The Atari STe – Still The World’s Tightest Music Computer

Atari_STEHexfix93 (Velvet Acid Christ) has been doing some tests, trying to figure out which computer/sequencer combination is the tightest for doing electronic music.

He tested sequencers by sequencing a series of 16th notes, recording the output, viewing it in an audio editor and checking how much the 16th notes deviated from where they should be. .

He found three computer/sequencer combinations that he thinks are tighter than anything produced today – and they’re all ancient.

The winner?

The Atari STe:

The Atari STe is monochrome in 640×480 max res, 8mhz, yes, 8mhz motorola 68000 processor, with 720k floppy drive and no hard drive, external mouse and monitor, a space hog. Doesn’t make noise though.

The timing is super tight with drums, if you put the drums on midi channel 1 and bass on midi 2, and put the hardware for the drums and bass 1 and 2 on the midi out chain, the drums and bass will be super tight. You can throw 170 bpm 32nd and 64th notes at it and doesn’t choke. It’s amazing.

If you are doing aggressive electronic, high temp, or glitchy stuff with hardware, these are the best sequencers. No PC or modern MAC can match it.

How tight is the Atari STe?

Tight to 1ms.

Anyone else try tests like this?

It seems a bit pathetic that the tightest computer for sequencing would be 20 years old.

(Via Synthtopia.)


2 thoughts on “The Atari STe – Still The World’s Tightest Music Computer

  1. Doesn’t surprise me. The Atari has built in midi-ports, you don’t have to use external soundcards and boxes. On top of that: the Atari is dedicated: no virus scanners, multi-tasking, updates, background processes.
    Most Atari users know this and that’s why the Atari is still used by musicians.

  2. Chances are the bulk of that 1mS will be caused by the drum machine, followed by a slight delay cased by MIDI information around the note info, then the ST itself.

    Sequencers like Cubase used to prioritise the first 8 tracks, regardless of the MIDI channel, for timing accuracy, so a General MIDI instrument (Which ALWAYS had drums on channel 10) could have it’s drum info tightened up by moving the track to track 1 within Cubase.

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