Greatest Sequencer Known To Man
Jos van de Gruiter tells his story
Name: Jos van
in a band (guitar), composing music
Band: 9 Daysí
Wonder? (Bigbeat, triphop, drum Ďní bass)
I'm a late Atari
convert. I loved playing in bands, but in the
early nineties I was really disappointed about
musicians who left the band because of jobs,
wife, children and other minor issues. So I
decided to become independent of other people
and get me a computer. A friend introduced me
to the music of Portishead, The Prodigy and
Leftfield. He also advised me to buy an Atari
When I say I
was a late convert, I mean it. I started buying
an Atari when the company went bankrupt. The
Dutch dealer ACN dumped its goods and after
six weeks of waiting I received my STFM with SM124.
I had no luck:
the SM124 went black after some annoying weeks
of flashing screens; the STFM (1 MB) wasnít
very reliable either, the mouse drew lines across the screen. From ACN I received the SM144
monitor I still use. From another friend, a
house musician who switched to PC, I bought
an STE with 4 MB memory.
This friend knows
a lot about PCs now, but hasn't made any music
since then. For me it was the beginning of the
most exciting time in my musical life. For seven
years I used the STE running Cubase 2.1. I became
more creative than ever. The STE was totally
reliable and never crashed. I played live with
the machine in the most extreme circumstances
and the Atari never let me down.
But I wasn't
really interested in the Atari as a machine.
It was a vehicle for using Cubase. In all these
years I hardly saw the GEM desktop, didn't even
know the OS was called TOS.
And I was tempted
to buy a PC because it looked better and
promised more possibilities with sampling and
hard disk recording. But our keyboard player
who had a PC running Cakewalk always had problems
with MIDI timing. When I connected the same
hardware to the Atari all problems were gone.
I got a PC and
had no luck either, it was a hard learning proces:
soundcard compatibility, configuring the system,
BIOS and IRQs. All the things the Atari could
do automatically and I never had to think about,
became problematic. Someone told me that if
you couldn't get your MIDI and audio right on
the PC, you didnít know how to use a computer.
Well, he was right: to make music with PCs
you had to know a lot about this Wintel thing,
to make music with an Atari you just had to
switch it on and start making music. So I decided
the PC wasn't up to the MIDI job and went on
using the Atari. The feeling of respect for
this old machine began to grow. PCs were good
for editing and stretching samples though.
In the year 2001
my band became successful finally, we played
in the most important venues in Holland, achieved
radio airplay and supported international acts
such as Kosheen and Lamb. During a gig in the town
of Delft near Rotterdam, my Atari STE disappeared.
But after some weeks of correspondence with
the venue it turned up again. The guy who gave
it back said it was a ďvery cool machine, too
bad you couldnít use it with a normal monitorĒ.
caused a panic feeling, how could I manage without
the good old Atari? The STE was so reliable
Iíve never thought of losing it. I wanted to
buy some extra STs to back me up. And so my
Atari collection grew. The Falcon and the
Mega STE are my favorites, but Iíll never forget
my first STE which served me for so many years.
Because of this
search for old Ataris I discovered the Atari
world on the internet. I was already connected
to the internet for four years, but it never came
to my mind to search for Atari. In a Future
Music magazine of 1998 there was an article
stating that there was nothing to find about
Atari on the web, because most Atarians werenít
connected. Well, that has changed. I discovered
that there was a lot more to Atari than just
Cubase. Although I think it's still one of the
best killer apps ever made.
But time goes
on and Iíve got a laptop PC with RME Hamerfall
and Multiface too. I donít have to go on stage
with a lot of hardware synths and samplers any
But I still use the Atari as a creative MIDI
tool and as a way to get some different sounding
(8 or 16-bit) samples.
In the dance
music scene there are still a lot of artists who use
Atari: Fatboy Slim, Howie B. Moby wore an
Atari T-shirt on tour, Faithless and Basement
Jaxx made their biggest hits using an Atari.
In the Computer Music magazine of july 2003
drum Ďní bas producer Klute says:
ďI do all my
vocals in audio, (Ö) but aside from that and
the SCSI stuff I do, the Mac G4 is basically
just an Atari. Thereís a lot to be said for
the old Atari; itís the greatest MIDI sequencer
known to man, and I totally miss it.Ē
My Atari collection
- Atari Falcon030
- 14 MB RAM.
- IDE internal 800
- SCSI external 4.5
- Jaz drive 1 GB.
- Yamaha CD
- Philips 17"
- SoundPool FDI
- Steinberg MIDEX+
(used as dongle port)
- OS: TOS 4.04
and MagiC 6.2
HD Driver 7.9, Diamond Edge 2.5, Jinnee, NVDI,
PARCP, Cubase Audio
Falcon 2.06, Cubase 3.1/ Score, ACE MIDI, AEX,
Squash it!, Arpeggiator, Scribble Synth, EC909, Charming
Chaos, Snippit Synth, Aniplayer, JAM, SND Player,
Flextrax, ACE Tracker, Clarity
- Atari Mega STE.
- 4 MB RAM.
- 48 MB SCSI
- OS: TOS 2.05
(TOS ROMs 2.06 ready to replace).
HD Driver 7.9, Diamond Edge 2.5.
- Cubase 3.1/ Score,
Avalon 2.0, STSpeech (love it!), Soundlab, AEX,
Squash it!, Arpeggiator, Scribble Synth, Charming Chaos,
- Atari Mega STE.
- 2 MB RAM (4 MB
ready to replace it).
- 48 MB HD SCSI
- OS: TOS 2.06.
- Atari Mega ST.
- 2 MB RAM.
- Megafile 30 MB.
- OS: TOS 1.04.
- Atari STE (my
- 4 MB RAM (never
- OS: TOS 1.06
( 2.06 ROMs ready to replace it).
- Atari 1040 STF.
- 1 MB RAM.
- OS: TOS 1.04.
- PC 286 emulator
inside, with WP 5.1.