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-^CrossBow^-

AtariVox+ Few oddities

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I have an AtariVox+ that I purchased I guess about a year ago now? At first I had issues with it not working at all in my 7800. Later found out it was due to a bad TIA and now it seems to work just fine. However,

 

When playing Dungeon Stalker, the AtariVox+ works fine and then a few minutes into playing a game, I will suddenly hear the AtariVox play the intro tune it plays when you first power on the Atari but without saying "Atari Vox". After that, there is no more speech to be heard while playing Dungeon Stalker. However if I unplug the AtariVox and plug it back in, then it will seem to work normally again after and usually keeps working just fine.

 

Another odd thing I discovered about the AtariVox...

 

We already know that you need an external set of speakers or something to plug it into to hear it. Well, I was going to record some video game play with the AtariVox and was trying to use a 2-way to single splitter that I own so I could mix an audio line from the AtariVox at the same time as my 7800 so the sound would output through the same set of speakers. This apparently can't be done because as soon as I plugged in the AtariVox to one port and then the 7800 audio out to the other, the 7800 audio is cut and I only hear the AtariVox. However I can plug other consoles audio output lines in at the same time and mix them together without issue?

 

Is the AtariVox putting out some odd voltage on the audio out from it that messes with the impedance when combined with other audio input lines? Anyone else had any luck doing what I'm describing?

 

Here is a link to the splitter I use: Again I'm using the 2RCA female ends to plug two different audio inputs and then plug the single RCA male to the audio input on my receiver for mixing.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RCA-Y-Splitter-AV-Audio-Video-Plug-Converter-1-Male-to-2-Female-Cable-Adapter-/130708739463

 

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Here is my setup with a C1702, 7800, AtariVox and an external set of speakers as was explained during another conversation:

 

============================================

 

Regarding, a C1702 and a Vox working together...That is my exact main setup. I additionally add a set of PC Speakers which both the console and the Vox feed to, which does provide an additional layer of complexity.

Nonetheless, the best way to handle it is through Y-split male/female adapter(s), a 1/8" to RCA adapter, in conjunction with the necessary (RCA) audio cables.

In this example we will presume just utilizing the C1702 with one/mono RCA audio input, without external speaker(s).

Let's start with the Vox. We need an easy way to control its volume level. This is what I utlilize: Koss VC20 Volume Control. It works nicely and provides the same output jack, a 1/8" female stereo.

We'll now convert that 1/8" female stereo jack to RCA with this: Stereo 1/8 Inch to Dual RCA Adapter Cable.

If the Atari console is modded with left and right audio channels, to simplify things, let's get that down to one, which would be required anyhow for connection directly to the C1702, with this: RCA Mono Male to Two RCA Stereo Female Y-Cable. If he just has mono output from the console than of course the aforementioned is unnecessary.

Another RCA Mono Male to Two RCA Stereo Female Y-Cable would need to be utilized for the Vox side, which has since had converted its typical stereo 1/8 inch female to two RCA stereo male adapters.

So at this point, we're down to one male RCA from the console side, and one male RCA from the Vox side. We still need to get that down fitting into one input/mono jack on the C1702, and we do that with one final: RCA Mono Male to Two RCA Stereo Female Y-Cable.

At that point, you would be all set. You have the one RCA male jack plugging into the C1702 for sound. As mentioned earlier, to balance out the Vox sound with the console, you simply adjust the volume on the Koss VC20 Volume Control.

==============================================

Hopefully, the above helps.

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Not really because I'm already doing this. The only difference is that since the Vox is mono and my 7800 is wired dual mono for left and right, I'm just using the right channel outputs into the y audio splitter. Again, as soon as I plug the Vox into one side of that splitter the audio input on the other side will go silent and all that can be heard through the receiver is the Vox. I will see if I can take a video of the setup later to demonstrate exactly what I'm talking about.

 

It just doesn't make sense that I could say..take an audio input from my Colecovision and 7800 and connect them both up to that splitter and hear them both at the same time but this isn't possible with the Vox? Maybe there is something odd with my AtariVox+?

 

I also forgot to mention, that when it acts up playing Dungeon stalker, I don't turn the 7800 off. I just pause the game when it stops working. Unplug the vox from my joystick extension cable and plug it back in. It will do the tune and say AtariVox! as normal. I then unpause the game and am usually able to play just fine afterwards.

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I have a similar setup as you -^Cro§Bow^-, regarding dual mono with the Vox. I do recall when splitting out both the dual mono and Vox line into another split and unifying them to feed into a microphone input to make this video, it didn't play nice with every adapter, split, or/and RCA cable I tried.

 

Perhaps, try a different cable/adapter and see if it changes the results any. Also, do you happen to have a different power supply for the 7800 console that could be utilized to see if that makes any difference?

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Well, I actually one other spare 7800. However it has been modded with Eckard's Dev OS bios on it so I really don't know if that is a good candidate for testing? I had wondered about power only because what I didn't mention..is that Dungeon Stalker is running off my Mateos Multicart. So I had wondered if the issue with Dungeon Stalker might not be power related? I haven't replaced the 7805 in this 7800 yet as I usually don't unless they actually die out on me.

 

In any event, I do not have any other cable splitters other than the one I linked off ebay. I bought mine locally from an electronics/hobby store that dabbles in this kind of stuff so I didn't think the splitter to be an issue.

 

I do have at least 1 possible 2 spare power supplies, but I don't think they will make a difference in the audio. There is one other option I can do but it is a pain and I was hoping to avoid it. The multi AV out box I use that all of this is plugged into before it goes to the receiver, does have an Aux audio RCA in the back of it specifically for mixing with other input sources. I could try and play with that. But I was hoping to use the AV inputs just on the front as they are much much easier access. I also wonder if turning down the volume would help on the VOX to see if there is some potential difference there the AV box is picking up.

 

Will let you know the results, but still find it very interesting. (Might need to see if some odd voltage is coming off the audio output from the VOX.)

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So I had wondered if the issue with Dungeon Stalker might not be power related? I haven't replaced the 7805 in this 7800 yet as I usually don't unless they actually die out on me.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect the Dungeon Stalker vox issue is power related. Chad Schell mentioned seeing power issues with 7800s while working on the CC2, and recently batari solved some compatibility issues to the new 7800 Harmony by adding a beefier capacitor.

 

Dungeon Stalker has a lot of speech, and it seems to cut-out/reset (on certain units) at the most dense speech bits, when the current drain would be expected to be the greatest.

 

Regarding your audio issue with the Y splitters, I believe the Vox uses an op amp for driving speakers/headphones, which are typically low impedance. On the other hand, RCA audio inputs are typically very high impedance. I believe that means the current from the console audio is likely flowing into your low impedance Vox output, rather than pushing through the high impedance RCA receiver input jack.

 

Generally, you shouldn't use splitters as joiners. Check out this page for more detail, and one solution with resistors.

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I don't know for sure, but I suspect the Dungeon Stalker vox issue is power related. Chad Schell mentioned seeing power issues with 7800s while working on the CC2, and recently batari solved some compatibility issues to the new 7800 Harmony by adding a beefier capacitor.

 

Dungeon Stalker has a lot of speech, and it seems to cut-out/reset (on certain units) at the most dense speech bits, when the current drain would be expected to be the greatest.

 

Regarding your audio issue with the Y splitters, I believe the Vox uses an op amp for driving speakers/headphones, which are typically low impedance. On the other hand, RCA audio inputs are typically very high impedance. I believe that means the current from the console audio is likely flowing into your low impedance Vox output, rather than pushing through the high impedance RCA receiver input jack.

 

Generally, you shouldn't use splitters as joiners. Check out this page for more detail, and one solution with resistors.

 

Rev,

 

I was just reading up on the audio stuff when you posted this! LOL too funny. I've already been in need of looking at actual audio mixers so I could have a way to connect multiple sources to a single output for audio. Like a Mic along with game console audio output..etc. Likely will go with an inexpensive 6 channel input mixer plus Mic solution for this.

 

As for the power issues, would replacing the 7805 with a newer 1amp output current model be a better idea first? This way we know the 7800 itself and everything in it should be getting enough juice where it is needed.

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:) it's all in the timing.

 

Since we don't know where the power is possibly dropping out, it makes suggestions a bit harder. If there's an issue in the wall wart, then replacing the 7805 might not do anything. My own inclination would be to try a 100uf or thereabouts across the +5v and ground of the 7805, if you have one. If not, then replacing the 7805 wouldn't hurt.

 

[edit]

 

looks like there's already a 220 uf power cap across 5v and ground in the 7800 schematic, but maybe it's worn out in the problem units.

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Quick update. I got a hold of a cheap 6 channel audio mixer. This works just fine for combining the normal 7800 and AVox+ together to a single balanced output. Additionally, the issues with the AVox+ resetting itself while playing dungeon stalker only happens when the wizard is transporting around the screen between levels. I'm going to go ahead and replace the 7805 in my 7800 with a higher amperage output rated one and see if it makes a difference. If not, what about a cap off the joystick port between the +5 to the pin on controller port 2?

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Quick update. I got a hold of a cheap 6 channel audio mixer. This works just fine for combining the normal 7800 and AVox+ together to a single balanced output. Additionally, the issues with the AVox+ resetting itself while playing dungeon stalker only happens when the wizard is transporting around the screen between levels. I'm going to go ahead and replace the 7805 in my 7800 with a higher amperage output rated one and see if it makes a difference. If not, what about a cap off the joystick port between the +5 to the pin on controller port 2?

I like the approach. If replacing the 7805 works, then we have a smoking gun. Failing that, I think a cap between +5 and ground on controller port 2 would be the best place. :thumbsup:

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I will see what I can do to look at this in more detail tomorrow. Will let you know the results, though I do think it will be 'entertaining' if one of both of these ideas correct these issues.

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@OP: you will need an actual mixer to mix audio. If you don't have a mixer, a potentiometer will do.

 

Most hifi inputs have 10kohm impedance. Most outputs are in fact far lower than that. Headphones are generally between 16-32 ohms. Speakers are usually 4-8 ohms. In fact the dual mono output of the AtariVox is powerful enough to drive a 4-ohm satallite speaker at full volume without distortion. I hook it up to a 2 inch box speaker from a long defunct Creative / Cambridge Soundworks surround system I had laying around.

 

The RCA outputs from the Atari or any AV mod are likely higher impedance so the AtariVox output will overdrive it.

 

A 1kohm linear pot would be perfect for mixing sound. If you can't find a 1kohm, a 2kohm or 5kohm will do. 10kohm would also work but you'll start reducing the output as most auxillary inputs on recording devices use 10kohm for audio and 75ohm for video. Make sure you get a linear taper pot and not audio taper.

 

Connect the AtariVox output to one pole on the pot and the Atari audio output to the other pole. The center prong is your mixer output. All three grounds should be wired together and preferably shielded cabling used as close to the pot as possible. Tune the AtariVox to maximum volume and then adjust the pot to set the relative volume between the outputs. This has the effect of a balance knob by panning the audio between sources. The ratio of relative loudness of the two signals is directly proportional to the ratio of the two split resistances created by the pot.

 

= = = = = = = =

 

Another option if you don't want to build your own passive mixing circuit and don't have an active mixer to use, is to simply put the Vox into the right channel on your recording device and the console into the left channel, You can upload the footage to youtube with the split stereo sound intact so the end user can pan it if he/she wants or get separate stereo sound if they use headphones or discrete speakers.

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Okay...so new 7805 with 1amp output installed and a new 220uf 6.3v capacitor installed with + off pin7 and - off pin8 for ground. Unfortunately, no change. Always when the wizard shows up in Dugeon Stalker at the end of the level, the AVox+ will reset itself and stop playing speech. I pause the game, unplug and replug in the AVox+ and I have speech again. Until the wizard shows up at which point it will shut off again...rinse and repeat.

 

Not much more I can do but I did get a voltage reading off port 2 and it reads at 4.97v even. Just a hair under 5. That is without a joystick connected. Port 1 reads the same.

 

I also noticed that when powered on but no controllers plugged in that ports 4 and 5 will also produce 4.90v? That seems odd to me but both ports 1 and 2 do this. In fact port1 reads at 4.91 off pins 4 and 5 without a controller attached. Likely normal but still thought it odd. And they were reading this before I even touched port 2 to add the capacitor to it.

Edited by -^Cro§Bow^-
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Disappointing result, but thanks a lot for the work. As least I can scratch off one more possible cause... I've exhausted all of the simpler explanations at this point.

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Throwing this out there as another possibility-solution in combining an AtariVox and a console mod RCA audio line; especially well suited for those also looking for something more richer and powerful sounding than the standard TV/monitor audio.

 

This came across as a pretty cool sheer coincidence and functionality that I did not know previously existed. It concerns the Creative Inspire T10 speakers.

 

Off the bat, they are good sounding speakers:

 

post-18-0-23435500-1478169433_thumb.jpgpost-18-0-35244100-1478169445_thumb.jpg

 

The first image is a typical input seen on the back of many portable speakers. Combine the 'Audio Input' with a 3.5 mm Stereo to 2 RCA Male to Female adapter, and any console mod with the typical RCA sound outputs works beautifully. Have a system selector switch and you're all set for all your classic console gaming sound goodness.

 

Now the cool part. That second picture above - the 'Aux In' is mixed with the 'Audio Input'. In other words, it simultaneous plays whatever is being fed into the back of the speaker, along with whatever is being fed to the side of it. It makes for mixing in an AtariVox a breeze for an Atari 7800 or/and 2600 console.

 

All you have to do is plug the audio out of the AtariVox to the side of the speaker, with the console audio out to the back of the speaker, and you're done.

 

Last, but certainly not least, there's also the headphone jack, which also serves beautifully as a very easy way to have both your console and AtariVox mixed together and outputted to a recording device.

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Throwing this out there as another possibility-solution in combining an AtariVox and a console mod RCA audio line; especially well suited for those also looking for something more richer and powerful sounding than the standard TV/monitor audio.

 

This came across as a pretty cool sheer coincidence and functionality that I did not know previously existed. It concerns the Creative Inspire T10 speakers.

 

Off the bat, they are good sounding speakers:

 

attachicon.gifCreative Inspire T10_Back.jpgattachicon.gifCreative Inspire T10_Side.jpg

 

The first image is a typical input seen on the back of many portable speakers. Combine the 'Audio Input' with a 3.5 mm Stereo to 2 RCA Male to Female adapter, and any console mod with the typical RCA sound outputs works beautifully. Have a system selector switch and you're all set for all your classic console gaming sound goodness.

 

Now the cool part. That second picture above - the 'Aux In' is mixed with the 'Audio Input'. In other words, it simultaneous plays whatever is being fed into the back of the speaker, along with whatever is being fed to the side of it. It makes for mixing in an AtariVox a breeze for an Atari 7800 or/and 2600 console.

 

All you have to do is plug the audio out of the AtariVox to the side of the speaker, with the console audio out to the back of the speaker, and you're done.

 

Last, but certainly not least, there's also the headphone jack, which also serves beautifully as a very easy way to have both you console and AtariVox mixed together and outputted to a recording device.

 

 

Those speakers sound like the perfect solution for Al to have on hand for conventions. I know in the past when he attended OVGE and the Avox was a new item, that he usually had it plugged into separate computer speakers with the 7800 or 2600 connected up to his commodore monitors. He then just balanced the volume manually between the two. But these would be an easier way to get all the sound out from one source.

 

In my case, most of my classic consoles are already AV modded with RCA outs on them and fed into a large multi AV switcher. That in turn goes into my receiver and eventually to my 5.1 speaker setup. I have the all channel setting enabled for the stereo signals so I hear them out of all 5 speakers. Overkill? perhaps it would be for a simple setup, but I have an entire room in my house dedicated to video gaming so it is perfect for that.

 

I don't really plan to have a permanent setup for mixing the Avox+ with the console audio out. Was just looking for a way to combine them for video recording purposes in the future. The potentiometer method mention from Stardust could be used on a smaller scale to incorporate the Avox+ internally into a 2600 or 7800 console I assume?

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Now the cool part. That second picture above - the 'Aux In' is mixed with the 'Audio Input'. In other words, it simultaneous plays whatever is being fed into the back of the speaker, along with whatever is being fed to the side of it. It makes for mixing in an AtariVox a breeze for an Atari 7800 or/and 2600 console.

 

All you have to do is plug the audio out of the AtariVox to the side of the speaker, with the console audio out to the back of the speaker, and you're done.

 

Last, but certainly not least, there's also the headphone jack, which also serves beautifully as a very easy way to have both your console and AtariVox mixed together and outputted to a recording device.

My Bose Companion PC speakers have two inputs and both are always active. I share a Snow Leopard Mini Mac and a Windows 7 desktop with the same monitor and speakers so they work great in this capacity. They put out surprisingly big sound considering the size of the drivers. They are a bit high end for PC speakers though, starting at $99.

bose-companion-2.717197.jpg

Bose-Companion20-inside.jpg

 

 

I don't really plan to have a permanent setup for mixing the Avox+ with the console audio out. Was just looking for a way to combine them for video recording purposes in the future. The potentiometer method mention from Stardust could be used on a smaller scale to incorporate the Avox+ internally into a 2600 or 7800 console I assume?

Yes, but having the AtariVox always connected internally would effectively disable the Player 2 port, and may cause slight compatibility issues with the few games that use Player 2 by default or simply don't like having the Vox connected.

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My Bose Companion PC speakers have two inputs and both are always active. I share a Snow Leopard Mini Mac and a Windows 7 desktop with the same monitor and speakers so they work great in this capacity. They put out surprisingly big sound considering the size of the drivers. They are a bit high end for PC speakers though, starting at $99.

bose-companion-2.717197.jpg

Bose-Companion20-inside.jpg

 

Yes, but having the AtariVox always connected internally would effectively disable the Player 2 port, and may cause slight compatibility issues with the few games that use Player 2 by default or simply don't like having the Vox connected.

 

 

I didn't think of it cutting off port 2. Guess a switch would be needed to cut the main lines off it then when not needed. As for Bose speakers, I have the companion 3 series II on my PC and just noticed the volume knob also has a Line in on it. Wow..never ever realized this. Oh well... the PC isn't in the same room as the consoles so my cheap $50 harbinger 8 channel mixer will do just fine.

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I didn't think of it cutting off port 2. Guess a switch would be needed to cut the main lines off it then when not needed. As for Bose speakers, I have the companion 3 series II on my PC and just noticed the volume knob also has a Line in on it. Wow..never ever realized this. Oh well... the PC isn't in the same room as the consoles so my cheap $50 harbinger 8 channel mixer will do just fine.

I have the older Companion 1. I think the Companion 2 is basically the same thing just with more modern styling and an option for black or silver trim instead of just silver. Not sure about the 3 though. Oddly, the inputs on the back of mine are RCA but the speakers themselves use a mini-jack.

 

The fact the AtariVox has low enough impedance to drive a single 4-ohm speaker without distortion at full volume is impressive. Perhaps the guy with the AtariVox dropping off may have been pulling too much juice from the controller port? I've not had any issues running the AtariVox with extension cable off my 7800.

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I have the older Companion 1. I think the Companion 2 is basically the same thing just with more modern styling and an option for black or silver trim instead of just silver. Not sure about the 3 though. Oddly, the inputs on the back of mine are RCA but the speakers themselves use a mini-jack.

 

The fact the AtariVox has low enough impedance to drive a single 4-ohm speaker without distortion at full volume is impressive. Perhaps the guy with the AtariVox dropping off may have been pulling too much juice from the controller port? I've not had any issues running the AtariVox with extension cable off my 7800.

 

That guy is me...LOL. What is happening is with Dungeon Stalker the Vox is fine, but once the wizard shows up and starts his teleporting about the screen, the Vox will suddenly make the startup sound but without the speech saying "AtariVox!". Once it does this, no more speech will occur. I pause the game and then unplug and replug in the vox to my extension cable and it will startup and work normally. Until the wizard shows up again.

 

Apparently this is a known issue with Dungeon Stalker. This is why I tried to add an additional capacitor to the +5 to the controller port to clean and filter it a bit and installed a higher amperage output 7805 to ensure there is plenty of current getting to where it is needed. This 7800 is AV modded with the LHE mod too. So it could be the combination of that, plus the extension cable I'm using, and the flash cart that is just too much for the 7800 to handle all at once? I might Dungeon Stalker on my other 7800 that isn't AV modded, but it does have Eckard's DevOS modification done to it so wasn't sure. I do not own or have access to an unmodified 7800 currently to verify.

 

As for the Bose companion 3 series 2, I have only seen them for sale at Sam's Club which, is where I bought mine. They sound excellent, but I still miss the sound I had from my Klipsh Pro-media 2.1 system prior. However, the left channel on the built in amp on the sub gave out on that set after a few years so...all of that was repurposed into other projects in the house.

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I reported this a year ago, and much testing has ensued trying to solve this, to no solution. I just unplug and re-plug and deal with it. I run my Vox audio to my TV, my 7800 to the sound system. Great game and awesome Vox voices.

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To save power, you could try disabling the amp in the AtariVox. If you're using amplified (independently powered) speakers you won't need it.


Remove the LM386 (should be in a socket) and tap your amp to the negative side of capacitor C3.

Edited by Richard H.

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