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You probably know what a soundtracker is. If you do, you can skip this section. If not, let me explain you what it is. In the very old age of 16-bit computers, musician realized that computers may be able to produce quality sounds, enough to produce decent music. These computers used a "sample playback" system to play sounds. One of the most known of them was the Commodore Amiga, using a 4-voice sample playback processor.

Soundtracker was a popular software on Amiga to do music. It used score representation which can be unusual but which is actually very powerful once you know how to use it. The user interface was devided into 4 columns (named tracks) for the 4 voices. A track is able to play only one sound at a time. These tracks were vertically divided into 64 rows, also named steps. The vertical axis was the time. It is commonly admited that 4 rows are equivalent to a quarter note. Thus the 64 rows covered 4 bars of 4/4 music. On each cell (intersection of a track and a row), it was possible to put a note, triggering a sample, and an effect, for example to tie notes or to do a vibrato. These 64 rows made a pattern. It was a basic element of the whole tune, which can contain many patterns. The song describes how the patterns are sequenced.

Later many similar programs were released, and they adopted the word soundtracker as a generic name. The common figure with soundtrackers is the omnipresence of numbers, often in hexadecimal base. Indeed, soundtrackers were often designed and programmed by hobbyists coders, in an age when making a decent graphic user interface was an exploit. This can be repulsive for a musician, but it's part of the fun of the soundtrackers.

Graoumf Tracker 2

As said previously, Graoumf Tracker 2 is a music program from the soundtracker category. Sequel of the famous Graoumf Tracker on Atari Falcon 030, it has been ported to the Windows platform (95, 98, NT, 2000, XP...). It has build-in digital effects and a lot of other improvments. Streaming samples from disk, multi-level undo/redo and high quality mixdown are some of these new features.

     Graoumf Tracker 2 screenshot.
Click on the picture to enlarge it.

User interface is still à la ProTracker, but can be customized. A "skin" may be added, and keyboard may be completly redefined to adapt to every musician.

Current state

Graoumf Tracker 2 is currently in beta version. It is very functional and may be used for a complete work, but some features are still missing. For example the score tools are an important part which needs to be done.

However I don't have time to finish this program alone. I made the source code available on Source Forge to incite people to continue. If anyone is interested in the development, please drop me a line.



 32-bit audio engine,
 Direct-To-Disk sample playback,
 Enhanced instrument features including multi-samples, filters and envelopes,
 Huge number of commands and effects for score control,
 High quality off-line audio rendering using up to 512-point sinc interpolation,
 Automatable digital audio effect network,
 Customizable skin and keyboard,
 ProTracker-like GUI,
 GT2, XM, MOD, DTM, WAV, AVR and AU file format support,
 Undo/Redo, optional file backup



A tune is made of a sequence of patterns, supporting up to 999 positions (references to a pattern), 99 tracks and a loop. Tempo can be set between 32 and 999 BPM, with a 1/1000 BPM accuracy.

There can be up to 255 different patterns. Each pattern has its own number of steps, from 1 to 256. One note, one effect and one volume command can be played simultaneously on each pattern cell. 80 score effects of 4 digits are available, including the classic FastTracker ones and many others.


The sampler uses the instrument concept. Up to 255 instruments are available. An instrument is made of one or more samples, and envelopes. Each sample can be assigned to a key range, with its own transposition for each key. An instrument has its own overall volume. An optional resonant 2-poles low-pass filter can be used on the instrument output, with velocity control. The key range is 10 octaves and a half.

It is also possible to control some instrument parameters with user-defined envelopes : pitch, balance, volume, filter cutoff frequency and filter resonance. Each envelope can have up to 64 segments, 2 loops, a LFO and a fade-out.

Each sample can be loaded in RAM or streamed from disk. Samples can be mono or stereo, 8 or 16 bits, sampling rate ranging from 2 to 240 kHz. A sample has its own panning, volume and loop information. Both forward and bidirectionnal loops are supported.

Mixing and effects

Audio digital effects are supported in a flowgraph logic. It is possible to mix any track in a track effect, thus giving the ability to chain effects in serie or parallel, to define mix sub-groups and to realize effect inserts or send. The network can be changed dynamically. Mix and digital effect parameters can be stored in presets and controlled with the score commands.

Sound Quality

Real-time sound output is at the classic 16 bit / stereo / 44.1 kHz format. The rendering use an internal 32-bit fixed-point engine : 24 bits of precision and 8 bits reserved for the headroom, giving a general dynamic range from -144 to 48 dB. Resampling use linear interpolation, which can be disabled to reduce CPU load. Sample are processed through a click-removal system to smooth the transition between two sounds cutting each other.

Off-line mixdown can benefit from an optional high quality Sinc interpolator for resampling. The program was also the first soundtracker able to export songs to 24-bit samples.

User interface

The ProTracker-like GUI allows keyboard customization along with skin support. Module files can be automatically backed up. There is a 500-level undo/redo function for pattern operations.


Graoumf Tracker 2 is copyright © 1996-2005 Laurent de Soras.
Additional credits to Mathieu Fourticq-Tiré.

Initially intended to be a commercial application, it is now available for free with source code under GPL license. So you can freely distribute it, put it on your web site or CD-ROM. However if you want to modify the source code, I ask you not to distribute modified versions. Instead, submit your modification to the Graoumf Tracker project on Source Forge, thus every user will benefit from your enhancements.

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