Alexander Zolotov's PixiTracker, and PixiTracker 1Bit

edited March 20 in General Vote Up0

I bought PixiTracker a long time ago. Played a little bit and then quickly discarded it as some chip tune toy of little use.

Then, a few days ago when Comrade Zolotov updated both PixiTracker apps for .xm export, etc. so I took them for another spin to figure out how to get their sequences into SunVox. Figured it out, and posted about it in another thread.

But, I kept playing with PixiTracker for the last couple of days. I know it looks like a video game from the 80's, but this app has so much capability for a great deal more than I originally thought. The sound packs it comes with are decent, and if you run the octaves down and mess with velocity, and scale.... then paste in some of your own samples... you can easily get very non-chiptuney compositions out of it.

Then, you can export the whole thing, complete with patterns, tracking, your tweaked sounds, etc. into SunVox for more complexity and effects. Or, as a good quality .wav file. Or, export out the midi by itself. I tried all of this and was very impressed. Brought PixiTracker's exported midi into Auria Pro and it appeared to be very accurate.

So much function and great use from what appears on the surface to be a nostalgic toy. And, it's only $3! Or, free for the desktop.

I don't know if this was an error over the weekend, but I'd only purchased PixiTracker about a year ago. But, there's a bundle that lets you also download the other PixiTracker 1Bit for free. At least there was over the weekend.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app-bundle/pixitrackers/id982131454?mt=8

Comments

  • 26 Comments sorted by Date Votes
  • It's features are quite extensive. Even shuffling changes in realtime. Unlike how it looks, it's a pretty serious piece of software.

  • edited March 20 Vote Up0

    @psychicmonkey said:
    It's features are quite extensive. Even shuffling changes in realtime. Unlike how it looks, it's a pretty serious piece of software.

    Yes, it's an impressive surprise. I've always been going for all the shiny, slick looking new stuff... but I'm finding it's "Space Invaders" looks are VERY deceptive. You can actually do quite a bit with this application. And, most of it is fairly intuitive and/or easy to figure out.

    And, you can also turn the BPM all the way down to 1bpm. Cool!

    I'm surprised how little it gets mentioned.

  • The new version of PixiTracker also includes new sound banks including orchestral, fm and percussion. The packs that were there before were already pretty choice including the synth and 8bit packs.

    Adding a play space like PixiTracker to Sunvox really makes for quick intuitive composition.

  • edited March 20 Vote Up0

    @Littlewoodg said:
    The new version of PixiTracker also includes new sound banks including orchestral, fm and percussion. The packs that were there before were already pretty choice including the synth and 8bit packs.

    Adding a play space like PixiTracker to Sunvox really makes for quick intuitive composition.

    This one thing alone has completely opened up SunVox for me. I could never get cozy with the vertical tracker and implementation in SunVox. Using PixiTracker's very easy, yet powerful interface... to get the main part of arrangement and sequence down... then finishing it with more modules, etc. in SunVox or Auria Pro, is a great boon.

    Was it actually this easy before and I just hadn't noticed it? Or, is getting the PixiTracker projects easily into SunVox a new development with the recent .xm export add?

  • I'm going to need to hear examples of this scenario you're describing :)

  • @brice said:
    I'm going to need to hear examples of this scenario you're describing :)

    I made a couple of short 30sec snippets last night. Might string them together and see if they sound ok enough as an example. These were just mucking about trying to learn how to use the software though.

  • Would love to hear. I'm unfamiliar with those apps, but the process you've described sounds very interesting.

  • @skiphunt said:

    @Littlewoodg said:
    The new version of PixiTracker also includes new sound banks including orchestral, fm and percussion. The packs that were there before were already pretty choice including the synth and 8bit packs.

    Adding a play space like PixiTracker to Sunvox really makes for quick intuitive composition.

    This one thing alone has completely opened up SunVox for me. I could never get cozy with the vertical tracker and implementation in SunVox. Using PixiTracker's very easy, yet powerful interface... to get the main part of arrangement and sequence down... then finishing it with more modules, etc. in SunVox or Auria Pro, is a great boon.

    Was it actually this easy before and I just hadn't noticed it? Or, is getting the PixiTracker projects easily into SunVox a new development with the recent .xm export add?

    Interesting, I also don't get along with vertical trackers (although I think SunVox is great anyway), I'll take a look at this combo.

  • edited March 20 Vote Up0

    @skiphunt the .xm sharing is a new deal, previously the 2 apps could share .wav only.
    The new feature really opens up both apps. Can play/build on iPhone, ship to iPad, substitute other samples in Sunvox, crazy fun

    @TheVimFuego
    Another horizontal tracker worthy of note is Beepstreets iSequenceHD, roughly the same workflow as PixiTracker and crazy deep, capability-wise somewhere in the middle between PixiTracker and the PixiTracker+Sunvox combination.

    Yet another angle on Sunvox is the very trad tracker app VividTracker, its .mod files directly "Open In" Sunvox.

    And if you're a Renoise user, these PixiTracker .xm files will transfer and work there too

  • @Littlewoodg
    Thanks for the recommendation. Last updated in April 2014, makes me a little nervous about the 32/64bit thing. I'll see if I can get along again with SunVox, I've been fiddling with trackers since the days of the Atari ST so you'd think something would click by now. :)

    Much else on sale I see right now, I think this month's disposable income is accounted for!

  • edited March 21 Vote Up0

    @TheVimFuego said:
    @Littlewoodg
    Thanks for the recommendation. Last updated in April 2014, makes me a little nervous about the 32/64bit thing. I'll see if I can get along again with SunVox, I've been fiddling with trackers since the days of the Atari ST so you'd think something would click by now. :)

    Much else on sale I see right now, I think this month's disposable income is accounted for!

    Yep iSequence might be one of those apps on the chopping block when everything becomes 64bit...but it is amazing. And there's an enthusiastic user base hoping for the best. Meanwhile this new development for PixiTracker + Sunvox ticks all those boxes and more besides...(pun intended)

    PixiTrackers simplicity is a little deceptive, in that one can easily import samples via resampling in app, via ACP or live recording, then trim, normalize, optimize, and reverse them, and save as distinct sounds, and or build complete kits.

  • @TheVimFuego said:
    @Littlewoodg
    Thanks for the recommendation. Last updated in April 2014, makes me a little nervous about the 32/64bit thing. I'll see if I can get along again with SunVox, I've been fiddling with trackers since the days of the Atari ST so you'd think something would click by now. :)

    Much else on sale I see right now, I think this month's disposable income is accounted for!

    I looked at that other option, but PixiTracker is so freakin' easy to use and figure out. Can sound great too. It's only $2.99 and if you buy it via the bundle, you get PixiTracker 1Bit included for the same price. They're also small files and universal.

    And, they were both just updated so I guess they're safe from the great 32/64bit cull.

    And, keep in mind... there are FREE desktop versions of all his stuff for a requested donation only: http://warmplace.ru

  • edited March 21 Vote Up0

    @skiphunt
    You're right about the freakin easyness of the Pixis...my solve was to strip all the killer sounds from iSequence and place them into PixiTracker

    The iPhone version of iSequence lives again! (Except now with up to 12 tracks and 64 steps)

    Check out these 2 kids and their vids on putting sounds into PixiTracker...

    https://youtu.be/RhDNL6bzsIA

    https://youtu.be/ljnUhIHTZuc

    There's tons of YouTube stuff on all of Comrade Z's apps

  • what, did you say there's a version of isequence for the iPhone, I can't find it do you have a link?

  • @kobamoto said:
    what, did you say there's a version of isequence for the iPhone, I can't find it do you have a link?

    there was...it doesn't load correctly anymore...what I was saying is with all the iSequence .wav loaded into PixiTracker, it's a kind of resurrection, except PixiTracker allows up to 12 tracks (iPhone iSequence had only 5, iSequenceHD 8). And PixiTracker let's you build sequences made of chunks of up to 64 steps (iSequence 8, HD 16)

  • oh I see, love isequence never knew there was an iPhone version... would have been a great app on an old iPhone

  • edited March 21 Vote Up0

    @kobamoto said:
    oh I see, love isequence never knew there was an iPhone version... would have been a great app on an old iPhone

    Yep it was cool

  • @brice said:
    I'm going to need to hear examples of this scenario you're describing :)

    Same here. And, to me, the same goes for SunVox itself. Played with examples, but they have yet to move me. Maybe someone has used Alex’s apps in a different way…

  • @Enkerli said:

    @brice said:
    I'm going to need to hear examples of this scenario you're describing :)

    Same here. And, to me, the same goes for SunVox itself. Played with examples, but they have yet to move me. Maybe someone has used Alex’s apps in a different way…

    http://sunvox.blogspot.com/

    Examples of composition done on Sunvox over the years. These will tell you something about the tastes of some of the people making music with Sunvox, (and the taste of the curator). Really only scant hints at what the software can do.

  • edited March 21 Vote Up0

    It could very well be that SunVox and/or Pixitracker aren't for some of you at all. I didn't think it was for me for a long time, until I recently spent quality time with them and it finally just clicked. That might not happen for some of you.

    My experiments last night aren't anything worth sharing. But the next thing I make that's interesting and not just testing files, I'll post it here.

    In the meantime, there are free desktop versions, as I mentioned in case you don't want to gamble with the $3 iOS entry fee for PixiTracker. To each their own. Many here seem to love the Beat Hawk 2 app. I watched the videos and decided it's general sound, etc. wasn't for me. It's entirely possible that PixiTracker and/or SunVox won't be a good fit for some. They weren't for me at first, but not im smitten.

    Here here! I raise my Zolotov cocktail to Comrade Z! ;)

  • @skiphunt said:
    It could very well be that SunVox and/or Pixitracker aren't for some of you at all.

    There’s that and there’s something about listening to what an app affords in a new way. Which is why examples are so useful. Even if your experiments aren’t worth sharing, the fact that you are experimenting is inspiring.

    With sooooo many apps and so many possibilities, it’s often hard to stick to one until it really “clicks”. Zolotov’s apps are surprisingly powerful and the idea probably is to get lost in them.

  • I like the spectral synth in Sunvox. I'd like the FM synth a lot more if I could chain operators.

  • @Enkerli said:

    @skiphunt said:
    It could very well be that SunVox and/or Pixitracker aren't for some of you at all.

    There’s that and there’s something about listening to what an app affords in a new way. Which is why examples are so useful. Even if your experiments aren’t worth sharing, the fact that you are experimenting is inspiring.

    With sooooo many apps and so many possibilities, it’s often hard to stick to one until it really “clicks”. Zolotov’s apps are surprisingly powerful and the idea probably is to get lost in them.

    Well, there are two motivations for this experimentation. 1. I'm trying to break myself out of the mindless conspicuous consumerism where I'm buying apps just because they're shiny, new, and have become the app flavor of the week. 2. There are apps I didn't quite "get", or had made assumptions about and tucked away, lost in a forgotten folder before completely exploring them.

    PixiTracker is one of those. I only recently put in the time to see what it could really do, as a result of the recent update. The key for me being the fact it'll now let me get over my SunVox composition hurdle. But, it made me wonder about all those other apps I've bought, played with for a week like a toddler, then tossed into the toy bin to be forgotten as soon as the next shiny toy caught my eye.

    As a side note, although the export via wifi, then "open in" via Safari on your iOS device works, I can't get it to work with exported .wav files. Works on the desktop fine. The only way I can export a sound file from these apps and stay inside iOS, is to export via audio copy, then paste from general pasteboard into another app like AudioShare. Seems like the export via wifi should work the same as it does with the .xm format, but it doesn't for some reason. Unless of course I'm doing something wrong.

  • @u0421793 said:
    I like the spectral synth in Sunvox. I'd like the FM synth a lot more if I could chain operators.

    I'm not a 100% sure but isn't Phase Modulation very similar to Frequency Modulation?
    If this is so then you could chain as mny as you like:

    http://www.warmplace.ru/wiki/sunvox:manual_en#modulator

  • @skiphunt said:
    Well, there are two motivations for this experimentation. 1. I'm trying to break myself out of the mindless conspicuous consumerism where I'm buying apps just because they're shiny, new, and have become the app flavor of the week. 2. There are apps I didn't quite "get", or had made assumptions about and tucked away, lost in a forgotten folder before completely exploring them.

    Both really good reasons! Chances are, we can all relate with both. And we end up making less music.

    It can be hard to resist new apps but it’s often too much distraction to follow each of them.
    As for tucked away apps, got plenty of those. Including BM2 and NanoStudio. Bought them when they were released but, apart from a couple experiments, they never really made it into my workflow. Not sure updates would really improve on their stickiness, to be honest.

    get over my SunVox composition hurdle.

    Exactly! It’s idiosyncratic enough that it can be hard to get into a flow, especially in terms of creating patterns. (And especially if you never wrapped your head around trackers.) But PixiTracker does make a big difference. Still unusual as a method (choose the note, then “type it in”). But it makes more sense than the virtual tracker, to me.

    And, for some reason, having 32 or 64 steps makes it feel less constraining. Of course, you can always combine patterns. But 16 steps always felt too claustrophobic, for me. Same issue with drum machines and step sequencers.

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