Zoë Blade's notebook

Roni Music Sweet Sixteen

About screen
About screen

Sweet Sixteen was a MIDI sequencer for the Atari ST. It's essentially a clone of Creator, streamlined to have only the features most people use most of the time. As a result, it's pretty elegant, and even fits into a standard Atari ST's 512 KB of RAM, half the whopping megabyte required by Creator (and, for that matter, Cubase). It's also now freeware, and unlike those two titans, doesn't require a dongle, making it a more accessable choice.

Song overview
Song overview

If you've ever used Creator, the vast majority of Sweet Sixteen's interface should be familiar to you, including its keyboard shortcuts. The differences make sense, and are pretty straightforward.

If you haven't used Creator, you might want to read my guide, and see how much also applies to Sweet Sixteen, which is almost all of it. It seems scarcely worth writing a separate guide, as for the purposes of most musicians, the differences between the two are minimal.

Editing the list of events directly
Editing the list of events directly

In the 1990s, a choice between Creator and Sweet Sixteen would have come down to budget — £300 vs. £50. Now, it comes down to whether you can find a Creator dongle — and if you want to also use Cubase, whether you're willing to constantly swap the dongles back and forth. And in any decade, whether you can find an Atari ST with more than 512 KB of RAM.

Editing some chords
Editing some chords

In short, this is a streamlined clone of Creator, and if you're happy to create within slightly narrower constraints (such as seemingly only being able to mute and unmute tracks at the end of the bar as pattern attributes, not mid-bar as pseudo MIDI events), this is a wonderful MIDI sequencer. It's more than good enough to make multiple albums' worth of music on, and like Creator, it lets you layer tracks up fast.

Editing a part with modulation
Editing a part with modulation

I recommend it, as it encourages a good workflow, without getting in the way. But that's assuming you like Creator's loop-based philosophy, which personally I do. In my limited experience so far, I think Sweet Sixteen is the most underrated MIDI sequencer I've used. Answering no-one in particular's request of "give me just the bits of Creator that I'll actually use, for a sixth the cost, and make it run on the cheaper ST!" really should have made it far more popular than it was.

Reviews

Downloads

Software

Atari ST software: C-LAB Creator | Caged Artist 4-Op Deluxe | Dr. T's Tiger Cub | Intelligent Music M | Intelligent Music Realtime | Roni Music Sweet Sixteen | Steinberg Cubase | Steinberg Pro-24

MIDI sequencers: C-LAB Creator | Dr. T's Tiger Cub | Intelligent Music M | Intelligent Music Realtime | Roland TR-909 | Roland W-30 | Roni Music Sweet Sixteen | Steinberg Cubase | Steinberg Pro-16 | Steinberg Pro-24