( an effects Midi data filter type tool) or other midi software. You only have acces to 16 midi channels, so if you are Midi dependant and use alot of midi channels, this probably won't work for you. Again, this is a basic Midi seq.


It does have a sort of librarian, with the patch names of the most popular synths of the time, including a Gen Midi layout to help organize the tracks on the track window. I guess they could be also called maps, if you click on the blank track space, a dialogue comes up asking you which map you would like to use, then the names of all the patches for that particular synth pop up and you click on the one you want. It sends a message to the module and changes the patch for you. A very basic, but helpful feature nonetheless. Korg, Roland, and Proteus models are supported, as well as a generic Gen Midi map so that if your synth is there by name, you can still access it with the Gen Midid map.

The Software is not without it's faults. Like I said. it's very basic. It won't groove for you, sync to video, or do the dishes. It is a pretty straight forward program that was probably very competitive when it came out, but lacks many of the features we have all come to depend on. That said, I love the program. It makes me think harder, and figure out new ways to get things done. Midi delay can be achieved, as well as ghost notes, 64 tracks of midi are availablre, so that can be used with multiple sound modules to create some very layered sounds. There are enough features to accomplish what you want to do, except the lack of Sysex support does create some problems, but alot of new seq are swithching to CC messages any ways, so it may not be needed. Most people would sign this off as obsolete becuase it's not hi-profile software. Too bad.

I give it a 10 simply because it does exactly what I need it to do, sequence midi onto my multi track from the computer, where I add the rest of the instruments and effects and experiment like a madman. Without giving away any secrets, there are things I can do with this software that I haven't figured out how to do on Logic, and so I primarily use this program. I want to create music in a relativly painless environment, not read 250- 300 pg manuals and constantly refer to that manual for instructions regarding simple procedures.

This software has been used on all of my music, 2 CD's, several compilations, & CD-ROMS for business promotions. No one has ever said that the music sounds "old", or outdated, in fact, it seems to be getting more and more popular in the uderground Industrial scene. Check out this software for some eay sequencing tools so you can concentrate more on making music, not how to install drivers and formats and updated versions of OMS or whatever. By the way, the Sys Req for this are minimal, it ran on my Mac SE without any problems at all. ------------------------STILLWARM-----------------------------

Rating: 10 out of 10 posted Saturday, 20-Apr-02 at 11:56
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