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Z4Music ver. 1.5

Z4Music is a music sequencer for MS Windows CE/Windows Mobile/Pocket PC platform. You can create drum loops, or songs (dance/hiphop music, drum solos, ambient, rock, ...). You can also use it as a drum-machine or sampler/sequencer in a live playing or instrument (guitar, bass guitar, keyboards) practising.

Requirements: PocketPC with ARM compatible processor (e.g. iPaq, Acer n10, Pocket LOOX, MyPal A600, MobilePro P300, PocketGear 2060, etc.), min. 200MHz.

What's new in  Z4Music version 1.5:
- Tone properties: Pitch, volume, max. length
- Variable Pattern & Beat length (triples, etc.)
- Looping
- Export to WAV
- CPU/Volume indicators

Try
Z4Music trial for: Pocket PC  (ARM processor), 2MB

Buy
Z4Music for Pocket PC (ARM processor) - buy here

 

About Z4Music

Song is a sequence of patterns, and pattern is a sequence of instrument sounds. Initially, the pattern length is set to 4 beats, with 4 steps per beat (so the pattern length is 16 steps). Song length is limited to 300 bars (i.e. 10 minutes with 4/4, 120 BPM). 

At the top of the window, there is a Level-bar, which consists of these parts (from left to right):

  • Level browse buttons - used to browse through the song levels, - the whole song playlist, current pattern and current instrument.
  • Current object name

Toolbar is under the Level bar, it includes:

  • Mode: Pencil (Drawing&Clearing) / Arrow (Selecting&Moving)
  • CPU load
  • Loudness LED indicators (like on a physical mixer)
  • Play/Stop button
  • Volume button
  • BPM speed button. Note that you can set the BPM accuratelly using the slider up/down arrows.





 

At the beginning with a new file you are in the first pattern (you can see "patt" selected in the Level bar in the top left corner of the screen and "patt 0" title). Here you can browse one level down into some of the instrument slots (WAVE-file samples), or simply draw sequence of the instrument in the row of 16 step buttons. On the top (underneath the toolbar), the sequencer has LEDs indicating the current playing position.

Instrument window provides basic operations with the sample - opening and closing wavefile, and setting it's volume. Note that you can play and stop the sample using general play toolbar button.

Song window has the same interface as Pattern window, it's also a sequencer, so it works on the same principle. It's a map describing when which pattern might be played. Unlike the old tracker style, the patterns can be played simultaneously, so you can make different sound lines in each pattern and then easily mix them together. Note you can use the horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of the screen.


Melody & Dynamics: Note properties panel

In a pattern, you can modify the pitch, volume and max. length of the selected step using the panel in the bottom of the screen. Select the note to edit with an Arrow (select&move mode).


Looping in the song

Position LEDs have a popup menu in the song mode:

  • Loop - loop the selected bar
  • Begin Loop - begin looping on the selected bar
  • End Loop - end looping on the selected bar. Note you can set it also before the Begin Loop mark.
  • Default - loop the whole song
     

Menu

Files

  • New Create a new song that is empty or created using a template
  • Open, Save, Save As Common song file operations
  • Save new version save with the version number that succeeds the higher existing version number of song vith the same base name.
  • Export to WAV Save the whole song as a wavefile. Don't do this on PocketPC if you're lack of memory, one minute of a WAV file takes ca. 10 MB! It's also very slow. We recommend to use this only on the desktop (PC) version (available soon).
    However you can use exporting also on PocketPC when you are creating loops which you want to mix in another song, or if you want to create own samples mixing the other ones together.
    We also recommend to switch on Tools > Smooth resampling option temporarily for exporting.

Tools

  • Song Properties This panel allows you to change the rhythm properties and pattern length for the whole song.
  • Settings Settings dialog (menu Tools>Settings) allows you to solve problems with buffer underrun. This happens when your machine isn't fast enough to generate the sound (too much instruments are played at a time), and the sound output is interrupted by short silences and clicks. There are two ways how to solve it:
    • to scale up the Latency (buffer size), it's the same thing as in Winamp and other software producing sound, the bigger buffer, the more performance, but the longer response time (e.g. 1000ms means you can await the response one second after you do an action).
    • to reduce the sample rate or channels (Format, Stereo), i.e. reduce the quality of output sound


    The "Share audio device" option is initially checked. It solves the problem with PocketPC's audio, which doesn't allow more than one program to use it. This function releases the audio output whenever it's not needed, so you can switch between tasks and play sounds in them. If some problems with sound appears, like clicks, try to uncheck this option, it should help, but the audio output will be always owned by Z4Music, other programs won't play sounds while Z4Music is running.

  • Smooth resampling (causes up to twice CPU load when playing pitched samples) This option switches on Linear Interpolation resampling method to smoothen the pitched samples a bit. It's good when exporting to WAV.
  • Liveact mode (advanced) After selecting Tools>Liveact, Z4Music can behave as a real-time liveact instrument (like drummachine or sampler), you can synchronize the rythm with another playing music using two scrollbars in the bottom of the display. You can do it like a DJ with turntables.
    The first is BPM-fine, it's like pitch slider in a turntable, but it's more accurate ( +- 4% ), you may fine the BPM to match with appropriate music source. The second is BPM-Bend, it's like Pitch Bend, you can temporarily spur or slow down the rythm to match the source, like you can do with a vinyl on turntable.
    In Liveact mode, the selected pattern is played even if you work with an instrument, so you'll be able to add/change instruments without breaking the rythm.
    You can get back to the compose mode unchecking the Tools>Liveact menu item.

Help

  • Help Show help
  • About Show the current version info.
 

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