Frequently Asked Questions

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This page is a compendium of Frequently Asked Questions about the program.

About FT

Q: What is FamiTracker?
A: FamiTracker is a Windows-based application used for composing synthesized music, intended for playback on the Nintendo Entertainment System or its Japan-based equivalent, the Famicom (aka Family Computer). The music can also be played back on associated emulators, in FamiTracker itself, or exported to WAV format.


Q: What exactly is a "tracker"? That sounds scary.
A: A tracker is a software-based music sequencer which uses vertically-scrolling rows and columns for insertion of music data such as note, volume (velocity in MIDI lingo), timbre/pitch manipulation, etc. Its usefulness depends entirely on the end-user's ability to make music, and has nothing in common with file-sharing or similar activities.


Q: Are there any other trackers out there?
A: Trackers have been around since the days of Amiga computers back in the 1980s. Among the most popular modern trackers are OpenMPT (open-source) and Renoise (tracker and digital audio workstation in one), both of which use high-quality audio samples (as opposed to synthesis) and have fewer limitations. There are also other NES/Famicom-based trackers such as Nerdtracker II, Musetracker, and Deflemask, though only Deflemask is still in development. Finally, some non-tracker applications have sequencing functions similar to trackers, including DAWs such as FL Studio, ProTools, and Cubase.

Module

Q: So... How do I get started?
A: The first thing to do would be to create an instrument. On the top-right corner of the screen you will see a large empty black box. Click the "New Instrument" button below that. Now double-click your new instrument, and start playing around with it (starting with volume obviously) until you get a sound that you're satisfied with. Then you can start laying down some notes, and away you go!


Q: How do I add a sound chip like MMC5 or VRC6 to my module?
A: Simply open Module>Module Properties. There you will find an Expansion Chip menu where you can choose from one of the available sound chips.


Q: How do I create instruments for them? I can't find the option to create a VRC6 instrument!
A: To create an instrument for a specific chip, the cursor should be focused on one of the channels in the pattern editor of the chip in question, because every chip has its own type of instrument and you cannot, for instance, use a 2A03 instrument on a VRC6 square channel.

Editing

Q: I can't find key for stopping note (dash symbol in the pattern). I've checked 'Shortcuts' in 'Configuration', and haven't found anything similar.
A: The key is definable, it is in 'Configuration', 'General', bottom-right corner (frame titled 'Keys'). If you have problems with redefining the key, you may need to add the Standard English keyboard layout using your operating system's regional and language options.


Q: How do I write triplets?
A: There are several valid ways to insert triplets in your module, but one of the most common ones is to use the Gxx command. If your module's tempo and speed are set to 150 and 6, respectively, then you can use G02 and G04 on your triplet's second and third notes, and you will get perfect triplets. Bear in mind that if you are using a different tempo, different values will be required, so mess around with that until you get the sound you like.


Q: How to make patterns with different length?
A: All the patterns have the same length (defined by the "Rows" field), however you can make one pattern shorter using effect Dxx.


Q: How do I stop my song, as opposed to letting it loop all the time?
A: Use the Cxx command at the very end of your module to stop it dead. xx does nothing; use zeros.


Instruments

Q: How to load instrument file (*.fti)?
A: There are five buttons under the instruments list - New, Delete, Open, Save, Editor. Version 0.3.0 has some problems with instruments loading under Windows 7, they could not be saved or loaded from arbitrary folder.


Q: I've made one instrument, and when I'm trying to make another, first one changes as well.
A: You should select new 'Sequence' for new instrument. It could be done by clicking 'Select next empty slot' button.


Q: I'm having difficulty getting any sound out of my custom VRC7 instruments. Help!
A: The first thing to do if you want sound is to increase the attack on the carrier. Then you can mess around with the settings until you get something that you are pleased with. Also, make sure that you're not using two different custom VRC7 instruments at the same time.


Q: My VRC6 sawtooth wave sounds all wrong! What did I do?!
A: Make sure you didn't accidentally set the duty cycle to 1, or any other odd number, in the instrument settings or effect column. This is an intentional feature to distort the sawtooth wave.

Troubleshooting

Q: I have problem with FamiTracker under Windows Vista x64 or Windows 7, the sound is stuttering.
A: Try to update sound card drivers.


Q: I get sound alright, but it's constantly clicking.
A: The buffer length is too short. Try adjusting it in the "Sound" tab in File>Configuration.


Q: I tried opening a module in FamiTracker, but it gives me an error message!
A: Most likely you are attempting to open a module from a newer version into an old version of FamiTracker (occasionally the error happens the other way around: trying to open an older file in a new version). Download the latest stable release (or, if you already have that, the newest beta), and try opening the file in it. If the problem persists, report your problem on the Famitracker forums.


Q: I cannot open the help file. Nothing happens when pressing F1.
A: This problem can occur when trying to open help files downloaded from Internet, which is caused by Windows blocking it as potentially dangerous. To fix this, find the help file (called FamiTracker.chm), right click and open the properties window, then press the Unblock button on the General Tab.


Q: FamiTracker crashes when I try to start it.
A: NSFplay has a known compatibility problem with famitracker and will cause it to crash if both programs are located in the same folder. The solution is to move famitracker or NSFplay to a different folder. If you don't have NSFplay or if it's still crashing then create a bug report on the Famitracker forums.