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Test my Midi player, and Sound Card / synth

Test my Midi player, A special note for QuickTime users, Test my Sound card / synth

Intro, Test my web page plug in or Midi player, Test my Sound card / synth, Why do I hear no sound at all, Special note for QuickTime users


Your sound card needs to be able to bend the pitch of the notes to the desired tuning. Users of music keyboards will be familiar with the pitch bend wheel, which can bend the pitch of a note smoothly up and down. FTS and Scala and other such programs work in a similar fashion, but send an instant pitch bend immediately before the note sounds. The main issue is whether your equipment can respond to pitch bends at all.

The first part of this page tests to see if you can play midi clips correctly tuned in web pages.

Then the section Test my Sound card / synth test whether FTS is able to play the notes retuned appropriately. The two are independent - for instance you may find you can play pitch bends in web pages and not from FTS because it quite often happens that the web page mdi plug in doesn't add itself to the midi out menu for programs like FTS.


Test my web page Midi player or plug in

There are two things to test: Does your midi player play pitch bends? If it does then you will be able to hear the clips in this help correctly tuned.

Then, does it reset the pitch bends at the start of a tune? If it doesn't do this, then the midi clips in this help will still sound fine as they all do the reset at the start anyway, but you need to do a reset once you are finished listening to them, or you will find midi clips in other web pages are strangely tuned.

If you have Quicktime installed, it will pass these tests - but see the special note for Quicktime users.

If you hear no sound at all, then see Why do I hear no sound at all?

First, to test pitch bends. Listen to this midi clip
(C twice)
Do you hear the same note pitch (middle c) twice? If so your midi player is playing pitch bends okay.

If you hear two separate pitches, it means your midi player or plug in ignores pitch bends. If the midi player is playing the notes on your soundcard, one fast solution is to install a soft synth and set that as the sound playback device in Start | Control Panel | Sound & Audio Settings | Audio (or possibly Multimedia). See Sound quality tips

Next, to test the resets. Play:
(Bb then C)
That clip used pitch bends without a reset. The player needs to reset them before it plays another clip. So now play
(two notes)
Two notes . In the Two notes clip, do you hear the same pitch (middle c) twice? If so your player is doing the pitch bend resets okay.

If you hear different pitches, you can probably upgrade your player to one with automatic resets . Here is where you go to upgrade Windows Media Player (it's free) :)

If your player doesn't do the resets, you need to play this clip here at the end:
after listening to the clips in this help, otherwise any subsequent clips you listen to may be strangely tuned - but this reset is not likely to be needed much these days. If you have an old version of Windows 95 on your computer it may be needed. The clips in this help also have pitch bend resets at the end of the clip as well as at the beginning so another option is just to make sure the last clip played here plays through to the end before going on to play unretuned twelve equal music.

You can get an alternative way of playing midi files for very little cost using Virtual Sound Canvas, or the Yamaha Soft synth. both of which play pitch bends. Both let you try the program for a while for free, then you have to register if you want to keep it. You can also get Quicktime, which is free, and is fine for web page clips, but has some drawbacks for use as a midi out device in FTS..

N.B. if you install QT be sure to answer No if it asks if you want it to handle all the Windows or Internet file associations it can handle such as gifs, bitmaps, etc etc (unless you want it to of course).

To let these programs play the clips in this help and on web pages, you need say yes when they ask if you want to use them to play midi clips - you generally get asked if you want this when you install it.

However, you only need to associate them with midi clips if you need to use them in web pages. You don't need to do that to make them available for use in FTS as they will appear as optional devices on the Out menu in FTS anyway.

See also Tips for better sound quality .


Test my sound card / synth

This tests any any device on the Out menu, to see if it is playing pitch bends as desired.

You can check this using Bs | Test Pitch Bend Range in FTS. If you hear two notes the same pitch then your device is doing the pitch bends correctly. What this does is to play a d with a downward pitch bend of a whole tone so you hear it as a c, followed by a c with no pitch bends. If your device is doing them correctly, you will hear the same note each time.

If it isn't playing pitch bends, one fast solution is to install a soft synth. See Tips for better sound quality, and there you can go down to Sound Card, Roland, Yamaha and Quicktime soft synthesizers which are possible immediate solutions to use depending on your system.

If you are using a synth, check to see if it has a way of varying the pitch bend range. Sometimes this can be varied and it may be preset to a pitch bend range of 0 instead of +-2 semitones - meaning that it doesn't respond to pitch bends.

This happens with some soft synths and samplers, Giga for instance, for many of its instruments. Sometimes they don't respond to the standard midi message to set the pitch bend range - either it has to be changed at the synth, or they have their own way of doing such things. You may have an option to set the downward pitch bend range independently of the upward pitch bend range for instance - and as that isn't part of the midi standard, a soft synth that does that will have to let you set it at the synth instead.


Another way to do the test (old method) is to go to File | New , then type #TEST into the Musical Seed box. Then click the Play button for the tune - the button at the bottom of the window (not the buttons for the scale, seed or arpeggio).

Once more, if you hear two notes the same pitch then your device is doing the pitch bends correctly.

Technical note: You can see what is happening here from Out | Notes In Play - this time the tune alternates between 58 with pitch bend of +199.976 cents (this is the maximum you can bend upwards with the standard pitch bend range for midi, which actually can only bend upwards to 0.024414 cents short of 200 cents), and 62 with pitch bend of -200 cents. Try setting the note length to say 1 second so that you can easily read the cents values there.

These two notes should sound at the same pitch if your synth / sound card is playing pitch bends as desired


A special note for Quicktime users:

If you have Quicktime installed as many do, it will pass these tests.

However, there are a couple of issues to do with the installation of Quicktime that can affect you. First, for its use as a web page plug in - some users find that nothing happens when you click on a midi clip even though they have Quicktime installed. Instead you may see a film strip icon with the lower right corner torn off. If this happens you need to update quicktime - visit the Quicktime Installation Check page to see if it needs to be updated and to update it..

Then another issue is to do with the option in FTS to add Quicktime to its Out menu. This lets you play in Quicktime directly from FTS, though with some limitations.

If you don't see any extra Quicktimes listed there, go to Out | Multiple Midi Out Devices - Selected Parts | How many "Quicktime's to show" and make sure tht it is set to 1 or 2 rather than 0.

If you don't see that option either (it appears to the right of the Out | Options button in that window), it means that you need to install some extra Quicktime components before FTS can use it. See Updating your QuickTime installation for use with Fractal Tune Smithy.

See Using FTS with Quicktime to find out about how to use it - there are a number of issues you need to be aware of when running QuickTime from FTS.


Updating your QT installation for use with FTS

If you don't see Quicktime on your Out menu in FTS, you need to reinstall QuickTime. It is okay to install on top of your existing installation.

Go to the Quicktime Download page for the stand alone installer. Then install Quicktime.

When the installer runs, be sure to choose Custom Install .

N.B. be sure to answer No if it asks if you want it to handle all the Windows or Internet file associations it can handle such as gifs, bitmaps, etc etc (unless you want it to of course) - generally most windows users have already got other programs set up to handle these things.

Then choose to install Quicktime Music , and Quicktime for Java . as well as Quicktime Essentials (you should have that last one already have if you have QT installed). The dll FTS particularly needs to have installed is called QTJavaNative.dll.

If at this point you find you can't install Quicktime for Java, then it probably means you don't yet have the Java 2 runtime Environment installed yet

You can get it from and you want the Java Standard edition for Windows. Install it and try again.

There were rumours a while ago that Apple might drop eventually drop support for this option to let other programs call it in real time - because of a change in Java which makes it more difficult to do. But they seem to have retained it so far :-).