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Sequencer by Harold Plontke

Main Live Plus Screen

Live Plus
By Harold Plontke
Demo Version

Not long ago, I was able to make contact with a certain Harold Plontke and asked him about his sequencer program called Live Plus. Unfortunatly, he could not release it to me, as another company held the rights. However, he worked out a very usable Demo version which is now available. This demo version, while it cannot save in "song" format, can save in standard MIDI file format, thus making this excellent application a very usable arsonal in the Atari range of MIDI tools.

Working with Live Plus is almost like working with Cubase. It uses the same keyboard shortcuts for the Transport bar. It has a set of tools to work with in it's "keyedit" mode.It also has the familiar arrange screen in which you can move around patterns, name them and assign MIDI functions, just like in Cubase. Live Plus also has an interesting help system. At the bottom of the screen are indicators of what the functions are when you move the mouse curser over a certain function in the screen. You can also change the language from German to English.(by clicking on the "language" notice in the field)

Live Plus also uses Stienbergs MROS. Here is Heralds reply when I asked him about this question.

>Do you need Mros for it to work?

"Yes. MROS means MIDI Realtime Operation system which is an add-on which provides special interrupts with priority and many other realtime- and MIDI- related functions. I execute it at startup of my program and use its functions for the playback-routine. If you want to use Cubase, you need just one MROS and the programm started with MROS can communicate together (You can record from one sequencer to another for example)"

What follows next is a part from the english documentation up to the point where the translation stops and the german takes over.

Main Live Plus Screen


LIVE was made for all computers of the ATARI ST, MEGA STE and TT series with a minimum of 1 megabyte RAM, monochrome monitor and big screen plus all instruments with midi interface.

Installing the system

Insert the program disc into disc drive A and switch on your computer. With a double click on the "disc drive A" symbol the corresponding window is opened.

The program disc contains the following data:

Folder M.ROS
Folder DEMOS
Text READLIVE.TXT (english)
Text LIESLIVE.TXT (german)

With a double click on "LIVEDEMO.PRG" the program is started. A few seconds later the LIVE song page appears.

! The original program is protected by a dongle for the joystick port.


The standard configuration to work with LIVE is a MIDI-capable keyboard. Connect the MIDI-out of your keyboard with the MIDI-in of your computer and the MIDI-in of your keyboard with the MIDI-out of your computer. To use more MIDI equipment, connect the MIDI-thru of your 'master keyboard' with the MIDI-in of each additional gadget. Theoretically you can now use an infinite number of MIDI tools, practically there are some restrictions:

1. MIDI has only 16 different channels, so that your possibilities are quickly depleated.
2. In some situations, noticible time problems can occur . This appears because the MIDI interface is 'too small' for a certain amount of data.

Timing problems can be avoided or reduced if additional MIDI-ports are installed which at the same time offers the possibility to use the 16 MIDI-channels of each MIDI-port separately.

Installing a M-ROS device

LIVE works with the MIDI multitasking system "M-ROS" (c)STEINBERG which is an extension of ATARI-TOS with MIDI-functions. Multitasking-system means that several programs can be worked at the same time with help of the M-ROS "switcher"program. M-ROS also supports the installation of up to 16 so-called "devices" (additional gadgets). Those devices are offered by STEINBERG (Midex, SMP 24 etc.) and other companies. If one of those devices is connected (for example Midex through the ROM-port), LIVE recognizes this automatically and displays the installation and for example additional MIDI ports. For more precise information about additional gadgets please see their user's manuals.

The program construction

LIVE consists of 11 pages:


You can reach the pages either with the F1 - F10 keys on your computer keyboard or with the mouse on the screen (PAGE MENU). CONDUCTER is entered by pressing the F key of the active page.

Page Menu

Below the position display the name of the current page is shown. If you move the cursor on that name, the ten symbols for the different pages are shown. Now you can select the desired page with a single mouse click.

The displays
On the upper part of the screen you find the displays. Their function is to inform the user about the processes on the workspace below and to offer the possibility of changing details.

The position display
The position display is located in the left part of the display. It shows the current beat-, SMPTE-time, the current song name, the tempo and the time.

The dialogue display
When you select an object, the dialogue display shows parameterof the object that can be changed.

The help display
The help display shows which functions can be called up on the current mouse position with either the left or right mouse key or with a double click (left mouse key). If you move the cursor on the help display you can switch between English and German program language anytime.

The workspace is your actual work place. Just like a piece of paper on your desk you can work on different objects on the workspace on screen. Some drawing or writing pads have a ruler printed on the side, the horizontal bar between the workspace and the display area pictures a ruler which shows the beat or minutes and seconds. On this ruler you also find two triangles which are the locator-marks. The workspace is a coordinate system with a horizontal time axis. The vertical axis shows which kind of objects are conducted in the current page, for example parts in tracks, songs in a performance, notes in a keyboard or beats of different percussion instruments in a drumset etc..

The first time LIVE is loaded into your computer, only a few objects are in the workspace, one song and one track with part (without contents). An object can be a single note or a whole song or a part of a song or whatever you are working on with LIVE. An object mostly has the shape of a rectangle with exception of drumnotes which are triangle-shaped. The dialogue display provides you with further information about the object, so you do not have to guess which kind of object you are looking at on the screen. This function is called up by moving the cursor above the object and then clicking the left mouse key once. The help display always provides you with information about which functions can be executed with the mouse at any place without chosing the particular object. It is sufficient to move the cursor over the object.

It is also posible to scroll through the workspace by moving out of the workspace with the mouse key pushed down. This works the same way with the scroll keys on your computer keyboard. Single areas can be selected by pulling a 'rubber band' around the objects.

The button area

The button area offers further 'utensils'. At the desk, you work with your hands (a pen or scissors) on the workplace. Around the workplace are other utensils like files and little shelfs, under the desk is a waste paper basket. Working with LIVE works the same way. Under the workspace is a little shelf, a waste paper basket and other important things that you need for working which can be operated by the buttons:

The disc button
Load or save the objects by clicking this button with the mouse. Saving with a double click executes this function without prior demand.

The clipboard button
To transfer an object of a song or from a work area into another work area you select it and click the clipboard button with the left mouse key. The next time you click the clipboard button the object can be transferred out of the clipboard into (another part of) the workspace. The cursor will show a little "box" with the ending of the selected object. An object saved in the clipboard is

a) indicated through the stylized paper sheet "on the clipboard",
b) further described with three letters ("extension"). The extensions are explained in the chapter "file manager".

The trash button
First click an object to show it inverted. Clicking the trash button deletes the object. This and other functions can be reversed with the "undo"-key on your computer keyboard.

The transport buttons
Here everything works like on a real tape machine - try it. Record, play, rewind and fast forward ... A vertical line in the workspace shows the current position graphically, the position display shows the current position in numbers (beats and SMPTE-time).

The Q-button stands for quantising. 'Quantising' means the additional correction of recorded sequences or their parts. With the left mouse key selected parts can be quantised, with the right mouse key they can be de-quantised and with a double click the quantising parameters are shown in the dialogue-display.

Play mode

Pushing the PLAY button with the left mouse key starts the play process. If the right mouse key is clicked on the PLAY button the process is put into the CYCLE mode. In the CYCLE mode the part of a song which is defined by the left and right locator is played and steadily repeated.


A click with the left mouse key on the button down on the left in the transport-button-block ("REC button") starts a recording. With the right mouse key the DUB/LS/REC functions are activated. Another click with the left mouse key deactivates the recording but the play function is still on.

The recording mode

A double click on the REC key shows the recording parameters in the recording display. 'Actual Position', 'Punch In' and 'Punch Out' in the "OFF" position is the normal mode. The recording starts from the chosen position and can be ended with STOP or pushing the REC button again.'Punch In' and 'Punch Out' limit the recording to the area between the left and right locator. If the CYCLE function is activated, the position jumps back to the left locator and at the same moment the REC button goes to DUB. The DUB function remains in case more cycle processes are recorded. As soon as the stop button is pressed, the DUB function goes back to REC. In the first recording process the data from the previously recorded section are deleted, in the following processes the data from the first section remain and the new data is added. REC is not possible in the performance page. If you are in the drum editor or in the key editor, the track that was chosen last in the song editor is recorded on.

The DUB mode

The DUB mode works like the REC mode only that already existing data will not be erased.

The LS mode

LS means Live Style. This is a real time arranging mode. If LS is turned on, the connected MIDI keyboard starts single parts. Each part has to be related to a note in the TRG box within the dialogue display. With this note the part can be started from the keyboard. There are three play modes in a box labeled PLY in the dialogue display. The choices are between:

ONE the part is played once
GTE=GATE the part is played as long as the key is pressed
LOP=LOOP the part is played over and over again

The keys that do not start any parts can be played normally but they are not recorded either. This is possible in the PLAY mode as well as in the STOP mode.

In a LS recording the parts can be added to the chosen tracks in the song page by triggering the chosen point of time.

LS does not need an extra track. In the performance page the LS mode starts songs. Each song can again be related to a note (TRG). Just like in the song page, the keys that have no trigger function can be played as MIDI notes in the MCH (MIDI channel) adjusted in the song parameters. A songstart can only be triggered in the STOP mode. When a song plays the SONG trigger notes can be played normally. The LS function can be activated in the performance page, in the song page and in the conductor.

The viewmode button
Whenever your eyes approach your desk or look away from it - different angles have their advantages and disadvantages. Either you have a general overview on your papers or you see the details. With the viewmode button you can change the perspective on the workspace in four levels. No matter if you want the general overview or work on details, you can always choose the right perspective.

The info button
Press the info button to receive information about the program developers and the current program version.

The exit button
With the exit button you leave the program and return to the GEM desktop. For verification of your decision there will be a question in the dialogue display.

The locators

The locators define the area that can be recorded in. They can be set with a double click of the left or right mouse key and appear as little triangles in the display. They can also be chosen directly by the numbers "1" and "2".

Entering a text

Almost every object (songs, tracks, parts, etc.) can receive a name. The text input is started with a double click on the object. The text can be up to 8 spaces long. The ESC key erases the previous text, CAPSLOCK changes small to capital letters and vice versa. RETURN ends the text input.

The keyboard

Some functions are only availabled on the computer keyboard or in addition to using the mouse. This can be very useful with the disc drive functions, so LIVE can be worked like a tape machine.

The F-keys

F1 : performance page
F2 : song page
F3 : key editor
F4 : drum editor
F5 : mixer
F6 : keytrack editorv F7 : style page
F8 : sysex page
F9 : definitions
F10: file manager
If the F-key of the current page is pressed again, you enter the conductor.

The number block

"ENTER" : play
"0" : stop
"+" and "-" : record mode
"*" : record
"/" : play mode
"(" and ")" : fast forward and rewind
"1" to "9" : locator positions, 1 and 2 are visible as cycles on the beat ruler, 3 to 8 programmable Cue-points, 9 last Stop position
"SPACE" : stop
"CURSOR KEYS" : scrolling through the workspace
"RETURN" : end text input
"DELETE" : same function as trash button
"UNDO" : cancels the last editing process
"CONTROL + Q" : quit the program
"P" : saves the parameters put into the definitions
"M" : adds the graphic controller display to the key editor
"Q" : Quantize
"D" : deQuantize
"L" : Load
"S" : Save


In the performance page up to 32 songs can be combined to a performance. The sequence can be chosen freely and can be the basis for a stage show or concept for an album. Several songs can be put in chronological order into the song table. Now each song can be selected, started and stopped. In the LS mode each song can be related to a single note to start it from the keyboard. This way you are totally independent in composing a LIVE performance. In addition to this you have three possibilities of chaining the songs.


Go here for the download :

Download the Live Plus demo with MROS.

Here is the link to Harolds Atari page. You will also find his other programs which he has released as Freeware: Editors for the Akai range of Samplers.These include downloads of samples as well.
Harald Plontke's Atari page

Tim Conrardy

Copyright © 2002 Tim Conrardy