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Atari CDAR504

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5 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Then, as failure of Atari corp. is again alive topic here - why all those peripherals done by Atari were sold in low quantities ? If CDAR 504 price was around 400 $ in 1988 it was good price, I guess.  Lack of available data CD-s, with SW for Atari ST ? This later could be the main problem. For audio CD playback there were cheaper solutions, I guess.

I think that's just it..  it was too early for such a device.   I remember in the 1980s, the only applications for CD-ROM were digital encyclopedias and other reference materials.   Is that worth $400  for most people?  Probably not.   This was also a time when many users didn't yet have a hard drive as they were too expensive.   I think most people would want a hard drive first before thinking about a CD-ROM.    That's how it played out on PC anyway.

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6 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Well, it was certainly with special, not standard protocol. And year was 1988 . The real question is what kind of used CD ROM drive was in it ?

Or what type CD ROM drives were available on market in those years ?  Probably SCSI, and Atari must added some converter circuit between it and ACSI (not ASCI ! ). 

It was before stadards :Dhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CD-ROM#Standard 

 

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23 hours ago, oky2000 said:

MY point about CD-ROM for Atari ST (10 years ago!) was really just that if you have a CD based set up then games only need to do sfx via the internal YM chip and the music for the game could be a CDDA soundtrack. So you could have had International Karate by Andromeda software with the same adequate sfx and some nice music playing from the CD etc. Would have solved half the argument not to get an ST for Atari 800 or Commodore 64 owners (sound was one issue, lack of remotely useable horizontal scrolling via hardware or simple screen memory movement).

Quite expensive for a better audio soundtrack though, and you would have the same fracture of user base you would have with supporting MIDI tunes, so it wouldn't likely get adopted, as MIDI wasn't much either (and I imagine a cheap MIDI device would be a easier, cheaper audio upgrade). Unless the hardware is built in and is in the majority of users machines, it just won't get supported (look at the STe for example, or the Amiga 500+).

 

Would have been nice though :)

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The true problem was Atari Corp was showing this first with the 520ST at CES back in 1985. And they were still screwing around all the way into 1988 before allowing them to hit the market in a limited manner then. They should've just released it instead of playing the "chicken or the egg game". Had it been available for sale, some users would've purchased it just like some did with the expensive SH204 back then. That thing cost as much as a 1040STf back in 1986 but some people still bought it.

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On 7/1/2021 at 11:08 AM, Zogging Hell said:

Quite expensive for a better audio soundtrack though, and you would have the same fracture of user base you would have with supporting MIDI tunes, so it wouldn't likely get adopted, as MIDI wasn't much either (and I imagine a cheap MIDI device would be a easier, cheaper audio upgrade). Unless the hardware is built in and is in the majority of users machines, it just won't get supported (look at the STe for example, or the Amiga 500+).

 

Would have been nice though :)

I was kind of only talking from a technical point of view, it solves two problems and from an engineering point of view is a tiny amount of R&D cost. Compared to whatever it cost to update the ST to STE audio later an external CD-ROM house of a 3rd party CD-ROM unit connected via DMA(?) port is simple engineering and you get the added advantage of hard disk install sized games along with CD quality game soundtracks.

 

I totally agree about MIDI, another thing Atari could have done was produce a cheap first party MIDI sound module (i.e the cheapest possible) and encourage developers to support it in games more. I am sure if the ST was at Commodore and Jack had the resources of MOS Engineers at regular salary costs this might have happened...sadly Irving Gould the financial Vampire scumbag didn't die soon enough so we got Jack at Atari with no advantage of owning your own semi-conduction group in house to make stuff very cheaply.

 

Budget MIDI sound module would have been the absolute cheapest option to improve YM sound of ST as launched (in a rush? or always going to be YM quality sound due to profit margins?) but remember with a CD-ROM game you are saving the cost of an external hard drive for an ST set up too. But let's face it PC Users/Megadrive Users were happy with crappy ADlib type FM rubbish so I am sure Atari could have done the official Atari MIDI module and sold it to bedroom music dabblers as well as games players. It's the sort of thing Acorn would have done for the BBC Micro if they could, but probably not feasible in 1981/82 era of their machines. There was however some sort of external sound upgrade for the BBC (Music 5000??)

 

Today the CDTV exists but it was the most underused 16bit system in the world compared to the potential improvements it offered, almost ALL CDTV games look like the efforts of PD game artists/coders/musicians and that has nothing to do with the lack of improvement it bought to that platform so I guess even if it did come it back then in an alternate universe we would probably be making threads about how underwhelming Atari ST CD games were compared to potential for improvement over STF games :) 

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7 hours ago, oky2000 said:

Budget MIDI sound module would have been the absolute cheapest option to improve YM sound of ST as launched (in a rush? or always going to be YM quality sound due to profit margins?) but remember with a CD-ROM game you are saving the cost of an external hard drive for an ST set up too. But let's face it PC Users/Megadrive Users were happy with crappy ADlib type FM rubbish so I am sure Atari could have done the official Atari MIDI module and sold it to bedroom music dabblers as well as games players. It's the sort of thing Acorn would have done for the BBC Micro if they could, but probably not feasible in 1981/82 era of their machines. There was however some sort of external sound upgrade for the BBC (Music 5000??)

Yeah I would have loved a cheap MIDI sound device back then, it's a real shame more games didn't support it, I've been struggling to find information on what the cheapest MIDI device available back then but would imagine it will still go into the hundreds - even for an Atari version, which would take it out of most gamers reach? I imagine the take up would have been low though even then (as we ST owners were notoriously cheap! ;) ).

The YM was literally just meant to be the ST's equivalent of a system buzzer according to an interview with Shiraz I read in an Atari magazine years ago, just a way to get audio feedback and save some cash on chips as it interfaced with the Serial and Parallel ports. Either AMY or what eventually went into the STe was always the end goal it seems.

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7 hours ago, Zogging Hell said:

Yeah I would have loved a cheap MIDI sound device back then, it's a real shame more games didn't support it, I've been struggling to find information on what the cheapest MIDI device available back then but would imagine it will still go into the hundreds - even for an Atari version, which would take it out of most gamers reach? I imagine the take up would have been low though even then (as we ST owners were notoriously cheap! ;) ).

The YM was literally just meant to be the ST's equivalent of a system buzzer according to an interview with Shiraz I read in an Atari magazine years ago, just a way to get audio feedback and save some cash on chips as it interfaced with the Serial and Parallel ports. Either AMY or what eventually went into the STe was always the end goal it seems.

The cheapest module I remember that I was eyeing as a starving teenager was the Yamaha FB-01. It was $350 but had a maximum of 8 voices, so you could almost have an orchestra coming out of there. It was released in 1986, so 1 year after the ST. The Casio CZ-101 was the cheapest synthesizer with a keyboard. It also had a max of 8 voices and was released in 1984, so it was already out before the ST was released. It retailed for $500, but remove the keyboard, buttons, display, etc and it probably could have been around $300-$350 too.

 

I was thinking that Atari could have some type of licensing agreement with Casio or Yamaha to make a cut down version of the CZ-101 or FB-01 to get the price down low enough. However, I bet by the time Atari would have released it, Casio and Yamaha would have dropped the prices of the CZ-101 and FB-01 to whatever Atari priced their MIDI module for or less. It was probably wise for Atari not to enter this field.

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6 hours ago, atarian1 said:

The cheapest module I remember that I was eyeing as a starving teenager was the Yamaha FB-01. It was $350 but had a maximum of 8 voices, so you could almost have an orchestra coming out of there. It was released in 1986, so 1 year after the ST. The Casio CZ-101 was the cheapest synthesizer with a keyboard. It also had a max of 8 voices and was released in 1984, so it was already out before the ST was released. It retailed for $500, but remove the keyboard, buttons, display, etc and it probably could have been around $300-$350 too.

 

I was thinking that Atari could have some type of licensing agreement with Casio or Yamaha to make a cut down version of the CZ-101 or FB-01 to get the price down low enough. However, I bet by the time Atari would have released it, Casio and Yamaha would have dropped the prices of the CZ-101 and FB-01 to whatever Atari priced their MIDI module for or less. It was probably wise for Atari not to enter this field.

Ah thanks that is good information, well out of the average gamers budget (certainly mine) then :(

 

As Yamaha wouldn't even give Atari a better spec YM chip for fear of competition I would imagine getting a cut down version to compete with their products would be a no no.

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Well, like I said, Atari needed to make a first party (subsidised) cheap one just like they made a cheap DTP setup by inventing the 'Windows printer' that the ethos of the SLM804 Laser printer setup they invented to drastically cut the cost of the postscript Laser printer method of DTP that preceded it. I don't know exactly why MIDI-modules were so expensive technically, not sure if Atari could get it under the magic 100 bucks barrier ever in any form. Perhaps it couldn't be done at a cost worth doing even at Commodore with cheapish salaried MOS engineers and MOS in-house cheap production.

 

 

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