Commodore 64 Music in the real world & other related SID stories

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Controlling a light rig with a Commodore!

Now this is quite cool...and different.

The guys from XenonDisco developed in the 90s a series of software and hardware (that looks like a prop from the movie Wargames) to control lighting rigs for their live gigs.

They programmed LSQ & ProLSQ for the Commodore 128 and ProLogic for the Commodore 64. A real cool feature of ProLSQ is that it can use DualCPU, yes, it's possible to link two C128's in a Master-Slave fashion... wow... that really rocks. Obviously, the software required some hardware to drive the lights...

"...First version of the hardware was a quite crude design (called "the triac box") with 8 channels. It basically consisted of 8 optocouplers driving 8 transistors driving 8 triacs. Anyway it fulfilled our demands as we could switch sufficiently heavy loads and interface it directly with a Commodore 64 or 128. The triac box was mounted in the end of a long bar where 16 colored lights was mounted.

Why all these Commodore computers? Well, the Amiga and the PC had entered the scene, and there was a load of these old (=cheap) C64/128:s laying around. Plus the fact that I myself was quite familiar with doing I/O programming on it. The light sequencer was then refined with a unit that was connected between the triac box and the computer which allowed more controlled switching for eliminating e.g. feedback into the audio system, (It was called "the diabolic box" due to the fact that it 1) was a lethal hazard with 220 volts if you removed the duct-taped on carboard lid from top of it, 2) it could easily be broken if you didn't handle it all too careful, sometimes boards were not event bolted down inside the box… but hey, it was always an ever evolving proto.)

The Diabolic box also got dimming-freatures, override-features with audio control (which served as backup incase of a computer breakdown:) Low-pass filtered pre-amps for the audio feed to the computer, etc ,etc. There was always a new feature being added, and the way I remember it we often did the sound checks and then started to play with the new features - we even did a bit of pre-gig-soldering sometimes to tune everything in..."


Full Article here to read all about it and to see more pictures and screenshots.

Diskimages to download here

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

another SX64 MIDI setup...

Check out this picture we got in the mailbox from a reader of his live setup 20 years ago with a SX64 controlling all the MIDI gear. Just Beautiful.

"...That was in the mid to late 80's. I was using my 65' Gibson ES-335 in live performance through a Tom Scholtz stereo "Rockman" with full midi arrangements, minus guitar and vocal, doing Contemporary Christian Music. The rack provided two (2) Casio multi-timbral synthesizers, two (2) Yamaha Drum sample/sequencers (standard and Latin Percussion) and a 360 Systems Bass module (high quality samples). The SX-64 controlled and sequenced the entire performance using Studio One software..."

Awesome !!! Thanks John for the pic and info !

International Karaoke !

The week started with the release of International Karaoke, appropriate for the frenetic days that we are going through, enjoy a nice opportunity to use the Commodore 64 with your family to sing along your favourite Christmas songs, as you would expect from any decent karaoke software, it displays the lyrics in time with the music.

Yeah.. have fun with this one and relax by the fire.

Just a few days to go !

Songs in 3 languages.

get it:
International Karaoke

Digital Excess

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Digi we were looking for...

A kind reader sent us yesterday one of the digitunes we were looking for ages ( see digitunes for your brain... ) It was probably 15 years ago the last time I heard this digi, when I stupidly sold my whole Commodore 64 setup + disk collection to a stranger... arrrghh.. whenever I think about it I hate myself...

The digi is sampled from Billy Idol's "Flesh For Fantasy" but I haven't got a clue of who sampled it into the 64, no credits , no graphics , nada... this is probably one of my biggest traumas of the Commodore 64 era.

Enjoy this Coldcut !

the real thing for the Commodore 64

recorded with an emulator - Thanks Darren!

just found out that it was done by Radwar. Check the release info. Read more about Playing digis on the 64: theory, SID internals, $d418 digis, and Pulse Width Modulation in the issue #20 from C=Hacking.

Illustration from To Be on Top

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Step by Step MIDI Sequencer source code discovered...

hmm... what's this my friends ??? here is the source code of a quite old and basic Step-by-Step monophonic MIDI sequencer for the Commodore 64.

I haven't tried it yet so I can't comment on how it works. Seems interesting enough to investigate it further though. I love how the GUI is built in BASIC, how cute... the main engine is written in assembler so it should be fast enough .

The little documentation is written in german but I guess you will get around with a little help of the babelfish..

written by Frieder Meis

more about MIDI programming in Assembler here (in German)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Desert Planet Touring Germany

Yeah man.. Desert Planet comes back to Germany.. this is the final giglist and finally they have a date in Berlin.. Niiiice one!

fri 09.12.05 Stuttgart, Germany
Rocker33, http://www.rocker33.com/

sat 10.12.05 Berlin, Germany
ENZIAN Bar (Kreuzberg), Yorckstr. 77 ( showtime about 9.30 pm)

sun 11.12.05 Berlin, Germany
Berlin's Premier Modernist Sunday Event, Alte Schönhauser 39 ( open 10 pm)

wed 14.12.05 Nürnberg, Germany
Weinerei, http://www.weinerei.de

thu 15.12.05 Fürth, Germany
Raum 4, Nürnberger Straße 3

fri 16.12.05 Schwerte, Germany
Kunterbunt e.V., http://www.kunterbunt-schwerte.de/

Thanks Jukka for letting us know! See ya next week !


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