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#1 2008-12-01 00:57:42

gmnstr
GI-Joe
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 11

I'm going to be the first to say it

By now quite a few people would have received their cartridges, tried them out, and come to the same conclusion as I.

This device is marvellous, but it's almost useless by itself. I would say that it is obvious, judging from the design of it, that the MSSIAH was made with the thought that the community would design some kind of frontend for it in mind. Because, let's face it, it doesn't really do much good without it. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't have to be a VST wrapper, standalone with possibility to save would do. But we need something.

I am not a coder, I don't know how to do it. I might know people who would consider writing this kind of application, I'm not sure. I can't contribute with much other than testing the code on my setup (OSX!).

Let's people lots of people feel this way to, especially someone with coding abilities. With a frontend, MSSIAH would really kick some serious ass.

If anyone out there agrees or disagrees, reply! Let's discuss this!

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#2 2008-12-01 02:51:42

kneelherring
GI-Joe
Registered: 2008-07-09
Posts: 10

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

I wouldn't say almost useless, yes it requires more than the bog standard to get the most from it, but that is the same as any knobless sound module. With just a midi sequencer/DAW pretty much everything is easy, cc's can be adjusted and automated, tracks can be layered...

I imagine that there could be ways to improve the experience using external software/control, but its certainly not essential in my opinion.

Hope you get what you need though!

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#3 2008-12-01 08:02:35

MikeTorino
Guest

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

Ok.. gmnstr.. you want debate, here's your debate!! *hums the title song of "Rocky"*  smile

I think you're missing the point. There are lots of "frontends" out there.. Cubase, Logic, Ableton, ProTools etc. Any midi sequencer, you name it!
If I understand it correctly, MSSIAH is made to be a killer midi receiver to go with your fav sequencer. At the same time you can play it with a midi keyboard and, for that matter, assign levers and controllers to different control changes. I think this is a really big thing especially since the midi interface itself is built in. You haven't been able to do all this before using a C64 unless paying $$$.. (or building your own midi interface and running less easy-to-get software but let's be realistic people..)

kneelherring: The MSSIAH isn't completely knobless. You can still edit sounds on it, then switch to midi and go from there. And on top of all this the Mssiah applications feature the same on-board sequencers like the Prophet64 did.

All right, all right.. I'm starting to sound like a MSSIAH commercial :-) and with that said, I haven't got mine yet.. But I'm quite sure it's a revolution in the way you can use a commodore in you midi setup.
It's definitely NOT useless.  gmnstr: I think you deliberately used that word to get the discussion going in this thread, didn't you? wink

 

#4 2008-12-01 09:12:16

slashviper64
Dr. Commodore
From: Utrecht-Netherlands
Registered: 2008-02-22
Posts: 102
Website

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

If you don't like Mssiah, you don't like the Commodore 64 and you are not my friend...wink

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#5 2008-12-01 09:55:57

Cybertronic
Bub
Registered: 2008-07-28
Posts: 154

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

If it were truly useless by itself, they wouldn't have bothered to add a GUI to the cart, or even a sequencer.

Last edited by Cybertronic (2008-12-01 09:57:02)

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#6 2008-12-01 10:19:36

linde
Mad Max
From: Schweden
Registered: 2006-07-30
Posts: 95
Website

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

I don't see at all what you're getting at. You can control every sound parameter from the C64 without using any "front-end". If you want to fully utilize MIDI, yes, you need a proper sequencer, but I think that as with any instrument, that's obvious. With the Prophet 64 you didn't immediately have these MIDI features, and the available interfaces were very basic compared to what you get with MSSIAH, and still people made some great music with it. That alone should prove that MSSIAH isn't useless on its own.

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#7 2008-12-01 10:50:47

Flemming
The Last Ninja
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 291

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

MSSIAH is a godsend for those people who love to compose old-skool 8bit sounds and music... and everything you need is in the cartridge!!!

MSSIAH is a godsend for those people who have a studio and wants to incorporate old-skool 8bit sounds into their productions!!!

Me... i belong to the second group - i have a few synths allready, and they all have no frontend... the MSSIAH fits perfectly smile i use my host of choice to control all my gear via MIDI, and in that regard MSSIAH is just as nice as classic hardware synthesizers like my Supernova II or Virus rack (the MSSIAH has an extra advantage even; a full screen of knobs and parameters to control directly from the C64... none of my other synths has the option to hook up a screen to them!)

It's true that several hosts provide 'virtual'-controls which can be assigned to CC numbers and used to record modulation in realtime, or even send the CCs directly to a MIDI out port where you could hook up your MSSIAH ... that is a splendid solution, but there is a better one; get a MIDI keyboard with lots of assignable controls (i have a Novation reMote SL 61 which sports 64*4 controls pr configuration) assign your needed parameters and you're ready to go.. this solution makes realtime parameter tweaking a joyfull experience smile and you don't even have to do the 4-pot mod and get joy-port conflicts!

This IS really the tools of the trade - no cartridge will make you a rockstar!! It takes tedious work, but i understand how you'd like a frontend for easier access to parameters from the host... well, as i said in another thread i might whip up some VSTs (would that be good enough??) to control the MSSIAH from your host - i will make these VSTs using SynthEdit (i can't promise 2-way control or sysex capabilities, but i have done such a MIDI-VST before to control my Alesis Micron synth, and i hope you will find it to be a 'better-than-nothing'-solution)

Now my girlfriends mom is visiting us for some days, and x-mas presents are situated everywhere in the house ... and today i even have a birthday to attend to, so i didn't even got to play properly with my MSSIAH or create a frontend yet.. but i will as soon as i get my hands free smile if you want to check a VST i made that came out pretty well, then go to my site www.audiosonic.dk and download 'DigiDrum pro'. I will make these MSSIAH-VSTs mostly for my own use, but if anyone finds them interesting i will surely make them available for the community..

But maybe that's not even what you're looking for ??? tell us more about your wishes...

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#8 2008-12-01 11:09:36

Flemming
The Last Ninja
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 291

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

Tonka wrote:

Using MSSIAH is going to be tough simply because using a C64 (in this day and age in comparison to modern PC's Mac's) is tough.  Old disc drives, crappy mice, strange hums and buzzes here and there - it's just not a fun thing to use *unless* you find using old, humming, buzzing equipment inspiring (as most here do).

Not having used MSSIAH much as a MIDI slave type thing (I'm not a MIDI man & use the internal sequencer), my experience is limited, but I *can* say that I have tried alternatives down the MIDI route and with all of them, there is comprimise.

HS4U:  I bought a HS4U recently and sold it VERY shortly after.  I probably would have thought it was great if I had not been using a P64 for months before hand.  The sound was thin and washed out with no depth or gutz compared to a real C64.  It was almost like C64 emulation.  No - actually, it was worse.  Front end/VST wrapper was unfriendly and buggy.  This may have changed now, but the sound was a the deciding factor for me in the end and I can't imagine this would ever change as it's down to the components.

Quadrasid:  I think is the best of the alternatives in terms of ease of use, flexibility and sound (it honestly sounds better than the HS4U to my ears and you have more control as you essentially have unlimited instances of virtual SID's, so you can get all anal with FX)!

Sidstation:  BWWWWAHAHAHAHAHA!

MIDIBOX:  Great if you're a rocket scientist, but not commercially available so is kinda excluded.  Most of the people singing it's praises haven't even built the bloody thing yet!  I'm guessing it will have the same kind of sound as a HS4U anyway...

It sounds to me as though a better option for you would be a HS4U or MIDIBOX, but don't expect it to sound great *just* because there is a real SID inside.  I've come to the conclusion that Commodore had some magic fairy dust which they sprinkled into every C64 made which makes the SID sound fatter, better and more analogue than any of the 'SID in a box' alternatives.  That or it's something to do with the original components and how they affect the sound. wink

In terms of getting SID + MIDI from a *real* C64 AND the great sound that comes with that, MSSIAH is pretty much your only option.

Give it a while anyway - you must have owned it less than 1 week! big_smile

Uh oh, Tonka... you're kinda on the wrong track wink

- QuadraSID is the emulation (a good one, but no ballsy sound)

- SIDstation is just sad and overpriced

- HS4U has soundclips on their site which sounds nice (and believe me, no magic dust in the C64 *LOL* the HS4U is modeled after the same circuits as the real deal)

- MIDIbox-SID..... ouch, that hurt me... i'm in fact a midiboxer and it sounds more like you're jealoux.. hehe... 8 (eight) SID chips can live inside a midibox, in ANY setup (unison, mono, drums, bassline, whatever) and it's actually commercial quality with LCD display, lots of menus and stuff..... it does everything a C64 does, everything a MSSIAH does (and more) i can't for the love of god imagine how you'd think 2 SIDs would sound fatter than 8 SIDs .... For everyone who almost believed Tonka bashing the Midibox for it's feeble sound (shame on you!) try to check out these two videos...

- 4 SID chips in 'bassline' mode (everything SID, even the drums)
http://vimeo.com/1633684

- 8 SID chips (Yess, this box is the very best in SID music ....ever! And yes, we midiboxers REALLY like 6582 SIDs, but stuff in anything you like)
http://vimeo.com/1634079

.... apparently we are a forum consisting of several thousand 'rocket scientists' from all around the world, and i have experienced lots of midiboxes..... i guess it makes me a bad person here in the MSSIAH forums ??? wink

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#9 2008-12-01 11:10:48

EVK
GI-Joe
From: Sweden
Registered: 2008-11-20
Posts: 16

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

As for the thread, I agree with what you say. Mssiah has several faces and can be used in different ways.

I have one question though.

Flemming wrote:

Me... i belong to the second group - i have a few synths allready, and they all have no frontend... the MSSIAH fits perfectly smile i use my host of choice to control all my gear via MIDI, and in that regard MSSIAH is just as nice as classic hardware synthesizers like my Supernova II or Virus rack (the MSSIAH has an extra advantage even; a full screen of knobs and parameters to control directly from the C64... none of my other synths has the option to hook up a screen to them!)

Is it possible to use a C64 with Mssiah as completley interface-less(?) box. As far as I can see you can control just about everything once the software is started and midi-mode is selected. But is it possible to choose for example the monosynth and go directly into midi-mode, without using the C64 keyboard? Either as a saved-setting och using midi messages.

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#10 2008-12-01 11:20:15

Flemming
The Last Ninja
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 291

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

EVK wrote:

As for the thread, I agree with what you say. Mssiah has several faces and can be used in different ways.

I have one question though.

Is it possible to use a C64 with Mssiah as completley interface-less(?) box. As far as I can see you can control just about everything once the software is started and midi-mode is selected. But is it possible to choose for example the monosynth and go directly into midi-mode, without using the C64 keyboard? Either as a saved-setting och using midi messages.

Well, a midibox can wink i'm not sure about the MSSIAH, the different applications on the cartridge would be hard to surf amongst without the screen attached (i looked in the manuals but did not find CCs to change from f.ex monosynth to bassline) this may be the only real flaw i can find in the MSSIAH design

At least for me it's not that important, i usually end up in bassline-mode anyways smile

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#11 2008-12-01 11:38:14

EVK
GI-Joe
From: Sweden
Registered: 2008-11-20
Posts: 16

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

Flemming wrote:

Well, a midibox can wink i'm not sure about the MSSIAH, the different applications on the cartridge would be hard to surf amongst without the screen attached (i looked in the manuals but did not find CCs to change from f.ex monosynth to bassline) this may be the only real flaw i can find in the MSSIAH design

I'm currently suspecting the same thing. It's not difficult to learn how to choose the correct application without a display (restart, space, wait, cursor down n times, enter), but it's a bit of a hassle. Especially if you consider a setup with several Mssiahs and lots of other hardware.
I suspect that hardware-limitations (6510 on ~1Mhz) is behind the fact that you can't use GUI- and MIDI-mode at the same time. But it should be possible for the MIDI-interface in the cart to record certain commands (i.g. change application and go to midi mode).

At least for me it's not that important, i usually end up in bassline-mode anyways smile

I'm mostly playing around at home and will probably never play live or do any "serious" studio work, so it's not a big thing for me either. (And I'm more of a Commodore enthusiast than a musician anyway). But using Mssiah as a black-box, that's completely controlled via midi feels like a rather obvious application.

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#12 2008-12-01 13:06:44

Kartoshka
Pac-Man
From: israel
Registered: 2007-08-22
Posts: 208

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

i guess direct communication with 8bit ventures would make this forum less aggressive (from 'fakenly unnoticed' user side), and more friendly. smile

Last edited by Kartoshka (2008-12-01 13:09:00)

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#13 2008-12-01 13:44:58

MikeTorino
Guest

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

For what it's worth: I didn't sense any aggression whatsoever in Flemming's post in the first place..

You be nice Tonka or I'll....  *holding up my brand new night stick..* (special import item)  smile

 

#14 2008-12-01 14:01:53

Flemming
The Last Ninja
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 291

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

MikeTorino wrote:

For what it's worth: I didn't sense any aggression whatsoever in Flemming's post in the first place..

I certainly didn't mean to come off aggressive, or even that Tonka would take my post so personal...
Well *S* he managed to proove for himself who the 9year old is wink and it seems he was the only one to misread my post in such unpleasant manner too..

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#15 2008-12-01 14:11:34

Flemming
The Last Ninja
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 291

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

EVK wrote:

I'm currently suspecting the same thing. It's not difficult to learn how to choose the correct application without a display (restart, space, wait, cursor down n times, enter), but it's a bit of a hassle. Especially if you consider a setup with several Mssiahs and lots of other hardware.

I guess more MSSIAH-machines is the way to go smile  it sounds like you allready had that in mind ??

EVK wrote:

I suspect that hardware-limitations (6510 on ~1Mhz) is behind the fact that you can't use GUI- and MIDI-mode at the same time. But it should be possible for the MIDI-interface in the cart to record certain commands (i.g. change application and go to midi mode).

I read somewhere that the VICs that control the video-output can create some noise in the audio, and that's why they implemented the 'turn-off video' feature... i can't say for sure as i don't remember exactly... i think it was in the MSSIAH manual

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#16 2008-12-01 14:18:27

jbuonacc
Centipede
From: Rochester, NY usa
Registered: 2007-02-07
Posts: 447

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

the 'turn off video'/blank screen doesn't have much effect from i've seen/heard. P64 still puts out a nasty high-pitched squeal no matter what (horrible really). i'm guessing it blanks the screen so that it saves on processing power for better MIDI response.

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#17 2008-12-01 14:22:23

EVK
GI-Joe
From: Sweden
Registered: 2008-11-20
Posts: 16

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

(Going a bit off topic here...)

Flemming wrote:

I guess more MSSIAH-machines is the way to go smile  it sounds like you allready had that in mind ??

I do have a big box with old c64s. Most (or all) of them is broken or simply missing parts. Assemble a few functioning machines and order a couple of Mssiahs is tempting. (I'm also a bit curious about midibox, but that's even more OT).

I read somewhere that the VICs that control the video-output can create some noise in the audio, and that's why they implemented the 'turn-off video' feature... i can't say for sure as i don't remember exactly... i think it was in the MSSIAH manual

True, but if you use the built in sequencer functions, you have the _option_ to turn of video. In midi mode you're forced to turn of screen and any input (I'm not sure about pots). If noise from the VIC was the only problem it would be much more preferable to play midi-notes while playing around with settings and live with the noise. And once you're happy with the sound you disable the screen to get rid of the noise.

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#18 2008-12-01 14:22:32

Flemming
The Last Ninja
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 291

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

jbuonacc wrote:

the 'turn off video'/blank screen doesn't have much effect from i've seen/heard. P64 still puts out a nasty high-pitched squeal no matter what (horrible really).

Oh... damn sad even with the SID audio-in grounded like in the AlphA-mod ?? (i have yet not done that mod myself, but hoped it would kill some noise for me)

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#19 2008-12-01 15:12:07

dotmatrix
Monty
Registered: 2006-10-23
Posts: 87
Website

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

hi.
i just read over the discussion , partly interested.
p64 is cool for those who want to use the original c64 for what reason ever (fe. if you just like it that way).
BUT hardsid,... i have a hardsid pci quattro card and it sounds just like sids should sound like.
can anyone explain me WHY a hardsid  should be different from c c64 with a sid in it?
in a c64 there is the sid , with several digital signals going into this defining how it should sound like and one single audio out followed by a simple transistor amplifier. in hardsid card , the filter capacitors are outside on the board so you can change them.
i don't see ANY reason why there should be a difference. see sid2sid board. the audio out from the second sid isn't even going trough the c64.
or are the digital control signals from the c64 more vintage or what?

Last edited by dotmatrix (2008-12-01 15:13:13)

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#20 2008-12-01 18:20:29

firebrandboy
Centipede
From: glasgow, scotland, uk
Registered: 2006-11-11
Posts: 148
Website

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

linde wrote:

I don't see at all what you're getting at. You can control every sound parameter from the C64 without using any "front-end". If you want to fully utilize MIDI, yes, you need a proper sequencer, but I think that as with any instrument, that's obvious. With the Prophet 64 you didn't immediately have these MIDI features, and the available interfaces were very basic compared to what you get with MSSIAH, and still people made some great music with it. That alone should prove that MSSIAH isn't useless on its own.

+1

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#21 2008-12-01 18:51:26

kingconga42
Bomb Jack
From: US and A
Registered: 2007-10-16
Posts: 32
Website

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

Flemming wrote:

get a MIDI keyboard with lots of assignable controls (i have a Novation reMote SL 61 which sports 64*4 controls pr configuration) assign your needed parameters and you're ready to go.. this solution makes realtime parameter tweaking a joyfull experience smile

Slightly off topic, sorry!
I was just looking at midi controllers last night, and the Novation reMote SL caught my eye. It seems to have EVERYTHING- pots, rotary encoders, velocity pads, faders, joystick, x/y pad, and i like that each knob has it's own screen to tell you what's going on. I was just wondering how you like it, and if you've had a chance to use it with MSSIAH yet? I think i'm going to ask Santa for one of these for xmas! big_smile

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#22 2008-12-02 12:10:24

gmnstr
GI-Joe
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 11

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

Maybe I wasn't really clear on why I wanted a frontend.

I'm an old demoscener, been into this stuff for ages. Lately this whole MIDI / hardware / studio stuff really got me interested, and that's why I got myself a C64 and MSSIAH. For me it's the first real chance to use a C64 in this environment. I'm not in it for being geeky, I'm in it because the C64 really is useful for electronic musicians, and because I think that chippy sounds should be made with the original. (And yes, I've got real good reasons but that's a different discussion.)

So from a musicians perspective, using the old P64 interface, when a computer side solution is possible, feels kind of hopeless. Even if I'm smart enough to handle it (used to make music in really weird custom trackers), it's not something that fuels my inspiration. It's more like the opposite.

I am using Ableton Live and Renoise, so "coding" my own presets with CC is no problem either, but here you get the same problem. Technical challenges just don't get me fired up anymore. Serious sound design IS more interesting with a good interface. If i was using only MSSIAH and just some random softsynth it wouldn't be a problem, but my studio is a lot more complicated than that and I just don't feel like burying myself in the technicalities when I can do music.

I am sure that there are countless people like me out there, who really got their hopes up when they heard about MSSIAH. I mean, just look at all the other SID alternatives. They're mostly cruel jokes.. MSSIAH is for me, and many people I know, the first real solution to the 8bit MIDI problem. And to be honest, I always thought that was the idea with this cartridge.

So that's my case for a computer side frontend.

MikeTorino wrote:

I think you're missing the point. There are lots of "frontends" out there.. Cubase, Logic, Ableton, ProTools etc. Any midi sequencer, you name it!
If I understand it correctly, MSSIAH is made to be a killer midi receiver to go with your fav sequencer. At the same time you can play it with a midi keyboard and, for that matter, assign levers and controllers to different control changes. I think this is a really big thing especially since the midi interface itself is built in. You haven't been able to do all this before using a C64 unless paying $$$.. (or building your own midi interface and running less easy-to-get software but let's be realistic people..)

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#23 2008-12-02 12:42:25

gmnstr
GI-Joe
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 11

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

I just realized, maybe you guys didn't understand that MSSIAH's MIDI implementation means that you can actually edit sounds via MIDI? This means that the C64 interface isn't needed at all.

My idea was making that kind of interface, on the computer side. 100% MIDI sound design!

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#24 2008-12-02 14:01:11

jbuonacc
Centipede
From: Rochester, NY usa
Registered: 2007-02-07
Posts: 447

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

while i think it's you that is missing the point, i do agree that it would be nice to have something like MSSIAH which boots straight into something like MonoSynth allowing you to simply use the C64 as a MIDI module.

then again, this wouldn't allow you to do much in the way of editing drum sounds or arpeggios, which is why you need something like Sequencer and a **C64 interface**. smile

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#25 2008-12-02 14:38:18

gmnstr
GI-Joe
Registered: 2008-11-27
Posts: 11

Re: I'm going to be the first to say it

I'd say, take a good look at the MIDI implementation in the manuals, along with the description of how MSSIAH behaves in MIDI mode, and say that again .. wink

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