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

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Holy Hubbard Code

If you are one of those who doesn't know about the SID really, then you should have a deep look at this fantastic article explaining the assembler music routine of Rob Hubbard.. now you will know what really happens inside a SID chip. Have fun reading !

Rob Hubbard's Music: Disassembled, Commented and Explained
by Anthony McSweeney from C=hacking issue 5.

How do you introduce someone like Rob Hubbard?? He came, he saw and he conquered the '64 world. In my estimation, this one man was resposible for selling more '64 software than any other single person. Hell! I think that Rob Hubbard was responsible for selling more COMMODORE 64's than any other person! I certainly bought my '64 after being blown away by the Monty on the Run music in December 1985. In the next few years, Rob would totally dominate the '64 music scene, releasing one hit after another. I will even say that some really terrible games sold well only on the strength of their brilliant Rob Hubbard music (eg. KnuckleBusters and W.A.R.).

So how did Rob achieve this success? Firstly (of course) he is a superb composer and musician, able to make the tunes that bring joy to our hearts everytime we hear them! (also consider the amazing diversity of styles of music that Rob composed).

Secondly, he was able to make music which was suited to the strengths and limitations of the SID chip. Just recall the soundfx used at the beginning of Thrust, or in the Delta in-game music. Perhaps the biggest limitation of SID must be the meagre 3 channels that can be used, but most Hubbard songs appear to have four, five or even more instruments going (just listen to the beginning of Phantoms of the Asteriods for example... that's only one channel used!!). I could really go on for (p)ages identifying the outstanding things that Rob Hubbard did, so I will finally mention that Rob's coding skills and his music routines were a major factor in his success.

The First Rob Hubbard Routine:

Rob Hubbard created a superb music routine from the very first tune which was released (Confuzion). Furthermore, Rob used this routine to make music for a very long time, only changing it _slightly_ over time. The sourcecode that I present here was used (with slight modifications) in: Confuzion, Thing on a Spring, Monty on the Run, Action Biker, Crazy Comets, Commando, Hunter Patrol, Chrimera, The Last V8, Battle of Britain, Human Race, Zoids, Rasputin, Master of Magic, One Man & His Droid, Game Killer, Gerry the Germ, Geoff Capes Strongman Challenge, Phantoms of the Asteroids, Kentilla, Thrust, International Karate, Spellbound, Bump Set and Spike, Formula 1 Simulator, Video Poker, Warhawk or Proteus and many, many more! All you would need to do to play a different music is to change the music data at the bottom, and a few lines of the code....keep reading full article and detailed source code here...


Retroshot of the week

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Rare ISA card with SID chip from 1989 !

Check this one out, The Innovation SSI 2001 is an ISA card that had as a synth the rare MOS/CSG 6582 "SID"... Apparently it is today almost impossible to find one.. Good luck finding one !!!

here is the original announcement post from the old Fidonet boards...

From: George.Heymann
Newsgroups: rec.music.synth
Subject: Innovation Music Synthesizer
Date: 26 Apr 89 03:40:00 GMT

=== Innovation Computer Corporation ===
(C) 1989 George H. Heymann

The Innovation SSI-2001 sound board is a half-height, plug-in,expansion card that will fit in any IBM and compatible personal computers. This includes the PC, XT, AT, 386, and the PS/2 model 30. The board uses the Commodore 6582 Sound Interface Device (SID) chip, which is a 3-Voice electronic music synthesizer/sound effects generator. The sound board has a 15 pin game port for
joysticks, which has the capability of supporting two joysticks with a "Y" connector (The joysticks, and Y connector are not included with the package). It also has a RCA jack for headphones or an amp, so that the sound can be played through your home stereo system. The board also has 3 banks of jumpers that enable or disable the joystick port, control the joystick sensitivity (nice feature), and the sound port address, if any I/O port conflicts occur.

Innovation claims that installing a second sound board in the computer and connecting them to a stereo amplifier and headphones will give you pseudo stereo sound. I suggest you take the output of the board, and feed it into both the left and right channel inputs of your amp. This should have the same effect, and of course be much less expensive.

Innovation currently has third party software support from Microprose and Spectrum Holobyte. Kris Backhaus, Sound Sales Director for Innovation says " I have been working closely with software companies and can guarantee at least four new games by fall". "I can also say tentatively at this time that at least five new companies are working with our board". Unfortunately, Kris could not disclose the names of these companies, at this time. Innovation seems focused at becoming the standard, and has stated that "We will do what it takes, to become the standard". Innovation seems very sincere in their wish to accomplish this goal. Innovation, by using a sound chip like the Commodore Sid chip have designed a very simple way to convert music, or sound effects for the Commodore computers to the MS-Dos, based machines. This will save time, and money for software developers who can then easily port these routines between machines.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Another MIDIbox SID is born! (Part 2)

Continuing the first video from d0pefish featured in January 2007 here comes the second part. Now, armed with a BankStick to hold SID patches, the MIDIbox SID makes some noise of its own.


a Spectrum plays SIDs !

ermm.... excuse me ?

It seems like a SID player was developed for the Spectrum in 2003 in the Czech Republic. It accepts YM files from the Atari-ST and Commodore. Can't be used in Russian clones because of processor and ULA timings... wouldnt have thought its possible like this...


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Simple DCF filter in BASIC

This project just started as a joke while discussing the possibilities of using the Commodore 64 SID filter as a realtime FX unit at the prophet64-forum.

The main purpose was to have a really simple DCF application for the breadbox which was easy to realize in plain BASIC.

As you may know Commodore didn't forget about the SID's external in, even if it's hiding behind PIN #5 of the Audio/Video jack. It's difficult to find an adapter cable but easy to DIY. Unlike some people think it would be a sample-input it's just a direct connection to the SID's DCF/DCA in (aka EXT-IN).

To use the filter one has to switch on the EXT-IN in register #17, set the appropriate filter mode and DCA volume in register #18. The values for cutoff and resonance are set through registers #15/16 and the last 4 bits of #17. As long as there're no hardcore calculations required the BASIC language is suitable to perform this tasks ;).

Since I came up with that application at the prophet64-forum, where most people already got POTs attached to their breadboxes, I also went for a set of paddles to control cutoff and resonance. Pimping a C64 with a set of pots doesn't demand more than a pair of 470K potentiometers, a female 9 PIN SUB-D (aka "joystick plug") and just weak soldering skills. If you're up for it check the Getting Started w/ the Prophet64 manual which has the schematics...

Also, prophet64 enthusiasts tend to have the SID2SID, so support for a 2nd SID chip installation is granted as well. Last but not least, there are 4 filter modes to choose from: low-, high- and band-pass and notch.

Allright, once your Commodore got his input cable and pots you're ready to download and transfer the program. You may use Star Commander, anything else or just type in the short basic listing.

rest of the article...
via robotsinmotion

thanks for posting this Ron !

Polly Tracker 1.2 PLUS released!

A new release of one of the best digitrackers for the C64 is available. Polly Tracker now supports Digimax for 8-bit output. Polly stores all sample data at 6-bit resolution, so also older modules will sound better with Digimax.

Included are 3 disks of example songs.

Here's how to enable Digimax emulation in (Win)VICE 1.21:

1. Settings->SID settings->SID Engine: Fast SID (required!)
2. Settings->Sound settings->Syncronization Method: Exact
3. Settings->Cartridge/IO settings->Digimax settings, enable Digimax and set Digimax base address to $DE00



Monday, March 05, 2007

Guitar Hero on the C64

Now check this out, The Shredz64 project is an attempt to build an interface to connect the Playstation Guitar Hero controller (and any other PS controller) to the Commodore 64 computer, then create a Guitar Hero like game on the C64 utilizing the guitar controller.

Some obstacles to be worked through include presentation of music given the 3 voice nature of the 6581 and 8580.

Not only are all guitar functions mapped over successfully, but it works great for playing C64 games with a normal dual shock controller. What's more, since the same DB9 port is used, the PSX64 can be used on the Amiga, Atari and Sega Master System (All tested except SMS).

The Shredz64 game itself is still in its infancy, but progressing nicely.



Authentic SID Collection (SOASC=) Project

The SOASC= project is an automated recording technique invented by Stein Eikesdal (Stone Oakvalley) in order to mass record music from the legendary Commodore 64 and its SID chips (6581 and 8580) into mp3 files.

The goal is to record the entire HVSC SID collection played from REAL Commodore 64's (both old and new) as per collection #45 (April 17 2006.) With PSID64 as the REAL C64 player and 64HHD as fileserver, it all connects to multiple PC's with own tailored software.

Also, a strong point to consider in this project is that ALL SIDs are recorded on both Commodore SID chip models regardless of what HVSC or the author of the SID had recommended. Remember: There are people out there that probably NEVER heard the elite sound of the 6581 and its sample/filter defects, but only the sound of 8580 and viceversa.
Actual SID Chips used for recording are: MOS 6581R4 3387 14 and C= CSG 8580R5 2689 25

If it crackles and pops....well..it's the true and authentic sound of a real Commodore 64!

This is what we had in the past, and now the past will be the present for all Commodore 64 fans out there.

It is called AUTHENTIC because the process will NOT attempt to enhance any of the recordings, it is recorded straight plain out from the mono Commodore 64 Audio/Video connector. No stereo, no funny mixes, no compression, no filtering, no remix, no software noise reduction, no crazy SID hacks or other unatural Commodore 64 elements.

If there is a poppy click in the recording its supposed to be there. The SID chip is unique as should be treated as so as well.

The final MP3 (224kbps, mono, 44100Hz) will contain all information from the SID itself, sorted in respect of the directory structure as defined by HVSC. Filenaming, title, author, copyright etc.

This is a quick movie showing the outline of the actual recording taking place during the 4 month period of Commodore 64 authenthic recording project.

ALL of HVSC's SID files recorded to MP3. For both the 6581 and 8580 chip....90000+ of files. 400GB in size, world's ONLY and LARGEST archive now and forever....


Check out the website www.6581-8580.com for in-depth information and also the tunes (when completed) ready for download!

Prophet64 available again ?

The Prophet64 is expected today to be available again to order. New cartridges should have arrived !! This is a little video posted by Skrenos showing the Prophet 64 cartridge running on a Commodore 64c with dual SIDs. SID1 is a 8580 and SID2 is a 6581R2. The frame rate is lowered to 1 FPS as the audio is the most important part. This is just to show you what kind of sounds you can get out of the Commodore 64 with the P64 program.


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