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 Ad Lib, Inc. Visual Composer At a Glance  
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arrowReleased: 1989  arrowVersion: 1.50
arrowRated: Not Reviewedarrow Add review:  (0)
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Vincent van der Leun writes:
Ad Lib released one of the first soundcards for IBM-pc's back in 1987, the Ad Lib Music Synthesizer Card. This card featured a 2-operator FM chip (YM3812 if I remember correctly).

Soon after that they released Visual Composer. This program featured a mouse-driven black & white interface on CGA (and maybe also Hercules) graphic cards. It featured one screen which displayed a pianoroll, not unlike current MIDI sequencers. You could input notes with your mouse. It featured two modes, in the first mode you could use 9 melodic voices only and in second mode you could use 6 melodic and 5 percussion voices.

It sounded incredible at that time. If you have played DOS games that supported the Ad Lib card, you could get an idea what kind of music you can create with VC. It was not possible to create new sounds in Visual Composer, you had to buy Ad Lib Instrument Maker in order to do this.

Ad Lib also released the MIDI Supplemental Kit. This added compatibility for the Roland MPU401 MIDI-interface to Visual Composer, which meaned that you could use your MIDI-keyboard to input notes. I think just before Ad Lib, Inc. became Ad Lib Multimedia they released their own MIDI interface card, which came with the MIDI Supplemental Kit (and possibly also with Visual Composer).

The songs created with Visual Composer are saved in Ad Lib's own ROL format. You could use the Ad Lib Jukebox (bundled with Ad Lib MSC cards) program to play them back, or you could use Ad Lib Pop-Tunes (sold seperately, this was a program to playback ROL files in the background, while you worked in DOS. This was quite impressive at the time)

Sadly Ad Lib Multimedia went bankrupt a couple of years ago. I think version 1.5 was the last version they produced.

If you know a place where I can buy VC for a few bucks (preferably in Europe), please let me know.

Good Points
Very easy to use It was very stable (but don't try to run VC on Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 machines)
Bad Points
Very limited by today standards Most people will not like the quality of sounds it could produce. You had to buy Instrument Maker to make own sounds.

 Ad Lib, Inc. Visual Composer Specifications:

Digital IOs:

Max tracks: 11
Maximum Resolution:-
Filetypes supported:
Hardware supported:
Ad Lib Music Synthesizer Card
Ad Lib MIDI Supllemental Kit

 Visual Composer Links

On-line music by Giorgio Binda Giorgio Binda makes available his own music in mp3. download free

Try the Sequencers links page for more..