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MIDI Interface

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2 hours ago, Lastic said:

But what are the pros and cons of an S2/X2/X3 versus an old synth ?

I had never seen those before - they all look great! 

 

As I see it, one of the pros of an old synth is it will *usually* include a keyboard; most did - rack-mount modules were generally used mostly by production studios or touring musicians to create layered sounds and were not as widely sold or used by the average person as a full-on synth keyboard so I think modules tend to be a little more rare. Second, there's always the cool factor. If you're connecting a 1983 Atari to a MIDI keyboard, in my world the idea thing to connect it to would be a Yamaha DX-7, Casio CZ-101 or some other similar-era device. :) The keyboard lets you actually play sounds without a computer or interface - just run your line-out cable to a speaker. It's also dead-easy to connect the MIDI interface - two cables is all you need for IN and OUT and you're done.


The downsides of vintage are many, however. Vintage MIDI gear is expensive and getting more so by the year. It's also finicky, like most old electronics, and might well need repair. The keyboard mechanisms may be losing spring action or otherwise acting strangely and that will be expensive to fix. But even assuming that's not an issue, next thing to consider is that *MOST* vintage devices can only play one or maybe a couple (2 - 4) sounds at once. Not all devices support that, so you may play some cool MIDI track from your Atari to your vintage Casio and every single note would be the same Tubular Bells patch or whatever. Around 1991, Roland in particular addressed this with their "SoundCanvas" modules - these support a new subset of the MIDI standard called "General MIDI" that let specific MIDI channels stand for a set of standardized basic sounds - leads, pads, different types of guitars, different brass instruments, etc. General MIDI devices like the SoundCanvas modules can play not only 16+ voices at once, they can also play many different TYPES of sounds ("patches") at once. But the early keyboards before General MIDI didn't support that. And inexpensive ones couldn't play too many voices or patches at once either, which is a limitation if all you want to do is play back a complex track. You might note that even the modern cheap S2 has 64-voice polyphony these days. That was super rare and expensive in vintage tech.

 

So anyway, if you want to mess around with old stuff because that is just fun to you, haunt used music shops, classified ads and the like and see what you find with patience and enough money. If you just want to play MIDI tracks from your Atari, get something modern and cheap to either connect to your computer or through a little interface like the ones you linked. :) 

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Thanks for the thorough explanation .

 

I was already looking into vintage synths and indeed they aren't cheap and since I'm not a musician defeat my purpose.

Also a keyboard would be taking up too much space in my already computer-infested :) apartment .

As such I went and bought the X3M Buran here https://www.serdashop.com/X3MBuran

 

The SpaceShuttle look and the fact that it's compact/portable and still can be used via USB input when connected to a modern computer, had me convinced.

It's shipped locally so will be here next week probably.

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A couple of questions about the waveblaster daughter board.

I was looking for suppliers on the Web for the S2 module (I am located in France).

The only ones I found are from China.

1) Do you know any others sources where I can buy this board (worldwide as soon as they ship to europe) ?

2) If I buy from China, is there the same "clone" problem as for SD/CF cards or do you think all boards are genuine ones regardless where they com from ?

3) Is the X2 board also compatible with MyTek's MIDI XEL II (Dream Blaster & MIDI INTFC for the 1088XEL) both on form facter and pinout aspects ?

 

EDIT: just discovered that SERDASHOP has S2 module available.

 

Edited by ebiguy
Additionnal info

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3 hours ago, ebiguy said:

A couple of questions about the waveblaster daughter board.

I was looking for suppliers on the Web for the S2 module (I am located in France).

The only ones I found are from China.

1) Do you know any others sources where I can buy this board (worldwide as soon as they ship to europe) ?

2) If I buy from China, is there the same "clone" problem as for SD/CF cards or do you think all boards are genuine ones regardless where they com from ?

3) Is the X2 board also compatible with MyTek's MIDI XEL II (Dream Blaster & MIDI INTFC for the 1088XEL) both on form facter and pinout aspects ?

 

EDIT: just discovered that SERDASHOP has S2 module available.

 

I bought mine from Serdashop. In fact, it was the first thing I bought for this project. I used that purchase a bit of self-incentive to motivate myself to actually build this thing. :) 

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6 hours ago, ebiguy said:

Is the X2 board also compatible with MyTek's MIDI XEL II (Dream Blaster & MIDI INTFC for the 1088XEL) both on form facter and pinout aspects ?

Although the connector and pin out are likely compatible, as well as the protocol, I don't believe the form factor is. It looks wider and might overhang too much and thus not fit in a conventional case.

 

The MIDI XEL II was designed with the DreamBlaster S2 module in mind.

 

S2

S2.jpg.e9e58eac1798d77583971af672fe4454.jpg

X2

X2.jpg.21027250ce7a6ac136494d6542e1fc45.jpg

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With the X2, you can always use a flatcable, like I did here with a different waveblaster:

 

https://github.com/ivop/cs9236-waveblaster

 

And while your at it, you could build one yourself ;)

 

 

 

And, look what I found! It's not the VS1053b I intended to use, but quite similar:

 

 

Can't find any more info, though. Not on the kekse23.de website either.

Edited by ivop
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2 hours ago, ivop said:

And, look what I found! It's not the VS1053b I intended to use, but quite similar:

 

 

Can't find any more info, though. Not on the kekse23.de website either.

 

I remember finding that as well around a year ago, but just like you, I wasn't able to find anymore info or availability for it. Too bad, since it looked like a drop-in replacement for the S2.

 

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10 hours ago, ebiguy said:

A couple of questions about the waveblaster daughter board.

I was looking for suppliers on the Web for the S2 module (I am located in France).

The only ones I found are from China.

1) Do you know any others sources where I can buy this board (worldwide as soon as they ship to europe) ?

2) If I buy from China, is there the same "clone" problem as for SD/CF cards or do you think all boards are genuine ones regardless where they com from ?

3) Is the X2 board also compatible with MyTek's MIDI XEL II (Dream Blaster & MIDI INTFC for the 1088XEL) both on form facter and pinout aspects ?

 

EDIT: just discovered that SERDASHOP has S2 module available.

 

 

Correct and Serda (the one who make the S2/X2/X3M) are located in Belgium, so not that far for shipping to France.

Edited by Lastic

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Did someone make a 3D printable case for the MIDI INTFC for the 1088XEL (the part with the 3 MIDI connectors and the DB9) ?

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And my X3M Buran arrived today and I was very amused when I heared the boot MIDI song "Have you played Atari today" :)

 

Does anybody have a Ready-to-run ATR with Midi-play and some MID files so I can try it further ?

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5 minutes ago, ebiguy said:

Did someone make a 3D printable case for the MIDI INTFC for the 1088XEL (the part with the 3 MIDI connectors and the DB9) ?

 

Marc aka Sleepy has used this case but not for the DB9 part I think => 

 

I actually bought one from him which is being used in the video in my previous post, you can see which PCB's he used here

 

 

Edited by Lastic

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I always liked the Synth-y sounding one. I believe it was late 70's, or very early 80-81, or so. My memory may be off, but does anyone remember that one?

 

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On 7/16/2019 at 8:00 PM, Kyle22 said:

I always liked the Synth-y sounding one. I believe it was late 70's, or very early 80-81, or so. My memory may be off, but does anyone remember that one?

 

I remember the one you are talking about, but ended up making a compromise with the boot-up tune that has been included in the MIDI Controller PIC. I suppose with some extra effort and a bit of trial and error it could still be accomplished, but I figured what we got is close enough and yet still very recognizable.

 

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On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 2:23 PM, Lastic said:

As I'm a noob concerning MIDI synths or keyboards but have been around enough musicians to understand the gist of it, what would be a nice cheap solution to use an SIO2MIDI and play MIDI songs ?

I seem to find a lot of keyboards which are basically controllers, so I'm guessing I should look for synths ?

 

I also saw a mention of software synths but how would I then make the MIDI connection to the SIO2MIDI ?

Or could I use something like the S2 like here (not on an ST off course)

If you don't need a keyboard and just want to play/arrange some midi songs there is the MIDIPLUS miniEngine USB.  The sounds are fixed but they are the standard midi instruments.  I use it when I'm entering notes into MIDI MUSIC System and don't want to get out the heavy equipment for playback. It's about $65 US.  Not sure how hard it would be to get one in Belgium.

 

 

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9 hours ago, k-Pack said:

If you don't need a keyboard and just want to play/arrange some midi songs there is the MIDIPLUS miniEngine USB.  The sounds are fixed but they are the standard midi instruments.  I use it when I'm entering notes into MIDI MUSIC System and don't want to get out the heavy equipment for playback. It's about $65 US.  Not sure how hard it would be to get one in Belgium.

 

 

 

Thanks for providing another option, like the portability factor of it.

 

I already bought one which is produced in Belgium, https://www.serdashop.com/X3MBuran

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Sorry to ask a noob question but I don't know anything about MIDI.

I know that the computer communicates with several devices with a concept of channels.

Then there is something I want to clarify about having both S2 board mounted on MyTek MIDI XEL board and a piano keyboard.

Do S2 and the keyboard need to be on different channels ?

For example, if I play a MIDI file with both S2 and the keyboard connected, is there a risk that both devices play the tune at the same time ?

Do I need to disable S2 when using the keyboard or unplug the keyboard when using S2 ?

Or do they have by default different channels (1 for keyboard and 2-16 for S2) ?

 

This is just curiosity because, right now, I don't have a S2 board nor MIDI XEL board.

But I have a Miracle MIDI keyboard taking dust somewhere.

Anybody remembers (or still has) this piano teaching system ?

The software was really cool to learn piano !

 

Edited by ebiguy
Replace S3 with S2 (S3 board does not exist - at least not today !)

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2 hours ago, ebiguy said:

Sorry to ask a noob question but I don't know anything about MIDI.

I know that the computer communicates with several devices with a concept of channels.

Then there is something I want to clarify about having both S2 board mounted on MyTek MIDI XEL board and a piano keyboard.

Do S2 and the keyboard need to be on different channels ?

There's no such thing as channels per physical device. See below.

 

Quote

For example, if I play a MIDI file with both S2 and the keyboard connected, is there a risk that both devices play the tune at the same time ?

 

Yes. If both the internal WaveBlaster port and MIDI-OUT is enabled, both will play the same tune.

 

Quote

Do I need to disable S2 when using the keyboard or unplug the keyboard when using S2 ?

 

Yes. Or turn the volume down of one of them ;)

 

Quote

Or do they have by default different channels (1 for keyboard and 2-16 for S2) ?

 

Channels, in the MIDI context, define different melodies and "virtual" instuments. Like bass on channel 1, piano on channel 2, guitar on channel 3, organ on channel 4, drums on channel 10 (10 because that's standard :) ), et cetera. But the same stream of MIDI events, of different channels interleaved in a serial stream, reach both physical instruments (keyboard and S2 WB board) and hence both will react to it.

 

In studio settings, there are such things as MIDI hubs and MIDI filters and send only certain MIDI channels to certain physical devices, but this is not that advanced.

 

Quote

This is just curiosity because, right now, I don't have a S2 board nor MIDI XEL board.

But I have a Miracle MIDI keyboard taking dust somewhere.

Anybody remembers (or still has) this piano teaching system ?

The software was really cool to learn piano !

 

That, I leave to others, as I don't know anything about it :D

 

Edited by ivop
add serial stream aspect of MIDI

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3 hours ago, ebiguy said:

This is just curiosity because, right now, I don't have a S2 board nor MIDI XEL board.

But I have a Miracle MIDI keyboard taking dust somewhere.

Anybody remembers (or still has) this piano teaching system ?

The software was really cool to learn piano !

David Murray (“The 8-Bit Guy”) has you covered. He has a secondary YouTube channel called “8-Bit Keys” and covered this a couple years ago.

 

 

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10 hours ago, ivop said:

Yes. If both the internal WaveBlaster port and MIDI-OUT is enabled, both will play the same tune.
 

Thank you very much for these explanations.

Looking again at the MIDI-XEL-II-INTFC (the board with the 3 DIN), I understand now why there is a jumper labelled S2OFF !

 

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8 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

David Murray (“The 8-Bit Guy”) has you covered. He has a secondary YouTube channel called “8-Bit Keys” and covered this a couple years ago.

 

 

My question was more to know if AA users had this piano when they were young and if they enjoyed learning piano on it.

But anyway, thank you for this link.

I saw a couple of reviews by David Murray but was not aware of this one.

The very interesting part is how to clean the keyboard !!!

But I was very disappointed by the second part where he explains that the keyboard is cheap (it creaks and cracks) and there are only 6 instruments.

His conclusion is that "as a standalone keyboard, this thing was a piece of junk"

 

I can confirm that the keyboard itself is cheap and nobody would have bought this keyboard as a standalone one !

But this was sold as a piano teaching system for people knowing nothing about piano.

You don't need a Grand piano to start learning to play with one finger !

The "miracle" was not in the piano itself but in the software which was very progressive with many lessons (one tune per lesson).

The software lets you play, then analyses your faults and selects more exercises based on your faults.

And at the end of each lesson, you can play the piano part of a tune with the orchestra (the piano plays all the instruments like drums, violins,... while you are playing)

 

David does not review the software which is the heart of the system, but only the keyboard because he does not have the right cable.

It is like reviewing an Atari XEGS without any cartridges (running only Missile Command). Nonsense !

It does not respect the use case of the product: learning.

And saying that there are only 6 instruments is also a false information.

There are 6 keys on the keyboard to select which kind of piano you want to play but the keyboard itself can play many instruments at the same time.

 

I am not defending the Miracle teaching system which is dead for a long time or the keyboard itself but when I saw the review I felt that this was a "quick and dirty" review.

I am sure that today, you can still have fun learning piano with this system.

But that is just my opinion of course (as David says also at the end of the review).

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I populated my first sio2midi board, and then I discover that my tl866 doesn't list pic12f157x. I also tried with minipro in Linux. Is there any way to add it to the list given that the pinout is the same as the 12f18xy? I noticed that the available memory is also different, but it looks like a profile can be created starting from 12f18..

What can I do? Other alternatives?  Maybe create a joy2pic interface but I need these sio2midi for Fujiama. 

Maybe I can order something not that expensive to program these PICs? 

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I bought a XCSOURCE Pickit3.5 a few months ago from Amazon. This is a clone of the Pickit3 and worked fine to program the chip for the SIO2MIDI board. $17.99 on Amazon. Downloaded MPLAB from Microchip and it was recognized as a Pickit3

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8 minutes ago, manterola said:

I populated my first sio2midi board, and then I discover that my tl866 doesn't list pic12f157x. I also tried with minipro in Linux. Is there any way to add it to the list given that the pinout is the same as the 12f18xy? I noticed that the available memory is also different, but it looks like a profile can be created starting from 12f18..

What can I do? Other alternatives?  Maybe create a joy2pic interface but I need these sio2midi for Fujiama. 

Maybe I can order something not that expensive to program these PICs? 

My latest greatest TL866II PLUS doesn't have that chip either. So I bought a PICkit2 clone for cheap, and just had to use a 3rd party update to the devicefile on the IPE program. And for an even easier way I usually use my JOY2PIC, with the appropriate flasher file run from my Atari.

 

So these are the possibilities that I know work.

 

PICkit2 (with 3rd party device file - attached)

PICkit3 (use latest IPE or MPLAB from microchip)

and of course JOY2PIC

 

PICkit2_Windows_IPE_Updated.zip

 

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Hello Manterola

 

Chances are, somebody at the Fujiama can program the chip for you.  If not, I have a JOY2PIC in my little cardboard box that I take with me to each Atari meeting.  Never used it, so I have no clue what so ever what to use it with.

 

And with a bit of luck there's no need to have your MIDI interfaces ready for the Fujiama.  Of those that have said they will be there all week, I know skr has at least one interface and I have three.  TheMontezuma and Sleepy are only present part of the week, but Marcin owns at least one interface and Marc owns a whole bunch.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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I use the Atari via JOY2PIC to program these.  Major PITA that my TL866 doesn't support these.  I have so many different burners now, it's stupid.  I may even be forgetting one or two :(

  • TL866
  • JOY2PIC
  • (forget) 8-bit Atari based eprom burner
  • Parallel Alterra programmer (can no longer use it)
  • Alterra Blaster (USB)
  • Xilinx something or other (USB)

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