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What retro computer activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    Mine was 78 bucks delivered via Amazon, but that's next day delivery we're talking here. I feel guilty every time I put a delivery guy through that but I can't stop myself.
     
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  2. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    I'm not a habitual benchmarker, but I've added a few PCI video cards to the pile recently, so I thought I'd find out what the pecking order of this little collection really is. I picked four tests from Phil's pack based on, I dunno, they seemed good. Threw in some conditional formatting because colours are pretty. Then took an average and called it the PierreMark. Science.

    I was waiting on the Cirrus and ARK cards to complete the results, and they turned up today. For some reason I assumed the Cirrus would be fighting with the Trident for the wooden spoon, so I was surprised to see its great results. Of course based on badmofo's intel I expected the ARK to prevail, and it did. The ARK was the only card I also benchmarked using UniVBE.

    upload_2021-9-4_16-49-0.png
     
  3. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    upload_2021-9-6_18-52-18.png

    Retro gear activity on a modern machine. Today my Roland SC-D70 arrived, and I am tickled. On the MIDI side it's essentially an SC-8820. I don't need to dive too deep into that, as DonutKing recently did a nice review of his complete with recordings:

    The SC-D70 adds a bunch of audio I/O, making it an all-in-one USB audio interface for the modern musician in 2001. When I read that the Vista x64 drivers still work in Win10, I was sold. History is littered with pro audio gear that has been left behind by new versions of Windows, so it's always nice to see things kicking on. It looked as if this could be used as the primary external sound card on my daily drive. With a Sound Canvas built in! Big if true.

    These units are stickered as 100VAC, and to my knowledge there were no localised versions outside of Japan. Sellers will generally tell you to source a stepdown transformer separately. But the specs in the manual say it'll take voltages up to 240VAC, and numerous forum posts confirm it's fine. So the first act out of the box was a smoke test. Straight in with the mains, look away politely and flick the switch. It blinked to life. Noice.

    I connected up the USB, fed the optical output to my Edifiers, and made the SC-D70 my default output device (I'm a big fan of SoundSwitch for hotkey switching if you have multiple devices). Fired up my favourite music streaming service, and got the sound one expects from a sound interface. Excellent start. Next came DOSBox. Did the /listmidi thang to select the Roland, fired up a game, and got the sound one expects from a MIDI synth. Lovely.

    Finally, on a whim, I opened Audacity while the game was playing (but not the latest version) and hit record. Things recorded - meaning this old cat is indeed sending mixed MIDI + digital audio back over USB. This made my day, as it'll make for super slick MIDI captures without messing around with analogue audio chains. The unit has separate level controls on the front for MIDI and digital too, so I can capture the component I want, or just mess with the mix live while playing games.

    If this unit has one failure, it's the baffling lack of an instrument map button. It has various maps including SC-55 and SC-88, and you'll see in DK's post that the 8820 has a face button to switch between them. The D70 requires MIDI messages to do the switching. Falcosoft MIDI player has taken some of the pain out of this by adding a hotkey switching function just for this device. Instructions are in this forum post. Of course that means having the program running and focused for the hotkeys to work, but it far exceeds a poke in the eye. With that said, I have an SC-55 if I want to hear an SC-55, and I'm happy to experience the stock map of the D70. The fun of MIDI is how every cover band plays the tune its own way.

    The one function I haven't confirmed is headset use. I'm not getting a signal on the mic input - although I am getting a guitar signal there. I have the same issue on my Steinberg interface. All I can think of at this point is that it's due to the stereo 6.5mm to 3.5mm adapter I'm using in the socket. I've ordered a mono adapter to see if it makes a difference. If that works, and I'm eventually able to do my work Zoom bullshit via a Sound Canvas, well that's a secret joy only people in this forum will understand.

    Verdict: A retro buy that will be a core component of my daily drive. Did I say tickled?
     
  4. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    Cool read! Love the modern functionality!
     
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  5. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    Always rad to see a 2001 device going on all cylinders under Windows 10!

    A correction: "a lot of the fun of MIDI is how every device out there goes blinkity blink with all the pretty blinkenlights and how the design on the device looks awesome on the desk."
     
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  6. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    A little postscript about MIDI routing in Win10. For some reason Windows ditched GUI access to MIDI routing. RIP this:

    dialog1.jpg

    These days if you want the ability to switch synths, you need to install something to replace the above function. I have Coolsoft MIDI Mapper installed:

    midimapper.jpg

    You don't need that if you're only concerned with DOSBox, as the /listmidi command will find any connected devices. But if you do have it installed, it will appear as an option:

    listmidi.jpg

    The correct choice above is 2. I also tried 0, as that's just going to direct MIDI to Coolsoft which will hand it off the SC-D70 anyway, right? Well, sorta. It turns out that if I use this option, I lose the ability to control MIDI & digital audio separately with the level knobs on the Roland. It mashes it all together somehow. Curious. So option 2 it is.

    Finally, why does the Roland have three entries? It has Parts A & B because it provides two voice banks, or dual Sound Canvases if you like, provided you're connected via USB. Useful for composers composing big things; not relevant to gaming.* The third option routes MIDI directly to the D70's MIDI out port, so you can connect a separate module and hear that instead.

    *Just thinking though. Does this mean I could run two instances of DOSBox, with seperate confs, and play two games through the D70 at once? Sounds ridiculous. I might try it.
     
  7. aleckon

    aleckon Member

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    Loving this option around the Roland SC-D70 Pierre32...So much so...I went and bought one from japan. Hopefully it arrives safe in a month or so.

    Will retire the cabling mess of my Roland UM-ONE / UM- TWO / SC-55 and SC88 midi mess I have and give this - do it all device a go.

    Or you know...just add another one into the midi tower! So many blinkenlights....
     
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  8. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    ^ Awesome :D

    So I had to try the two instances of DOSBox. Yes it was pointless and glorious.

     
  9. OP
    OP
    adz

    adz Member

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    Sounds like a DJ that skipped Beat Matching 101 :lol:
     
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  10. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    Got an ARK1000VL VLB graphics card, after reading good reports on here and having had troubles with my Tseng ET4000 card was keen to try something different.

    So far so good, it benches much faster the ET4000 under DOS, no further glitching in certain games, gamma and video output quality is much more natural on a LCD display. Scrounged some 60ns VRAM from some S3 PCI card and seems fine for 2MB. Next up is Windows 3.1, I believe it’s not flash performance but the Tseng card wasn’t great either with dicey refresh and interlaced modes.

    I haven’t dabbled in UNIVBE for years and the version I had on my 486, V5.3 doesn’t detect the ARK chipset. What’s the next one to try?
     
  11. rugger

    rugger Member

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    ARK 1000 cards are actually pretty fast, as long as you don't push them too hard. ARK2000 is of course betterer under windows, but both are decent GDI accelerators.
     
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  12. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    The doco for v5.3a that I have here claims that it handles: ARK Logic ARK1000VL/PV, ARK2000PV, ARK2000MT, Quadro64

    v6.5 claims to include 'acceleration code' for those chipsets so it might be worth checking that version out?
     
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  13. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    Thank you, that I will.
     
  14. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    I tend to be well and truly behind the times in all aspects of life so this probably isn't news to anyone, but I tried out a nifty program called JoyToKey today to map a gamepad (Xbox1 for example) to mouse / keyboard commands in Windows. I wasn't expecting much but it's great - every customization I wanted for Gothic 1 (3rd person 3D game) was there and and it all works great.

    https://joytokey.net/en/

    There's a free trial but I'm so impressed I've already grabbed a license - 10 bucks AUD :p
     
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  15. baronbaldric

    baronbaldric Member

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    Yep, great program, bought it years ago to play DosBox on my laptop when I was traveling a lot. It is helpful when you want to map a gamepad to play games which require fast response under DosBox because DosBox gamepad implementation is brute-force intercept and hence the delay makes most games unplayable using gamepads. More interestingly using joytokey you can play DOS games which were never supposed to have gamepad support. I mapped my gamepad to Sword of the Samurai and had a lot of fun. Can't remember if the entire game can be played this way, I think swordfighting was a bit more complex and still required keyboard, can't tell for sure now.
     
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  16. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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  17. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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  18. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    I think that should be the tag line for the Retro forums.
     
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  19. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    Used to buy from Rockby a bit about a decade ago. They still send their clearance specials emails to me :thumbup:
     
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  20. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    and happy about it right

    JOMO
     
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