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The Complete Guide to the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8

book, front cover

This book, by Craig Anderton, is as far as we know, the only printed book relating to the MMT-8. It is split into four 'books' (sections):

  • Book H: "HR-16 Self-Teaching Course and Reference", pages 1-43
  • Book M: "MMT-8 Self Teaching Course and Reference", pages 45-92
  • Book A: "Applications", pages 93-149
  • Book B: "Basics of MIDI and Synchronization", pages 151-167

The 'book' relating to the MMT-8, Book M, doesn't (in our opinion) give any more information about the MMT-8 or how to use it, than the manual does. However, certain features are expanded upon and explained in greater detail than the manual.

'Books' A and B are useful in providing some background to MIDI set-ups, and show how the MMT-8 could be incorporated into these.

Overall, the book makes a good introduction for beginners to MIDI and the MMT-8, and is a handy reference for more experienced users.

Craig Anderton's website: http://www.craiganderton.com/

Front cover

The Complete Guide to the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8

by Craig Anderton

Squeeze every available ounce of performance out of the HR-16 drum machine and/or MMT-8 MIDI sequencer: From MIDI basics to advanced synchronization, from creating pop drum parts to putting the "feel" back in sequenced music, this book tells you everything the manual doesn't - and more. Complete with glossary of technical terms, track and patch sheets, and lots of practical examples.

Back cover

"As a member of the HR-16 and MMT-8 design team, I'm happy to see a book that covers them so completely and accurately. Even I learned a thing or two in the process of reading it!" - Marcus Ryle

The Complete Guide to the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8 is a self-teaching course that can also take the place of the manual included with each machine. It gives tips on using the Alesis HR-16 and MMT-8 in a system context - synchronizing, using a variety of MIDI controllers, and much more. There's even an HR-16 patch sheet, MMT-8 track sheet, and custom data cassette cover you can photocopy to help organize your work, along with a couple of do-it-yourself circuits that interface the HR-16 and MMT-8 to older, pre-MIDI gear.

Other sections cover MIDI and synchronization basics, a glossary of technical terms, and lots of practical examples. In fact, any drum machine or sequencer owner can benefit from the valuable insights in this book.

Amsco Publications
Order No. AM 73008
US ISBN 0.8256.1214.4
UK ISBN 0.7119.1707.8

Inside front cover

Cover photographs courtesty of Alesis Studio Electronics. Interior illustrations by the author; realization by Don Giller. Interior layout and design by Don Giller.

Copyright by 1989 Amsco Publications, A Division of Music Sales Corporation, New York, NY.

Order No. AM 73008
US ISBN 0.8256.1214.4
UK ISBN 0.7119.1707.8

Exclusive Distributors:
Music Sales Corporation
225 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003 USA
Music Sales Limited
8/9 Frith Street, London W1V 5TZ England
Music Sales Pty. Limited
120 Rothschild Street, Rosebery, Sydney, NSW 2018, Australia

Printed in the United States of America by Vicks Lithograph and Printing Corporation


Chapter A17: Increasing the MMT-8's Timing Resolution

The MMT-8's timing resolution is 96 pulses per quarter note, which exceeds that of many other hardware sequencers whose resolution is often 24 or 48 PPQN. For those with very exacting needs this may not be enough. (Some software-based sequencers have resolutions of up to 768 PPQN.) To increase the timing resolution, simply double the clock rate (tempo) while recording, and set the metronome (the timing reference) to click only one every two beats. What used to be treated as two beats can now be treated as one beat, giving an effective timing resolution of 196 PPQN.

Since the maximum length of a Part is 682 beats, redefining two beats as one beat means that the longest part that can be recorded is 341 beats. The total number of notes that can be recorded is not diminished, but a long performance may have to be broken up into shorter passages for recording and strung together as a Song. (Thanks to Neil McKamey at Mix magazine for this tip.)

Chapter A18: Using the MMT-8 as a Patch Librarian

Some older MIDI synths do not have memory cartridges, cards or disks for extra patch storage, but they can save and load patches via System Exclusive data. Most of these devices use tape storage, but loading patches from tape can be quite time-consuming. Using System Exclusive, these same synths can load and save their memories over MIDI in a few seconds. Older synths in particular tend not to use a lot of memory, which means that the System Exclusive data will not take up too much space in the MMT-8.

To save this data into the MMT-8, put it in Record mode and initiate your synth's MIDI program save (dump) routine. Note that the MMT-8's record filter should be set so that System Exclusive can be recorded; see section M4.2. Playing back the part you've just recorded back into the synth will reload the patch data (assuming the synth is set for program loading). The MMT-8 allows up to 100 different Parts to be recorded and individually named - much more than you'll probably ever need - so don't be afraid to use lots of named Parts for patch storage. Recording patches in banks of eight related patches per Part, with one patch on each Track, will use up only 20 Parts to store 160 sets of patches, thus leaving 80 Parts for musical passages. The row of Track select buttons then becomes a row of patch select buttons. (Thanks to Neil McKamey at Mix magazine for this tip.)

Chapter A19: "Copy" and "Count-In" Buffers

Since some editing features cannot be "undone" (such as quantization), I generally dedicate Track 8 and/or Part 99 to being a "copy buffer". If I'm about to perform some operation on a Track or Part and want to keep a safety copy, I'll copy a Track over to Track 8, or a Part over to Part 99, before performing the operation. If everything turns out as expected, fine; otherwise, I can copy the Track or Part back in place of the edited version, and regain the original.

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