BBC Micro and MIDI

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PippUK
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BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Wed Dec 07, 2011 7:36 pm

I am aware of and have seen MIDI adapters sometimes available or in circuit diagrams, for the Beeb. They all seem to be designed toward sequencing external MIDI equipment from the Beeb.
What I am pomdering is the possibility of sequencing the Beeb's native sounds from my PC based studio setup. Using the beeb as a MIDI synthesizer unit. It has a very distinctive sound palette which I quite fancy tinkering with, but in a more user friendly way.
Anyone have any thoughts or advice about this?
Pipp.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by sirmorris » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:25 pm

Hi Pipp.

You'd need to do some hardware inventing and programming. Midi is just serial data but I don't think the in-built UART would be able to keep up with the data rate - especially if you want snappy audio playback. You'd probably be best served by offloading the midi interfacing to an external device then having something which hangs off the user port. Not trivial but not rocket science either.

I'm drowning in projects at the moment so I can't realistically offer any physical help but I'd be happy to discuss the matter further :)

C

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by poink » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:13 pm

I think there's some projects that work on other hardware using the SN76489, so if you're looking for the sound and not the effects of the BBC's opamp, you might also like to look into MIDI projects with the Sega Master System, for which it's more likely you can find something that you could plug in and play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJ-0nu2WOxs

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by sirmorris » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:28 pm

The Beeb's sound is somewhat more than just the chip though, right? There's the envelope processing that goes on... And the fact that you can program the beeb easily may mean that the native solution is more attractive - excellent though the NES idea is..!

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:21 pm

This is an informative web page on MIDI and interfacing MIDI systems...
http://www.compuphase.com/electronics/midi_rs232.htm

Mark

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:31 pm

sirmorris wrote:The Beeb's sound is somewhat more than just the chip though, right? There's the envelope processing that goes on...
I am I right in saying that the envelope processing part is done by the beeb's operating system?

Mark

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PippUK
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:24 pm

Thanks for the responses. I have already been messing around programming an application for a user friendly interface to tweak the envelope command variables. However, it is unwieldy for music writing.

It seems as I feared regarding feeding MIDI code into the Beeb, although I have not given up yet.

Somehow it feels like sampling the Beeb audio output would be a cop out.

I will be doing a bit more research before I give up. Though I have the Music500 system and have a reasonable handle on AMPLE (It's quite simple in some ways), I like MIDI and proper keyboards for composition. This is why I would still be interested in pursuing my original quest. A MIDI input adapter might be useful for quite a few music enthusiasts.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by RobC » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:43 pm

I built the MIDI interface on JGHs MDFS website:

http://mdfs.net/Info/Comp/BBC/MIDI

The jgh1.gif circuit plugs into the 1MHz bus and has a MIDI input and output.

You'll obviously have to write some software to react to the MIDI note messages and convert them into sounds from the BBC hardware. The *MIDI code also under that link does the opposite (i.e. BBC sounds to MIDI commands) and might be of some help.

Cheers,

Rob

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by thedark » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:17 pm

i think you are missing a lot.

like the wavedesigner
a midi interface (i have one left on the loft)
and mabe some proper software to go wih your m5000 / 4000 system

mabe i can help out
if you want to
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:58 pm

RobC - Thanks for that link to JDHs interface. Sadly I am not very competent at moderately complicated soldering jobs (need some practice before wasting valuable bits), though sourcing those components seems eBay friendly.

The Dark - I'm intrigued. Perhaps you could describe some more about the software you recommend in terms understandable to someone whose computer music world is based on Cubase? I would be really interested in what you know. I haven't witnessed the M5000 in action. Better user interface? The wave editor sounds like fun.
I have not run my m500 with the M5000 software yet. Pc to Beeb software issue.
I'm looking forward to some more tinkering.

Yours - Pipp

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by thedark » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:22 pm

you m500 system wil run ofcourse the m4000 / m5000 software.
i have all this software on my harddrive running it dayly for demo making and making sounds for some games whe make with the pc.

the wave designer is a piece of software where you can make your own waves and envelopes, to make it all more realistic on your beeb or master.

if you own a master i have placed in the m500/m5000 topic some modding to make it also work on a master and make your m500 a m5000 system.

if you ar in need of a complete midi interface i have one in the loft not using it anymore, and can be sold, i also have a spare m500 system that is already modifyed for master and m5000 system.

if you need to know more mabe i can help you out with more info and music disk's etc.

regards
tonny
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by RobC » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:35 pm

PippUK wrote:RobC - Thanks for that link to JDHs interface. Sadly I am not very competent at moderately complicated soldering jobs (need some practice before wasting valuable bits), though sourcing those components seems eBay friendly.
If we hadn't just had our second child, I'd offer to build one for you... :D

Don't be put off too much - building the MIDI interface isn't that difficult. It was the second thing I built when I got back into Beebs (the first was the MMBeeb interface) and I learnt a lot from doing it.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by jgharston » Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:40 pm

RobC wrote:You'll obviously have to write some software to react to the MIDI note messages and convert them into sounds from the BBC hardware.
I did start on some code to do that, read from the MIDI IN and issue SOUND commands. I'll have a rummage and see if I can find it.

Edit:
He he. Here it is: :)

Code: Select all

   10 REM > MIDI-IN
   20 REM Simple MIDI-IN Player
   22 :
   23 mCtrl%=&FCF0:mData%=mCtrl%+1
   30 :
   40 REPEAT
   50   REPEAT UNTIL ?mCtrl%AND1:note%=?mData%:PRINT note%;
   60   IF note%<128:note%=note%*4-139:SOUND &11,-10,note%,20
   70 UNTIL0

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:55 pm

This is all great stuff. Maybe I should try and build something. Thanks for the program as well.
Seeing as I've not long since joined this forum, it is very encouraging to get such helpful responses.
I have been trying to work with analogue synthesizer sounds into my music making. I am struck by how the particular sounds of once commonly heard technological items/products have deep associations with memories and past feelings. The Beeb was in schools throughout the UK for many years and I like that association.
I did get quite excited when I heard the beeps from my reconditioned Master purchased six months ago. It wasn't long before I was looking into the music/sound angle.
The Master I have is switchable between the OSs of Models A/B and Master. I read of thedark's mod required to upgrade the M500 for M5000 software on the Master. I can't p.m. yet but my mail is PippUK@safe-mail.net if we could arrange a purchase.
Seasonal Cheers - Pipp

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by retroclinic » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:42 pm

PippUK wrote:...mod required to upgrade the M500 for M5000 software on the Master...
The mod for the Master is a hardware modification on the PCB of the Music 500 unit. The hardware is identical between the 500 and 5000, it's just the software that makes the difference. The hardware mod is needed to adjust the timing on the 1MHz bus port of the music unit. Those marked as Hybrid Music 5000 on the front already have this mod done, those with Acorn Music 500 do not (unless someones done it afterwards).

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by RobC » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:34 pm

thedark wrote:if you own a master i have placed in the m500/m5000 topic some modding to make it also work on a master and make your m500 a m5000 system.
It's here: http://stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic. ... faf#p15326

Although it's a fairly simple mod, it's not always necessary - my unmodified Music 500 works fine on both of my M128s.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by poink » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:08 pm

PippUK wrote:I am struck by how the particular sounds of once commonly heard technological items/products have deep associations with memories and past feelings.
This perhaps is the best way of explaining why I love FM synthesis as much as I do. It lead in no small part to buying a Yamaha FB-01 synth module.

I'm certainly interested in MIDI and the Beeb, but sadly, I'm lacking in the free time department right now. Should I end up with some unexpectedly, I'll probably start with building one of the MIDI interfaces.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:29 pm

Just managed to but an M4000 keyboard (Minus footswitch) on eBay. It hasn't arrived yet.
A quick glance at the manual pdf seems to suggest some kind of authorisation code to enable the software. I haven't tried the software copy that I have out yet, I'll wait till the keyboard arrives.
Hopefully looking at completing my Hybrid setup (except for MIDI interface and, of course, footswitch).
Maybe then get some interesting music underway. I've just been messing with AMPLE so far.
Pipp.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:43 pm

Got my M4000. Plugged in. Start to load up M5000-4 software, the !boot starts up but begins with the message 'bad id', continues installing some of the modules, but resets itself (ala BREAK) with no software start up.

Further investigation (c.o Colin Frasers site) states that the installation looks for SR slot 4. I suspect this is where I am coming unstuck. I have all my ROM slots filled up just now. My Master has a switchable OS ROM for OS1.2/2.0 and the 3.5. I have Retro Clinic DC's 2 ROMS installed (One the patched ADFS and the RFS Data Rom in slot4), and ADT.

I have ordered Retro Clinic's switchable MOS3.0/3.5 rom which alleviates the need for the separate DC ADFS 3.3/3.5 ROM. This will mean I can move all the ROMS about to vacate slot 4. Sadly I say goodbye to the Model B/B+ functionality by doing so, although these were not working compatibly with the DC's ROMS. With fingers crossed, hopefully I can get some joy. Any tips/advice gratefully received.

I am beginning to wonder if I should buy a separate Master for use with my Hybrid set up only. It might be the best solution. I am probably trying to put too much together without enough understanding.

I am hopefull though. Maybe next week I will be able to play some keyboard on my Beeb. I wish there was some way I could sync it up with my PC music system. My PC soundcard (An EMU1810m) has a sync card with a variety of options, but the Hybrid setup seems to be pretty much stand alone. The M2000 MIDI interface looks aimed at sequencing other instruments, and besides, they don't appear often on eBay.
I'm just using this thread as my Beeb Blog now. Hope that is OK.

Peace - Pipp

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by retroclinic » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:34 pm

The M4000 software doesn't need or use SWR, as it will run on a standard B, as well as a Master. The problem is more likely the ID between the ROMs and the software are different.

Tonny has a universal version (as do I but not on main comp atm), maybe he'll post the images for you.

Mark.
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by thedark » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:32 pm

the m5000-4 can be downloaded from a site, (also on 8-bit software i think)
also is there a hack for it on the site of 8-bit software

i have also a copy somewhere you can use but have to look for it
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:41 pm

Finally got the M5000 software to boot up again, and my M4000 keyboard is working fine.

Now I wonder if anyone could link me to the other software such as the Wave Designer I've heard spoken of.

I would have addressed this to Tonny but I am unable to PM yet.
Any help would be appreciated.
Cheers - Pipp

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by thedark » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:46 pm

wave designer
here it is, just on this forums

http://stardot.org.uk/forums/viewtopic. ... ner#p15321
somwhere there is also a manual for it but i do not know where it went
mabe someone knows or has a digital version.

have fun
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by Rich Talbot-Watkins » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:15 pm

I think an interesting thing that gives the Beeb's sound a somewhat unique feel is that envelopes are processed at 100Hz, rather than the usual 50Hz as is common in other platforms. This faster update produces a lot of sound effects which just don't sound as good when updated at 50Hz. I know this because my own custom sound player updates at 50Hz (every VSync), and I just can't get such crisp percussion or special effects as I'd've liked.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by PippUK » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:41 pm

Got a couple of queries.
The first is M5000 related. I am using the M5000 software now fairly happily with my Hybrid setup which includes the keyboard.
In the main, I have been using Step sequenced synth lines and experimenting with sound creation. The finished musical lines are recorded into audio tracks on a PC running Cubase SX.

I was guided towards the Wave designer software which I have not been having much luck with.
It starts up and presents a yellow graph screen with FKey definitions at the bottom. My version(s) seems to freeze at that point.
I also lack any instructions for the software.
I have tried running this software after having loaded up the Hybrid system, before, and w/without various extraneous devices/ROMS enabled/connected.
Still no joy. I may be missing something fundamental here, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

My second query is about the Island Music system.
I bought a copy on eBay, seeing that the publishers were zealous in their copyright protection precautions. The packaging and startup screen state that any form of tampering with the disc would render the software unusable. It would appear that my copy is currently unusable. It will not progress any further than a black screen after reminding me of the copyright blurb. While I am unsure of how a program might automatically disable a write-protected disc, I'm starting to think my copy is duff.
Could anyone who knows or uses the Island Music System give me a clue?
I'm using an M128 with switchable OS ROM, so in theory, it wil boot up as a B/B+ or Master. I know my copy is for the B.

Otherwise, still having fun with my Beeb. Uncle G just gave me a carrier bag full of Beebugs from 85 through to 89. Only a few missing. My CF drive has all the mag disks archived. Been messing with the Mandelbrot plotter. That mag issue came out shortly after Mandelbrot's ground-breaking work first began to reveal the details of the set. Great fun.

Peace - Pipp

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by billcarr2005 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:56 pm

Since you're trying to run The Music System on a BBC Master, i don't think it likes the 1770 DFS :(
As mentioned on this thread
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 98&p=37595

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The Island Logic Music System - Disc Grief

Post by PippUK » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:15 pm

I am still keen to play with Island Logic's 'The Music System'. I have a model B which is minus a few keys and I haven't got around to repair yet. It has the Intel 8271 disc controller on board, so it might work with TMS software if I were to refurbish it.
There is no way - I take it - to shoehorn the 8271 in to my refurbished Master?
I use a dual 3.5/5.25 drive with my master to swap files with my PC and access the archives online. Should I assume that replacing the later disc controller on the Master with the old 8271 would mess with the HADFS (CF card) functionality and that of the ADFS/DFS?
Should I just pull my finger out and finish fixing my old model B up?
If anyone has any knowledge or tips in this field, I would be really grateful.

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by CanonMan » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:25 pm

You can't put an 8271 in a Master, there's nowhere for it to go!

Best get your finger out and repair the Model B :lol: :wink:

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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by retroclinic » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:34 pm

...and remember ADFS will not work with 8271, as it's single density only.
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Re: BBC Micro and MIDI

Post by BBCB+64K » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:42 pm

billcarr2005 wrote:Since you're trying to run The Music System on a BBC Master, i don't think it likes the 1770 DFS :(
As mentioned on this thread
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 98&p=37595
That's odd, I've used TMS on my B+64k without any issue. I believe it had DFS 2.10 installed before I got it upgraded.

Steve

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