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Thread: Commodore 64 MIDI DAW!

  1. #1
    MickB is offline Junior Member
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    Commodore 64 MIDI DAW!

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    What? That old junk?

    Yes, indeed. The Commodore 64 was a fully programmable, 3 voice and 1 noise, polyphonic, multi-effect (via extremely rapid arpeggio) 8-bit semi-digital synthesiser with 1 bit 'retro' sampling facility.

    Plus bung in MIDI cartridges, oscillation knobs, intelligent composition software, additional synth plug-ins, printer for notation work and then loop all that in with the other MIDI equipment you have and you've got more power to your elbow.

    Indeed, most of Concept Single 9 was composed or recorded with the Commie using its own synth or running MIDI out to other units.


    See pix and hear trax:
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael...er/Records.htm

  2. #2
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    NashBackslash is offline Senior Member
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    OMG, the Commodore 64 brings back so much memories. ;_;

    +1 to you

  3. #3
    MickB is offline Junior Member
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    Yes. The fact the machine can still turn out very unique sounds makes it now more attractive than an ST in a retro sense (which had no decent sound stage inside).

    For anyone interested here are some great little sites:

    http://c64music.blogspot.com/

    http://ftp.pokefinder.org/

    http://tapes.c64.no/

    http://www.c64audio.com/free/cd_new/cd/PP001/ - PRESS PLAY ON TAPE's cover versions of SID tunes.
    http://www.c64audio.com/free/cd_new/...k1%20-%205.mp3

    http://www.pressplayontape.com/

    http://www.vgmusic.com/music/compute...ore/commodore/

  4. #4
    ridgeback's Avatar
    ridgeback is offline DARN LOSER
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    MickB is offline Junior Member
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    What I'd really like to see is an emulated C64 MIDI setup on CD-Rom.

    With an amended emulator accessing the MIDI ports and line in on a typical sound card, the actual Commodore software and hardware could be emulated to give PC owners what C64 people had all along - MIDI sequencing, SID synthesiser use, plug-in Sound Expander and Sound Sampler emulation or anything else which could so completely utilise the C64 sound which even the SID boxes can't quite give.

    Certainly, you can still use existing emulators to program and play the emulated SID (as I can do with my ported software), but there's no quarter given for all the rest of it.

    It could be done for 30 you know, a complete set. I'm sure Tulip computers would oblige in selling a license.

    ..... However, this should do in the meantime: http://c64music.blogspot.com/2006/03...093b-vsti.html
    http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/programs/QuadraSID_6581/
    http://www.kvraudio.com/get/92.html

  6. #6
    MickB is offline Junior Member
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    The addition of MIDI to the Commodore 64, as well as a plentiful supply of other audio software and hardware, allowed budget home studios to take on sophisticated tasks such as notation or sequencing (and even allowing for pro studios to use it for mixer automation).

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael...udiomaster.jpg
    ______________

    The Commodore is a forgotten synth, despite the fact that many great games used fabulous synth compositions for its tunes. I would recommend it, and its various add-ons, to take its place amongst the sundry gear in any studio due to its unique sonics.

    And because I have software called Instant Music which allows me to compose jingles locked in key as well as tempo, which is ace to come up with MIDI tunes in 10 seconds.
    ________________________________

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.braisher/MIDI.jpg

    Sound Expander synth add-on with MIDI attachment. Great for '87.
    __________________________________________________

    http://c64music.blogspot.com/2006/07...orchestra.html

    Orchestral arrangements
    Last edited by MickB; 04-23-2007 at 05:26.

  7. #7
    MickB is offline Junior Member
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    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.braisher/daw.jpg

    A little guided tour of the DAW.
    __________________________

    The Commodore 64c, the 1986 revision, had a subtlely different SID synth to the original model. To my ears the older model sounds fuller whilst the second sounds clearer. Other differences included the older machine's capability of playing samples louder and some differences in general operation between the two. Anomolies such as these make for an interesting stereo image when running the two units hardpanned alongside each other whilst playing the same soundtrack.

    One (perhaps the only) drawback of the whole C64 affair is that the sound and video tracks were placed too close together on the system's motherboard, an anomoly overlooked even during the 1986 overhaul of the entire design. This results in a slight buzz on the soundtrack, something which only really sounds when using the Commie for multiple overdubs. However, the noise is only sometimes noticeable and can be overcome either by using software which disables the video chip for music, running non-sawtooth tracks through mild reverb to smear the noise, running MIDI out to a SID VSTi or by running the composition through a faithful PC-based C64 emulator once the real 64 has been used to compose it.

    The Commodore 64 as a totally programmable 8-bit semi-digital analogue sythesiser with MIDI option was one of the most enduring and unique instruments to ever have been looked upon with disdain by the Business. Whilst musician-technicians favoured the more respectable and powerful Amstrad PC1512 or Atari STs to perform their pro/home studio numbercrunching, the fact is that a Commodore 64 can still be of a much greater use today than the obsolete MIDI housekeepers which used to tower above. (Indeed, downloadable C64 software is still in abundance, as is the hardware on the secondhand market. Old PC and ST stuff is much scarcer.)

    There were so many works of art made for the C64, so many games saved only by the sounds. But the likes of Rob Hubbard or Jeoroen Tel were forever doomed to be thought of as second-raters because they composed synth symphonies for games, despite their creative innovations. These days, however, making game music is considered as complex and artistically meritorious as the making of a good album or film score.

    To hear some examples of how good SID music actually was at its best, go here and grab the music for, say, ZEPHIX, TURBO OUTRUN, AUF WEIDERSEHEN MONTY, TURKISH TUNE, THRUST, RECKLESS RUFUS, T14 TANKBUSTER or any of the classics. Then go here to get a Sidplayer with which you can remix to crisp 16 bit 44.1khz stereo the real old masters! Just like with Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds stereo remix, a whole new panorama can be opened out like a set of new baffles!!!
    _______________________________________________
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/michael.braisher/table.jpg

    Even a toy membrane music keyboard could work magic on the 64 by using the SID's great sounds. Also, I can create sophisticated rapid finger gliding and arpeggio-type sounds with even my stiff and clumsy fingers just by tickling the thing, or by moving my forefinger round and round in circles up and down! Is there nothing I can't do on a 64?!
    Last edited by MickB; 04-25-2007 at 17:23.

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    punkin's Avatar
    punkin is offline Univalve & Avatar Speaks
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    I have an old TRS-80 I've been thinking about turning into a DAW
    She's not the boss of me

  9. #9
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    TexRoadkill is offline Audio Bum
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    Where the hell are we supposed to dig up a C64?

  10. #10
    MickB is offline Junior Member
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    Look on Ebay for starters. And this search provides more C64 hardware, including keyboard overlays and Sound Expander. On other days you can also get the MIDI cartridges too.

    The machine itself is always for sale.

    New bits are being made all the time, the most notable for this being the Prophet 64 synth interface with third party MIDI option.

    The software itself is usually downloadable for nothing because the C64 retro thing is bigger than that of any other format. And a decent emulator is available if you wish to remain PC-based. But don't expect the best out of it.

    The C64 is a nice instrument and it's worth having one for the sounds, particularly if linked up to other 'proper' synths of the time. But the VST option, see above, is also a good step to take if you don't want too much equipment cluttering up the place.

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