Thanks to Dan <firstname.lastname@example.org> for this information which was written between 1994-1997. The updated information supplied by Steve Gilmore, who isn't an Atari user so *none* of the actual software has been checked or reviewed.
The programs mentioned here can be still be downloaded via ftp from atari.archive.umich.edu/pub/atari/music (the /sound directory looks useful too!) and its mirrors. The other previously mentioned site in the FAQ (micros.hensa.ac.uk) had this too say when I visited the page in January 1998:
"In January, due to the lack of interest in Atari and Amiga software, we plan to remove these platforms from our site." :=(Atari ST: This machine is very bad at playing MODs 'cause its sound basically isn't up to it. However, a player does exist. It is called Paula and is now at version 2.4. In order to run on the base ST you also need a driver called Petra, which is distributed with Paula. This will handle 4 track PT MOD format.
AFAIK, this program is still around in some form. The current web site is: http://zaba.simplenet.com/mod/players/modplayatari.html There are three programs featured on this site: MegaPlayer 1.5, Paula (version 2.4) and Ultimate Tracker 2.5. Definitely worth a visit if you are an Atari user... Anyway, this following information was from the last version of the FAQ.
Atari STE/TT/Mega STE: These Ataris have massively improved sound abilities, roughly equivalent to the Amiga. You can use Paula (mentioned above) to playback 4-track PT MODs at a very respectable quality. Other 4 track players are DeskTracker and StarTracker.
Atari Falcon030: This latest of Atari's computers has a sound system as standard which blows away all but the most expensive of PC soundcards. It has 8-voice 16-bit stereo sound at 50kHz. This means it is very good at mod playback. It also has a Motorola 56001 DSP chip installed as standard - this chip can mix voices very fast, making 32 track mod playback possible at unbelievable quality.
There are literally hundreds of 4-track MOD players out there, ranging from Paula through BSW, CPU_MOD and many more. There are fewer 8-track players and only one 32-track player. The best players for sound quality are:
James Smith's efforts produced the following relevant information:
I have not seen a version of the MegaTracker released for a number of years and suspect that it also is no longer under development.
The best 8-track player for the STE is Octalyser. Development on this has ceased on the Atari platform and it is now FREE and available from many sources on the Net and on Atari CDs.
Judging by James' input above, most of the player information probably still holds true, although I had immense difficulty getting through to the two sites he mentioned, so I've just left one I know does work.. James also added the following information on Accelerators and Clones as he thought it may be of interest to other frustrated Atari users:
There are a number of accelerators available from limited outlets for most of the original Atari models.
- PAK - for ST and STE.
- Turbo28 - for the Mega ST
- Veloce and Veloce+ - for STE only
- Nemesis, CenTurbo II, AfterBurner and Tempest - for Falcon.
Many of these not only increase the pure speed of the computer but also add the option of memory expansions.
The four main entrants in this field are DirecT, Hades, Medusa and Milan. All of these are much faster than the original Atari family of machines and are being heavily invested in by the manufacturers who recognise that there is still an interest in TOS based computers. These come in various 'flavours' and the latest projects include 080 versions that will be give 300MHz performance and above.
It must be said at this point that accelerated machines and clones have compatability problems with earlier ST software and some require dedicated versions. As this is a relatively new area, not all programmes have yet been updated to cope with the new hardware configurations.
Anyone wishing to check out music from Atari games and demos should have a look at The Dead Hackers Site where there is a page devoted to Atari music. The tracks are not 'hacked' but are provided by the authors themselves.
Once there, go to the Module Archive. (It has not been updated since September so must be due for another large influx any time now !!)
Just before I finished this FAQ update, I had another email from Jim, which I may as well print in full because it contains information on the current state of play...
"Just got a mail from Thomas of New Beat Developments about his new Atari Tracker:-Many thanks to Jim for all his help!