MIDI COMING....FASTFINGERS LEAD SYNTH FOR THE COMMODORE 64
MY LATEST EQUIPMENT 4 SALE ON EBAY!
C64 Synthesizers and Music for Christ is what we are all about!
Electronic Music Synths Drum Machines and Automation
FORUM AND CHAT
NOVEMBER 2012 PREVIEW NEW FOR 2013
sept. 2012 I'm trying to wrap up the Fastfingers project with MIDI and move onto my next project....a complete PIC chip synthesizer.
july 2012 Today I began BASIC MIDI routines with the C64 Expansion Port Sentech/Passport type MIDI interface, mostly to check my MIDI interface and also to re-familiarize myself with the MIDI commands. I was able to get my Kawai K3 to play a slew of notes which I sent to it by way of a fornext loop. So the MIDI programming re-begins..after almost 30 years. So hopefully I will be able to integrate this into Fastfingers. This in only HALF of the BASIC programming. The other HALF is to also RECEIVE notes from a MIDI keyboard to trigger the Fastfingers sounds.
The PASSPORT type MIDI interface was the most popular, and it is not easy to make a universal MIDI driver because of the way the DATA and CONTROL/STATUS registers work. There is only ONE STATUS register on the PASSPORT and the same register is also the CONTROL register. Many other MIDI interfaces will use 2 separate registers for STATUS AND CONTROL. The same goes with the DATA register. It also flips so that it can be a READ or WRITE register.
So what I'm basically saying. Is to start shopping for a PASSPORT type MIDI interface, either through an equipment lease or purchasing it yourself, if you plan on using Fastfingers ,in the future, with MIDI.
Below is a video using the Fastfingers Lead Synthesizer software for Commodore 64 and my drumming. I added a new Lightshow feature to Fastfingers, which changes the color of the screen in time with the music.
All of the sounds are C64 Fastfingers sounds except for my drumming.
In the mid 80's, Robert Moog came to Wayne State in Michigan to speak. After showing off his new Kurzweil keyboard, he took the time to look at the Fastfingers software project and was very impressed with it. Hal Chamberlin, the writer of "Musical Applications of Microprocessors", said of Dan Laskowski, after seeing Fastfingers, "a born programmer."
I'm ready to ship.
The Fastfingers manual is 31 LOOSE pages. (25 pages of original manual, 5 pages of the Quick Start Guide and 1 page of 2011 updates). You can bind it any way that you want, staples, duo tang, 3 ring binder etc. It comes with 2 double sided diskettes (3 slight variations of the software and 2 variations of the sounds). This is all placed in a Zip Lock bag and shipped in a box the size of a cereal box. Send $49.95 to PAYPAL firstname.lastname@example.org Your shipping and handling charges are included in this. (Lower 48 and Canada only) Everyone else please request a shipping quote. I also want to offer the first 20 buyers ONE FREE update. Of course, you need a C64 or C128 and a 1541 disk drive to run this !!
Add ANOTHER $49.95 and I will also add the keyboard INTERFACE shown in the videos. Total $99.90 for Fastfingers Software and keyboard interface combo.
IN 1984 Dan was finished authoring music sequencing software called "FASTFINGERS" which was reviewed in the May 1986 "Computer Shopper" 6 years later, in 1991, Compute Magazine wrote "Fastfingers was written before the MIDI explosion, yet Laskowski programmed it for 256 sounds and even coaxed an extra sub octave out of the SID chip." The SID chip is the sound chip on the Commodore 64 for for those of you that don't know. The Compute Magazine also stated "The dearth of new software for the 64 has sent developers back to their closets to have another look at older programs to see if there's something to dust off and reissue. Fastfingers is one such program, and the question arises, does it still stand up? We are compelled to give a qualified Yes."
OK now I'm going to list a few fun facts and history about the 2011 release of Fastfingers below each picture.
Back in 1984, before large fast hard disks, there was no way to save a whole song in real time. MIDI was just breaking in, so what I did was set up Fastfingers to record up to 5 minutes of high resolution recording ,time wise several samples per second. This took up memory AND DISK SPACE. So when you hit SAVE back then , the entire recording, updated sounds, arpeggios, and transpose bank were all saved to 160 "blocks" on the 1541 disk drive. This took 2-3 minutes and was also just as slow to LOAD. Because most of you now have access to hard disk recording , in 2011, I have released 2 versions of Fastfingers, of which you will receive BOTH. First the original, 160 block version and now a 31 block version SAVE which just saves your SOUNDS and ARPEGGIOS. 20 seconds is better than 3 minutes.....right !!! So for 2011 there is the LONG SAVE and SHORT SAVE versions.
March 20 2011
C64 or C128 "under the knife" for LESS NOISE !!!
ONLY ATTEMPT IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCED WITH A SOLDERING IRON. I WILL TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU FRY YOUR C64 !!!GET A TECHNICIAN TO HELP YOU IF YOU CAN'T PERFORM THE MOD YOURSELF !!!
What worked for me in the end was that I piggybacked 2 6581 SIDS (Sound Interface Device) on top of each other. Pin 27 (Audio out) no longer touches the circuit board. The pins are lifted away and soldered to the center conductor of 2 shielded cables. Shorting Pin 26 (Ext IN) to GND worked fine for some non filtered sounds, but killed other sounds. I have instead CUT OFF Pin 26 so that it doesn't pick up noise from the PCB. If you need to plug your guitar into the SID, then this won't work for you. The SHIELD of the 2 shielded cables are connected to Pin 14 (GND) which I must admit is awkward. The other ends are connected to a stereo pair of RCA phono plugs.
So what is the result?
First off, MUCH LESS NOISE !! My SIDS never sounded so good. Second some of the sounds with heavy filtering or Noise sound like STEREO !! I guess that this is because each SID will produce a different set of random numbers for the NOISE wave. Also I used SIDS from 2 completely different batches. One was a very early one, housed in CERAMIC with gold pins and the other was in PLASTIC, from 2 different batches with at least 2 years between. Because of this, the filter cutoff characteristics were slightly different.
These old C64 sounds are AMAZING in the Korg Kaossilator , clean and clear in Stereo!
I can't do much more hacking to these SIDS. I might kill them with too much heat, but the next step would be to create a new CS (chip select) signal for the extra SID so it sits in a different memory location. Then I would reprogram FASTFINGERS so that it sends every other note to each chip.(not killing the RELEASE that way.)
This is my C128 below, with only ONE SID chip. The hack is even uglier after 2 SIDs are piggybacked BUT WORKS !!