Friday, November 28, 2008

Getting the Elektron Sidstation to play back .sid-files

The Elektron Sidstation is a synthesizer with the MOS6581 sound chip from the old Commodore 64 (also called C64) computer but it can also be used to together with a Windows application called Asid XP to playback .sid-files, which is the most common format for C64 songs. The bad thing that neither the Sidstations manual nor the Asid XP documentation reveals how to enter the sid playback mode on the Sidstation. And since I don't use it that often I keep on forgetting it I thought that I might dedicate this post to it.

First download the sid-player software from the Sidstations support page and unpack it. Then download some sid-files from The High Voltage Sid Collection or any other site containing sid-files. Connect you computer to your Sidstation via MIDI and hook up your Sidstation to an amp of some kind. Turn on the Sidstation and wait for it to show the normal startup screen with OS version etc. When you see the words "Patch" and "System" press the down key twice so you will see the word "Asid" on the lcd. Press "D" to enter it. The lcd will now go blank and wait for incoming signals. Now load a sid-file into Asid XP and press play and enjoy the sweet sounds. The name of the sid-file will also appear on the Sidstations lcd. Don't forget to set up the proper midi configuration in Asid XP. No midi channels need to be configured on the Sidstation when using the Asid mode.

Nothing fancy really but since the manual doesn't cover how to enter it and the Sidstation doesn't show that you actually can go one step lower on the startup screen its easy to forget.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The MSSIAH has arrived

My MSSIAH cart has finally arrived. The long awaited MSSIAH cart has been released by 8bitventures. MSSIAH is a new music program for the old Commodore 64 computer. It was supposed to have been released in early 2008 but now almost a year later its finally here. MSSIAH is an updated version of the previous program called Prophet64. The biggest difference between the programs in that MSSIAH can be controlled via the MIDI IN input on the cart. With Prophet64 you had to buy a third part device from firestARTer that could convert MIDI signals to signals that the Prophet64 actually could understand. Looking forward to integrate it in my home studio.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Setting up a Doepfer MCV4 for a Realistic Concertmate MG-1

Today I got my Doepfer MCV4 in the mail. It is an interface that converts MIDI to CV/Gate. CV/Gate was what was used before MIDI to control synths externally. I got this Doepfer interface to finally be able to control my Realistic Concertmate MG-1 synth. MIDI is a standard for every machine but with CV/Gate most manufacturers had their own standard just for their own synths. With my MG-1 it was "Volts per octave" and "S-trig". To get S-trig i had to remove the four screws at the sides and open up the Doepfer and remove a jumper that controlled which kind of trig version that you were using and completely removing the jumper set i to S-trig. After that I reseted it by pressing the Learn button on the doepfer while i powered it up and then hold it until it started to flash and after that press it once. Now it was set to its factory settings which were.

• MIDI channel 1
• reference note 36 (i.e. the lowest "c" on a standard 5-octave keyboard)
• trigger polarity: normal (non-inverted)
• retrigger: off
• CV3: volume (controller #7)
• CV4: modulation (controller #1)
• CV1 characteristics: V/octave
• key assign mode: highest note

One thing left to make it work properly with my MG-1 and that was to change the trigger polarity to inverted since the default mode set it to normal and the MG-1 uses inverted. So I hooked up my Korg EA-1 to it since I was to lazy to hook up it to may computer. To change the polarity to inverted you hade to send a Program Change message to it while it was in Learn mode. I configured the midi filter on my Korg EA-1 so I would only send Program Change messages since ive noticed that all the other midi messages it sent out messed up the Doepfers settings. I pushed the Learn button on the Doepfer so its red diode began showing red and then changed to pattern 8 on the Korg EA-1 which also sent out a Program Change with the value 8 which was the one that I needed to change the trigger polarity from Normal to Inverted. Now it was set up perfectly for my old synth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Microdeal Stereo Sampler

I bought this Microdeal Stereo Sampler for my Amiga of ebay and it arrived today so I felt that i had to try it out. Unfortunately the software that came with it wouldnt start properly. The following text appeared when I started it: "STEREO MASTER REQUIRES SMFONT.FONT TO OPERATE" and after that the program shuts down. Very annoying! Im guessing that the floppy might be damaged :( I started a thread about it on Safir the swedish amiga message board and a guy replied that he had the same floppy disc for the sampler at home and that he would check if i still worked and if it did he would make a copy of it for me. I briefly tested the sampler with Protracker 2.3B and it seemed to work OK I guess. So its to be continued.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Atari STfm sound output

Unlike the Atari STe the STfm doesnt have a sound output so you either need to make one yourself, buy a monitor cable with outputs for the sound or use the sound from the TV. I didnt have the time or the money for the monitor cable and using the Tvs output was no good since the RF cable you use to connect it to the TV picks up alot of noise. So I did the first or to be correct my friend Salkin did it for me :). He added a 1/4 inch jack mono jack to the left side of the case and connected to wires to the monitor output pins inside the atari. One wire to pin 1 which is for the audio and one wire to pin 13 which is for the ground. So now I can hook it up to my mixer and enjoy some great Atari trackers such as Musicmon 2.5 and maxYMizer.

Thanks Salkin!

The 13 pin DIN female at the computer.

1AOAudio Out
2CVIDEOComposite Video
3GPOGeneral Purpose Output - linked to Port A bit 6 of the sound chip, user programmable
4M detectif line is low, ST enters high res monochrome mode (no other use) linked to pin 17 of MFP68901 chip
5AIAudio In
8+12V+12 VDC (520ST has GND)
9HSYNCHorizontal Sync
11MVIDEOMonochrome Video
12VSYNCVertical Sync

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweet old Amiga 2000

There were a thread on the chiptune forum 8bitcollective about someone considering buying an Amiga 2000 and wanted some opinions about it so I started to think about my old Amiga.

Oh the memories, the Amiga 2000 was my first computer which I got when I was around 10 year old if I remember right so it was probably sometime around 1996 or so. My older brother who were really into amigas at the time showed me this so called "music program" which was called a tracker. It had some damn irritating scrolling numbers and I thought am I supposed to make music with this!? It was Protracker and after that point i never liked trackers until I learned how do use LSDJ properly.(Tested it on an emulator in 2001/2002 I think and I reacted the same was as with Protracker) LSDJ is a tracker for the Nintendo Game boy. Even though I used some other trackers on and off during the years I never really liked the tracker interface until i got my hands on LSDJ for the second time which was some time around the fall of 2006.

My Amiga 2000 didn't have any hard drive so it was purely a game station for me until I broke the keyboard playing Ski or Die. It was unfortunately beyond fixable. My brother tried finding me a replacement one but didn't succeed (remember this was ages before ebay) so it got placed on a shelf in my fathers garage until last year when my parents drop of all my old junk at my apartment. I had to much junk at that time and didn't have the time and effort to get it to work after all those cold winters in the garage so I put up an add on Safir which is a swedish amiga message board that whoever comes and get it will get it for free. Some guy were interested and basically traveled across half of Sweden and picked it up. So it got to a nice good home.

I bought an Amiga 500+ some weeks ago for giving Protracker a second chance now that I like trackers alot more but more about my 500+ later.

Unfortunately i had no picture of my Amiga 2000 so the picture above is the one from Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hello World!

Hello World! This is my first post on my brand new blog which i soon will fill with all kinds of music and musicrelated gear, projects and other stuff that im working with/on.