What's A Good Tracker For C64?

Are there any trackers for C64 that can make sample based mod files as opposed to sid files? What are some good ones? Particularly with an Impulse Tracker type interface would be good.

I have failed at successfully running a tracker in the DOS and Amiga emulators on my PSP, and since no one will fucking port a real tracker program, and I still can’t afford a laptop, I’m stuck going back in time. :D


I don’t know if that suits your needs but the “Soundmon” was quite a useful piece of software.

If you search the internet, there seem to be still some activity around that prog. (“soundmon c64”).

Hope that helps.

go nuts! :D

I’m not sure there is a SAMPLE based tracker for c64 at all. There was a method to play samples using noise on c64 but it was more a bit of a hack than it was useful for making music.
I heard about some new music program for c64 that has filters and whatnot, but you’ll have to test if it works under emulation.
On the bright side, C64’s SID sounds so awesome you won’t need any samples.

I can provide you with lots of Amiga trackers, if you happen to need any.

Doh. Is there any way to convert SID files to mod or some other format that could eventually be converted up to xrns? By way of mod–>IT, IT–>xrns ?? I know it sounds crazy, but I’m dying to have some kind of way to compose tunes on the PSP and then later import them into Renoise to do the production.



I just asked around, that one should use samples!
I really doubt that you can export anything from a C64 to .MOD, tho…

The C64 uses 3 sid channels (generators) and you could use a digi-channel that allowed 8-bit mono-samples.
Usually 4-bit was regular as it took half the memory of an 8-bit sample and did not seem to sound that much worse than 8-bit.
Together you had a sort of 4 tracks.

Soundmonitor was one of the first tracker-like applications on the C64 which also supported the digi-channel.

The trick on the SID chip is actually getting some decent out of the four basic generators, pulse modulators and filters.
Emulators up to date approach the real thing at a close base but by far not as near as i would like it to go.
Specially the R4 release (perfect filter balance).

I started making music on a C64 in the 90s, sold mine nearly ten years ago but have been playing around with some editors in emus lately and I actually plan to buy me a hardware C64 again soon, to use it as a synth in my setup.

Some proper answers:

Samples: They are theoretically possible but for some reason not much people used them after the 80s. The reasons: The C64 is slooooow (less than 1 Mhz) and playing a sample took alot of processing power. Most of the tunes you know that are using the digichannel are from the loaderscreens from games or games that had not much happening on the screen.
Also there are two generations of SID-Chips and the newer one had a problem playing those samples, so people just ignored samples later.

SID2MOD: I highly doubt it because you can’t compare a SID-File to a MOD-File.

A MOD-File is a container that hold the pattern-data and the samples and that needs a seperate player.
A SID-File is basically an assembler subroutine/program that needs to be executed regularly (normally 50 times per second) and which starts to make sound.

Altough you make your music in a soundeditor that definately has similarities to a tracker you need to compile your music before you can actually play it or before it can be converted to a SID-File.
So you made your music in the soundeditor, saved it in the native format of the editor and when you where finished you compiled it. This was a one-way-street, few of the editors I know had a “decompile” option, so it was not possible to load compiled music from other people.

Ofcourse the native format of this soundeditor might be comparable to a MOD-File, but I highly doubt that someone wrote a converter for one of the many soundeditors avaiable for the C64.

However, that being said, I think someone made an attempt of a SID2MID some time ago which was based on Frequency-detection, but I think he didn’t got very far.

Making your own: I really don’t want to discourage you, but if you plan to make music on the C64 then prepare to spend a few weeks reading manuals. Making music on that thing is 50% programming in something very close to assembler, there are no neat GUIs or similar, you will have to modify bytes of the SID-Chip directly using tables, and you really need to be fit in hex.
However, I think I saw a specific “C64 Soundprogramming” Manual somewhere that concentrated completely on the SID-Chip, but that one had a few errors in it aswell.

Also, the editors are mostly terrible when it comes to usability, there is no “undo” or other nifty things that you take for granted now.
However, if you really want to dive into this then I can recommend the DMC5.2 because there is some half-decent documentation avaiable for this one.

And if you just want the sound of the SID-Chip : Start saving alot of money and try to get a sidstation. :D

For a short overview of what you want to get into:


Ahh… Thanks for the info, looza.

My response now: Fuck it…

I’ll just keep waiting for a laptop. :(

Afaik, the SID-chip could only play 4-bit samples (as it used a trick to play the samples through the volume-register, which had 16 steps = 4 bit).

organic_io: If you’d like to try a SID-tracker on your PC, check this one out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GoatTracker

junior: yep, the old SID-chip just made a nasty click when you changed the over-all volume and people used that to play 4bit samples. And I didn’t know about goattracker, maybe thats worth looking into.

Apparently, that one was made by none other than legendary Heatbeat!

BTW Heatbeats latest albums are made on Renoise.

Wow. How do you know that? It would be great to see what his songs look like.

Seems that Renoise is used much more widely than one would think.
Weird that there isn’t a really active community with lots of compos and song exchanging, or is there?
I only know about beatbattle and sdcompo. Can someone point me in the right direction?

We are personal friends since many years and he gave a couple of his albums as renoise-files for remixing… which I have not done so far, shame on me.

Listening to his recent stuff. He makes music like it’s the easiest thing in the world.
Next time you see him buy him a beer (or whatever he prefers to drink in the winter).