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Auto-Tune your Atari



Its been 10 months since I put the TASCAM TA-1VP vocal processor in the rack.  I've had the time to read the manual several times and watched the youTube videos. This made me feel a little less clueless during these initial tests.  Since a vocalist was unavailable the Atari Pokey chip was a good substitute.




The TA-1VP is designed to take an input from a microphone or the line input and adjust it to the nearest pitch specified in the SCALE settings. It will work for one voice or instrument tone.


As it turns out the Atari is able to stay on key for most of it's range.  When the notes get up to around C6 and above the Pokey chip can't be programed to the proper frequency.  At least if your using the Advanced Music System or BASIC SOUND command. 


Tuning the Atari sounds to the musical scale was not much of a challenge for the TA-1VP.  The wave form isn't that complex.  The only feature that was used in these examples was the AUTO-TUNE.  The MIC MODELER, COMPRESSOR/GATE, DE-ESSER, and EQUALIZER/OUTPUT modules were turned off. Can't get much more basic then that.


The Hardware


The Atari 130XE is hooked up to a TV monitor through it's composite/audio port.  The TV monitor headphone jack is connected to TA-1VP LINE input in the back.  The mono  out put is connected to the mixer.  The mixer is connected to the audio digitizer. The digitizer is connected to the PC through the USB connection.  Your system may be different.




The first thing you want to do is set the input to LINE and turn the Phantom power off.  This is done from the SETUP section.  It's also mentioned in the manual.


Turn on the rest of your system and Make your adjustments until you can hear/record the signal from the TA-1PV.  You may want to check to see if your headphones are working.   It was the last thing I checked.


There are two setting that are controlled in the AUTO-TUNE section.  The SCALE and SPEED.  The scale is the notes you want to be active.  The C-Major scale is used for the first two tests.




The second is the SPEED. This determines the reaction time of the AUTO-TUNE.  A SPEED of zero makes the auto tune happen almost instantaneously.




Test 1 - SWEEP


This simple "SWEEP" test is written in ATARI BASIC. It outputs the sound between 0 and 255.  Maybe it should have been called the bomb drop test.  The recording  starts out with a RUN without the auto-tune followed by a run with auto-tune. You can hear the auto-tune stepping through the notes.


10 FOR X=0 TO 255

20 SOUND 0,X,10,10

30 POSITION 19,0:? X;"  "

40 FOR Y=1 TO 20:NEXT Y





Test 2a - C Maj scale


This program uses a chart from the XE manual to set the pitch to produce the notes in the C-Major scale.  The frequency is off for the highest notes.  Sounds are in tune with the AUTO-Tune on.




10 RESTORE 100



40 SOUND 0,PITCH,10,10

50 FOR X=1 TO 200:NEXT X

60 GOTO 20

90 REM Pitch table 130XE Manual-P67

100 DATA 121,108,96,91,81,72,64,60,53,47,45,40,35,31,29,-1

190 REM Detuned

200 DATA 118,109,94,92,83,71,63,60,54,47,44,39,34,32,28,-1


Cmaj table.mp3


Test 2b - Detuned


Change the  line 10 to RESTORE 200 and you will hear a scale that is intentionally detuned. The audio file has the detuned (auto-tune off) and then with auto-tune.


A third run is with the SPEED set to 7.  You'll hear the note start out at original frequency and then it sounds something like using the pitch bend wheel to adjust to the properly tuned note. Nice effect if you need it.


Cmaj detuned table.mp3




This last test is the intro to "Putting on the RITZ" using Advanced Music System software.  There were some off key notes at the end of the intro that needed fixing. The Voice 1 was recorded with the Auto-Tune and all notes of the chromatic scale were on. Then Voices 2-4 were record on a sperate track without auto-tune.  Then re-mixed into a third track.




The out of tune notes were corrected and it still maintained its POKEY sound.



Audio file orgRitz original AMS.mp3

Audio file voice 1ritz track 1 auto tuned .mp3

Audio file voice 2-4ritz track 2-4 no autotune.mp3

Audio file remixedritz track 1-4 mixed.mp3


Atari support files (.BTX are BASIC Text) AUTOTUNE.atr 



It works really well for those higher notes that need Auto-Tuning.  I'll bet you - I'd use it a lot if a AMS Chip Tune Radio Station was in the works.   


I can't wait to try mixing a sing-a-long track with some songs in my Atari AMS collection.  Can it make me sound like I can sing?  Or, should I try to auto-tune SAM?


I just have to remember there are limitation and that "You can tune a piano but you can't tune a fish." 

TA1VP Preset.JPG

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