December 30, 2011
I finally assembled one of my DualSID kits. It’s an add-on board for C64 that makes it possible to install an additional SID chip with several different configurations. Detailed description can be found at the DualSID home page or in my earlier post.
Update in April 2018: The DualSID home page is gone, so I add the latest(?) versions of the assembly instructions here, plus link to Lemon64 forums.
Note: the transistor orientation is incorrect in the pcb silk screen in pcbs prior to pcb v3. However, letters E, B, C are printed correctly on the board, so check your transistor pinout. Pictures seen on this post have the transistor installed wrong way around. Transistor’s flat edge should face towards edge of the board. I’ve fixed mine since. </update>
I made this one as the 8580 version. Here’s the board – without and with SID chips.
For the convinience of installing it from one C64 to another if needed, I made all external connections and jumper settings using pin headers. When the board is like this, the second SID address selection is done by setting the jumper block in the 2×4 pin header to correct position. Instead of manually changing the jumper block’s position, I’m able to replace the block with 2×4 female pin header that is wired to e.g. a rotary swithch. That way the changing of second SID address can be done externally. Read the rest of this entry »
May 31, 2011
Something about music for a change.
Many times I prefer music podcasts over Internet radio. Instead of listening to seemingly random tunes it’s nice to listen music that has been selected around some theme. Or even better – mixed together. One important thing for me is also that it’s not allowed to stress the network with streamed music at my workplace. So music podcasts and arranged sets come handy for me.
These podcasts and other shows have helped me along the day countless hours and I’m glad to promote them a bit.
This has been a very regular scene music podcast by BitFellas. There’s well over hundred podcasts online. All done over a certain theme or topic. Have a look – I’m surprised if there is nothing that catches your interest!
Another scene music podcast. BitJam’s roots comes from Hardread but Hardread is still living on its own. Too bad te activity has been dropping lately.
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April 18, 2011
It feels like it’s been ages since my last post. One reason for this feeling is probably the fact that I have moved during this break. Being more specific, I have moved in with my special lady. Who does her best to understand my interest to old computers and other weird stuff including my peculiar electro-analogish taste of music. Wish me luck ;)
Not starting a relationship blog here and still sticking to old computers and weird stuff; Some interesting SID related updates have emerged in the meantime for both SwinSID and 1541 Ultimate projects.
Micro SwinSID has got two firmware updates since my review. The updates have improved the ADSR envelope and filter emulation closer to real SID chip. The latest firmware also introduces 6581 filter emulation that can be selected by e.g. a switch by grounding one of the AVR pins. Unfortunately I haven’t had the change to get first hand impressions of the improvements as I’m lacking the means to program the microcontroller. Read the rest of this entry »
September 15, 2010
This should be interesting to majority of SID music lovers. Starting from v3.0.4 ACID 64 Player Pro supports JSIDPlay2. Up to this point ACID 64 Player Pro has been a SID player software only for HardSID users as it has been supporting only HardSID for output device. But it’s now possible to configure JSidDevice as the output source!
What this means is that SID sound lovers who don’t have a genuine SID sound card setup can now enjoy today’s state of the art SID emulation with the wonderful ACID 64 Player. Read the rest of this entry »
August 24, 2010
This summer was my 20th anniversary of owning a Commodore 64. Yes – I got mine when it was already the dusk of C64’s commercial life. But still for many years to come it was the most popular gaming machine among my friends. But why do I still play around with mine? What it gives you in 2010? Of course a great deal of my C64 hobby is nostalgia. But there’s more.
After I had moved away from using the C64 in favour to then-modern PC, I found my interest to the good old Commodore in late 90’s when I found some demos on a BBS and ran them on a C64 emulator. I wasn’t expecting that the C64 could run such effects that could be seen in e.g. Smash Designs’ Triage demos. I was amazed and I wanted to be able to run the most amazing demos I could find on a real machine as the emulation was far from perfect by the time. At this point I had few different models of C64s and I was transferring floppy images to 5,25″ DD floppies with Star Commander. Read the rest of this entry »
February 22, 2010
Along with the release of new HardSID models also the ACID 64 Player Pro – my SID player weapon of choise – got updated. The obvious update is the support for the new devices, but there is more to make it a nice update for HardSID 4U owners too.
Now when toggling channels or filter on/off, or when you change the SID model while playing a song, the playback does not jump. So you can seamlessly change the SID “on the fly” when listening – which makes it more interesting to compare different SID models. Another feature that I see as great improvement is the emulated SID reading for the USB HardSIDs. What it means is that some songs that did not work with HardSID 4U because of the hardware buffer made reading from SID chip impossible now work. In other words, stuff made with Polly Tracker now plays great! Dirty ’64, baby!
Not only the SID player but also the source for SID music has been updated. The old-as-internet HVSC website has been renewed: High Voltage SID Collection has got a new web site! Wow. The content seems to be about the same as it used to be, only presented in a “little” more modern and stylish way, and the address is new: www.hvsc.de. Now there is also a SID search on the site and links to various players. It would be nice if they added a STIL support to the search, especially when there is no longer links to other SID search engines.
It’s nice to see that the HVCS crew is well alive and active, but I kind of feel sorry for the old site. It was so old it’s a classic! Luckily the old site is still alive ;)
May 12, 2009
Just when I thought in my previous post that ACID 64 Player almost became the second choise SID player software for HardSID, it gets a major update with some great new features. And on top of that the High Voltage SID Collection got update no. 50 just few days earlier. Good times!
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April 29, 2009
Hard Software recently released a Winamp plugin for HardSID 4U. So now it is possible to play SID tunes on a real SID chip with Winamp’s user interface and features! Sweet. Features like playlists, random play and seeking are of course supported. It’s just like playing any “ordinary” music with Winamp. The plugin is made with the assumption that you have HVSC on your HD, and you need to define the path to it in the plugin’s configuration. Then the plugin can access the song length (SID tunes never “end”, they just keep looping. The song length information is also used for seeking) and STIL information that are provided with HVSC. The SID files that contain multiple songs are expanded (on play) to the playlist and can be treated as independent entries in the playlist.
All I can say is that I’m very pleased with this release. It makes it very easy and comfortable to have real SID music playing in the background. Just build up a playlist and let the music play. No need to manually change songs or anything.
Even still I prefer the ACID 64 Player for active listening. The Winamp plugin is based on ACID 64 core but some of the features have been cut for simplicity. None of those features really matters for music listening itself, but ACID 64 Player provides more information, especially when expanded with Covert BitOps‘ SIDId playroutine identity scanner.
March 20, 2009
For many years I thought that it would be cool to have a HardSID or some other SID sound card, such as Catweasel. But it wasn’t until last June that I actually decided to get one. I spotted a news item on one C64 news portal that was reminding that pre-ordering for the brand new HardSID model lasted for the end of that month. This new model HardSID 4U is external USB-device instead of PCI or ISA card as the previous versions. Additionally, there was 50€ discount to the 299€ price when pre-ordering. I was sold.
If you don’t know, the HardSID is a sound card that basically gives a genuine SID sound for a modern PC. It can also be used as low-cost multichannel analog synthesizer, but I’ll leave that only as a side note here. The genuine sound is achieved by installing actual SID chips on the sound card. And the SID chip is the sound chip of Commodore 64 – a home computer of the 80’s. This whole concept may seem a little weird if you are not familiar with the music made with Commodore 64, especially the modern music. There is still a very active scene producing music for the machine thanks to the C64’s unique sound. And trust me, the emulated sound just doesn’t compare to the real thing if you are an enthusiastic.
HardSID 4U sitting on my desk and hooked up to my laptop and stereo system
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