1. OCAU Merchandise now available! Check out our 20th Anniversary Mugs, Classic Logo Shirts and much more! Discussion here.
    Dismiss Notice

Retro, The Sounds and The Music.

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by power, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. breech

    breech Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2002
    Messages:
    1,933
    Location:
    GalaxyWorld

    Rob Hubbard once remixed his Sanxion C64 intro for a one-off audio cover tape, the result speaks for itself!
     
    Pierre32 and elvis like this.
  2. shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    13,969
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Always fun to have a quick look back over these things.

    From:
    Screenshot from 2020-07-23 18-23-27.png

    ...We have:
    Screenshot from 2020-07-23 18-23-13.png

    Grab us some RAP-10's, wouldya. These days I can have the manuals-and-nothing-else in my hands for a measly $240 total...

    upload_2020-7-26_16-8-28.png

    tom-cruise-mission-impossible.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
    Pierre32 likes this.
  3. badmofo

    badmofo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    Australia
    I was totally ignorant about anything other than basic PC sound options until I got back into retro about 10 years ago and these prices tell the story - anything else was way out of my price range so why bother? If I could go back in time I'd recommend myself to forget the SB 2.0 because mono (first buy), and forget the PAS16 (second buy) because not fully supported and SB emulation mono, and forget about the 16 bit thing because not a factor in sound quality until later and the rest of your audio setup is shite anyway. I should have just gotten a SB Pro in the first instance and used that bad boy until PCI.
     
    BiggusDickus likes this.
  4. BiggusDickus

    BiggusDickus Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    174
    Location:
    Brentwood WA
    Plus a GUS to go alongside it. Still cheaper than buying a single AWE32.
     
  5. dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,337
    Location:
    Shoalhaven - Gods Country
    I never got and still dont get the appeal of the GUS?

    It played back higher sample/quality in some titles i.e epic pinball/one must fall etc

    THe midi was inferior to a Roland SC-55

    wasnt the fm implementation absolute garbage or did I get that wrong?
     
  6. DonutKing

    DonutKing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,387
    Location:
    Tweed/Gold Coast
    The MIDI is a matter of opinion, and is going to vary between games. I wouldn't say its bad.

    If you didn't have a sound blaster, it would emulate FM by using the wavetable - it sounded absolutely nothing like real FM. Plus the emulation software (SBOS/MEGAEM) could be buggy, crash certain games, not work with EMM386 etc.

    At the time it was much cheaper to get a GUS than a professional Roland synthesizer, and there's a lot of nostalgia as it was people's first introduction to high quality wavetable music.

    TBH many people probably only had a sound blaster 16 or clone, and never knew or heard about wavetable MIDI, then in a few years redbook CD audio was the new hotness so it was really just a blip in history.
     
  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,254
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I had mates with GUS cards, and was always envious (seeing in hindsight now that me l maybe I shouldn't have been). Eventually I got a job, and managed to get myself an AWE64 Value (more useful as a cheaper AWE32 with better SNR - the extra 32 voices were pointless as they were in software).

    That was really late in the game though, and as mentioned above, the world has largely given up on midi by then. I went back and played all my old games feverishly for about 2 years, then sold it for peanuts once computers were fast enough to do it all in software.

    These days I'm just a filthy Fluidsynth/Timidity++ heathen.

    [edit] And now I'm wondering what I did with the Yamaha YMF744 PCI card I bought later on - had optical in/out that I could record to and from my minidisc player. If that's in an arcade machine somewhere, it might be time to pull that out and do something with it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  8. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2019
    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    Sydney
    GUS wasn't on my radar back in the day. The history books tell me it was really a musician's card that did its best to bend to the gaming market and never quite hit the mark. For Soundblaster accuracy and compatibility, it sure would have been a disappointing card in the day if it was the one you saved all your pocket money for. (Well, maybe. We didn't have the internet for comparisons and didn't all have a range of friends with a range of hardware... so ignorance was bliss a lot of the time, and you just assumed that what you bought was correct and awesome).

    These days we have a pretty clear view of its strengths and weaknesses. If its handful of strengths appeal to you, I guess they to appeal to you pretty hard. I got a little emotional when I first heard how much better it sounded in the flesh, in the software optimised for it, compared to the SB. And for those few highlights it's worth it to me. You can probably put the MT-32 in the same category.

    I ended up buying one of those Aopen Cobra YMF744 cards after the earlier discussion here :Paranoid: Not the same as your old one though; no optical on these ones. When Phil covered them a couple of years back he pointed to an ebay seller that had a stock of them, and when I checked the other week it was the same guy with 20 of them listed. So I jumped on it not knowing if they'd last. He's out of stock again now.
     
  9. shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    13,969
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I missed that wavetable era almost entirely. I've recently been having a lot of fun going back and exploring it. In the past couple of months I've dug up or acquired:

    *An ISA card with proper OPL3 and OPL4 ("Gallant SC-70P Plus")
    Pretty cool to have an all-in-one DOS card with great compatibility and covers all bases incl GM. I showed this card in a thread here.

    *An ISA card with YMF719 ("Yamaha Audician 32")
    Really nice and simple with high compatibility as an SB clone+, does everything you'd want in that vein. This and my SC-55 are my current DOS setup.

    *An Ensoniq AudioPCI ("AudioPCI 3000 with amplifier")
    Cheap about-to-be-acquired-by-Creative model with interesting niche DOS support (especially for a PCI card) and proprietary wavetable. Also with a weird (but official) 2x20W amplifier breakout card that I haven't seen around.

    *An Audigy 2
    A nice card but little point using in a DOS machine, over some of the above. In fact is not hardware compatible with my Pentium 1 board.

    *And of course, a Sound Canvas (SC-55MkII)

    I've got my eye on an ISA WSS but with 15 interested parties so far, I probably won't bother pricewise. If it stays under $40, then maybe...

    Anyway overall, the vagaries of teething-period early Windows/DOS crossover, fast-evolving hardware standards, driver compatibility, availability, etc means there's significant mucking around involved. Which can of course, simultaneously be a lot of fun and endlessly frustrating at the same time. The sort of thing that comes an undercurrent of "grr I just want to be finished!", but in hindsight you realise "hmm, but this is what I do/and like" - probably as much as or more than playing the bloody games themselves! A harsh truth, perhaps.

    Game-wise, you come to the realisation that each setup has a particular subset (often small enough to be called "a niche") of period games which ideally suit that setup's specific vagaries and limitations.

    For example even with the Sound Canvas, one of the better known period pieces, once I've whittled down the already-limited list of compatible games to things I'll actually play, there are almost certainly going to be less than a dozen games that I spent any amount of time on at all. Which is plenty! But it's good to be aware...
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  10. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,254
    Location:
    Brisbane
    What I really want is just a music player with either real chips I can switch out, or FPGA implementations verified by MDFourier.
    http://junkerhq.net/MDFourier/

    SD card and/or basic WiFi, digital and analogue out, and let me hook that up to my own speakers. More or less the MiSTer of music players.

    There's a few of these around at the moment, but they're all very bespoke. Most play only one type of audio file/format. For example:

    https://www.aidanlawrence.com/product/throwback-operator/



    Or

    https://www.aidanlawrence.com/product/mega-midi-5/



    Something broader than that, where I can throw a metric tonne of ripped audio data (digital midi style, not wav/pcm) at it, would be exactly what I'm after.

    Word has it folks are looking at something like this for MiSTer (making it a multi-format audio player using existing core code), and that's a good start. But there's still a lot of things MiSTer doesn't do natively (for example, you need MUNT to get MT-32 style audio out, which is all software emulated at the moment).
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  11. badmofo

    badmofo Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    Australia
    RE WSS, I've found the later Crystal chipsets to provide great support and it sounds great in the games that support it. This Acer Magic for example does a good job at WSS and the SB Pro support rocks too. Added bonus with this card is the real OPL3 but that's a rare combo sadly.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    64,216
    Location:
    brisbane
    The sound "card" I grew up with.

     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  13. shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    13,969
    Location:
    New Zealand
    DonutKing, elvis and Pierre32 like this.
  14. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2019
    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    Sydney
  15. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    64,216
    Location:
    brisbane
    makes me wonder what will happen to real MT-32's in future.

     
  16. dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,337
    Location:
    Shoalhaven - Gods Country
    If they can make those things cheap enough, it wasnt that long ago real MT32s were worth less than $200?

    Whenever I see these newly created emulated devices the price is typically what $100+ for something in pieces you have to put together?

    I don't know someone need to turn these hobbiest devices into something you buy off the shelf but then the price gets closer to the real thing.
     
  17. shredder

    shredder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    13,969
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Even further along that track, are certain sound card enthusiasts who'll happily pay US$100 for a custom-redesigned-retro bare circuit board, and solder on every single component themselves. Half of them suffering issues in the process, funnily enough. And if successful they end up with something I bet few of them could tell apart from whatever in a proper blind test.

    I get it - I too spend the bulk of my time fucking around in one way or another - but that particular flavour is not for me.
     
  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    42,254
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Right, real talk time.

    Same thing that happens to all old tech: 99% ends up in landfill, 1% in the hands of wealthy collectors and never sees the light of day again.

    How can we deal with this? We can work hard on tools to document what was, and volunteer our time to projects like MDFourier to objectively measure the various emulation and simulation projects that exist:
    http://junkerhq.net/MDFourier/

    1) The "$200" price wasn't new (wikipedia says US$695 on release in 1987, which is US$1500+ in today's money). It was second hand. All things go through phases of "new and expensive" to "old and cheap" to "nostalgic and expensive again" to "rare and crazy expensive". The good times of cheap prices you remember had nothing to do with the cost of R&D or manufacturing.

    2) Economies of scale make this impossible to do at low cost. Nobody making midi hardware in 2020 is shipping hundreds of thousands of units. Your target audience is maybe a few thousand people at most. Of the entire group of people interested at all in retro music, the vast majority are happy with software emulation (same goes for video game emulation). Making this (a) at all and (b) accurate to someone else's hardware quirks is difficult and expensive.

    3) Dedicated hardware is dead, whether we like it or not. General purpose techniques like FPGA and software emulation are our only real chance at preserving this stuff, because nobody is going to put in the R&D time to try and accurately re-create a single device. Things like the MiSTer project are infinitely more popular than, say, the MiST project that came before it, simply because MiSTer simulates hundreds of things (versus MiST that simulated a handful). Likewise look at the projects that simulate a single device, and all of them are typically still born.

    As above, we (as a community) need to ensure that the simulations are good enough. We have tools to measure accuracy, and we need to put in the time to test these things and submit feedback while we can. It won't be long now until this stuff is gone (see above - landfill or private collections), and wishing on a prayer that someone will invest tens of thousands of hours to make a $100 board that's 100% accurate isn't the answer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  19. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    64,216
    Location:
    brisbane
    cannot get on board with this, for many communities there is a small subset who are happy with emulated but they are a smaller percentage. But the price barrier IS real.

    I have personally discovered getting back into older systems that the thirst for real HW (improved with bits of modern tech) is alive and well.

    If you think no-one is prepared to put time, effort and money into accurately re-creating stuff that may have existed many years ago you probably need to have a better look at the Amiga, ST, C64 and Atari 8 bit communities. It will probably open your eyes to what people are prepared to do to make their old machines be the best they can be.

    I mean your filthy casuals? Sure they are going to use WinUEA, but the actual community - not a hope in hell.

    Projects like new Amiga keycaps and injection moulded cases, brand new motherboards - new accelerators built around vintage processors. All this stuff could have slotted straight into the industry 20-30 years ago.

    Screen mods for handhelds, flash carts for real HW.

    Dedicated real HW is definitely alive.
     
  20. oculi

    oculi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Messages:
    11,702
    Posting niche material in niche thread: MODs anyone?

     
    elvis and Grant like this.

Share This Page

Advertisement: