I used to compose tracker "mod" songs about a decade ago. Lately I've been
looking into today's PC-based compositional tools, and for now it looks
like it'll either be Cubase or Buzz.
I tried Buzz out several months ago. It has one very nice, intuitive idea
(a machine window, with connect-the-dots generators and effects) and even
has a tracker-like sequencer interface, which is a heck of a lot more
flexible than any GUI could ever be. But at the time, the program was
simply too buggy, and even some of the things that came with the
installation didn't work right.
Just a month ago, I finally got to sit down with Cubase SX. The 100% GUI
interface lends the software a very professional feel, but I quickly began
to encounter some of the consequences. Using a tracker program, if I
wanted to introduce something basic like a series of rapid decays, the
operation would take literally ten seconds. In Cubase, I had to struggle
with its GUI-driven amplitude graph, and in the end, my poor approximation
of what I wanted had taken about ten minutes. In fact, for the time being,
I'm going to have to abandon Cubase because the pure GUI interface is just
So I'm back to Buzz. I can deal with the constant, constant crashing, by
saving my progress every 60 seconds. But I am currently stuck.
Actually, there are a few things I don't understand:
1) Why is it that Buzz acknowledges my external MIDI keyboard when I use the
Polac VSTi, but ignores it when I use any other VSTi? Obviously, the MIDI
is working fine.
2) Even in the case of the Polac VSTi, using the external MIDI keyboard does
not serve to enter notes into a pattern. Only the PC keyboard works. Why?
3) Here's the thing I'm currently stuck on. Each VSTi has its own unique
list of available parameters as represented in the pattern editor. Just
about none of them support tracker-like (or MIDI-like) effects such as
volume slide, vibrato, portamento etc. This is no surprise. But is there
a Buzz machine I can use to introduce these tracker effects? Obviously it
would have to be positioned between the VST and Master on the machine window.
Or does Buzz have more direct support for this sort of functionality?
4) Is there any way AT ALL to get an oscilloscope for Buzz? Even a totally
unrelated app that just monitors soundcard activity and generates the scope
would be great. I mean, even Winamp has one without any plugins added. It
is just no fun to watch the flashing LEDs or scrolling horizontal line
(which bugs out if you right-click anywhere on the sequence editor).
Cubase's oscilloscope ("Scopion") has a sucky framerate, but at least it's
5) The "Overloader" in Buzz is supposed to do some things I had long
considered essential, such as add scrollbars to the machine window and
decrease the size of the machines themselves. But, even though the latest
version of Overloader supposedly comes with the Buzz install, it doesn't
seem as though it is doing either of these. How does one activate these
6) Is there a way to use a smaller font in the pattern editor? Even at a
decently high resolution, the amount of text I can access in the pattern
editor without needing to constantly scroll left and right isn't all that
If anyone has answers for any of these questions, I'd appreciate the info.