Impulse Tracker

Impulse Tracker

Impulse Tracker is a multi-track digital sound tracker (music sequencer) which proliferated on the DOS platform. It was authored by Jeffrey "Pulse" Lim, and example music was provided by Jeffrey Lim and Chris Jarvis.

The software was distributed as freeware, though the author supplied extra features, such as support for WAV output and IPX networks, for a fee (in the order of US$30). After the stereo WAV writer plugin was publicly pirated, the original author announced that he would discontinue development after version 2.14. Impulse Tracker's interface was very similar to, and could be considered the spiritual successor, of ScreamTracker 3. The entire program was coded in Assembly language.

Like in most module editors, music is arranged on a grid of channels. Each supports note on and note off instructions similar to MIDI. Impulse Tracker modules use the .IT file extension.

One of the features which set this MOD editor apart was NNAs, New Note Actions. If a note on command is received on the same channel as another instrument which is still playing, NNAs allow the user to customize the subsequent action:

  • Cut: The new instrument replaces the current instrument.
  • Continue: The old instrument continues to play using its ADSR curve.
  • Off: The old instrument begins the release section of its ADSR curve.
  • Fade: The old instrument fades out to 0 volume at a designated rate overriding the ADSR curve.

Another feature that set Impulse Tracker apart from other trackers was its support for hardware MIDI channels on the Gravis Ultrasound, InterWave and Sound Blaster 32 card families (provided enough RAM is available).

The last version, v2.14 Patch #5, was released April 8, 1999.

Impulse Tracker clones

CheeseTracker is a GNU General Public License Impulse Tracker clone created by Juan Linietsky also known as Reduz, based on the Qt graphical toolkit. It runs on Mac OS X, Linux and some other Unix-like operating systems.

Schism Tracker is intended to match the look and feel of Impulse Tracker as closely as possible. The user interface can optionally be built on Simple DirectMedia Layer, which makes it highly portable: Schism Tracker can be run on FreeBSD, Linux, Mac OS X, MorphOS, Windows and ZETA. The LibModPlug library is used for player features. Supported formats include IT, S3M, MOD, MT2 and XM. Saving to WAV and MIDI are also supported. It is free software available under the GNU General Public License.

BeRoTracker is a closed source freeware modular tracker which supports the loading and saving of MOD, XM, S3M, IT files and its native format BRT. It supports VST/VSTi and various MIDI-related operations (MIDI in, out, import and export), plus it supports the extensions to legacy formats introduced in ModPlug Tracker. It also comes with an experimental interface which mimics that of Impulse Tracker. BeRoTracker is only available for Windows, however a Linux build is currently in the works.

reViSiT is a Virtual Studio Technology instrument, developed by Chris Nash, which has an interface derived from Impulse Tracker 2. The VST architecture allows the program to run within a host application (examples include AudioMulch, Jeskola Buzz and Psycle) - allowing tracking and sequencing in the same song. The program supports MOD, S3M, XM and IT files, and saves its own songs either automatically in the host's own format, or in a ZIP archive containing module information in XML format and samples in Microsoft WAV format. reViSiT supports both MIDI (e.g. external devices or other VSTi) and sampled instruments. The software is closed source freeware, but a professional version, designed for surround sound with improved audio routing, is planned for the future. Versions supporting non-Windows platforms, such as Unix and Mac, are also planned.

ChibiTracker is an Impulse Tracker clone created by Juan Linietsky also known as Reduz or Reduzio. It was released 24 November 2006. The tracker features custom skins and an advanced sample editor. It is open source and can be compiled on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, FreeBSD and BeOS. ChibiTracker can load and save modules in .MOD (ProTracker Module), .S3M (Scream Tracker 3 Module), .XM (FastTracker II Module) and .IT (Impulse Tracker Module).

Software .IT players

  • Winamp (Win32), a popular MP3 player that supports module formats. (Until today Winamp has never supported .IT files 100% perfectly. For example, retriggered notes and MMX filters are still not played correctly)
  • VLC
  • XMPlay
  • XMMS, an X11 (Linux/Unix) MP3 and module player modelled on Winamp.
  • TiMidity, a multi-interface MIDI/MOD player
  • MikMod
  • ModPlug Tracker, a tracker with support for VST effect plugins, DLS, SF2 sound banks and Dolby ProLogic Surround
  • SoundPlay, an MP3 and module player for BeOS and ZETA systems.
  • EvilPlayer, audio player for Windows
  • Renoise (Win32, GNU/Linux and Mac OS X), music tracker software
  • MikIT, a player for .IT files. Supports all filters in Impulse Tracker
  • jetAudio

See also

Sound examples

External links

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