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GVOX Guitar --> 850 -->Atari 8bit - FAIL

k-Pack

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Fender’s GVOX Guitar interface has a DB9 serial connector that would fit nicely into the rs232 port on the Atari 850 interface. I wasn’t able to rule out the possibility of getting the two to communicate, its just that I can’t justify the time, effort or value to find out.

 

The GVOX Guitar interface connected your steel string Guitar to a Win95 computer with a MIDI sound card through a COMM: port. The interface would monitor the pickups mounted under the strings for frequency and volume data. Then transmit the data to the computer where it was used by the midi board to make sounds or retransmitted to a synthesizer.

 

Good concept, but the delay between when the string was strummed and when the midi voice started was very annoying. So annoying that the software was never updated for the next generation of Windows. It doesn’t look like the technical specifications made it to the public domain for anyone to try.

 

I kind of figured that it was a serial data stream from the GVOX to the computer when the instruction manual said to plug the cord into the COMM: port of the IBM. There were no setting specified for the baud rate, word size, duplex, or stop bits. So I guessed that the GVOX software took care of that.

 

I decided to plug it in and see what information could be gained by monitoring the port with Bob Term. When power was turned on a letter was being written to the screen. The letter would change for different baud rates but they seem to come in at the same rate. On power up was the GVOX sending out a signal for the computer to detect and then waiting for the proper reply? Maybe.

 

Visually rescanning the manual lead to the discovery that once the IBM detected the GVOX, data had be downloaded from the computer. Was this data conversion tables or did it need some kind of software program to be downloaded? Maybe.

 

Then it hit me, all at once. Since I couldn’t use the POKEY chip to make sounds during the in/out operations of the 850 there wasn’t much use in hooking up the guitar, my MIDI Mate was sold a long time ago so that wasn’t going to work, I wasn’t getting the technical information by searching the web and my time would be better spent getting the WiiGuitar connected to the joystick port and the Wii Ukulele Software written.

 

Within the next couple of weeks I hope to have it stripped of parts and ready for the recycle center. Then there will be one less item on my “TODO after retirement” list.

 

 

 

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