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electronic MUSICIAN

Download of the Month: SoftStep 1.3

By Roger Maycock | September 1, 2000

Those of you with a penchant for the modular analog step sequencers of yesteryear will love Algorithmic Arts' SoftStep 1.3, available as a download (www.algoart.com). SoftStep drives MIDI synthesizers and sound cards in real time and also records Standard MIDI Files.

SoftStep comes in three levels of functionality. The free SoftStep Basic is a software emulation of a modular analog sequencer that lets you do what would be impossible with hardware. It offers 9 different sequencer modules and 22 support modules such as switches and clocks. You can use up to 99 copies of each module.

SoftStep LE ($39) and SoftStep Pro ($129), both of which require the purchase of upgrade licenses, have greater capabilities. Each level up delivers a wider range of algorithmic music tools.

SoftStep LE combines all the features of SoftStep Basic with algorithmic components such as math and logic functions, test-based switching, rhythm generators, and more-extensive MIDI-control options. SoftStep Pro supports numerous methods of generating algorithmic music, including fractal and chaos functions, image-to-music translation, and Markov chains and other probability functions. It also has tools for translating DNA-protein data into music.

System requirements are modest. SoftStep runs on Windows 95/98/2000 computers with a Pentium (or equivalent) processor. The application works with any MIDI-compatible sound card or interface. Algorithmic Arts recommends a graphics display of at least 1024 5 768 High Color (16-bit) or True Color resolution.

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