Module file

As tracker modules, module files (English Module File ), modules or mod files is called since the mid- 1980s to the present day music files with various software sequencers, so-called trackers ( SoundTracker, Protracker, ModPlug Tracker, etc.) are created. These were particularly prevalent in the home computers Amiga and Atari ST, and later in the demo scene. Tracker for creating, as well as software to play such module files are now available for virtually all platforms, among others mobile devices.


Indicative of tracker module formats (English Mod file format ) is that the music file contains a selection of digital samples, in Gegenatz to eg MIDI files. These samples serve as instruments of the piece of music. Due to faster or slower playback of the samples it sounds higher or lower; so can play different notes, the functional unit for this is called a sampler. The tracker module also contains a "Playlist" (also: sequence list or track list, hence the name Tracker modules), indicating which notes are on which instruments when playing. In addition, make effects, such as vibrato, or "Volume Slide", ie define also adjust the volume of each track.


The use of a single base samples per instrument, the definition of all pitch effect and variations on instructions and the definition of a temporal sequence information list may be technically regarded as a very efficient coding in a piece of music while avoiding nearly all the redundancies. Another important advantage is the editing capability of this music formats, which is no longer possible with linearized formats such as WAV, MP3, etc.. The open accessibility of the source materials and the sequence programming in the tracker formats are technically about the open source concept in computer science for program code.

The resulting small size but good quality piece of music is an advantage which was crucial in the development of these formats. At the time of home computers in the 1980s and 1990s games were delivered on floppy disks, which only offered between 700 KB and 1.4 MB of space. On this disk usually a complete game, including several pieces of music fit in the mod format (eg Pinball Dreams or Unreal ). Although space limitations these days, thanks to steady growth in size of the disk and the spread faster broadband network access, fewer and fewer plays a role, so tracker formats for mobile devices with limited hardware equipment can continue to be the format of choice.

Mod Player

The playback of tracker modules is done either directly with the tracker itself or in the DOS and Heimcomputerära with specialized players which additional capabilities such as audio visualization, background playback capability ( as TSR ) or playlists management offer ( Mod4Win ). Known DOS players were the InertiaPlayer and CubicPlayer which were forerunners of the later general-purpose audio player, such as Winamp. The genredefinierende in end- 1990 Winamp player can play virtually all known audio formats via a plugin system, in addition to the tracker formats and audio CDs as well as the then just emerging MP3 format. In the 2000s, media player was with growing computing power also videos added to the range of skills, developed, and pure audio player for tracker files have become rather uncommon. However, on low-performance mobile devices or other exotic systems have specialized tracker Player creates a new refuge found, for example, the Gameboy Color.


Common formats are:

  • MOD - the original module format of Protrackers
  • S3M - Scream Tracker 3 Format
  • XM (Extended Module) - format of the Fast Tracker II or the current Milky Tracker
  • IT - Impulse Tracker format or the current Schism Tracker
  • XRNS - modern, XML -based format of the Renoise tracker


A technical overview of trackers for editing and recreating Tracker modules can be found at list of trackers.