BankStep Options

The Options menu is accessed from the main menu. This is where you set the MIDI device drivers, MIDI sync options, and other BankStep options.

MIDI Output & MIDI Input

Although you can run BankStep with no MIDI, to produce sound at least one MIDI output driver must be selected, and in order to respond to external MIDI messages at least one MIDI input driver must be selected.

The first time you run BankStep the Options menu will pop up as a reminder that you need to select a driver. Once selected, BankStep will remember it and will only pop up the Options menu automatically if the MIDI Port A output driver can not be found or is being used by another device when BankStep loads.

You can have up to 4 MIDI Output and 4 MIDI Input drivers open at once, by selecting Tabs A-D, and setting the driver on that tab. Most MIDI drivers only allow one connection at a time, so if you select a driver that is already in use by another port, the other port will reset itself to "None Selected." The exception to this is the Microsoft MIDI Mapper, which is actually one of the other MIDI Output drivers (you can select which one in the Windows Control Panel, in the Multimedia section). If you select a driver that is being used as the MIDI Mapper, you will get an error message telling you the driver is in use.

Options for Each MIDI Port

The following options are on the MIDI Port Tab area, and are individually set for each port selected.

When the All Notes Off button on the tool bar is pressed, the message types checked will be sent:

All Notes Off - sent to all 16 MIDI channels. Most synths respond to this.
All Keys Off - Note Off sent to all 128 keys in all 16 channels. Only use this if your synth does not respond to the All Notes Off message.
Reset Controls - Sets controls to their default values.

When Active Sensing is checked MIDI Active Sensing is sent on each MIDI tick, only to the MIDI Output drivers that have this option checked..

Options for MIDI Port A Only:


BankStep can synchronize to an external MIDI device as either Master or Slave. When in Slave mode, modules do not process unless the Master device is sending out MIDI Sync clocks. Slave mode also disables the Tempo Control, as tempo is controlled by the Master MIDI device. MIDI Sync defaults to "None," and the setting is not remembered. You will have to select this option for each session in which you want to use MIDI Sync.

Remote Control

When Receive is selected, BankStep's Transport buttons are remotely set by MIDI Start, Stop and Continue messages. When Send is selected BankStep will send these messages when the Transport buttons are clicked. This control is not remembered; the default is not checked. You will have to select this option for each session in which you want to use MIDI Remote Control.

When Send mode is selected, BankStep sends the Start message when the Run button is pressed at the beginning of a play list, or after the Reset button has been clicked. When Run is clicked to resume play that had been interrupted by the Stop button, BankStep sends the Continue message.

When Receive mode is selected, BankStep responds to a Start MIDI message with a Reset/Run action; and to a Continue message with just a Run action and no Reset.

General BankStep Options

The remaining options are independent of which MIDI Port you select, or in the case ProgChg>Snapshots below, can be independently set to any MIDI Port.

ProgChg > Snapshots

When this is checked, external MIDI Program Change messages, on the MIDI channel and port selected in the drop down menu just below, cause BankStep to change Snapshots. When checked, the Composer button in the Tool Bar is disabled. This control is remembered; and the next time you run BankStep it will default to the prior session settings. If you can't access the Composer button, it is because this button has been checked previously - uncheck it and the Composer button will become active again.

Play Resets Clock

If this is checked, the toolbar Run/Start button will reset and synchronize all internal clocks. If the Reset Modules option is checked, MIDI module inputs will resend their control settings.

Reset Modules

Upon release of the All Notes Off button, MIDI module inputs will resend their control settings.

High Priority

Check this option to force Windows to always give BankStep enough processing cycles to run smoothly, even when it is minimized or in the background. This is off by default to avoid conflicts with other time sensitive programs, but if there are no conflicts on your computer, it should be set on.

Change Warning Off

When checked, you will not receive a warning message to save files when changes have been made to the BankStep patch. This is useful for performance mode, when you change patches during a performance but do not want to save the changes. Not available (grayed out) in Player.

SB Banks

SoundBlaster sound cards use a non standard MIDI Bank Change protocol. If your sound card is any of the SB type cards, including SB Live! and Audigy cards, check this option to enable MIDI Bank Change to work properly with these cards.

Font Warning Off

When BankStep starts up, if it detects you are using a non standard font size it will give you a warning that some components may not display properly. Check if you would rather not see this warning. If you are using standard fonts, this option is grayed out.

Ran Seed

Sets the seed to be used by the Random number generator. The random generators will repeat the same sequence whenever BankStep is restarted, as when the Toolbar Run/Start button is clicked. This gives you a stable, repeatable composition even if you use random numbers. If you want to always start with a random series, set Ran Seed to 0.

WN Delay

You can delay the onset of the whole note count (available as the Control Flag WNotes) by setting a a value (in whole notes) here. Whole note counting starts after the internal clocks are reset (as when Run/Stop is clicked), and after the delay set here.


Latency is the amount of "head start" MIDI messages have so they can be sent out to the synthesizer or sound card with no perceived timing inaccuracies.. When first installed, Latency is set to 0, as this gives the best performance in the faster computers that are available today . The amount of latency you may need for accurate timing depends on the speed of your computer and the amount of overhead software. Adjust the latency by entering the number of milliseconds latency you want into the text box. 200 milliseconds (1/5 second) works well in many cases. When the latency value is too small you will get timing errors, and the red timing error LED near the tempo bar will light up

Zero latency is a special case in which the output buffering is turned off completely and MIDI data is pumped directly out to the synthesizer with minimum overhead. This may be desirable when synchronizing to another MIDI device. If you have a fast computer you may find zero latency to be preferable to buffered MIDI. There will be missed notes when you are moving windows around, but normal play is stable and much more responsive.

Button Colors

Click on the button to select value and logical input button and workspace background colors.

Start Dir Button

Normally BankStep starts up in the last directory you used to save or load a file. But you can change this to always startup in the same directory. Click the button to call up a directory tree dialog, pointing to the current directory. If you want to start up in this directory, just click the OK button; if you want to select a different directory for startup select it from the directory tree, then click OK. To return to starting up in the last directory visited, click the Float button.

BankStep is Copyright © 1999 by John Dunn and Algorithmic Arts. All Rights Reserved.