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C-Lab Notator Add-Ons

C-Lab Notator Add-Ons

Postby Atari Music Network » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:29 am

AMN member, David Etheridge, has submitted a list of Notator add-ons with commentaries for each. Another MIDI hardware list for Atari ST will eventually go up on the main site. But until then, I'd like to invite him to post his list here for others to enjoy.
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Re: C-Lab Notator Add-Ons

Postby exxosuk » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:45 am

No sooner said than done!


Notator doesn't just offer a superb program, but also some extra
add ons to increase the capabilities out of all proportion. They
Unitor:-the perfect twit proof synchroniser-just plug it in and
forget about it. This comes in two versions: The original C-lab
Unitor had the program dongle built in (there are seperate
Unitors for both Creator and Notator), whereas E-magic's Unitor
2 has a seperate port for the program dongle, and could also be
used with Logic on the Atari for sync purposes. Unitor offers two
extra MIDI ins (which are merged with the Atari's own MIDI in),
and two independent MIDI outs, covering channels E1-16, and F1-
16. It also reads and writes SMPTE in all the usual formats. The
level direct to tape on an Fostex or Tacam 8 track is exactly 0dB,
so you don't need to go via the desk, or record at a lower level.
It also seems to generate minimal crosstalk on tape (in my
experience Steinberg's Timelock worked well, but was exceptionally
noisy, bleeding across tracks even at -10dB or less).
Combiner: With 2mB or more of memory and running Softlink, you
can run up to 9 programs with true multitasking. Combiner allows
up to four dongle protected programs to be used at the same time,
or switched in and out. Unitor plugs into the outer face of
Export: C-lab's MIDI channel expander that plugs into the RS232
modem connector on the Atari. This give an extra 48 channels of
MIDI (B, C and D1-16). However, be aware that the modem port
basically isn't fast enough for the job of running all 48
channels accurately. Port B will be okay, but the Notator manual
suggests that you use ports C and D for 'non time dependent'
(whatever that's supposed to mean) MIDI info. Export will also
work with other make sequencing packages such as Dr. T's KCS
program. To get round the problems, you'll need:
Log 3: this is the multiport expander and dongle for both Logic
AND Notator. From version 3.21, the code in Notator was re-
written, so that ports B, C and D are now routed automatically to
ports G. H and I in Log 3. Timing problems are now eliminated,
but, as far as I know, you can't run Log 3 and Export together
with Notator for 9 output, 144 MIDI channel use (although it
would be nice!!), contrary to some Internet claims, although they
WILL work with Logic. NOTE: you can't use the original Unitor
with Log 3, as they BOTH have the program dongle built in.
Something's likely to go bang if you try it!
For video fans, we have:
Steady Eye: a VITC (Vertical Integrated Timecode) which reads
frame accurate time code even in freeze frame or single frame
advance mode. Steady Eye will also generate phase locked
SMPTE/EBU code, and can control VTRs via its sync out. It
connects to Unitor via the multiport.
Human Touch: from version 3 onwards, this unit allowed you to
sync Notator to audio tracks. You could take a tempo guide from
say, a drum track, and Notator could then create a sync reference
tempo map. You could even use the built in microphone and clap
along to set the tempo!
And last but by no means least, there was the Notator Training
Video, distributed by the Sound on Sound bookshop. I got one of the
last copies in 2000, but some kind soul has uploaded most (if not
all) of it on Youtube, so you can get an instant masterclass in
Notator FREE!

Hints and tips.
You may find that Notator does strange things when loading, or
refuses to load. When this happens, it'll be almost certainly that
there's some grot on the contacts with Log 3/Unitor. Even if you
don't move them about, you'd be surprised how much grot gets in
there! Simple remedy: clean the contacts with isopropyl alcohol on
a cotton bud, and you'll see the grot on the bud as a result.
If you're still getting no joy, try this remedy from Barrie at
Keychange Music Services (the UK's premier Atari guy, and a
lifesaver to us all): The tines on the cartridge port and Log 3
that grip the spade connectors lose their temper over time and can
fail to make contact. Using a 2mm screwdriver GENTLY ease them
together so that they grip the spade contacts on the adjoining unit
more securely. Clean again with isopropyl alcohol and cotton buds
and away you go. Job done!

And finally, ditch your Atari monitor and get a large SVGA PC
monitor and an adaptor lead (£15 or thereabouts from Keychange, and
there are other suppliers around the world). Al of a sudden you
can see everything in techni black and white; even 32 tracks per
pattern is now readable, and you can also see the screen on the
Atari version of Logic!

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