Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

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mjb
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Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Fri May 18, 2012 11:04 am

Greetings. There are probably not too many non-Acorn users on this board!

I'm 40 and from the USA, where if anyone had an 8-bit computer, it was most likely an Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari 400 or 800, TRS-80, or TI 99/4A. For me, from age 9 to 15, I was an avid Apple II user (taught myself Integer and AppleSoft BASIC, 6502 assembly and machine language), and since age 13 I've been a not-so-avid PC user, starting with a 6 MHz 80286 PC/AT (or compatible, I don't remember, all I know is it had a red LED display on the front showing the CPU speed, which could change from 6 to 12 MHz with the press of a button). I've played around with Apple II emulators, but it's just not the same, and I don't have the patience to tinker like I used to, at least not in this realm.

Anyway, what brings me here is that I'm a record collector and small-time amateur DJ, and one of my records is the 1985 12" single of "The Other Side of Heaven" by the UK synth-pop band Kissing The Pink. One of the songs on this record is actually a computer program for the BBC Model B. Apparently it generates a music video, of sorts, to accompany the playback of the extended version of "The Other Side of Heaven".

There are very few references to this program online, and I can't find any info about The Program Bureau, the programmer(s) who authored it and who own the copyright. I assume it's just a long-forgotten bit of ephemera, even to those who made and sold it.

So, I've ripped the record's audio to 48 KHz, 16-bit WAV (and can re-rip if necessary), and I'm hoping someone here can help me get the program converted into whatever formats are most convenient for use with emulators. I also just want to see the "video" in action. I could attempt to get up to speed with emulators, formats and converters, but I'd rather just let someone else have that fun. And then, of course, it'll be posted for all of you to enjoy, assuming it's OK to post such things.

Anyway, I'm not sure which section of the forum is ideal to post about this in.
8-bit: software: other? 8-bit: emulators?
Please let me know! Thanks.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by nOmArch » Fri May 18, 2012 12:01 pm

Welcome :)

Congratulations you've just found the haystack, now all you need to do...

edit: I see you already have the record so all you need to do is create a lossless WAV file of the track and upload it to this thread where one of us techie types can turn it into a UEF (Tape Image) or an SSD (Disc Image) which can then be loaded into B-Em or BeebEm

HTH
Alex

Back up to 1 Beeb again. \o/

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Fri May 18, 2012 1:17 pm

Hello :D

As N0mArch says, zip up the wav and upload it here and someone will be able to convert it for you.

I guess it could even be made into a YouTube video with the original A1 track synced with it which would be cool 8)

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Sat May 19, 2012 1:33 pm

Alrighty, just post here in the introduction forum, then?

Here ya go (click). (links will probably expire in a couple weeks)

Since the computer program signal is mono, I just kept the cleaner of the two channels. However, there's still some surface noise, and I think something about the carrier tone is exacerbating the effect. The audio tracks have much less noise. Hopefully it will just work as-is, but if the noise interferes, let me know, and we can experiment various cleaning and post-processing methods.

From what I've read about the format, the tones should be very simple sine waves. However, I noticed when recording that there was severe aliasing all up and down the spectrum. I suspect this is just how it was cut in the vinyl. Again, if there's a problem, let me know.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by nOmArch » Sat May 19, 2012 1:58 pm

Not at home til this evening and only have mobile broadband with me, will grab it later and convert if no one beats me too it.
paulv wrote: I guess it could even be made into a YouTube video with the original A1 track synced with it which would be cool 8)

Paul

Excellent idea as the actual video is a bit pants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVpu3VUW7zg
Alex

Back up to 1 Beeb again. \o/

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 19, 2012 2:07 pm

My AV went mental when visiting the download site so beware pop-up's and pop-unders... :(

Anyway, after successfully downloading the WAV files, MakeUEF skips lots of blocks. I had to convert it to 8-bit mono for MakeUEF to be able to use it so that may have had an effect... I'll try a direct load from the netbook into the Beeb...

To my ear, they sound "reasonable" but the pops and crackles from the needle on vinyl may also be a problem :-k

Paul
Last edited by paulv on Sat May 19, 2012 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 19, 2012 2:25 pm

My Beeb agrees with MakeUEF. Wherever MakeUEF has a problem converting a block, my Beeb also has the same problem and the program is unreadable because of this.

If you can re-record the wav files as 8-bit mono (Goldwave will do this) and try to do as little post processing as possible that would probably stand a better chance of working.

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Sat May 19, 2012 3:12 pm

OK I'll start with the easiest way, not re-ripping, just processing.
Try these resampled ones: 8-bit 48 KHz and 8-bit 16 KHz or 8-bit 8 Khz. I expect the lower sample-rate ones will work better.

Also, sorry about pop-ups/unders. I use an ad blocker extension in my browser so I don't see that stuff. Sadly it's kind of a fact of life with those file hosting sites, no matter which one I pick.
Last edited by mjb on Sat May 19, 2012 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 19, 2012 3:27 pm

Same errors in the same places from essentially the the same sample.

As I said previously to improve the chances of making it work you'll need to record it from source in mono 8-bit form and do not perform any post-processing if possible.

EDIT: I should add, the lower sampling rates aren't recognised as being Beeb data at all :(

Paul
Last edited by paulv on Sat May 19, 2012 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Sat May 19, 2012 3:31 pm

OK, thanks for trying. I'll try making a new rip. What sample rate do you prefer?

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 19, 2012 3:40 pm

Hi,

At least 22050 Hz is the default that MakeUEF 0.3 works at so that'd be a good place to start I guess.

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by nOmArch » Sat May 19, 2012 8:21 pm

Would a newer version of MakeUEF help as that's up to 2.3 or, to put it another way is there any reason to use the later versions?
Alex

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 19, 2012 11:14 pm

Would a newer version of MakeUEF help as that's up to 2.3 or, to put it another way is there any reason to use the later versions?
I tried both 2.3 and 0.3. The only "readme" docs I've got refer ot 0.3 though and I was basing the info on that. 2.3 definitely refuses to handle anything other than 8-bit samples and AFAIK the differences between the two aren't that great although someone with a more intimate knowledge of both will probably be able to clarify exactly what the differences are...

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by AndyF » Sun May 20, 2012 3:28 pm

Welcome :)
Andy

* NEW * The Jetset Willy and Manic Miner community :)

Adventure games ported across to the BBC (in progress) as soon as I can find some time!

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Tue May 22, 2012 7:46 am

OK, try these: They were recorded at 8-bit, 22.05 KHz, mono, using two different cartridges.

If neither of those works, here (click) is a copy of one of the second file, post-processed to EQ out the harmonics (ghost frequencies at multiples of the main 1200 & 2400 Hz tones), in case that's part of the problem.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Tue May 22, 2012 9:11 am

Hi,

The first one seems better but still not perfect. I've managed to get the first two out of three files to convert correctly. :D

Definite progress...

The third file in the audio is still having issues. I'll try the second download later but I have to wait 30 minutes until I can download it...

Interestingly, makeUEF0.3 has no problems with recognising the audio as being a Beeb program but MakeUEF2.3 doesn't recognise it as a BBC track at all. I think this is more to do with the program than the audio recording at this point...

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Tue May 22, 2012 10:57 am

Just a quick update. 8bit_22050Hz_mono_m97xE.wav is the best of the lot. 8bit_22050Hz_mono_DR500LC.wav is a close second. The post processed and equalised version is unusable.

The problem appears to be the pops and crackles on the recording which are causing errors in the data stream which the CRC error handing is catching as corrupt blocks of data.

As the recordings appear to be better than the previous versions, I'll try to load directly into a Beeb again to see if it fares any better. Sometimes the MakeUEF applications are a bit too fussy...

Now I can see more of what it is, the audio breaks down into three files.

HEAVEN - This is a BASIC program which loads the following files and performs some graphics functions running over data and calling assembled functions in OBJ.

OBJ - A small machine code file loaded in below page at &B00. The function entry points are defined in HEAVEN and CALLed directly.

NEVAEH - A large data file loaded in above HIMEM which is programmatically set at &23D8 - Again, HEAVEN sets some addresses and accesses data at those addresses directly.

I'll post an update later on.

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Tue May 22, 2012 12:20 pm

Ok, lunch break and some good news :D

8bit_22050Hz_mono_m97xE.wav works on a real Beeb. I'll sort out creating a UEF of it later on but it'll probably be this evening.

Someone with more familiarity with getting things to run from disc and SSD images will have to look at it to see if it's possible to run from disc as it seems to be reasonably memory hungry and does check to see if PAGE is &E00 before it runs at all.

The thing runs in MODE 2

The data file NEVAEH loads in below screen memory but overruns into screen memory and stores data in blocks on the screen so the actual usable part of the screen is limited a little bit similar to games that are memory hungry like Exile I guess.

It's got scrolling of small sections of the screen, full screen hardware scrolling, some odd angel like images, lightning (I think) and a boy with red eyes who appears to be on his knees praying at one point. It all seems a bit odd!

Mind you it does play in silence as it needs the soundtrack to be overlayed so I'm guessing the song provides context to the images :lol:

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by nOmArch » Tue May 22, 2012 2:58 pm

Good work Paul, looking forward to actually seeing what this little proggy does.
Alex

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Tue May 22, 2012 3:29 pm

Well, it seems I've got a quiet day of work today so I fiddled about with the Beeb whilst I'm waiting for a conference call :roll:

In the end, I ended up playing back from Goldwave directly into a real Beeb taking note of the length, load and exec addresses of each file.

I then *SAVE'd each file to RAMFS and exported as an SSD so I could transfer it back to the PC for use in the emulator.

From the emulator, I re-loaded each file in order saving them with the correct length, load and exec address info to a "blank cassette" UEF file and the result is attached.

Anyway, when it gets to the end, you can press a key to start it again so you know when it starts and finishes :D

I suppose a video with the original track overlaid is the next step to preserving this little bit of Beeb Pop history!

Paul
Attachments
Heaven.zip
(26.53 KiB) Downloaded 82 times

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nOmArch
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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by nOmArch » Tue May 22, 2012 5:58 pm

It doesn't make much sense when played alongside the music either.

Some of the graphics look really good but some just look like corrupted gobbledegook, still, nice little rarity.
Alex

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by trevj » Wed May 23, 2012 10:43 am

Excellent - got to be more interesting to watch than the end of day 4 of the Summer Olympics torch relay! (Here's the distinctly unimpressive boat itself - that's right, the one with the crappy bunting.)

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by Samwise » Wed May 23, 2012 2:37 pm

FYI, mjb.

If you want, you're welcome to post attachments direct to the forum - just make sure you ZIP them up before you attach them to your post.

If you have exceptionally large files to be shared, drop me a PM and we'll arrange something else for you.

Cheers,

Sam.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Fri May 25, 2012 6:34 am

I'm glad we're making progress, and it's a relief that the main issue seems to be crud in the groove. I was afraid the 'wow' of the slightly off-centre pressing was going to be a problem.

If you there's a way to estimate where in the audio the glitches seem to be, I can work on it some more.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Fri May 25, 2012 11:20 am

If you there's a way to estimate where in the audio the glitches seem to be, I can work on it some more.
There's no need to work on it any more, I successfully transferred the data and created a uef suitable for emulators which is available as a zip file to download from my previous post

If you download and install Beeb Em you can then unzip the Heaven.zip file and use it with BeebEm so you should be able to watch the fruits of our labour :D

Yours

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by mjb » Sat May 26, 2012 7:12 am

...but some of the graphics were said to be garbled. If this is something I can work on in the audio realm, I'd like to help.

Also, I'm very slightly handy with ffmpeg; if the playing video can be captured, I can sync it with the audio (if there's anything to sync) without quality loss.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 26, 2012 10:21 am

mjb wrote:...but some of the graphics were said to be garbled. If this is something I can work on in the audio realm, I'd like to help.

Also, I'm very slightly handy with ffmpeg; if the playing video can be captured, I can sync it with the audio (if there's anything to sync) without quality loss.
They're not garbled as in corrupt, they're garbled as in rubbish. :shock:

The graphic "artists" have tried to re-create the album cover on a computer with only 8 colours of Black, Red, Green, Yellow, Blue, Magenta, Cyan and White. Clearly that was never going to look pretty with such a complex piece of art. [-X

Beeb-Em allows you to capture it's output as a video so you should be able to get a high quality version of it from that to sync to the audio. Sadly my laptop is a bit too slow for full frame video capture from Beeb-Em :( I really need to get a new machine soon...

Paul

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by Samwise » Sat May 26, 2012 10:32 am

Paul,

When you say your laptop is "too slow" for video capture with BeebEm do you mean the audio comes out and isn't in sync? If so, have you tried configuring it like this:

http://www.retrosoftware.co.uk/wiki/ind ... ure_BeebEm

I found getting the audio recorded in sync is a bit of a black art with BeebEm, no matter what the spec of the PC.

Sam.

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sat May 26, 2012 10:47 am

Samwise wrote:When you say your laptop is "too slow" for video capture
I mean it's way to underpowered for running Beeb-Em at any decent speed and doing video capture at the same time. I just don't have the clock cycles in this machine to do it...

In this particular instance, there is no audio in the program, it's provided instead on a 12" vinyl recording so syncing the two would need to be done post recording anyway :D

Paul

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Re: Hello from a non-Acorn user :)

Post by paulv » Sun May 27, 2012 8:09 pm

I had a spare half hour this afternoon and access to Tracie's much faster desktop so I made a video...



The video thumbnail is a re-creation of the Album cover...

Image

The audio is longer than the Beeb video so I started the audio playing before the Beeb had finished loading the program to sync the fade of the audio to the end of the video...

Paul

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