Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

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Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

On July 24, 2011, at the Commodore Vegas Expo v7, the Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 (SUX 6400) and its Digimaster software made their premiere. Developed after hours and hours of work, the SUX 6400 is a new audio digitizer cartridge produced by the Fresno Commodore User Group and PDXCUG.org. Digimaster is a re-release of Chris Brenner's audio-digitizing and editing program for the C64 (and now for the C128 in 40-column 128 mode).

Digimaster 64 is a NTSC-compatible program (though the program tries to adjust itself to PAL, it fails). Digimaster 128 is both NTSC and PAL-compatible.

The SUX 6400 with Digimaster make up the most sophisticated audio digitizing hardware and software ever made for the Commodore 64 and the Commodore 128. With the SUX 6400 and Digimaster, you can capture audio into the Commodore and play back the recording - all in 8-bit sound quality. You can use the recording in your own programs. Full documentation is included in the Digimaster CD.

The SUX 6400 / Digimaster package has the following:

1. the SUX 6400 audio digitizer
2. a "flippy", two-sided disk with Digimaster software for the C64, version 1.0f on side one and version 1.1m on side 2
3. a floppy disk with Digimaster v1.1 software for the C128
4. the Digimaster CD disc which includes the instruction manual .PDF and D64s of all Digimaster versions
5. a credits page listing those involved
6. the quick-start sheets of instructions

Below is Chris Brenner's original description of Digimaster.

-----

Digimaster is a unique software product which allows you to process digital audio on your Commodore 64.

This advanced software utilizes a fully graphical interface with pull-down menus. Incorporated into its operation are many powerful features, such as Cut, Copy, and Paste, which makes editing sound as easy as editing text in a word processor. Using an optional audio digitizer [like the Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400], live sound can be grabbed into the computer, edited, and then saved to disk. There is even a utility included which will convert Amiga sound samples, giving you access to a vast library of sounds.

Probably the most impressive feature of this software is its ability to replay sounds in true eight-bit digital audio on your Commodore 64 without the need for extra hardware. This is made possible by a revolutionary method of controlling the sound chip inside the Commodore 64. The result is crystal clear audio reproduction.

Digimaster Features:

Fully graphical interface

Many powerful editing functions

Ability to replay sounds in true eight-bit digital audio without the need for extra hardware

Included software which allows replaying sounds from your own programs

Requirements:

Commodore 64 or Commodore 128 computer
Commodore 1541, 1571, or compatible disk drive
Joystick or mouse (mouse highly recommended)

-----

Photos of the SUX 6400 and its production can be found throughout http://retro-link.blogspot.com

The SUX 6400 / Digimaster package is priced at $26 US with a cartridge case. Within the U.S., shipping is via U.S. Priority Mail flat rate for $8.30 US. For other countries, shipping rates are to be determined. Send a check or money order to

D. Estel
185 W. Pilgrim Lane
Clovis, California 93612
U.S.A.

Payment by PayPal is available; send an e-mail to me at rbernardo(at)iglou.com for more information on that payment option.
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 credits

Project director: Robert Bernardo
Project engineer: Greg Alekel
Consulting engineer: Jeff Hoag
Project advisor: Joe May
Project muse: Jeri Ellsworth
PCB by: ExpressPCB
Components from: Digi-Key, Jameco, Mouser, Newark, Tim Harris
Cartridge case from: Tim Harris
Development testing by: Greg Alekel, Steve Davison, Jeff Hoag
SUX 6400 label design: Larry Anderson
SUX 6400 original circuit design by: Chris Brenner
SUX 6400 prototype 0: Steve Ramirez
SUX 6400 prototypes 1 and 2: Greg Alekel
Digimaster 64 label re-design: Larry Anderson
Digimaster for the C64: Chris Brenner
Digimaster 128: Robert "Hydrophilic" Willie
Assembled by members of PDXCUG.org
Assembled in the U.S.A.
Packaging and posting: Robert Bernardo
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

The Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400, which was originally distributed with Digimaster for the C64, is now being distributed with Hydrophilic's Digimaster 128, too. See the first posting in this thread to read the updated information on the SUX 6400 and both Digimasters. To read about Digimaster 128 and its development, go to

http://www.commodore128.org/index.php?t ... 0#msg20510

Truly,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

A few days ago I received an order for the SUX 6400. I hadn't received an order in quite awhile. Perhaps I should promote the SUX 6400 some more. :)

Still in stock,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

rbernardo wrote:To read about Digimaster 128 and its development, go to

http://www.commodore128.org/index.php?t ... 0#msg20510
Digimaster 128 has always been compatible with NTSC and PAL C128's. Now it has been verified by a user in England that Digimaster 64 is also compatible with PAL C64's. So, whether you have a NTSC machine or a PAL machine, Digimaster will work.

Truly,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

rbernardo wrote:Digimaster 128 has always been compatible with NTSC and PAL C128's. Now it has been verified by a user in England that Digimaster 64 is also compatible with PAL C64's. So, whether you have a NTSC machine or a PAL machine, Digimaster will work.
That English user was wrong. While here in Switzerland, I have tried Digimaster 64 with Rob C.'s PAL computers - a brown C64 and a C64C (long board). The result was always the same -- the directory would lock up the system when displaying the directory or if the user was able to choose the file to load from the directory, then the load would lock up the machine.

I had Hydrophilic, the programmer behind Digimaster 128, look into what was wrong with the 64 version, and this is what he found out --

"...as soon as I went to list files on the directory the program locked up... checking the state of the machine it seems to be using the standard KERNAL code. You know, it might be some problem with the IRQ routine used... the code that reads the mouse/joystick and updates the sprite.

Upon further investigation, it seems the problem is the SPRITE(s). Each on-screen
sprite steals a few CPU cycles. At the point where Digimaster locks up, I noticed
that 3 sprites were enabled. That is mostly likely the problem! Those missing
cycles throw off the software-based disk timing. (Which is why I like the
fast-serial hardware of the C128)

The C128 KERNAL is smart enough to disable sprites when loading, but not the C64.
It is the programmer's job in that case.

I tried Digimaster 64 in NTSC mode on VICE and noticed it is also showing the
sprites while loading. But in that case it does not crash. I'm guessing because
the CPU is about 1% faster and each raster has 2 more cycles. That tiny bit of
timing seems to make all the difference to the disk drive."

So, until the problem is solved, Digimaster 64 is still a NTSC program. If a user runs the set-up program, then the user should be aware that it rewrites the DM disk when it recognizes a PAL C64, rewriting the disk with the non-working PAL routines mentioned above. As always, the user should use a *copy* of DM64 and not the original disk.

Truly,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

rbernardo wrote:So, until the problem is solved, Digimaster 64 is still a NTSC program. If a user runs the set-up program, then the user should be aware that it rewrites the DM disk when it recognizes a PAL C64, rewriting the disk with the non-working PAL routines mentioned above.
Rob C. will rewrite the BASIC part of the SETUP program so that it won't automatically start rewriting the disk. It will give the user a choice of whether he/she wants to continue with the rewrite into PAL/NTSC or not.

I'll let everyone know when the change is made.

Writing from the Zurich airport,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

When I asked Hydrophilic whether turning off one sprite would work in order for the PAL version to function, he replied --

"Turning off a sprite might be the easiest thing, but I don't know how reliable it
would be. Really I'm suprised the NTSC version works... but NTSC has 2 more cycles
per raster. Turning off a sprite may save 2 cycles and so it might be work.

It may save 2 cycles depending on where the sprite is in the order. For example,
turning off sprite 0 probably wouldn't help because VIC will pre-set DMA 3 cycles
early. Turning off sprite 1 probably wouldn't help either because it is between 0
and 2 (sprites 0,1, and 2 are normally all on). But turning off sprite 2 should
save 2 cycles and thus PAL should have as many free cycles per raster as NTSC.

Sprite cycle timing is a bit tricky as I think my poor description suggests. The
only way to know for sure would be to try it. There are several places DM turns
sprites off and on, so all those locations that turn sprites on would need to be
patched.

The nice thing about this method (if it works) is that it only requires patching
some existing bytes; no new code needs to be inserted (or removed)."

Back from the Netherlands C= Show,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

rbernardo wrote:Digimaster 128 has always been compatible with NTSC and PAL C128's.
Just to clarify... this is still true. Digimaster for the C128 (40-column mode) is compatible with both NTSC and PAL machines. It is Digimaster for the C64 that is giving trouble with PAL machines.

Going to London today,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by raima55 »

Yeah, exactly, you have posted the informative post. It really helped me ahead.
raima
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

Another SUX 6400 package has been sold. That only leaves 6 boards left in stock. After that, I may decide to do another run of it.

Or I may not,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

After receiving an inquiry today, yes, a few SUX 6400 packages remain to be sold!

Truly,
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

It's been some time, but another SUX 6400 package has been sold... this time to a gentleman in Canada.

Thanks!
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by energysteven »

What's the contact info to order 2? I will take 1 but I would prefer to get 2, please.
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Re: Sound Ultimate Xpander 6400 / Digimaster

Post by rbernardo »

The contact is me!

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