Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

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cbmeeks
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Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby cbmeeks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:12 am

I love chip tunes. I know the SID is the big king in these parts (and for good reason) but that doesn't stop me from loving other sound chips like the AY-3-8910 and the SN76489. I also love being "period accurate" as much as I can. Meaning, a 64 voice polyphony sound system on a VIC-20 would probably feel out of place.

So, I've been thinking of what sound chip I'd like to add to my current project for the VIC-20. The SID, AY and SN are easy targets and I'm most familiar with them. Although, I've been thinking about learning more about the OPL2 chips like the YM3812. A 9 voice SoundBlaster for the VIC-20 would be cool but might slightly violate my "period accurate" rule.

Of course, that rule doesn't have to be strictly enforced. :-)

Anyway, if you were designing an expansion for the VIC-20 for the purpose of adding additional audio, what would you add? SID only? One or two chips? I wouldn't want to go extreme overkill but I'm curious what you guys think.

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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby beamrider » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:55 am

I quite like the sound of pokey

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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby cbmeeks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:15 am

Pokey is nice. But, it's really hard/expensive to find without gutting an Atari (which I won't do).

SID is also expensive. Fortunately, there are a few emulation options which are really great. Not perfect...but "good enough" for a SID on a VIC-20.

The AY and SN I could either emulate or use the real deal (I've done both).

I wished there was a better option for the Pokey, however. I would love to include that in my arsenal.
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby groepaz » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:32 am

what about OPL3?

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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby cbmeeks » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:35 am

Haven't had much experience with OPL3 chips.

I have a few of them in my drawer so maybe I could look into them more.
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby Muzz73 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:38 pm

Just thinking that the AY chips (or some derivative thereof) are still made today and probably easier to find than the others, I might suggest going that direction. I wonder if you could use several of them in tandem like the HardSID did, where you could have anywhere from 1-4 chips for 1-4 channels at 3 voices each.

POKEY chips can still be purchased NOS from Best Electronics or B&C Computervisions for about $10 each, but those will dry up eventually.

This sounds like fun! Keep us posted!
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby R'zo » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:26 am

I'very often pondered Ted myself, I think ithe would compliment the vic nicely.
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby cbmeeks » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:23 am

I didn't realize that about the Pokey chips. I might order a few of those just to have.

Yeah, the AY chips are still pretty easy to get. But I'm not aware of any modern (still made) equivalents. Do you have an example?

Anyway, I may end up using emulation because the micro-controller I want to use has software for the SID, SN and AY chips.

From what I understand, the AY and SN chips are emulated literally 100%. Not sure how accurate that is but from the research I've done, I could easily believe it. The SID emulation is also very high. Even higher than the SwinSID (IIRC).

The mcu I would use could easily emulate 2-4 of any one of those chips. So I could mix-n-match. I thought about making it software controlled. Like setting a register to have 4 AY chips or 2 AY and 2 SID.

I'll keep everyone posted.
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby Boray » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:37 pm

Why not some chip from an ensoniq synth, designed by the former commodore engineers.
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby Muzz73 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:04 pm

After a bit of reading, it looks like there isn't really a moderm derivative of the AY-3-8910 still being produced. I had read a few years ago that someone was making them for slot machines and such, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Sorry about that. But...

The Yamaha 2149F is a licensed, pin-compatable replacement and being that they were used in the ST, they can also be purchased through B&C Computervisions or Best Electronics NOS for about $10 each.
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby gamer-stu » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:45 pm

Pokey chips were also included in some Atari 7800 cartridges to make up for the poor TIA sound. I believe 7800 Ballblazer is the most common.

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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby cbmeeks » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:50 am

gamer-stu wrote:Pokey chips were also included in some Atari 7800 cartridges to make up for the poor TIA sound. I believe 7800 Ballblazer is the most common.


That is true. But, I would never gut a classic piece of hardware for something like this. Those Pokey chips should stay in the games they were meant to be in. If the game was destroyed previously but the Pokey survived, then that's a different story. But to take it out of a working game for something else is a no-no in my book. :-)
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby gamer-stu » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:43 am

cbmeeks wrote:
gamer-stu wrote:Pokey chips were also included in some Atari 7800 cartridges to make up for the poor TIA sound. I believe 7800 Ballblazer is the most common.


That is true. But, I would never gut a classic piece of hardware for something like this. Those Pokey chips should stay in the games they were meant to be in. If the game was destroyed previously but the Pokey survived, then that's a different story. But to take it out of a working game for something else is a no-no in my book. :-)


I agree, especially since they are still available from Best Electronics.

I just thought that I'd throw that tidbit of trivia out there, in case the zombie apocalypse happens and you're in desperate need of a pokey.

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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby cbmeeks » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:07 am

gamer-stu wrote:I agree, especially since they are still available from Best Electronics.

I just thought that I'd throw that tidbit of trivia out there, in case the zombie apocalypse happens and you're in desperate need of a pokey.


I appreciate that. I didn't know you could get them from BE. I've looked on eBay before and they were $40-ish or more.

OT: IIRC, who was the guy that bought out that giant warehouse of Atari equipment years ago? Was that the BE site or "Mr. Atari"?
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Re: Additional Sound Chip Suggestions...

Postby gamer-stu » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:38 am

cbmeeks wrote:
gamer-stu wrote:I agree, especially since they are still available from Best Electronics.

I just thought that I'd throw that tidbit of trivia out there, in case the zombie apocalypse happens and you're in desperate need of a pokey.


I appreciate that. I didn't know you could get them from BE. I've looked on eBay before and they were $40-ish or more.

OT: IIRC, who was the guy that bought out that giant warehouse of Atari equipment years ago? Was that the BE site or "Mr. Atari"?


It was Brad from Best Electronics, but I think B&C Computervisions also got some stock. I think Brad has links to an article about the purchase on his website (http://best-electronics-ca.com/), though it is tough to navigate.

Believe it or not I actually have a physical Best Electronics catalog (he charges for these). The Pokey part number is CO12294 and is listed at $5.00 in the catalog but has been revised upward due to limited supply. Here is the part number, from his catalog addendum page: CO12294 / 137430 Atari Pokey chip $20.00 Limit 1. Ordering from Best is, shall we say, old school. I would recommend that you call.


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