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Sample cartridge


Louis
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Hi all,

 

When I was going through my stuff, I found an Alphasys Sample Cartridge.

I used to record some TV series themes and it was fun doing it.

 

I don't know if the quality has become worse, but now when I record, I find it horific.

Maybe I'm using the wrong software. Maybe some has some good suggestions for better software?

 

Also, I am curious if the sample cartridge can be updated?

Since I'm no expert in the matter and second all the IC's markings are gone, I have no clue were to begin.

 

I made some pictures.

post-29177-0-51019500-1354313076_thumb.jpg

post-29177-0-55280100-1354313084_thumb.jpg

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Truly fascinating. So you have any samples of what this recorded? If you can't send the actual file you can record the output of the recording into another computer into a wav or mp3 file.

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Well,

 

I once had the Mirage 4Bit A/D sample cartridge (only mono with one chinch), but I guess it was defective since it recorded / sampled all sounds with a lot of noise. Allthough the sound that came from the A8 thru the tv-speaker was almost noise-free (or did have low noise), the saved 4Bit sample on disk had noise that was much louder than the sound/music... and since no-one could repair the sample-cart for me, I simply gave it away... :-(

 

But as always, I have a lot of sample-software in my A8 collection. Afaik, some disks do still contain a few samples I made with my 4Bit Mirage sampler just for fun (e.g. REO Speedwagon - Keep on loving you). Besides the 4Bit Mirage sample cart. I also had a 2Bit sampler, named Sound N`Sampler by Ralf David which I used to sample a few sounds (e.g. the narrated beginning of War of the Worlds), which can also be found on one of these disks I guess...

 

Attached you will find a lot of sample-software for various sample-hardware (e.g. for the 4Bit Mirage sampler, the 2Bit Parrot sampler, the 2Bit Sound N`Sampler, the 2 Bit Analog Computing sampler, the 2Bit Atari magazin sampler, etc. etc.). Maybe one of these sample-programs will work with your sample-hardware, just try it out...

 

If you also want some digitized / sampled demos on diskette, let me know, think I have approx. 100 disks with sampled and/or digitized sound on the A8...

 

-Andreas Koch.

 

P.S.: On various polish A8 pages (e.g. atarionline.pl, MadTeam, pigwa.net) you can also find lots of sample software. Maybe you want to try the 8Bit sample software "Audiomaster 1.0" here: http://madteam.atari8.info/index.php?prod=uzytki

sample_software.zip

Edited by CharlieChaplin
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Looks like one of those adc0804 carts I used to have. But it had bad solder joints, so I disassembled it about a year ago, after getting the schematic down on paper. I might rebuild it one day. Nice home-brew double-sided PCB by the way. It's always a PITA to get the top and bottom aligned correctly.

 

BTW Alphasys is here on AtariAge. Perhaps you could send her a message.

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Hello Louis

 

Wet your finger and rub the spit on the chips. This usually makes it possible to read the numbers on the chips (until the spit dries up). But I'ld guess the 8 pin IC is an NE555 (timer), the one at the bottom probably is a 74LS138 (often used as an address decoder) and the one on the right is probably an ADC0804 (the actual analog to digital convertor).

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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You wouldn't be willing to share that schematic with us, would ye?

 

Sure I would. The problem is I cannot find it :( I did find the ADC0804 chip, but the schematic was nowhere near it. I checked a few other places, but no luck yet. But I'm sure I'll stumble upon it sometime :)

 

Edit: I suddenly remembered I've already drawn it in Eagle and threw the paper away. It seems my memory was faulty and it is not exactly the same. But, I remember this sampler working pretty well.

schematic.zip

Edited by ivop
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I found the "Atari Home Studio" (from The Gatekeeper ;-) ), and the original disk that came with the cartridge named "The ANG Sample Utility Disk".

 

I have look if I can find some original recorded files.

But I'll try to make some new ones.

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Who did the solder job? It does not look very good to me (no offense!)

 

I think AlphaSys did it. I don't know how many were sold, but I don't think it was a lot.

 

I found some samples I made.

There were not many. Likely the lack of empty floppy disks were the problem. :P

 

I'll upload them soon.

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I found the A.N.G. Utilities online and converted the ADC0804 schematic to a jpeg.

 

A.N.G. SAMPLE UTILITIES (1993)(ANG)(SIDE A).ZIP

A.N.G. Sample Utilities (1993)(ANG)(Side B).zip

 

post-26874-0-58506600-1354500678_thumb.jpg

 

Any idea as what the 4th IC is in this pic http://www.atariage.com/forums/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_rel_module=post&attach_id=268069 ?

Edited by AtariGeezer
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What a lovely surprise! Really brings back the memories!

 

The long hours building these things together with John Maris, testing them, the frustration of some not working, the Halle meeting where these were sold, the cold in the bus that we all slept in etc etc. Crazy days. It was definitely not a project that generated any profit though.

 

Soon afterwards, the Mirage sampler came out, that was sold at a fraction of the price we had to put on it to break even, so any ideas of making more of them quickly went out the window.

 

To give you guys a truthful answer about the chips used, I'll have to go dig down in the storage and get my prototype. That's probably the only surviving one that still has all the markings. I know which box it is in, but it'll take some doing to get to it.

 

As for the PCB layout, that's gone, together with my cardfile of Atari data. It got misplaced when I moved from Zevenaar to Leeuwarden. The PCB's were made by a company, from my design. The cartridge housings came from gutted Thorn Emi game cartridges. Some horrible football game was in there originally and John had loads of those laying about.

 

From memory I can't tell you very much about the thing anymore, but it'll come back to me when I have my prototype. There's definitely no NE555 or other timer chip on there. The original design had 2 different modes of operation, selectable with a switch. It is an 8-bit sampler, but normal usage would take only the 4 MSB and store two samples per byte, with appropriate software ofcourse.

 

Anyways, I'll get back on this once I get my hands on the prototype.

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  • 7 months later...

Hello guys

 

Louis' cart seems to have two RCA/cinch plugs. But AFAIK there were no stereo sample carts for the 8 bit Atari. And from what I can see in the pictures, it doesn't look like this one will do stereo either. Please explain.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Well,

 

but ANG (or was it Markus Roesner / Powersoft ?) once advertized that they have sample-cartridges that support two Pokey chips and therefore do have two Cinch plugs...

 

@Fred: are any of these cart leftovers to be sold ? If so, I want one...

-Andreas Koch.

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Hello Andreas, Fred

 

If the above cart is the cart Andreas is talking about, I'd want one too. Maybe we could have more PCB's made, prices for that must have dropped in more then two decades. :D

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Hi Andreas and Mathy,

 

I don't know if they are working. Looking at the PCB's it seems that only the bottom two on the left are complete. I have no housing cartridges.... and for PCB's.... Look at the top of the picture, I think there are still about 15 empty PCB's there ;-)

 

Regards,

Fred

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Look what I found in the ANG leftovers ;-) Hey Louis, you can read the types in this (large) picture, but you are also welcome to take a look at them.

Now that's one awesome find!

Hello guys

 

Louis' cart seems to have two RCA/cinch plugs. But AFAIK there were no stereo sample carts for the 8 bit Atari. And from what I can see in the pictures, it doesn't look like this one will do stereo either. Please explain.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

The cart only has one ADC, so there's no stereo. I had planned on making one, but seeing how much RAM would have been needed to use it effectively and the price we'd have to ask for a Stereo one, we just dropped the whole idea, specially since there was this influx of polish carts for half the price.

 

There are 2 cinch inputs, since everyone would want a close rendering of the music sampled, even if the original was in stereo. So the two cinches are connected, but only give a mono sound when stereo is put in.

Well,

 

but ANG (or was it Markus Roesner / Powersoft ?) once advertized that they have sample-cartridges that support two Pokey chips and therefore do have two Cinch plugs...

 

-Andreas Koch.

Any sampler can "support" two pokeys. It's not dependant on hardware. It would be the software that Solarsystems made for the cart that supported the pokeys.

Hello Andreas, Fred

 

If the above cart is the cart Andreas is talking about, I'd want one too. Maybe we could have more PCB's made, prices for that must have dropped in more then two decades. :D

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Nope, it's not.

Hi Andreas and Mathy,

 

I don't know if they are working. Looking at the PCB's it seems that only the bottom two on the left are complete. I have no housing cartridges.... and for PCB's.... Look at the top of the picture, I think there are still about 15 empty PCB's there ;-)

 

Regards,

Fred

Actually none of them are really complete, as far as I can see in the picture. We also cut a few corners when building these things to make them good value for money.

Hello Fred

 

But are they stereo or mono? How many bits per channel?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Mono, 8 bit samples. Usually only the 4 highest order bits would be used.

 

FURTHERMORE:

 

With those PCB's and the right parts, it would not be hard to actually make a stereo sample cart. Just takes an extra ADC0804, a link to the 74LS138(adress selector) and a few discrete components for stability. You would then have 2 readable adresses, one for left, one for right, both 8 bit wide.

 

Another option would be to "semi piggyback" the ADC's, so both channels can be read AT THE SAME TIME in ONE BYTE containing TWO NIBBLES where the highest order bits would be the left side, and the lower order bits the right side (or vice-versa). That would be a favourable way to read, store and reproduce true stereo samples on a dual-pokey setup. It would, however, not be as easy as making it for 2 adresses.

 

ON A SIDENOTE:

 

I'm finally in a position where I can actually get to the cart (it was buried under a heap of heavy stuff, but we finally got that sorted) and since my birthday last week, I now actually have a camera to take pictures with! So yeah, expect the proto pics soon!

Edited by Alphasys
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Hi Fred,

 

As you will see when you compare the proto with the cart, the proto has a few more components on there. They don't do much, when the computer's powersupply is stable. You will also notice several locations on the PCB's where there are connection points, but no component. Well, that's where the extra stuff could be put in, for extra stability and noise reduction. That's what I meant when I said "Actually, none of them are really complete..."

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