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An Aquarius Music Composer is NEEDED badly!


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OK, I got Jay's Aquaricart.. I am happy.. but.. Either I am going mad in my old age, ... uhh, I could have SWORN that the Aquarius catalog said that Extended BASIC had enhanced sound commands... but, looking at the docs. it seems not..


Grr, all I found is my 'Guide to Home Computing' ..


BUT, It seems to me, it would be cool to write a music making program specifically for those that have Mini-Expanders.. It would take some effort I am sure to determine what SOUND values make what notes... BUT, is there ANY way that the 3 voices could ever be used from BASIC???


Dang, I fell rather let down by Extended BASIC... boo....


Honestly tho, if some kind of music program could be made for the Aquarius.. It would be fantastic! I don't even really know the full capabilities of the sound chip... be interesting to see just what it could do with advanced programming.. Would adjustable filters be possible? How about fake Ring Modulation?

Inquiring Minds want to know!


Jay, or some of the other extremely talanted ppl. here wanna take this on?


Again, Jay... first-rate job on the Multicart!!

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The sound chip (and the hand controller I/O chip) in the Aquarius Mini Expander is the AY-3-8910, a Programmable Sound Generator which has been used in many different systems over the years, including the Intellivision, the ZX Spectrum, the Atari ST, and lots of arcade machines. This means that the Aquarius can potentially benefit from all the work that's been done with it on these other systems.


This is something I definitely plan to learn more about when I can find the time; some of my project ideas will benefit from some nice music. I'm especially interested in the Vortex Tracker II and some of the other trackers that have been developed for the ZX Spectrum, since that system is based on the same Z80 processor as the Aquarius. It should be possible to adapt the original Speccy code to the Aquarius, and the bankswitched SuperCart I cartridge board will provide plenty of space for music data.


Here are some samples that I found of digital AY music that have been created for the Speccy (again, what you're hearing is the exact same sound chip as in the Mini Expander):





As for Aquarius Extended BASIC, there are indeed no added sound commands, but it's still possible to program the PSG in Extended BASIC--or even Regular BASIC, for that matter--by using assembly language subroutines. Martin has some sample sound code on his website, and some hand controller code as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just remembered that the feature you are looking for is in the 1541 ROM.

The 1541 ROM has commands for the Commodore 1541 floppy drive, extended basic and some additional commands. I have attached the 1541 ROM manual, which Jason uploaded to the Yahoo groups.


The 1541 ROM contains commands to read to handcontrollers, and to program the AY-3-8910 chip directly. You can use the PSG command for this.

The following command will give an everlasting C tone:


PSG 8,15,0,93,1,13,7,62

This means;

register 8 = 15 ( volume channel A full )

register 0 = 93

register 1 = 13 ( period = 3421, 13*256+93)

register 7 = 62 (Enable output Channel A 0011 1110)


Now to add effects to the tone:


PSG 8,16,13,8

Register 8 = 16, enable enveloppe effect on channel A

Register 13 = 8, sound wave


Take a look at my website for more information on the registers and their meaning.





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