Tip #2: Getting Started With NTRQ

I had a quick go at making a basic tutorial. It turned out quite big :)

Let me know how you get on with this – too much detail, not clear enough, not enough pictures?

Also attached is a .sav file that you should end up with at the end of the tutorial. You’ll have to unzip and rename it – WordPress wouldn’t let me upload a .sav file.

ntrq-tutorial-01.sav

Getting Started With NTRQ
-------------------------

This info is correct as of NTRQ V1.0.

First a quick tip for you LSDJ die-hards: with your cursor in the Song Info window (top left), hold SELECT+B then press LEFT to bring up the Options Menu. The option "ALT NOTE ENTRY", swaps the +/-1 and +/-10 controls around when editing values to make them the same as LSDJ.

For this basic tutorial I'm going to ignore the DPCM track (Track E).

Part One : Making a Kick Drum with Track C (triangle waveform)
------------------------------------------------------------
As with many aspects of NTRQ there are a couple of ways to achieve this. One way is to use the Software Pitch Sweep or alternatively use the Pitch Table. Here's how you do both.

Software Sweep Method
---------------------
Move down to the Pattern Editor window and put your cursor on the command column of Track C on the first tick/step. Put 00 here - this will select Instrument 00 for the Pattern. With the cursor on the 00, hold SELECT and press DOWN to move to the Instrument table. Note: you don't *have* to have the cursor on the "00" but doing so will place your cursor on the line on the Instrument table that contains the settings for Instrument 00 - handy!

OK, in the Instrument table use the Gate value (GT) to set the length of time the sound will be audible. A setting of 08 should be OK for this purpose. Then we need to setup a Pitch Effect for the Software Pitch Sweep. Move the cursor to the Aux parameter (AU). Set this value to 41. This means that the parameters for our Pitch Sweep will be at index/position 41 of the Pitch Table (PTAB). With the cursor on the 41, hold SELECT and press right. The cursor will jump to index/position 41 of the Pitch Table - handy again! Set the first number to 60 and the second number to FC. This will give a rapid downwards pitch sweep. Time to make some noise.

Jump back to the Pattern Editor window and put a C4 on step 00, 08, 10 and 18. Press START to hear it in action.

While the track is still running, move back down to the Pitch Table (PTAB). The FC value governs the speed of the Pitch Sweep so try changing this. FF would make the sweep slower, F8 faster. 00 turns it off, 01 will make the pitch go up instead of down, 08 will make an upward sweep but fast. When you're done, set it back to FC (or similar). The other value, 60, tells NTRQ that you want a Pitch Sweep and also controls the stepping speed. For example, if you set the value to 63, you'll hear that the Pitch Sweep is not only slower but you can hear distinct steps in the changing pitch. It's a useful effect but not for making Kick Drums.

Before we move on, move up to the Speed Table (top right) and change the 03 on index/position 00 to 02. No reason, it just feels like a better speed :)

Pitch Table Method
------------------
We'll use the same Instrument, 00. You could use a new Instrument though, if you want to,
To remove the Pitch Sweep effect from Instrument 00 (your Kick Drum sound), set the Aux (AU) parameter to 00. You can do this while the Song is playing if you like (actually 99.9% of things in NTRQ can be edited/added/changed while a Song is playing).

This time we're going to set a list of values in the Pitch Table that will produce an effect similar to the Pitch Sweep method.

First you need to tell NTRQ that your Instrument is to use the Pitch Table. Do this by setting 01 in the Pitch Table Start parameter (PT) of Instrument 00. It might be an idea to stop the song (if it's playing) before we do the next bit - you don't *need* to but it might sound weird while we're constructing the Pitch Table entries while the sound is playing. Up to you.

With the cursor on the 01 (PT), hold SELECT and press RIGHT. The cursor will jump to index/position 01 of the Pitch Table. THe pitch table method gives you two choices - you can use relative or absolute pitches to achieve the sweeping effect. If you use absolute pitches in the table, the note you put in the Pattern to play the kick drum will be irrelevant. Using relative pitches will use the note pitch in the Pattern as the starting pitch. The one advantage of the relative pitches is that you could get some variation by playing the kick drum at slightly different pitches or to sound like tom toms etc. Anyway, I'll show you both methods.

Relative first. Set the following values in the Pitch Table, starting at index/position 01:

01:ED F0 ;ED=set pitch offset -2, F0=voice on, wait for 1 tick
02:E8 F0 ;E8=pitch offset -7, F0=voice on, wait 1 tick
03:DD F0 ;DD=pitch offset -18
04:D0 F0 ;D0=pitch offset -31
05:FF 04 ;FF=jump to index/position 04

(text after the ";" is just an exaplanation of each step. Number before the ":" is the index/position number)

Start the Song again. It should sound *similar* to the Pitch Sweep method. One difference is that you'll hear the pitch is held for a little while before the note is cut off. This is because the step "FF 04" of the pitch table effectively holds the pitch at -31 semitones below the Pattern note until the Gate setting cuts the note off. This can be desirable or not. To tidy it up a bit, leave the Song playing and move to Instrument 00 (in the Instrument Table) and reduce the Gate (GT) value to something like 05.

There is another way you could cut the sound off. Set the Gate (GT) parameter to something like 10. The pitch holding effect will be very clear. With the track playing, jump to the Pitch Table and move to index/position 04. Change that line to read:

04:00 00 ;00=pitch offset 0, 00=kill sound

You should hear that the sound is cut off instead of being held. Just four Pitch Table entries is probably a bit small for a meaty Kick Drum though. You can always add a few more, just remember to use the Jump command (FF) to stop NTRQ from attempting to play the whole of the Pitch Table!

OK, now we'll try using absolute pitch values and also make the Kick Drum sound a bit more interesting by making into a bass sound with a kick.

Go back to the Pitch Table (PTAB) and change the entries (starting from index/position 01) to:

01:72 F0 ;set absolute note 22 (hex)
02:6F F0 ;set absolute note 1F
03:68 F0 ;set absolute note 18
04:00 F0 ;set offset 00 i.e. original pitch of Pattern Note
05:FF 04 ;jump to step 04

Before playing the song, go to Instrument 00 in the Instrument Table and set the Gate (GT) parameter to 10.

Play the song. Sounds a bit weird right? What's happening is that for the first 3 ticks/frames of the notes in the Pattern, the Pitch Table is forcing absolute note values (22, 1F, 18) so you're getting the kick drum sound but then on index/position 04 of the Pitch Table, we're telling NTRQ to stop modifying the original pitch of the Pattern note. The jump command (FF) on index/position 05 means that for the remainder of the note, the original pitch will be heard.

Go to the Pattern Editor. Change all the C4 notes to C2. Now it sounds better :)

This is quite a common trick to mix a kick drum type of sound with a bass sound. If you change the notes in the Patern, you'll notice that even though the bass sound changes pitch, the kick drum stays the same.

One last thing to put some of this to use.

Go to the Instrument Table and (as long as you've only been working with Instrument 00 so far), get the Gate (GT) parameter of Instrument 01 to 0A, then set the Gate parameter of Instrument 00 to 0A too.

Go to the Pattern Editor and enter all of this into Track C

C2 00
-- --
-- --
-- --
C3 01
-- --
-- --
-- --
C2 00
-- --
-- --
-- --
C3 01
-- --
-- --
-- --
C2 00
-- --
-- --
-- --
C3 01
-- --
-- --
-- --
D#2 00
-- --
-- --
-- --
D#3 01
-- --
-- --
-- --

Hit START to play the song and we should have a reasonable bass line with kick drum sound.

4 comments to Tip #2: Getting Started With NTRQ

  • I’m already working on a song on NTRQ which is coming along quite quickly. Just wondering if you have any demo songs that people can tear apart, if not I guess it’ll be up to the early adopters to swap save files.

    • I don’t really have any Jeff. Problem is, the few demo tracks I put out videos of were all done during NTRQ development and while I still have the song files they now don’t work because of changes made to NTRQ prior to release.

      I have a bit of a New Order cover I was working on that might still work with V1.x – I’ll have a look later.

  • Tsu Ryu

    These tutorials are very helpful indeed. I just got started using this program after LSDJ, hopefully I’ll become more fluent with software/programs like these. I’ll continuously study. :D

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