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  #1  
Old 2003-10-23, 21:21
Meffy's Avatar
Meffy Meffy is offline
 
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Commodore 64? Check. Moog interface? Check. Cue LIGHTNING!!!

Y'all are thinking that Doctor Frankenstein-esque subject line is a joke, right? Not entirely! Read on, friends.

Several threads on this forum have mentioned old-old-school musical fun such as the famous/infamous C64 SID chip and other gaming devices; I brought up the TI Speak 'n' Spell once.

I ought to have said something before now about a rather interesting device that inspired me to register with eBay so I could buy it -- the Moog Song Producer for Commodore 64.

What is it? A MIDI and drum-trigger interface, the nicest I ever saw for C64.

Now, if you've ever seen hardware intended to hook up to a C64, you're used to light-duty plastic cases. That's not what the MSP has. It's built into a HEAVY steel case, infinitely better than Commodore's own stuff.

There's one MIDI in, one thru, and four outs. Two footswitch input jacks. Eight trigger outs (for drums or anything else). For connecting a drum machine, there are clock and disable ins/outs. There's a schematic printed right on the top of the case, clearly labelling every connector and showing a typical lash-up.

It connects to the C64 via a ribbon cable with a game cartridge-shaped plug on one end and a standard DIP header on the other.

The two-conductor connectors are standard 1/4" phone jacks, as you'd expect from a product bearing the Moog brand name. [Bob Moog was no longer with the company that took his name, of course, when this was made :-( ... but even so it's a pretty good box for the bux.]

Comes with several programs, as well as a nice vinyl-covered mini ring binder containing software and hardware instructions, specs, schematics, pictorial diagrams... just about everything you could want in an old-timey setup.

I haven't got a working Commie monitor, so haven't had a chance to hook it up and try the software, but it looks pretty darned amazing considering its antique vintage. If I can ever find a good price on an appropriate Commodore, Magnavox, or Amdek composite color monitor, one of the first things I'll try is this hardware/software combo.

What I'd _really_ like to do is polish up my ancient Mostek 6502 assembly language skills, then try to write software that would let me use the MSP simply as a MIDI interface for controlling the SID chip from a PC (or a MIDI keyboard or whatever) -- as if the C64 were an external synth. Mmmm, low-fi low-tech fun!

If this sounds tempting to any of y'all, please check out eBay. I bought mine for US$35 from an excellent fellow who works at Jamestown Bronze Foundry in New York. He has more of 'em for sale, too.

I was astonished when it arrived; hadn't quite realized what a classy little peripheral it was! You might be able to find the same item for US$25 or even less if you look around more carefully than I did.

Is it going to replace your perfectly preserved DX7? Make you toss that restored Mini-Moog and chuck the Prophet and Juno in the garbage pail? Not hardly. But it's definitely the most impressive C64 peripheral I have ever seen.

Now I just have to find time -- and a display! -- to get the old C64 hooked up again so I can see what can be done with this little gem. Hope the ol' disk drive still works, and the floppies are readable...

Only bad point I've found yet: it has a pretty strong "old electronics" odor. Same smell my Apple IIgs and IIc emit. Probably not such a great fume to breathe, so use it in a well-ventilated place!

Meffy
owner of Moog Song Producer s/n 1103
Very good Moog Song Producer website
  #2  
Old 2003-10-23, 21:54
arothman's Avatar
arothman arothman is offline
 
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Do I smell a ReFill? :) (nt)

  #3  
Old 2003-10-23, 22:00
Meffy's Avatar
Meffy Meffy is offline
 
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Re: Do I smell a ReFill? :) (nt)

Heh! Don't think I could manage anything better than what the SIDstation can already do. (I've never used or seen one but get the general idea.)

However, if I do in fact figure out how to interface these puppies -- sure! Glad to share the wealth in whatever small way I'm able.

Could take a while, though. This is very much a spare-time hobby thing. :-)

Meffy
  #4  
Old 2003-10-24, 03:47
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foggerty foggerty is offline
 
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Re: Commodore 64? Check. Moog interface? Check. Cue LIGHTNING!!!

C64 - monitor, isn't that just a TV?
Unless you're like me and don't actually own a TV :-)
  #5  
Old 2003-10-24, 03:57
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Meffy Meffy is offline
 
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Re: Commodore 64? Check. Moog interface? Check. Cue LIGHTNIN

:C64 - monitor, isn't that just a TV?
:Unless you're like me and don't actually own a TV :-)

Heh! A kindred spirit, aren't you?

I've always found that a TV with RF modulator provides a fuzzy image and gives me eyestrain. In fact, for years I used a VCR hooked to my old Amdek Color I composite monitor instead of a television set -- much clearer, brighter, and next to no overscan. That is, I got the picture right out to the edges, nothing got cut off. Used an A/B switch to choose between VCR and C64. :-)

Meffy
  #6  
Old 2003-10-24, 09:02
amitopia amitopia is offline
 
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Re: Commodore 64? Check. Moog interface? Check. Cue LIGHTNIN

: I've always found that a TV with RF modulator
: provides a fuzzy image and gives me eyestrain.

Most TVs these days have a Video In (composite) jack, so you don't have to go through RF. But you probably already know this. So, now you should be cooking with gas.

- ell
  #7  
Old 2003-10-24, 16:28
jbratteson jbratteson is offline
 
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Speaking of Commodore 64, Reaktor has a SID chip ensemble

I produces some funky and weird sounds indeed. : )
  #8  
Old 2003-10-24, 17:00
Meffy's Avatar
Meffy Meffy is offline
 
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Re: Speaking of Commodore 64, Reaktor has a SID chip ensembl

:I produces some funky and weird sounds indeed. : )

Ah, yes! I just recall downloading that but haven't ever got around to playing with it. There are sooooo many good Reaktor instruments and ensembles I'll never have time to do them all justice, but that one I will just _have_ to look at. (Reaktor will never take the place of Reason in my fuzzy li'l heart, but it's great for what it does.)

Once I'm through sending out today's dental software builds and going over incoming reports, I've GOT to crank up R4 and give the SID-simulator a whirl.

Thank you very much for reminding me of it! :-)

Meffy
(grateful)
  #9  
Old 2003-10-24, 17:23
jbratteson jbratteson is offline
 
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Re: Speaking of Commodore 64, Reaktor has a SID chip ensembl

Yes it is very easy to get overwhelmed with all the Reaktor ensembles out there. In my past I have come across a few select pieces of hardward (DX7, DSS-1, Wavestation, TG77, K2000...) synths and stayed with them for years (most 10+) and learn them inside and out. I am trying to practice that with Reaktor. Find a few select, choice ensambles (I know it's so hard to limit myself on this) and really get deep with them.

I agree Reaktor in no way will replace Reason. But it is more complex (cpu hogging) and organic sounding in general. I use it for a more specific effect or sound.

jb
  #10  
Old 2003-10-24, 18:37
Meffy's Avatar
Meffy Meffy is offline
 
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Re: Speaking of Commodore 64, Reaktor has a SID chip ensembl

DX7, DSS-1, Wavestation, TG77, K2000...)

@_@ Be still, my beating heart!

:I agree Reaktor in no way will replace Reason. But it is more complex (cpu hogging) and organic sounding in general. I use it for a more specific effect or sound.

Hmm... as a Tassman enthusiast (speaking of CPU usage, heh), I find Reaktor to sound rather inorganic by comparison. But I must admit that NI are improving. That new Steampipe does a great job of cranking out gritty, grotty, breathy, physical-sounding noises. Hard to keep it under control, just as it ought to be with a wind -- or steam! -- instrument.

I'm sure there are other good new instruments and ensembles and effects, just a matter of getting around to 'em all. :-S

I just wish Reaktor's name weren't so nearly the same as Reason's. I nearly said "I find Reason to sound rather inorganic..." above. *blush*

Maybe in 3.0 they'll rename it so I won't have that trouble any longer! "Kierkegaard 3.0," anyone?

JUST KIDDING!!! :-D I know Kierkegaard was Danish, not Swedish... so that would _never_ do.

Meffy
 

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