A brief introduction to Riffster

This section is a brief introduction to Riffster, what it does, its features, and how to get started.  Riffster makes it fun and easy to learn new and challenging pieces of music. Using it you'll find most things simple if not self explanatory - so download an evaluation and just give it a whirl!

Repeatedly play a whole song or loop sections of it.

No more fumbling with the repeat button on your CD player. Load up an audio file and press Play. Use the mouse or keyboard to define loops around parts of the song you wish to learn or rehearse. Interactively set beat accurate loop points using the Loop Define option.

Create, modify and store up to 9 loops for each song

Let us say you are learning a new guitar piece. You can set up loop points at all the interesting (hard!) parts of a guitar solo and simply move from one to another as you wish. Tempo and pitch shifter settings are stored on a per loop basis. This makes it possible to arrange very flexible (perhaps challenging) rehearsal or warm-up exercises. 

Hear loop points as they are selected

Whilst creating a new selection, or modifying one that exists already, Riffster allows you to hear exactly where loop will sound. As you drag the loop start or end point, Riffster will play it for you. Create loops much more quickly and much more accurately. 

Create loop points using the keyboard

The loop start and end markers can be dynamically edited. This allows you to set loops that are accurate to within a few samples - the consequence being that it is now much quicker to snap the notes you need to hear without extraneous sounds. You can also use these editors as sound locators: click on the relevant edit box and press the Enter key to get Riffster to play you a 'microloop'. 

Dynamically adjust tuning whilst keeping the same tempo

In short you can retune a song to a key that suits you! Singers can transpose songs into keys more suited to their natural ranges. Players of any tuned instrument can adjust songs that have been recorded in non-standard keys to fit their current tunings. For example a song recorded in Eb can be retuned to E to make it easier to use standard guitar chord shapes and positions. Riffster's pitch shifting capabilities are also invaluable for any learning complex parts in lower, harder to hear, registers. By tuning up these parts become much more evident and therefore much easier to learn. 


Automatically store all the loop settings, including tempo and pitch

Riffster memorizes all loop settings for a given audio file. These settings are reloaded when the audio file is opened again. Loop settings are stored in a compact and portable that means it is easy to share them with friends, students or other band members.


Riffster FAQ

• How about CPU speed and memory?

• Does Riffster need any special hardware to operate?

• What limitations does the evaluation version have?

• Where do I get the latest evaluation version?

• How do I purchase a full copy?

• What do I get in a registered version?

• What about updates and new releases?

• How do I let you know what I really think?

• I am having real problems with Riffster.  What to do?

• When Riffster plays I hear garbage. In fact, it's worse than that...

• I've encountered a problem. How do I report it?

• I keep getting clicks and glitches when playing music

• Can I put Riffster eval on shareware collections or elsewhere?

• Anything else should I know?


Which Windows versions does Riffster work with?

We recommend Windows 2000 or later, and XP is preferred.  However, Riffster will usually operate well even on Windows 98.  Sorry, but it won’t work with NT or Win95.


Where do I get the latest evaluation version?

Just click here to download

How do I purchase a full copy?

It's easy – just go to the Riffster page and click on the payment method of your choice. You can pay with most credit cards or PayPal. Once we get notification that your payment has been authorized, we will send you an email containing a link (personalized URL) from which you can download your copy of Riffster and its license file.

What about updates and new releases?

When you register, we’ll give you the option to have us email you when it’s time (we promise no spam).  You can update free within the first year of the original purchase date.  After that we’ll still support you with favorable terms so that there’s no reason for you not to benefit from our continued blood, sweat and tears.

How do I let you know what I really think?

We’re not a faceless mega-corporation. In fact, we thrive on human contact.  So feel free to write to us. Your comments, flames, suggestions and gripes help us to improve music learning by closing the feedback loop and allowing us to continuously refine NovaDSP’s offerings: Click here to send us email: Riffster

I am having real problems with Riffster.  What to do?

Bummer. First thing to do is to submit a problem report. This will let us know about it along with the exact combination of hardware and software you are using, the current Riffster setup, and we can go from there. The installer will have placed a NovaDSP Diagnostics (PD) item on the Riffster menu. Simply run the PD utility while connected to the internet and make a report directly to our web server.This will give us a much better idea of how to resolve your issue. Please note that without this information we are flying in the dark...

Remember you can always send us an email at Riffster support

When Riffster plays I hear garbage. In fact, it's worse than that...

Apologies. This should not happen unless you are pushing your system beyond its limits or it’s not set up correctly. Here are a few suggestions and rules of thumb:

Make sure you have the very latest drivers installed for your audio hardware. Check both the Microsoft Windows and the audio device manufacturers websites. This can be a tiresome process but drivers are the single most important factor in getting both high quality and stable audio from your system.

Make sure you have the latest version of DirectX installed – also available from Microsoft website (see below).

Check the hardware settings dialog in Riffster and, if necessary, increase the buffer size.

I've encountered a problem. How do I report it?

If the problem causes Riffster to crash then our funky watch dog program will pop up and ask you to submit a bug report direct to our web server. As noted above, it really helps if you give us your email address when doing this. Then we can get back to you with either a solution or some more questions.

I keep getting clicks and glitches when playing music

If this happens when Riffster is the only active application then the first thing to try is to open up the Audio and MIDI settings dialog and increase the “buffer size”.

If the clicking or glitching occurs when you activate, move, or resize other running applications then we respectfully suggest you refrain from doing this while Riffster is running.  Like we said, NovaDSP has to work within the fundamental limitations of the operating system…

If changing the buffer size makes no difference, then check to see you don’t have any audio hardware drivers marked as 'WDM emulated'. These indicate hardware for which Windows has installed less than perfect drivers. Check with the sound system manufacturer (or PC vendor) to ensure that the latest drivers are installed and functioning correctly.

Can I put Riffster eval on shareware collections or elsewhere?

No, not really, but do get in touch and let’s talk about it.  In order to ensure that people get the latest and greatest, we’d rather you refer them to our web site. If you wish to link to the NovaDSP website then please email links@NovaDSP.com and we will ensure that you get a suitable link and logo for inclusion on your site.

Also, please don’t abuse copyright: remember, time, energy, and love go into what we and other musicians make for you. Thanks again from on the NovaDSP team…and enjoy…

Anything else should I know?

Thanks for trying Riffster out.  Here at NovaDSP, folks are dedicated to making our customers lives simpler and more fun with a balance of sophisticated function and straightforward usability – an enterprise that’s tough and expensive.  We undertake this on a professional and necessarily commercial basis: just like you, we want to pay our bills and live well. If you want Riffster, buy it!

Don’t forget to check out other cool stuff at NovaDSP from time to time.

While we enjoy human contact, but privacy is important to us, and abuse of it drives us nuts… So, the only personal data we collect and keep are email addresses, and only when authorized by clients.  These addresses we promise never to use for spam, give to any other organizations, or make public. Sound’s good?!  In fact, we aim to conform to the stringent European guidelines regarding computer privacy and junk mail.


How about CPU speed and memory?

The oldest box we use regularly for testing and development is a Pentium II laptop running at 266 MHz with 64MB of memory, 2MB of video RAM, and an on-board sound system with a 1024x768 display.  No problem there.  On a contemporary system (Pentium 4 processor running at 2.4GHz) Riffster has an average processor loading under 5%.  Remember, on a Windows system you can’t absolutely guarantee completely glitch free audio – it’s not a real-time operating system, so it’s just not possible.  However, you’ll find no problem unless some other megalomaniac app is messing things up.


Does Riffster need any special hardware to operate?

No, Riffster will work with almost every modern PC.  There are a few basic requirements however…

Obviously, you’ll need a machine with a working sound system.  That means a sound card, on-board audio, or an external USB audio output device, speakers and working software drivers (when did driver stop meaning speaker?).

Your screen should have a resolution of 1024x768 or better to properly fit the Riffster window on it.  It’s preferable to have a display set at 32-bit colour depth (“true colour”), but 24-bit(“millions”) or even 16-bit (“thousands”) is OK.  Note Riffster will not render properly with any 256-colour or worse (“dinosaur”) setting.


What limitations does the evaluation version have?

Basically, we want you to satisfy yourself that what you’re about to buy is as great as our other customers think it is. (Yep, we know there’s a load of rubbish out there that’s not worth the time or the money, and it’s an up-hill deal to gain your confidence.)  So we let you do nearly everything.  But then we do have to encourage you to help us to help you, and keep it honest, right?  If you buy your copy some annoying restrictions will disappear…

You can start the Riffster evaluation as many times as you like, but a splash dialog will remind you that there’s only 30 days of playtime.  The evaluation version only lets you use the audio system a limited number of times before the program closes.  You can’t save loop settings like you can with the fully-fledged program.  You also won’t be able to use the great MIDI remote-control features.


What do I get in a registered version?

You’ll get all the features, free upgrades for the next 12 months, and a warm fuzzy satisfaction that you’re not stealing from friends!.  Please keep a record of your Riffster purchase notification email and please, keep it private.