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SID Master and all software packages by Marc Hull

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Some folks have asked about the status of the hardware and software from Marc, so I figured it would be good to post it here.

 

I purchased the rights to the SID Master from Marc and will be doing a new run of the boards later this year or in early 2020. Like all things I work on, I will try to keep the boards available for as long as the community exists.

 

I also bought the rights to all of his TI software programs. I will be making the cartridges available again once I have done another run of the boards he and I designed for them and I will keep them available indefinitely.

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love it! sign me up for one!  Will this automatically take over responsibilities for sound from the in-console Yamaha sound chip, or is it only engaged for custom sw with explicit call load linkage to SID Master 99?

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7 minutes ago, patrickmcmichael said:

love it! sign me up for one!  Will this automatically take over responsibilities for sound from the in-console Yamaha sound chip, or is it only engaged for custom sw with explicit call load linkage to SID Master 99?

Requires software.  The SID is mapped in memory at a different location from the internal sound chip.

 

Also, the sound chip in the TI is not Yamaha.

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I might be interested in a SID board now.  I have a few questions...

 

1) Do you have an estimated price point +/- a few bucks?

2) Is there a chance of the audio library growing, like with a conversion tool to make your own audio files from existing media?

3) Are there any games that use the SID board?

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1 hour ago, --- Ω --- said:

Is there a chance of the audio library growing, like with a conversion tool to make your own audio files from existing media?

For Marc's existing software you can download literally just over 15,000 .MUS files (these are the original COMPUTE! SIDPlayer format files.)

 

I have a metric shyte-tonne of them on disk, but I am pretty certain what I have is already part of the various repositories around the 'net, including in the massive COMPUTE! Gazette SID Collection.  (When Q-Link was shutting down I went on a mad downloading spree to obtain as many SID files as I could and stash them on 1581 disks.)

 

BTW, these are not .SID files like what you find in the High Voltage SID Collection (HVSC).  Those are special format for the PlaySID-derived programs, which includes a special header.

 

I would love to see .STR file (STeReo file, a renamed .MUS file representing the right channel) support, which would require a second SID in the hardware.  .WDS (WorDS file, usually containing lyrics) would be great, as well.

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this was a little review (was 2011 😨... already 8 years are gone?!) of the first SID MASTER CARD i purchased :) i also inserted in the final conclusions what missed to me about this card.

http://www.ti99iuc.it/web/index.php?pagina=articoli&artid=27

 

I alwaus supported this project and Marc Hull done really nice pearls for TI99, also talking about games.

Really hope that the new project will have some improvements and be more complete (also have a cheaper cost 😛 compared to the original starting price)

 

 

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I am more looking forward to routing binary midi messages over the raw tcp handler provided by the TIPI I ordered. (when it shows up.)  The SID is cool and all, in that it has a unique sound and nostalgia angle, but I find raw midi handling a more enticing target, personally.  It should be possible to then use the pi to route such raw midi signals to any connected midi device.  (Like a real MT32, or a Yamaha keyboard.)

 

It would be cool if we could merge the ideas, and get the Pi to be able to simulate the SID Master, but I am leery of having to get yet another toy to tack on...

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1 hour ago, ti99iuc said:

Really hope that the new project will have some improvements and be more complete (also have a cheaper cost 😛 compared to the original starting price)

1 hour ago, wierd_w said:

It would be cool if we could merge the ideas, and get the Pi to be able to simulate the SID Master, but I am leery of having to get yet another toy to tack on...

I cannot speak to improvements, never having played with the original, but 'cost to benefit ratio' is always on my mind as it has a major impact on the adoption of any item being introduced within the community.

 

Since I essentially know nothing about the unit, my concerns lean more towards a 'standard' that will not dilute the user pool and interfere with use development.  The fewer people who have one type of item, the lesser the chance of anything being written for it, and since the TI user community is not large to begin with, fragmentation of the user base can end up adversely affecting development of new items.

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It's like the 90s all over again...

 

Covox voice thing?  LAPC-1 card? Adlib compatible?  AWE32?  which should I get?  Which should I program my game to support?

 

 

I look at it from a "bang for buck" perspective.  A SID Master would let me play a bunch of classic SID chip tunes; Arguably, there are MOD players that can already do that, and can live on the Pi.  I could write a simple front end to just instruct the pi to play said SID tunes for me, using said MOD player.  The only gotcha is with a game that wants to play SID music.  I bought a TIPI because I needed a PEB alternative, and I got the one with the most bang for the buck.  Now I want to explore how much bang I can get out of it-- the raw TCP data handler looks ripe for exploitation.  I can use it to send any number of messages to the Pi, to get it to do all manner of things.  (For instance, I could set up a the thing to render wav files for me, using some simple remote control signals and a modification of the listening daemon  I would need to handle midi messages. Just listen on a different port number, and send my own custom bytecodes.)

 

That is kinda what I want to explore-- Setting up a proof of concept framework for handling a bunch of additional services not covered by the stock ROM extensions the TIPI provides aside from the raw data handler. Things like "To send midi messages, send a message on raw TCP method to 127.0.0.1 port 3000 containing first a single byte value containing the target midi device ID, then a data string containing the midi command sequence to transmit."  The listener shell script I would write would capture that input, and use it to send the command sequence to the appropriate linux commandline utility.  Some devices, like Timidity++, always like to default to a specific midi device number, (in this case, 128). BUT-- if you plugged in a real MT32 on a USB to MIDI adapter, the same listener could route commands THERE instead. 

 

Something similar for a "Soft SID" could be don---  Send to port 3003, with your SID instruction word.  I would route it to an appropriate SID simulator.

 

I understand the simplicity and nostalgic joy factor of having a real bit of hardware actively rendering that audio for you, but I also understand that my wallet is not infintely deep.  If I can get something I have already purchased to do basically the same thing (Render a specific kind of audio), and not spend more money, that's what I am gonna want to roll with.

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11 minutes ago, --- Ω --- said:

...  The fewer people who have one type of item, the lesser the chance of anything being written for it, and since the TI user community is not large to begin with, fragmentation of the user base can end up adversely affecting development of new items.

 

I think the cause and effect is confused. 

 

Fewer developers have the thing. And the percentage of people in the 'market' that are developers is tiny. In my opinion, developers should tinker with what they want to explore, and ignore this market nonsense. 

 

I think it is the constant drumming of this maligned sentiment that influences, and creates a self-fulfillment.  

 

If you are developing and care about market, remember, tech demos don't move hardware, kill-app-games do. This has been proven over and over again. It is a shame mad-marven didn't exclusively use a SIDMaster99 sound track.  

 

And nobody should be concerned with fragmenting the community. The 4A community is already massively fragmented. As are all the pre-internet/hive-mind era computer communities. 

 

[email protected]

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Adam wrote his CRPG (killer app) to require a SAMS card.

 

I bought a SAMS card to play his game.

 

Thats fairly straight forward.  :)  

 

If you build it.....

 

 

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For me could be enough to have possibility to play standard .sid files with this card, at least i could use a tracker on a PC windows to compose my music and import on TI99 or still i could play on my TI99 all .sid files already exist.
I have no so much interest in the games support to be honest, the VGM musics are already good for the games.
Instead a line-out or a double sid could be nice for play also Stereo songs as also OLD_CS1 wrote some earlier post.

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10 minutes ago, ti99iuc said:

Instead a line-out or a double sid could be nice for play also Stereo songs as also OLD_CS1 wrote some earlier post.

If a 'double SID' was combined onto one P-Box card that would indeed be nice and in my opinion provide more incentive to purchase one as it would give a respectable jump in capability.  A combined unit should also keep cost down.  While a single SID card may be in my future, two individual cards never will be, I simply cannot afford to devote two whole card slots for what would be gained.

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It's important to note that SID chips are going for upwards of $40-50 a piece these days. 

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1 hour ago, Opry99er said:

It's important to note that SID chips are going for upwards of $40-50 a piece these days. 

About what I paid for them back-in-the-day -- I wish I had bought more.  I am fortunate enough to have a small stash of my own 6581s and 8580s waiting to be used.  Kind of like the two POKEYs I bought from Radio Shack in 1995 and just had Albert slap into a couple of 7800 carts.

 

While this may get into the real of "it's not real", there are SID replacements which are quite good, one of which is nearly impossible to tell from the real thing.  The SwinSID runs about $20 to $25.  Sure, it is a soft-SID and you could make a board with it, but having a board which can accept a real SID and thus a SID replacement is multi-purpose and a stream-lined product line for the producer.

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The ultimate sound expansion should be backwards compatible but provide value to existing software just by plugging it in, in the same way as the F18A does. Maybe one could choose between different default sounds/wave forms (the default-default being good old square waves) and different effects (reverb, fake stereo, etc.)? Then it should allow developers to produce better sound that falls back nicely to the standard PSG by having registers for choosing wave forms for each channel, registers for stereo effects, panning, echo, etc. And finally it should include new features, e.g. more channels, sound synthesis, etc. You could use the new features to enrich the sound in a way that would still fall back nicely to the standard PSG, or you could break compatibility and add different 'sound drivers' to your games. 

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I can see it now... it's spring of 2023 and someone just released a new game for the TI that resides on a FinalGROM, but also uses the full capability of the SAMS card, the F18A Mk2 and the new audio card.  

/daydreamingmodeoff

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An audio upgrade, even a simple one, is a welcome addition to the TI. My own experiments with both sound and music have left me feeling like the sound chip in the TI is rather like the 2019 Seattle Seahawks defense... fair to mediocre.

 

I wouldn't compare it to a SID, since that was made in a much later period, but even compared to other chips, the frequency range is not as wide. (The MSX machines had 12-bit frequencies verses 10-bit, for example.) Plus the architecture using the 3mhz clock as a divider causes it to push all the octaves up, pretty much making base sound impossible.

 

So I'd be happy to acquire a SID-Master and see what can be done with it!

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1 hour ago, adamantyr said:

the sound chip in the TI is rather like the 2019 Seattle Seahawks defense... fair to mediocre.

Ouch.

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