Back in March 2017, Javi Agenjo (tamat) created a SID visualizer that could show a lot of the inner workings of the SID chip while playing a tune. I had thought about making something similar, but after a chat in Javi’s blog post the source code was made public and I decided to improve upon this instead.
I have created a large HTML table that compares a lot of music editors on the Commodore 64.
You can use it for a ton of things. How much CPU time does a player from that editor use? How many SID chips does it support? Does it have multispeed? How many instruments can it have? Does it have this or that feature in a table? Almost anything you can imagine, this table aims to deliver.
And if it doesn’t – or you have an update – just throw me a comment in this blog post.
March 8, 2018: Double-checked and updated player sizes and rasterline numbers.
March 4, 2018: Added DefleMask 0.12.0.
March 2, 2018: Added capability rows for arpeggio and vibrato in the Player section.
March 1-2, 2018: Added capability rows for pulsating and filtering in the Player section.
February 28, 2018: Used SIDDump to measure and update some of the rasterline numbers.
February 27, 2018: An Unsticky Table button can now be used if the table won’t display properly.
February 26, 2018: Added SidTracker 64 1.0.3.
February 25, 2018: Added DMC 5.0.
February 24, 2018: First version with 10 editors.
Here’s my first GoatTracker SID tune in standard PAL speed. It was made for the 8580 SID chip.
The bass drum instrument is not quite as sharp in the packed tune as it was in GoatTracker. Perhaps it was the packer that messed with this – I’ve had similar difficulties with my own packer back in the day. Does anyone know how to match that in the packed tune?
Here’s the SID tune: One_Knight_Stand.sid
I was a coder and musician myself on the C64 and often paying attention to other composers, both to the technical side of things as well as the music itself. It was important to keep track of the competition to see if there were new tricks, styles, sounds or techniques to pick up on.
At the end of the day we all needed inspiration.
So, what did I think of the other top dog C64 musicians back in the 80’s and 90’s?
This blog post contains the later AdLib music from 1993-94 by Thomas Mogensen, Jesper Olsen, Torben Hansen and Morten Sigaard Kristensen. Most of it was composed in EdLib, an editor I wrote that used the same track editing system as my Commodore 64 editor.
In addition to composing a few test tunes in EdLib, Jesper Olsen also wrote his very own AdLib player and composed tunes for it in an assembler listing. These tunes are also included below.
You won’t need an emulator plugin to play the tunes – they have all been saved as MP3 for easy listening.
The process of creating these tunes actually began in FastTracker 2. Thomas composed the tunes using samples from a Game Boy Color. The saved XM files were then converted to Game Boy Color binaries using a tool coded by Thomas Egeskov Petersen. The Game Boy Color hardware has two square wave channels, one wave channel, and one noise channel, but note that most in-game level tunes only use two voices.
Everything has been converted from the original XM files to MP3 for easy listening.
While 2SID tunes – SID tunes with 6 voices – are fairly common in the High Voltage SID Collection, 3SID tunes with 9 voices are somewhat of a rarity. I just found out today that there’s not a lot of SID emulators that support them either. SidPlay as well as XMPlay with a SID plug-in refused to play any of them.
Rolf Greven, who compiles the binaries for the Mac version of CheeseCutter, converted all he could find in HVSC update #66 to MP3 files in March 2017. He has given me permission to list them in this blog post. Rolf converted them from three 8580 SID chips playing through HardSID with no post processing.
For me, quite a few of those 3SID tunes sometimes sound like AdLib tunes. There was one 3SID tune where the third SID was only used at few bars throughout the tune just to emphasize percussion by adding some sort of echo to the percussion from one of the other SID chips. I needed to listen to these 3SID tunes a few times before I got rid of the idea that most of them probably also could have been done with two or even one SID chip.Rolf Greven
The playlist have tunes from Mihály Horváth from Hungary (Hermit, the coder of SID-Wizard), Gaetano Chiummo from Italy, and Jake Manley (Jellica).
The Danish pianist Johannes Bjerregaard not only composed great C64 tunes, he also created a lot of AdLib tunes in 1991-93 in his own players. There were two different player systems – the early JBM player with about 9 tunes, and SEQPLAY that recorded songs through MIDI.
This blog post contains all of these AdLib tunes, of course saved as MP3 for easy listening.
After creating my first SID tune in 25 years, I knew I had to get some sort of keyboard to test out leaders and chords. I didn’t want to get a big one as I didn’t have much room on my desk, and I didn’t expect to spend hours solely performing on it as I’m not brilliant at that anyway. A tiny one just to test out stuff would be just fine with me.
Luck had it that just a few streets away from my workplace in the center of Copenhagen, there was a renowned keyboard shop with tons of keyboards of all types and sizes. After checking things out for a while, I quickly decided not to get a small MIDI keyboard. These kinds of things tend to want an external sound source and I wanted it to have its own sound and loudspeakers.
That’s when the new Yamaha Reface series caught my eyes.