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Commodore SID cart for Atari 8-Bit Computers?


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#1 CrazyChris OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:31 PM

Anyone ever think of making a Commodore SID cart for Atari 8-Bit computers?



#2 Geister OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:53 PM

For a half-second maybe.  The Pokey chip was shoved into a 7800 cart for Ball Blazer so I guess it's a possibility.  But as much as the C64 owners rave about the SID it wasn't a big improvement over the Pokey.  Not like a PC sound card or something truly next wave. 

 

I remember the arcade sound and music fondly, but it was all a bit deedle-deedle-doot.  Hurts my ears these days. 


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#3 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:30 PM

We can emulate SID, and it sounds better. Remember, we have more CPU power. That makes a difference. Also, it would be awkward to have a separate audio cable plug into a cart for 400/800 users.

 

Edit: Just to clarify: There is NO audio line on the cart port, unlike the 7800.


Edited by Kyle22, Sat Apr 20, 2019 8:32 PM.


#4 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 20, 2019 9:44 PM

We can emulate SID, and it sounds better. Remember, we have more CPU power. That makes a difference. Also, it would be awkward to have a separate audio cable plug into a cart for 400/800 users.

 

Edit: Just to clarify: There is NO audio line on the cart port, unlike the 7800.

I agree with your first sentence, but is the Atari able to do much of anything else while it is emulating the SID?



#5 Forrest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:39 AM

The Parallax Propeller chip has been able to emulate a SID chip since 2009 https://www.youtube....h?v=EJcbxrdErkY



#6 Mclaneinc ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 2:56 AM

http://atariki.krap.....php/Slight_SID

 

You can get an idea of its working by using Altirra and adding it as a device in the configure system menu.....You will need a player disk.....There's one on that link

 

You can also go down the emulation path....BUT

 

But here's the rub, SID emulation on any platform isn't perfect, its damn good but not spot on, I *personally* would rather pick up a cheap C64C or if you can find an old Breadbin (Original C64) cheap then one of those and play the stuff as it should sound. There's a tiny complication with the real hardware, there's 2 versions of the SID chip, the original, the 6581 or the newer 8580 which is in the C64 Mrk II aka (I beleive) the C64C and 128. To be exact there were 5 versions of the chip but only 1 was different enough to use a new chip number.

 

There's tonal and filter difference between the two composers exploited the differences but in general either will pass the hearing test unless you are a true connoisseur of SID...

 

The cost of picking up a cheap C64C will probably match the price of a cart + SID chip (if needed)

 

As for Slight SID, from looking at a link on the previous page it seems the boards are getting in to production

 

http://www.atari.org...hp?id=9322&p=14

 

Not sure how its progressed since then..

 

Hope this helps by throwing an alternative curve..

 

Paul..


Edited by Mclaneinc, Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:04 AM.


#7 ZuluGula ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:51 AM



#8 Mclaneinc ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:24 AM

Wow, hardware overload...



#9 Larry OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:34 AM

@Zulugula-

Impressive!  Could you post a brief explanation of what how your setup actually works? Are the .SID files converted in some fashion, or does the Atari convert them on the fly?

 

There are a lot of threads at AA on this topic, and a lot of missteps in getting some actual hardware.  This is the most impressive I've heard.  And of course, there are amazing differences of opinion about SID vs POKEY.  Some represent true feelings about the two systems; some are just dogma.  I've loved SID since I first heard it, and have a Stereo SID setup for my C64's, although I rarely get it out anymore.  The PC emulators do a a great job (to my ears).  And IMO, they do a much better job than the Atari emulation of SID. Your mileage (and ears) may vary!

 

Here is a link to a good online player/files:

http://deepsid.chordian.net/

 

I think one of the better repositories of SID material is on LOADSTAR COMPLEAT -- Fender Tucker's site:

http://www.ramblehou...tarcompleat.htm



#10 Mclaneinc ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:08 AM

I doubt the sids are being converted, purely pumped in to that SID board with a real chip on and the output taken via the PCB...

 

As for the SID vs Pokey, to quote a youtube meme, "nobody aint got time for that", listen to the chip you like and enjoy..Simples..

 

Never Stereo modded my 64's (nor my Atari's for that matter), there's some nice stuff on both but its good enough as an emulated source on those ones, for game stuff etc, I prefer real hardware even though there's pretty damn good emulation out there..



#11 Mclaneinc ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:12 AM

Top place for SIDS...

 

https://www.hvsc.c64.org/

 

Its one of the longest running SID archives out there, started on the Amiga I seem to remember..I like this set for the constant updates and fixes but wherever you get them from its good to go...



#12 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:42 AM

A requisite for a real SID on Atari cart is that it needs a clock source such that it matches a working C64.  Atari's clock is too fast and if divided by 2, too slow by about 15%

 

For emulation, many CPU cycles are consumed and typically what is left over goes to the tracker.   A few cycles remain per scanline (blank mode at that) which allow stuffing a bit of PM data to give you a graphic representation of what's being played.

 

No doubt an accelerated CPU could do SID emulation and run a game at the same time, but not many of us own one.



#13 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:06 AM

I'm just far too used to POKEY to like SID, at least with songs from games on both. Because of this thread, I finally got around to downloading the SID VI from AA and played a few songs last night, including Zybex, I.K. and a few others. I can appreciate some of the sounds the SID makes, it's smooth transitions (I'm no music guy so really no clue about triangle waves and all the other stuff SID uses, like the higher octaves, it just hurts my ears and sound far too transistor-radio "tinny" to my ears), but after listening to those game songs on the SID emulator, they just sound absolutely horrible to my ears compared to the POKEY.

 

The POKEY definitely sounds fuller, richer  and more layered to me due to the forth voice, and though many say the SID has a better bass, to my ears POKEY's bass is much deeper. I have a sub-woofer hooked up to Atari to hear good bass as it should be, and with that sub-woofer POKEY"S bass sounds much deeper to me than SID's. I'm sure I'll come across some SID tunes that I haven't heard POKEY versions of for most of my life, and may be able to appreciate them better, but I will never prefer SID versions of classic game songs found on both computers, it's too late for me, my ears are too used to POKEY. And now that I have stereo POKEY, I can hardly stand to listen to 4-voice POKEY mono tunes anymore, let alone 3 voice SID tunes... 

 

Bottom line for me is I could care less about SID on the Atari, at least without POKEY to back it up, I'd probably like a mix of the two. But if another sound chip is introduced to the Atari, internally or externally, at this point I think we should shoot for something better than the SID...maybe the Amiga sound chip...what's that one called again? Besides, the Amiga chip seems more fitting, since it's also a Jay Miner computer. 

 

Hopefully, once I have a C64 again, I can get used to the SID and eventually appreciate it, but certainly don't think the Atari needs it, and if it does happen, I'll be patiently waiting to do the mod or get the cart myself until there's sufficient Atari software that takes advantage of it...and with the track record of new hardware (VBXE) and VERY little development, I doubt that will ever happen. I've been waiting over ten years for enough good software for VBXE to make me fork out the $ for it...still waiting...


Edited by Gunstar, Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:43 AM.


#14 ZuluGula ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:06 AM

@Larry
Sorry, it's not mine. I believe that hardware in this video is based on SIDARI project found here
http://atari.000spac...ari/sidari.html

#15 Mclaneinc ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:19 AM

Ah, when I see pictures of Atari's out of their cases with a huge number of random wires going to them I always feel like someone is playing Frankenstein with a poor old atari and to leave it alone :)

 

Still, without that we never evolve or get nice hobby projects...

 

I just imagine all the failed tries with a room similar to Sids room in Toy story where he's done all these weird experiments and its now full of Atari's with weird wrong function keys and a pokey that can only make bomb blast noises :)



#16 R0ger OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:18 PM

Just my 2 cents. SID is miles better than POKEY. It's actual music instrument. POKEY is keyboard driver. Yes, it can play music. And thanks to many talented authors, it can play very nice music. But it's always fighting the chip. One more channel can't overweight the limitations, like 8 bit frequencies, non linear volume mixing, and straight out lack of features. You could also say, that POKEY has two 16 bit channels, while SID has three.

For me, fighting the chip is the fun. It's just sometimes I feel focusing just on making the music might be fun too :-D



#17 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 7:29 PM

For a half-second maybe.  The Pokey chip was shoved into a 7800 cart for Ball Blazer so I guess it's a possibility.  But as much as the C64 owners rave about the SID it wasn't a big improvement over the Pokey.  Not like a PC sound card or something truly next wave. 

 

I remember the arcade sound and music fondly, but it was all a bit deedle-deedle-doot.  Hurts my ears these days. 

The level of insanity (or deafness) here kills me.  A full on analog synth compared to a square wave serial driver.  Wow.  Joe Decuir went on to design USB.  Cool.  Bob Yannes founded a "shitty keyboard" company named Ensoniq.  So yeah - sound quality was about that far apart.



#18 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:05 PM

Thanks to modern day research and experimentation both chips have far exceeded their original specs and intentions.

 

But really, Pokey's discoveries such as triangle, sawtooth and filtering effects just bring it closer to SID's base specs.

 

With SID there's stuff like alternate digital output modes and their claimed "8 bit output" but Pokey caught up there recently.

 

When it comes to sound effects IMO Pokey actually has an advantage usually but when it comes to music SID comes out on top.



#19 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:07 PM

It's not about whether the SID is technically better to me, or if it has the smoother transitioning triangle waves, I can definitely hear that difference. It's about what my ears are used to for the last 35 years, and I like 4 channels of POKEY 8-bit or 2 16-bit, or one 16-bit and two 8-bit, whatever, I prefer the sound of POKEY music over SID, I think it's bass sounds better to my ears, and the SID's high end octaves sound like a tiny, tinny transistor radio to me and it isn't pleasant to my ears. And yes, I prefer POKEY's 4 8-bit voices over the SID's 3 16-bit, plain and simple. Plus what Rybag's mentions about what has been done with POKEY in modern times.

 

If I had gone with C64 years ago, I'm sure I'd feel differently, but it is what it is. And now that I have Dual POKEY with 8 8-bit channels or 4 16-bit or whatever combination, I don't even like mono 4 voice POKEY as much any more, but still prefer it to SID. I also find it much more interesting to see what musicians can pull out of the keyboard chip and make it sound so good, it impresses me far more than a chip made for music in that sense. Especially when it can emulate a SID so well, if not perfect, even if it takes all the Atari's resources to do so, but a SID can't ever emulate a POKEY because it's short a channel/voice! (unless you do a stereo mod for it)  Now I'd like to see what dual POKEY's could do with emulation!


Edited by Gunstar, Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:16 PM.


#20 Mclaneinc ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:09 AM

Bah, all this "this ones better" stuff all ends up to be personal preference, about 10 years ago I saw 5,000 TV that were technically streets ahead of my 32 inch CRT but I LOVED the picture on that TV, it was clear, crisp and just felt good so for me my 800 quid TV was FOR ME miles better than that 5,000 thin blurry piece of crap. On paper the more expensive TV was indeed superior but it just looked odd to me so I stayed with my TV until it failed and went to the dead TV cemetery in the sky.

 

Just listen to the chip(s) you like and enjoy them, lots of people go on about the Megadrive Yamaha sound chip but for me it just drives my tinnitus insane and in truth I don't like the sound of it anyway but hey, its a synth chip so TECHNICALLY better than my POKEY or my Synth based SID but I don't like the sound of it...

 

So which chip is better....The one you like listening to most..



#21 Wrathchild OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:06 AM

SWINSID boards seem quite commonplace (example on Ebay), could they be utilised on a SlightSid cart board?



#22 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:08 AM

For a half-second maybe.  The Pokey chip was shoved into a 7800 cart for Ball Blazer so I guess it's a possibility.  But as much as the C64 owners rave about the SID it wasn't a big improvement over the Pokey.  Not like a PC sound card or something truly next wave. 

 

I remember the arcade sound and music fondly, but it was all a bit deedle-deedle-doot.  Hurts my ears these days. 

 

Back in the day,  when all I had at my disposal was a Pokey,  I would hear the effects the SID would do on my friends' C64s and feel jealous.

 

But yeah, nowadays both sound primitive.   But it also seems that FM chips that came after sounded more like SID, so that type of sound sounds more generic now, and Pokey sounds more distinctive to my ears, even if it is a harsher sound. 



#23 ivop ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:08 AM

Now I'd like to see what dual POKEY's could do with emulation!

 

On a stock A8, not much more. It already utilizes nearly 100% of the CPU.



#24 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:25 AM

 

On a stock A8, not much more. It already utilizes nearly 100% of the CPU.

Of course, I should have realized this. 






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