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SMUS / Sonix / Instant Music / Deluxe Music Construction Set headaches :-)
in All about SOAMC= | Saturday, September 11, 2021 | 14:36


After months of trying to correctly extract out isolated .SMUS music format (primarily those by SONIX by Aegis Development software) I can finally conclude the status, finalization and some discoveries found along the way.


Update 10 November 2021: All SMUS related songs indexed and ready to record
Note that the story below is now just a historic preservation of the investigations I had to perform during September > November 2021. Whatever described below has been solved and songs are in the recording queue.

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.SMUS files or specifically with files that contain "FORM" and "SMUS" early on in the beginning of isolated files, I found about 1994 song files from my 33million Amiga Files archive that was ripped out months ago.

However, .SMUS files are not self-containable music files with samples in them, they are useally located together with .SMUS inside a "Instruments/" directory on the original source of ADF, ADZ, DMS, LHA, LZX, etc. based files.

That made the extraction efforts far more complex as I have to extract ALL files that are inside where the .SMUS files was found. Normally this was the case, but sometimes you would have 2-3 disks set, so .SMUS files on disk 1, disk 2 and disk 3 could contain Instruments only!

So, I took the chance to utilize the magnificent power of my own SOTDS database system and extracted out all files with ".ss" and ".instr", combined with directories that had "Instruments" along extracting every other files surrounding that initial .SMUS files. It's so complex to wrap your head around it, but finally the long hard work of 20-30 selfmade tools made it happen eventually!

To verify SMUS songs and find matching instruments I used a software called "SMUSCOPY", from a suite of programs from a guy called "P. Kolenbrander" in Holland. The software seems to be from 1989. You could find it on "17bit-0505.adf" for example. Without it, matching instruments would be a headache!


Out of the 1994 original files found, here's the statistics (updated 16 Sep 2021):

1: Isolated SMUS files with 100% verified instruments = 1084 pcs = Recording finished on 17 September 2021!

2: Isolated Instant Music with SMUS fileheader (see info below) = 172 pcs = Recording finished on 17 September 2021. "smus3.6a" player by John Hodgson from Fred Fish #167 (1988) will be used to determine missing instruments or not. Further it will be used to play tunes for recording.

3: Isolated Instant Music with SMUS fileheader (see info below) that has missing instruments so far = 57 pcs - Solved. all instruments found, recording finished 24 September 2021!

4: Isolated SMUS files that either has NO instruments or partly instruments = On November 6th 2021, I managed to check out and make 879 more SMUS with all instruments intact for inclusion into December 2021 recordings.

Note:
Since these 879 pcs of SMUS files are a mixed bags of songs saved from software such as; MusicCraft, Sonix v1.x, Sonix v2.x, Deluxe Music Construction Set and Instant Music, I had to use several players to play them all (even if instruments was correct). It means that one have to use different software for certain SMUS songs, even though each one of the listed below does really play SMUS tunes correctly from time to time = typical headache of the Amiga music format world.

1: DeliTracker v2.34 for 541 pcs
2: SMUS3.6a (SMUS player Rev 3.6a : (c) 1986,87,88 Dallas J. Hodgson) for 200 pcs
3: PLAY (1987 Mark Riley) for 33 pcs

In addition to that, 250 songs I was unable to find all instruments for (also probably damaged SMUS songs, but 100% sure) out of my archive of 38million files, so these instruments might be one of the eternal lost causes. For historic reasons I have uploaded my working pack of these songs, they will contain more instruments than needed, but all of them miss 1 or more named instruments.


5: Isolated SMUS files that has NO assigned instruments (not missing files, nobody knows the intended instruments names!) = meaning, just the notes only present = useless for recording. 134 pcs. These have been released as a stand-alone bonus pack here in this post instead below for "history keeping".

6: Problematic filenames that is OK for Amiga, but is impossible to recreate inside a Windows OS, typically "tfi-001.-=>pb.instr" that contains "=>", "<", "?" are not not allowed. For these songs I will replace the character INSIDE SMUS files, rename samples which will allow both Amiga and also PC related software players, file system and ZIP files to read/process these instruments correctly. Only a small handful song songs and instruments where modifed with success.


Various earlier ramblings below, may not be a problem anymore, check above!

But, here's where it got worse. You see, the Instant Music software from 1986 also saved SMUS file headers, but relied on sample names like just "Piano". So, typically SONIX would have ".instr" and ".ss" files to indicate instruments and samples.
In fact, the horrible confusion of lack of loading in SONIX v1.3 and v2.0 always was a mystery and headache to me, even back in the late 80's and early 90's. Those files were just a mess to understand and difficult to work with. I believe for that reason alone many many people steered away from SONIX. Bad decision by Aegis!

Anyway, within my extracted files, these Instant Music produced SMUS files does luckily have two tags to differentiate them "IRev" and "BIAS" in the header, so that even SMUSCOPY would not care about them. That is a good thing.

I will rescan the "missing instruments", 805 files, to see how many of these are actually produced by Instant Music originally and isolated them on their own.

Below is an screenshot of an actual Instant Music smus file "Zarathustra" vs "Jays Song.smus". We can see IRev and BIAS not present in the real SMUS files, allthough they both are with "FORM" and "SMUSSHDR" intact.

Finally, we all know Deluxe Music Construction Set could also export SMUS files, but I have not investigated into that, most likely they will match the SONIX format. There was probably other software that could also either export SMUS or even convert from another format into SMUS, but I have not deep dived into that logic, or most likely, don't have too.






Please review these related article links:
Click to open zipsonix_smus_just_notes_soamc-endgame_rips.zip
Click to open zipsoamc_endgame_sonix_missing_instruments.zip


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Posted by: Old-schooler, Stone Oakvalley | Publisher: Crazy Multi Talent, Stone Oakvalley
Last revised: November 11, 2021 - 18:44 | Page views: 198


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