September 14, 2011 | In: Hardware, Software by Stamba

Sequential Circuits MusicMate

A real music keyboard for the Commodore 64 with disk drive!*

The MusicMate is a quality musical instrument keyboard featuring full size keys like traditional instruments. And because it’s designed for use with a powerful computer it let’s you explore your music easily, and in exciting new ways! For instance, you can select and play many different instruments sounds. You can also record and playback any 3 voice  arrangement you play on the MusicMate keyboard, up to 10 minutes worth at a time! And with the addition of other inexpensive software you can store your music on diskette or print** your music in standard music notation. The MusicMate keyboard doesn’t tie up to your computer’s expansion slot. Just plug it into the joystick port!”

The keyboard and software in this package let you:

  • Record up to 10 continuous minutes of your music and play it back!
  • Choose between 8 preset instrument sounds including electric piano, violin, clarinet, banjo, etc.
  • Play the keyboard live, sounding up to three notes at a time!
  • Expand your music capabilities with exciting additional software.
*Commodore 64 is a registered trademark of Commodore Business Machines, Inc.
** You need a high quality printer.
©1984 Sequential Circuits, Inc.

 The MusicMate comes with the Model 970 software diskette package but it seems there are few other software :

SONG BUILDER (Model 971)

Build your own songs by overdubbing up to 3 layers of notes (each with its own instrument sound!). Or record 1 – 2 layers of notes and play the third layer live. Also, change the key and speed of your music.

SONG EDITOR (Model 972)

See the songs you write with the SONG BUILDER displayed on a four-color Grand Staff on your monitor. And conveniently edit your songs.

SONG PRINTER (Model 973)

The SONG PRINTER prints out your songs in standard music notation.

SOUND MAKER (Model 974)

View a full color graphic display that looks like the front panel of a professional synthesizer to program the shape, volume and tone of your own personal sounds.

Here is the original ad you could find in Commodore Power Play #11 (1984) :

MusicMate software (.d64) : MusicMate

September 9, 2011 | In: Audio, Hardware, Software by Stamba

A modern MIDI interface

“FB-MIDI is a multi standard MIDI interface for the Commodore 64/128.
FB-MIDI adds MIDI IN, MIDI OUT and MIDI THRU/OUT ports to your Commodore 64/128.”

Back in 2007, I was looking for such a MIDI interface and Fotios (from Australia) was releasing this piece of gear!
It “emulates” these MIDI interfaces (you have to setup this by combining some dipswtiches) :

  • Sequential Circuits
  • Passport
  • NameSoft
  • Syntech

Unfortunately, Fotios has stopped the production a while ago! 🙁

I mostly use this interface with Midislave Manager V1.1 by Triad [1995].
It has some nice presets but you can edit the parameters… so… it’s up to you to make blasting sounds from the SID!

Here is a live act i’ve made in 2009 at the “VieuMikro” retro-compter convention Toulouse – FRANCE.
I used 2 Commodore 64 – one with Prophet 64 + FireStarter MIDI interface (for TB-303 emulation)  and another one with FB-MIDI and MidiSlave (for bass/strings sounds).

MidiSlave 1.1 : Midislave Manager v1_1 (.d64 file)
Manual : FB-MIDI-Rev1A

Link :

September 8, 2011 | In: Audio, Games by Stamba

and the paradoxes of time travel…

Let’s start with the official plot :

“VVVVVV is a retro styled 2D platformer by Terry Cavanagh, creator of dozens of free games. You play as the fearless leader of a team of dimension exploring scientists who inadvertently crash, and are separated. The game involves exploring the strange world you’ve found yourself in, and reuniting your friends.

VVVVVV explores one simple game mechanic: you cannot jump – instead, you reverse your own gravity at the press of a button. The game focuses on playing with this mechanic in a variety of interesting ways.

The game is designed not to artificially gate your progress. In VVVVVV there are no locks, no power-ups, no switches, nothing to stop you progressing except the challenges themselves.”

I’m pretty sure most of you already know this piece of indie game but i’ve been quite happy to find out  Paul Koller (paulko64) has made a port of it on Commodore 64! Holy f_ck! The infinite loop of eternity is now closed ! A retro-game for modern computers (flash technology) is now back on an oldskool 64Kb memory computer !

The game is still labelled as “demo” but it already has a lot of levels.

Download : VVVVVV_Commodore64 (.zip)
or you can download the game from CSDb  (it’s a .prg you can directly drop in Vice)

Here is a short footage of the Commodore 64 gameplay 

September 2, 2011 | In: Games by Stamba

Some games in the mailbox!

Nothing rare but those classics are worth a post! 🙂

Dr Doom revenge
Total recall
The Simpson’s Bart VS Space mutants
Shadow Warrior
World Class Rugby
Terminator 2 Judgment day
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles
Ghostbusters II
Computer Scrabble
Back to the future III
The untouchables
St Dragon

August 26, 2011 | In: Audio, Software by Stamba

Cynthcart 1.2.4 cartridge

Brand new Cynthcart v1.2.4 from U.K.!

Cynthcart 1.2.4 Features:

* 3 Note Polyphony
* Works with the common C64 piano keyboard overlay
* No latency
* Adjustable vibrato
* Portamento effect (sliding notes)
* Can change patches and settings while playing
* Support for 2nd SID chip (stereo chorus effects)
* Filter, pulse width, vibrato, and pitch via paddle controllers
* Whammy (space) bar
* Control of attack, release, and many other sound parameters
* Tuning adjustment
* Psychedelic rave color patterns
* On-screen help
* SID hex editor for advanced users
* Can turn off video chip to reduce noise
* PAL and NTSC tuning tables with automatic selection
* Designed to be used easily without a TV/monitor
* Copies itself to RAM (cartridge can be removed after loading)

Website :

And here is my old crappyblurry footage of Cynthcart + Commodulator (big knob to tweak the SID filter)